BERKSHIRE ENVIRONMENTAL ACTION TEAM

Rating: 5 stars   32 reviews

Issues: Environment

Location: 29 Highland Ave Pittsfield MA 01201 USA

Mission: BEAT’s mission is to protect the environment for wildlife in support of the natural world that sustains us all. BEAT involves volunteers in citizen-science wildlife monitoring programs, Stream Continuity Surveying, Turtle Watch, Salamander Watch, and Vernal Pool Certifying. BEAT maintains an educational website - http://www.thebeatnews.org - where people can learn more about the environmental laws, BEAT activities, issues, and events, and how they can participate in protecting the environment.
Results: BEAT publishes a free, weekly e-newsletter with environmental news, calendar, and public notices. Hundreds of volunteers actively working to protect the environment! Miles of river cleaned. Riverside conservation land protected from being turned into a parking lot. Riverside waste transfer station stopped. Stream crossings surveyed and evaluated to prioritize for replacement to help fish move upstream under roads.
Target demographics: the environment & wildlife
Geographic areas served: the Berkshires
Programs: Being an environmental watchdog - keeping the environmental community connected and informed - promoting environmental stewardship with river cleanups, monitoring wildlife habitat, and working to help wildlife cross roads where it is most critical.
2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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EIN 27-0054356
413-230-7321
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

The first time I was told about Berkshire Environmental Action Team was about seven years ago when my town, Cummington, became very active in matters of sustainability and community resilience. Friends who were involved in wildlife tracking and river watches, told me that BEAT had a projector they could lend out to like-minded groups, and I got to know Bruce and Jane in this capacity. Over several years of stopping by to borrow the projector and talking about our activities in town, Jane made me familiar with the many avenues of environmental work she and Bruce undertake, and let us know that BEAT could help our group find grants and other support.

This year, when I found out our whole region was under threat of a massive high pressure natural gas pipeline, I immediately turned to Berkshire Environmental Action Team as regional experts in environmental impact. Sure enough, they had already been researching and investigating the potential impacts of this enormous industrial development and had found that it had implications on many other levels as well; including economic, legal, regulatory and for the larger global climate. When they offered to make a presentation on the subject in Cummington, I jumped at the opportunity.

Fellow townsperson, Katy Eiseman and I had started a Facebook page for pipeline information that was quickly becoming unmanageable. Jane and Bruce offered us web space and a domain name to organize our budding anti-pipeline movement. No Fracked Gas in Mass was born just a couple of days after I found out about the pipeline, thanks to their help. Katy and I filled out the site, established a local resolution as well as a statewide petition against new pipeline expansion and scheduled BEAT's presentation for the Cummington Community House. The hall was packed with people from across the state and after the thoroughly researched and in-depth presentation by Bruce, we broke out the audience into county groups who talked, organized and took home "starter kit" information. Within days, we were hearing about local meetings against the pipeline springing up all across the state.

Since then Jane and Bruce have continued to research alongside us, and have travelled all along the affected towns making presentations with me and with Katy, who has moved on to form the state-wide coalition of anti-pipeline groups, MassPLAN. They also supplied webspace and domain name for MassPLAN's website and Jane is on the group's Executive Committee along with us and others. They were also instrumental in helping the Berkshire 350-MA group get established. That Pittsfield-based group has been key in anti-pipeline organizing in the Berkshires, among many other goals their group pursues. And Bruce and Jane done all this while continuing their usual work protecting and defending waterways, wetlands and the environment for all of Berkshire County.

I had heard high praise of BEAT's work for years, but had no idea the degree to which their dedication and hard work made a difference for our region. Without their high standards of research and dedication not only to anti-pipeline outreach, but help in getting our groups going and finding funding, none of the progress we've made at this point would have been possible.

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

It has been wonderful to collaborate with BEAT this year in our efforts to oppose the Kinder Morgan pipeline. From logistical support to technical research to collaboration on advocacy strategy, BEAT has been an extremely valuable partner.

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Rating: 5 stars  

BEAT is a tremendously important environmental organization in western Massachusetts. I began volunteering with BEAT in 2008 as a stream crossing coordinator. Along with countless other volunteers I took to the rivers and streams of Berkshire County, surveying bridges and culverts for wildlife "passability". It was fun, engaging, and I felt like I was making a positive impact. Shortly thereafter I interned with BEAT, helping the organization with their Geographic Information System (GIS) projects. Later, after lots of hard work, I became the Program Manager at BEAT and part of their paid staff.

Presently (2014), BEAT is involved in a pipeline battle, finishing a wildlife tracking project, cleaning sections of the Housatonic River with the Housatonic Valley Association (HVA), publishing a newsletter, fielding questions on all manner of environmental matters, educating children about the environment and wildlife, and pushing to have culverts replaced for wildlife passability and sound infrastructure.

Overall, BEAT is a integral piece of the western Massachusetts landscape, working with you to protect the environment for wildlife.

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I have been working with Jane Winn (and other partners) to present a series of workshops to help municipalities improve their stream crossings for wildlife and public safety. Jane brought a depth of knowledge, passion and commitment, and lots of enthusiasm to our project. She is tireless and a pleasure to work with. I would love to collaborate with Jane and BEAT again - this is a small group that has a big impact. Jane loves her part of Massachusetts, and fights fiercely (but always with kindness) to protect and improve its natural resources.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

help her grow so she can hire the additional staff she needs

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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Thank you Julia! It has been such a pleasure to work with you on all sorts of issues, but particularly on the Improving Stream Crossings workshops. Thank you for all you and Massachusetts River Alliance do to both keep us informed on important issues like water withdrawal negotiations and to help us voice our concerns on these huge issues. -Jane

Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

The Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT) has been an active and vitally important part of the environmental community here in Berkshire County for many years now. If there is a concern in the community about some environmental issue or threat, BEAT can be counted on to become involved, either as the leader spearheading an effort, or as a supporting partner that knows how to work collaboratively with other groups. One of the things I appreciate most about BEAT is it's ability and willingness to not only identify the needs of our local environment, and of the environmentally-minded community, but to then step in to do what's necessary to meet those needs. For instance, BEAT recognized the need for communication between like-minded environmental groups and individuals and stepped in and created what has essentially become a clearinghouse of What's Going On among our local environmental groups. With both a website and regular eNewsletter, BEAT has become the group that all others use as a liaison for information about upcoming events, as well as updates on current environmental issues in our community. BEAT has also become one of the important contacts that individuals in the community think of when they observe environmental threats, like when a neon green liquid was seen entering the main river in town, BEAT was who they contacted, and BEAT was who followed up on what was happening and made sure the polluting was stopped. BEAT has been monitoring the cleanup of PCBs from that same river for many years and has done an amazing job at staying on top of what is a very complex and complicated situation. BEAT does not hesitate when it comes to advocating for our environment, even when the offender is a gigantic corporation (GE) and has the room stocked with lawyers. BEAT trains community members to become citizen scientists, and coordinates regular river cleanups in which anyone and everyone can participate. I can't speak highly enough about the members of BEAT and how important BEAT has become to maintaining a healthy environment here in western Massachusetts. THANK YOU, BEAT!! :)

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I rely on the BEAT News as a comprehensive and up-to-date source of info on all things environmental and nature-related issues and events in the Berkshires and surrounding regions.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Providing an environmental presence and conscience

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-4-01

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

This grassroots organization, run on a shoestring budget, provides valuable information and acts as a clearinghouse for all environmental topics in Western Massachusetts and beyond. It can always be counted on to have the most current information, encourages public participation, and investigates and follows up on issues important to the community.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the response from public officials to BEAT's reporting and public awareness of Berkshire County Environmental issues. This area is heavily impacted by toxic PCB's, and BEAT has stayed on GE,local and federal officials to make sure they are accountable.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

expand the concept to other areas, especially those that are affected by environmental justice issues.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the knowledge that BEAT has done such an effective job promoting environmental awareness in our community. They tackle many issues, from airport expansion to flooding to toxic waste. They help other non-profits with publicity and offer public workshops.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

dedicated! Run by one person and an intern, this organization distributes weekly updates to all who wish to subscribe to their e-mail lists- at no cost to subscribers! They also assist other non-profits, offer workshops and help monitor wildlife.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

provide many local BEATs. It could expand the well attended public programs, where people learn citizen behavior that helps preserve wildlife and leads to environmental action.

Ways to make it better...

we could clone BEAT!

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Growth and fundraising. The service they offer is much needed, but the micro staffing and costs associated will be a challenge.

One thing I'd also say is that...

Last week, alert BEAT staff and volunteers (checking after the floods)prevented a human and environmental disaster when they discovered a washed out train trestle. They were able to stop a freight train from landing in the Housatonic river.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-4-01

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