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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Berkshire Environmental Action Team

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Environment, Environmental Education, Natural Resources Conservation & Protection

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.

Community Stories

72 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

One of the most effective local organizations in Western Mass, and maybe even the state of Massachusetts. BEAT has its eyes and mind on every environmental issue affecting the local community and is willing to stand up against powerful people, organizations, and governmental organizations to advocate for what is right. Whether the affecting issue be within the local, state, or national scope BEAT uses its relevant influence to protect against environmental degradation and climate change. Unlike many organizations that choses to specialize in a particular topic, BEAT is unique in that it is flexible and can shift to accommodate the needs of the community and can work to address the most pressing issues rather than those that they specialize in.

If you are in the Berkshires or Western Massachusetts and are passionate about environmental issues and preserving the natural beauty in your community, I strongly encourage you to get involved with BEAT. Sign up for their news letter, volunteer, donate - anything you can do helps!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered with BEAT as part of a community service project for Berkshire Community College. While volunteering I learned a lot! They were willing to teach me and gave me an opportunity contribute to the protection our local environment and discuss environmental issues/programs with the public. I learned a great deal about invasive species, particularly hardy kiwi, and what BEAT is doing to solve this problem in our local area. The staff were knowledgeable, patient and a joy to work with.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

B.E.A.T. does some of the most important work in Berkshire County. B.E.A.T.'s small and dedicated staff work in a wide array of environmental areas, often doing thankless jobs that otherwise would not get done. The organization works with wildlife tracking, pipelines, water quality monitoring, river clean up days, filming community meetings, organizing and hosting Green Drinks, invasive species management, BioBlitz, along with supporting countless events throughout the Berkshires. B.E.A.T. can also be found tabling at Third Thursdays in Pittsfield or at various other outreach events. The newsletter that B.E.A.T puts together and sends out is the best resource available for those looking to stay informed about environmental events and issues. The staff members are a wealth of knowledge, a pleasure to work with, and can often be found working hard right alongside their volunteers.

Donor

Rating: 5

BEAT does a great job of working to protect the environment and wildlife in the Berkshires!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have volunteered and partnered professionally with the Berkshire Environmental Action Team and with each interaction walk away feeling inspired and energized. BEAT's small staff manages to engage and educate an expansive and diverse portion of communities in Berkshire County. They bring patience, knowledge and passion to environmental issues directly impacting our community and have certainly created a healthier environment for us all.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I first learned about BEAT from volunteers who had worked with the organization. They couldn't stop talking about what dedicated, knowledgable staff and volunteers BEAT attracted. Soon after this encounter I applied to work with BEAT. From my interview to my present work I have always felt respected and heard, that the ways in which I can help are valued and can make a difference. Whether it is wading through mud on a Saturday morning pulling trash out of the Housatonic River or talking with Pittsfield residents about the Greening the Gateways tree planting program that BEAT runs with the state of Massachusetts, my job with BEAT is about hands-on work that enables real change.

I spend a lot of my time on our weekly, free e-newsletter, The BEAT News. I am humbled every week to compile local, state, and national issues for our 1,000+ subscribers. My work on The BEAT News has brought me to more deeply understand not only the importance of environmental work, but also how connection, dedication, and community make this work possible. BEAT is one of the shining examples of how people who care about their environment, about the wildlife who co-habitat that environment, protect and steward our world so that we are all sustained.

Barbara P.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Tracking group , pipeline information, trees for our city, invasive plant removal , Housatonic river clean up and water quality evaluation and so much more , this group works tirelessly to protect our environment and to offer opportunities for each of us to become involved locally. Friendly and well informed they participate and educate in our communities . A great organization.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

BEAT is an amazing non profit fully committed to wildlife education and environmental education. BEAT's members have attended almost every environmental related effort or function I have been to and strive in dedication to their cause. BEAT survives on its donations and volunteers so please spread the word and help make Western Massachusetts a better place!

Comments ( 1 )

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jane-winn 07/10/2017

Thank you so much! And you are so right - BEAT wouldn't exist without our donors and our incredible volunteers!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a grad student that partnered with BEAT and another student to fulfill a requirement for my program -- The experience was so much more than just a requisite! My background is certainly not based in invasive plants, so working on the development of a text guide and outreach presentation for Hardy Kiwi made me a little nervous and hesitant at first. That quickly faded after meeting with Jane and Elia. Both were very responsive to any concerns we had going into and throughout the project and were flexible with meeting our needs since neither of us live in Pittsfield. Jane knew exactly what she wanted for her end product, but she also allowed for us to take creative freedom. I found the responsiveness and clear vision to be extremely helpful during our project because it left out any guess work about the final outcome. We knew exactly what direction we needed to be headed in every step of the way. Their concise, open communication and enthusiasm allowed us to achieve a great outcome easily and effectively. I learned a great wealth of knowledge about an area of conservation biology that I was not familiar with. I am excited to see where this project goes in the future and can’t wait to hear more from the next group that continues to work on this project with this wonderful organization!

Comments ( 1 )

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jane-winn 07/10/2017

Thank you Monica! The handbook you and Lisa created is SO helpful. And I am so proud of the two of you presenting at the Mass Land Conservation Conference! Thank you so much!

Client Served

Rating: 5

BEAT is an amazing organization dedicated to not only directly taking action on environmental issues, but also sharing their wealth of knowledge with local students. I am a high school science teacher and BEAT has volunteered multiple times in my classroom, teaching students about issues such as renewable energy, local water health, and invasive species. They are currently working, intensively, with a student who needed more credits to graduate. They have volunteered countless hours so she can gain an understanding of local environmental issues, and policy making regarding this topic. They have been a critical resource to my students.

Comments ( 1 )

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jane-winn 07/10/2017

Thank you Kelly for connecting us with your amazing students!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I was introduced to BEAT when I first moved to the Berkshires. It was recommended because of the calendar of events in the weekly newsletter. And while it's true that BEAT's calendar is the best place to find out about county wide activities related to the outdoors, I've leaved that the organization has so much more to offer. I enjoyed a recent BEAT sponsored talk about some of the wildlife in our area. The event drew a packed auditorium crowd. I rely on the newsletter and occasional email alerts for the most important news related to our community and environment. And, I'm lucky to work alongside BEAT staff on community events and issues related to climate change. Their extensive knowledge and boundless energy is inspiring and really makes a difference in our community.

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jane-winn 07/10/2017

Thank you Pat! We love working with you. Thank you for all your help - especially in diagramming all the conditions in the pipeline's Order of Conditions.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first learned about BEAT while exploring options for my graduate school capstone project. Their proposal, the development of a text guide and outreach presentation for the removal of the invasive plant, Hardy Kiwi, suited my interests perfectly. Despite hesitations about the challenges of working cooperatively on a project mostly remotely, as I live nearly two hours from their main office, I was grateful when we all agreed to collaborate. In retrospect, I needn't have worried at all! My interactions with BEAT exceed my expectations in every way. As I'm now reaching the completion of a graduate program that required numerous internships and community collaborations, I'm confident in saying my experience with BEAT was the best of those. It was everything an internship should be. They were flexible with our dynamic schedule. They respected our strengths, but gave meaningful feedback and support. They gave us time to work independently, but maintained regular communication. What BEAT has accomplished and continues to strive to achieve with such a small staff, is inspiring. It's been a pleasure to have worked with them.

Comments ( 1 )

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jane-winn 07/10/2017

Thank you Lisa! The handbook is getting a lot of use and really helps people identify invasive hardy kiwi! You guys did such a great job of presenting at the Mass Land Conservation Conference! Very proud to have you representing us.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We cannot speak too highly of the Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT) and its head, Jane Winn. There is no escaping the positive presence and influence BEAT has and the high regard in which it is held in the Berkshires, thanks to the seemingly inexhaustible energy of its founder, Jane Winn, and BEAT’s protean involvement in every aspect of the environment from protecting vernal pools to combating new and hazardous natural gas pipelines and unremediated industrial pollution. All the people of the Berkshires look to BEAT to keep them informed and to defend their interests as guardians of the earth and Mother Nature. No other environmental organization in the Berkshires is more in the thick of things, more willing to take on the challenges and mount the battles we must engage in as a community to move in the direction of green renewable energy and to preserve our woodlands and wilderness. As a source of information and as a network hub, BEAT is unsurpassed. In fact, it is unique. The BEAT News connects the community with every local event relating to the environment, from meetings of government commissions and regulatory bodies, to woodland hiking and birdwatching opportunities. Jane Winn is probably more informed about the broad swath of environmental issues and concerns local, statewide, as well as national, than any single individual in the Berkshires. And she spreads her knowledge far and wide, by making it a point to personally attend as many public meetings as possible where her input can help determine the most effective response to the problem at hand; and to attend hearings and comment on critical issues before the key local, state, and Federal oversight agencies. What is also remarkable about BEAT is that it coalesces seamlessly with other environmental organizations in Western Massachusetts and elsewhere and works alongside those groups in a synergy that provides a united front of extraordinary effectiveness. It is no exaggeration to say that BEAT is an indispensable part of the Berkshires. If it didn’t exist, we would have to invent it.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have been a support of BEAT since I moved here full time in 2011. As a long time environmentalist and one of the coordinators of 350Mass-Berkshires, I have admired their work and collaboration with other local and state wide organizations. Their weekly newsletter is very informative and inclusive of all Western Mass related environmental events. I especially admire their fight against new fossil fuel infrastructure within the Berkshires. especially the CT pipeline which could evolve into a test case for amending FERC
They are a true example of acting locally and thinking globally and I am proud to be a member as well as a partner organization

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Donor

Rating: 5

As one of the coordinators of 350Ma-Berkshires I appreciate the tireless work that BEAT does to enhance and protect the environment in Berkshire County. They are active members in our organization and attend dozens of town meetings all year long to provide technical assistance on issues related to environmental regulations. BEAT staff are extremely knowledgeable on local, state, and federal regulations that effect our environment and often provide fact based testimony at important meetings and hearings.

Also, their weekly newsletter provides a great deal of information, including articles, a calendar of upcoming events, public notices, and an environmental index. They enable people who are concerned about our local environment to learn what is going on in the county.

Irmgard S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Over many years now BEAT has been a tremendous advocate for our Berkshire communities. With amazing energy and accurate and timely information, BEAT has been educating the public on environmental issues and has been instrumental in changing public opinion.
BEAT has been a fighter for many environmental causes, such as clean water, protection of wildlife and public health. With her small but competent and dedicated staff, Jane Winn, BEAT’s Director has been tireless in pushing for environmentally sound solutions. Her efforts have greatly contributed to stop the construction of the NED pipeline system. I hope that this organization will be around to support us for a long time.

Susan508

Volunteer

Rating: 5

BEAT is an amazing organization. With a very small staff they have accomplished very large tasks. An example of this was being instrumental in building state wide coalitions and grass route networks of citizens that have so far successfully fought off the NE Direct gas pipeline that was slated to cross MA.
Within Berkshire County they have educated and inspired thousands to get involved in being stewards of our cherished Berkshire Environment. I have had experience with many different non-profits and know of none that have been so good at getting people involved and excited about environmental direct action stewardship. Their enthusiasm is infectious, their knowledge is priceless.

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Donor

Rating: 5

NO ONE does more for the natural and human habitat of Western Massachusetts than the good people at BEAT. Tireless and tenacious, BEAT never turns down a cause and they fight to the bitter end. BEAT has stood against GE, the EPA, Kinder Morgan, and a variety of town halls. With a budget of pennies, they've battled billions - and won!

We all benefit from BEAT's work, mostly in invisible ways. The Housatonic is cleaner, our air clearer, our roadsides prettier, and our wildlife more abundant because of BEAT's passion.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

BEAT is a wonderful organization and Jane Winn herself is truly a wonder. She is extraordinarily well informed, indefatigable and passionate about the environment and all living things that live in it. She has proven herself to be an exceptional teacher, listener, organizer and leader in all that she does. I feel fortunate that Jane and the talented BEAT team exists in my community and is actively and effectively committed to the stewardship of our beautiful Berkshires. A big thankyouthankyouthankyou back at you.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT) has been a force dedicated to the advocacy and well-being of the ecological systems of Berkshire county and, arguably more importantly, how the general public regards and participates in these actions. Whether it be a relatively small-scale urban tree watering schedule or a much more involved rive clean-up project, BEAT has directed the helm to inform the public about ecological issues within their community and engaged the larger audience into action towards lasting sustainable goals. Their accessibility to the general public has been a cornerstone to their overall mission: community-based sustainability.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

B.E.A.T. is an amazing organization! It was one of the first organizations to catch my eye when we moved here 2 1/2 years ago. We joined in to work on a roadside plastics cleanup in Pittsfield. It was a joint effort involving community volunteers and area businesses. Shortly after that there was a river cleanup--also in Pittsfield. Volunteers hoisted and hauled marine debris from the river, the riverbanks and the surrounding wooded areas. But that's not all that B.E.A.T. does--it's much, much more. If you're interested in helping or have a particular environmental passion I recommend going to www.thebeatnews.org. There's lots to learn and there are lots of ways to get involved! It's also really nice to be a part of the solution!