BEAT is one of the most beloved non-profit organizations in the Berkshires. From leading river clean-ups to organizing citizens at public hearings, BEAT's efforts are aimed at the important intersection of people and the environment. Thanks for all that you do!
Hello My name is Jay Girard I am a forester with the State Dept. of Conservation and Recreation. We have teamed up with Beat to help get the word out in Pittsfield about or State wide tree planting program that we are implementing here in Pittsfield. BEAT and been instrumental in helping us reach our goal of planting 400 trees/ planting season and our ultimate goal of 2400 trees in the downtown Pittsfield area. We have surpassed that mark and as of today have planted 2589 trees in Pittsfield! BEAT has been a great Community partner to work with Elizabeth Orenstein has been extremely helpful in helping us reach this goal through outreach, planning, setting up workshops for the community and the list goes on. I could not have asked for a better team to help us reach and exceed our goals for regreening the Pittsfield city area.
One of the most effective, person-friendly, and professional non-profit I've ever seen and worked with.
The staff are remarkably effective and completely committed to their mission. And, their mission is to help residents understand how helping the environment serves all - and at the same time helping state and federal regulatory agencies understand how serious and involved we all are.
It's a great and refreshing organization that has not diminished their enthusiasm one bit!
BEAT is a great local nonprofit thats always looking out for our environment. Weather it's river cleanups, water quality monitoring, planting trees or any number of other activities, the BEAT team is always there for our community.
My experience with Berkshire Environmental Action Team, and its program "No Fracked Gas in Mass" has been truly astonishing. BEAT is a high-performing non-profit of the highest order.
When I contacted them for information about opposing a gas pipeline project proposed for my town, they could not have been more responsive. They sent volumes of relevant info almost instantaneously, and in short order.
Remarkably, since my initial request, the team members have "adopted" our cause -- they continue to send relevant information and updates and encouragement, even when a request for info hasn't been made! Unbidden, they sent a letter to the state permitting authorities in opposition to the pipeline project.
It's difficult to imagine a non-profit more proactive, responsive, and effective. I'm grateful to have this opportunity to express my thanks for the positive impact they've had in informing my own advocacy; and for their work on behalf of the Berkshires, Massachusetts ... and the planet.
The Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT) is a wonderful organization run by some of the most knowledgeable and kind people I've ever had a chance to volunteer with. Their drive to protect the environment has always been at the heart of what they do, as they live their mission daily by example and practice. Whether they are speaking, hosting a cleanup, or rallying around a local issue, they have always made time to speak to anyone looking for more information or general questions about how we can all make a difference every day (no matter where we are).
The rating of 5 stars or "Far exceeds expectations" is the highest listed, but I would certainly rate them higher if able. They are truly an example of what the standard in this field should be for Great Nonprofits.
I worked for BEAT as a canvasser for about two months. I helped connect Pittsfield residents to state programs, including Greening the Gateway Cities Program (GGCP), MassSave, and Solar Access. In my time with BEAT, I was impressed by the dedication and enthusiasm of all the staff and volunteers. This is truly a grass roots organization that leverages every minute of the day to do as much environmental good as possible. There are so many facets to BEAT's operation, and even with those myriad projects underway at the same time, things were organized and efficient. Although my time with BEAT was brief, I felt the work had a measurable impact and was professionally executed.
BEAT is a fast-growing environmental action team that interacts with the community to protect the environment for wildlife. This organization is very dedicated and takes its job seriously. I heard about BEAT through a friend’s social media post prior to securing an internship position. Although my main responsibilities were to survey and sample the storm water system in the Housatonic River (Great Barrington branch), I had the opportunity to educate urban residents and younger children about the environment and the importance of habitats for wildlife. The team is very supportive and cooperative and provides community members with many free events as educational outreach. Since interning with BEAT, I have become confident in public speaking and become aware of various important environmental laws. This organization also created a bridge for me to connect with other organizations so I can expand my water filtration projects that I have previously started in rural Ethiopian villages. There are many other skills that I have learned thanks to BEAT!
I have recently begun working for BEAT canvassing for a free tree-planting program. It has been uplifting to see a post-industrial city have new, green, growth popping up from street to street and to hear the enthusiasm of people who have benifited from the program. And, as I have come to learn, what I have had the opportunity to see bears witness to only a fraction of BEAT's many, many activities in the Berkshires. Each day I hear of some additional good being done by the team. It is an inspiring group.
BEAT is an organization that is dedicated to serving the communities of Berkshire County. As a volunteer, I have witnessed BEAT’s staff and other volunteers work tirelessly to protect the environment—from organizing river cleanups to writing comment letters, BEAT uses every resource at its disposal to fight for wildlife. BEAT is the organization that holds government accountable for its actions, and it is the organization that steps in when government fails. I am so grateful that I have had the opportunity to work with such a vibrant and empowering team of individuals!
Everyone needs to feel like they're making a positive difference in the world. My way of doing this is by latching onto the coattails of the BEAT staff by serving on their Board of Directors. The BEAT team works tirelessly without any agenda other than fulfilling their mission, which is to protect the environment for wildlife. Thank you, BEAT team.
I heard about BEAT through Berkshire Community College's work study program, and I'm so glad I applied! In no time at all, they've been having me work on several projects including pulling invasive kiwi, canvassing for new programs, and participating in a presentation! As an Environmental Science major I could not be more happy with such a fitting position in my first semester in my major. Everyone involved with this organization is excellent and an absolute delight to work with!
BEAT has brought a number of things to its community which have undoubtedly helped to improve the environmental awareness of the public, and the environmental health of the local natural resources. The staff is dedicated and friendly, and choose to make it their responsibility to monitor local water resources, wildlife, and invasive species (among other things), and to educate the public on their natural surroundings. Its environmental cleanup efforts and public engagement are very appreciated, and it's clear that each member of the organization participates because they genuinely believe in BEAT's mission.
BEAT has an exceptional reputation, which is what brought me to them this past summer in 2018. Ever since meeting Jane and the staff of BEAT, I have wondered why I hadn't interacted with BEAT before. Their work sparks solutions and action revolving around local social and environmental issues. They put on many river clean ups, they have weekly invasive species removal gatherings, they sponsor or host a number of local initiatives that protect our local wildlife, and so much more. One of the unique ways that this nonprofit has assisted the communities is in how they support other nonprofits and community members. They provide many volunteer opportunities, internship opportunities, public education and outreach, and are always willing to spread the work about other organization's events, fundraisers, and opportunities as well. BEAT is an important part of the Berkshire County because they inspire others to join in their efforts to improve our community, as well as for others to create their own opportunities to make our world a better place.
The Berkshire Environmental Action Team is an extremely well-organized and effective nonprofit. As a volunteer, I worked under very coordinated and effective leadership for all of the projects I worked on, from river cleanups to pulling invasive plants to decaling storm drains. BEAT is an amazing place to volunteer, they really make sure that their volunteers are happy and well-educated about local environmental issues, as well as ensuring that the job gets done.
I am pleased to write a few words about BEAT - an effective community based organization. BEAT provides timely information, worthy projects for volunteers that will make a difference to our natural environment, and responsible activism on many important global, regional and local issues. I am proud to support BEAT since its inception.
I work at Berkshire Community College where I also chair our Green Team. We count on BEAT to keep us current, help sponsor service learning students and have a visible presence at all green related events on campus. From talking about the importance of recycling and composting to sharing knowledge of ways to rid ourselves of invasive plants, Jane and the folks at BEAT are always happy to be part of our good work here. They are an incredible and necessary partner in keeping our students, staff and faculty informed about sustainability initiatives and events locally and on the state level. Thanks to our friends at BEAT!
As a student studying Environmental Studies, I sought out BEAT as an opportunity to have an internship in my desired field. For the past 6 weeks, I have learned about not only protecting the environment through non-profit work, but also about environmental issues within the community I have grown up in for twenty-two years. My experience with BEAT has exposed me to inner workings of a non-profit seeking to protect the environment in infinite ways. BEAT never stops at just one sector of environmental protection or one issue, they have their hands and minds in all aspects from community initiatives to local government to state government. BEAT is making not only Berkshire County a better place for wildlife and humans, but also across the state and surrounding areas. BEAT effects tangible and concrete change to protect our environment.
As a young person in Berkshire County, my time at BEAT has illustrated the opportunities that are available within my interests as well as all the vibrant community happenings that are going on on a daily basis. I have been inspired by all that can be done within our community and the positive changes that have been and will be accomplished.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Thank you so much! And you are so right - BEAT wouldn't exist without our donors and our incredible volunteers!
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!
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!
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.
Thank you Kelly for connecting us with your amazing students!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
B.E.A.T. is just an amazing organization!!! From teaching small children about trees in Pittsfield's Public Housing, to bringing great speakers to Green Drinks, to informing us about what happening both locally and beyond, to being there tirelessly with answers to environmental questions, THEY DO SO MUCH! (And when Jane Winn has a spare second, she's picking up trash.)
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!
BEAT is a fantastic and very effective non-profit....I feel very lucky to have gotten to work with them over the years! Go BEAT!
BEAT is a highly effective environmental educator and advocate that couples a very small staff with a growing base of enthusiastic volunteers and makes a real difference to the quality of life in Western Massachusetts. One of our best examples of an energetic and dedicated area nonprofit, BEAT represents the interests of the citizens of our area and the natural amenities we love, often against corporate interests that would harm and exploit our environment for their own purposes. Its weekly newsletter provides information about environmental and conservation issues I often don’t see covered in other local media and its “boots on the ground” approach to training and environmental action ensures it a seat at the table when such issues are discussed. Berkshire County and the rest of Western Massachusetts are well served by its efforts.
I have worked with BEAT for several years through our work with 350Mass-Berkshires. BEAT has been instrumental in the fight against new fossil fuel infrastructure within the Berkshires. Their work to fight fossil fuel infrastructure that contribute to climate change while disturbing precious wildlife has brought a crucial and fresh perspective to the movement. The contributions of BEAT have added this new and exciting facet to local climate activism within the Berkshires and throughout the state. They have reminded all of us that nature can't pay the price for our thirst for energy. We are grateful!
BEAT is THE go to group for me in the Berkshires. They are integral to the movement and I don't know what we would do without them!
BEAT is a tireless advocate for our rivers, lands, and habitats. They keep people informed, digest technical data so that people can make sense of what's happening, and mobilize when action is needed.
We have seen Berkshire Environmental Action Team tirelessly advocate for our earth, air and water in the face of such current threats as the Kinder Morgan proposed fracked gas pipeline.
They are an immensely important resource for all of us.
After working for Jane for nine years I can tell you that she is a force of nature: I have rarely met anyone as hardworking, dedicated, considerate and passionate about their work. Our community and my life would be the poorer without her. That's not to mention BEAT's dedicated board and hoard of dauntless volunteers. To quote Jane, "Thank you, thank you, thank you for everything you do for the environment!"
BEAT has built a strong network of environmental advocates with their great programs and very strong commitment to our environment. While their focus is local, their knowledge of nature and the environment is broad-based. I'm very pleased that our area has BEAT looking after the world around us and keeping people informed!
I've worked with BEAT for a number of years on habitat connectivity-- they really know their communities and have great passion for getting results!
BEAT in a word, can't be beat for its tireless effort in maintaining the health and well being of the environment that sustains us all. They have provided our small organization STOP with not only support I.e. being at endless meetings, but in sharing their knowledge and resources, their time, their personnel in helping us fight the Kinder Morgan, proposed, CT. Expannsion pipeline, that will destroy our land and lives not only now, but for generations. Without BEAT we would have been isolated, lost. This is an organization that truly deserves the highest recognition possible as a foremost leader and standard water in environmental action at its best.
I cannot imagine any effective environmental action without BEAT
Their knowledge, environmental, legal, political process has been invaluable to our work opposing the unneeded destructive Connecticut Expansion tgp pipeline thru Sandisfield. Their unflagging help for our little group has been critical in helping us get as far as we have.
BEAT has been invaluable to me as a landowner in Sandisfield fighting the Kinder Morgan pipeline project - this organization has educated me, fought alongside the community of Sandisfield - priceless resource.
BEAT works tirelessly to protect the environment in Berkshire County. They attend dozens of town meetings all year long (select board, conservation commission, zoning, and other meetings) to provide technical assistance on issues related to environmental regulations, wetlands regulations, and so forth. I have been involved with the fight against the NED pipeline project this past year and I could not have done it without Jane Winn from BEAT. She attends every meeting and supports each town as needed. They are front and center in the fight against the fracked gas pipelines proposed to cross our county, including many natural and protected areas. They have worked hard to educate concerned citizens and to act as a resource for timely and accurate information on these major proposed projects. I can't imagine Berkshire County without BEAT!
Berkshire Environmental Action Team is a terrific organization. As a partner in the environmental field––I work for a national environmental nonprofit––I can say we were pleased to award BEAT with a Grassroots Leadership Award this year, 2015. BEAT has been incredible at educating their members and neighbors, mobilizing a broader swathe of advocates, stewarding the local environment through clean-ups and by watching regulations. What's truly incredible is the way BEAT, as a small organization, is able to work on so many issues -- speaking up about chemicals, their watershed, and clean and dirty energy sources -- while also spending so much time working with individuals.
Berkshire Environmental Action Team and its citizen scientists lead the pack on issues of wildlife habitat and connectivity in the Berkshires -- their field work influences our conservation strategies at Berkshire Natural Resources Council.
BEAT works tirelessly to protect the environment in Berkshire County. They attend dozens of town meetings all year long (select board, conservation commission, zoning, and other meetings) to provide technical assistance on issues related to environmental regulations, wetlands regulations, and so forth. Often, BEAT staff are the only people in the room who fully understand the local, state, and federal regulations that apply to a certain piece of land, stream, or wetlands area. Thank goodness they are there to protect the environment for the creatures that depend on it, and for people who love Berkshire County. BEAT also creates and distributes a consistently professional, thorough, and detailed weekly newsletter providing a great deal of information, including articles, a calendar of upcoming events, public notices, and an environmental index. These newsletters enable people who work in the field and the general interested public to know what is going on in the county. It is the ONLY place this information is compiled in one place and distributed weekly. BEAT works on a shoestring to achieve all this and much more. They have been OUT FRONT in the fight against the fracked gas pipelines proposed to cross our county, including many natural and protected areas. They have worked hard to educate concerned citizens and to act as a resource for timely and accurate information on these major proposed projects. I can't imagine Berkshire County without BEAT!
I have been a member of BEAT for a number of years because I want to kept abreast of what is happening in my surrounding community in relation to environmental issues. This organization has done a stellar job of explaining many issues i.e Kinder Morgan fracked gas pipe line proposed for our area. They organize river clean-up days and days when people can get into the woods and learn more about the nature that surrounds us.
This is certainly the organization I would go to if there were an environmental issue in my town and I needed good solid information to bring to the powers that be.
My friend Tom Irelan invited me to a BEAT board member meeting in late July. I went and was happy to find a vibrant community of people who care about the environment! But the thing that impressed me most was that they discussed concrete actions that could (and should!) be taken to counter unsustainable behaviors in our community. I know many people who are upset about environmental degradation, but few have the resources or concrete ideas to take action against it. However, BEAT has concrete ideas and actively works to raise funds to take action in counteracting environmental degradation! Hooray for BEAT, thanks for your efforts to preserve our home planet for future generations.
I will never forget the moment in time this past winter when I decided that "someone out there" knew what was going on with what was then called the Northeast Expansion Project (Tennessee Gas Co. pipeline). I was confused, angry and felt terribly diminished by the eventuality of my land being defiled once again. In the midst of my almost frantic research, I found Jane Winn and the Berkshire Environmental Action Team. I can not remember how the connection happened; I only know that the individual on the other end of the phone was empathic, calm in the midst of my storm, well informed about the subject matter, and very encouraging. Moreover, Jane picked up the phone on the first try and talked with me for nearly a half hour! Jane was able to demonstrate a high level of expertise about the pipeline and its various features and to explain the picture to me in a "user friendly" way. I learned from that first phone conversation that I was not alone in what has turned out to date, to be the biggest fight of my life. Since that day Jane and her husband have been my advisors and the "go to people" when I need clear and accurate information about updates. In an effort to provide the public with well researched information about the pipeline, Jane and Bruce have tirelessly served our communities both in Massachusetts and in neighboring New York State by conducting well structured speaking engagements tailored to the needs of the audience. Recently I had the opportunity to speak directly to our governor and certain members of his Office who had been assigned the task of periodically acquiring updates since the end of July. When I told the Governor and his staff that the Berkshire Environmental Action Team does "its homework" I meant it with 100% certainty. If we win this fight, it will largely be due to the consistent commitment and integrity of Jane and Bruce Winn. I thank them in advance.
I have always been interested in participating in the clean up of the Housatonic River. I saw how terrible it was with endless amounts of trash tossed into it over the years. I connected with Berkshire Environmental Action Team a few years ago and attended a river cleanup. I was impressed with the group and their strong devotion in not only helping to clear up our river but in trying to educate and inform the public on the importance of preserving our natural environment.
Thank you so much for helping with our river cleanups! Looking forward to getting wet and dirty with you again next summer. - Jane
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.
BEAT has done a stellar job of informing and mobilizing the public about a proposed fracked gas pipeline, which threatens some of the region's most precious conservation lands, as well as private homeowners, everyone's safety and our democracy. I cannot say enough great things about Jane and Bruce Winn, a husband and wife dynamo that have done more for the Berkshires than most large, well-funded nationally known organizations. They deserve to be extremely well-supported in every way. They are people of the highest integrity, with enormous hearts, and unflagging energy and commitment to the well-being of our Berkshire environment. I have had the opportunity to volunteer with Ms. Winn for several months and have only the highest admiration for her work.
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.
I have been volunteering with BEAT for over two years now and I am inspired by their knowledge and work ethic every day. If I need information on local environmental issues, I consult with BEAT; they are always helpful and supportive! I credit BEAT for my renewed commitment to environmentalism and conservation. Before I was introduced to their river and park cleanups, my activism was limited to signing online petitions and recycling. Now I am more involved than ever! They do excellent work for the Berkshires, the state, and the environment. I am so thankful that I work with BEAT.
I became involved with BEAT earlier this year when 350MA had an initial meeting for Berkshire-area residents who are concerned about the environment. I volunteered to become a member of the newly-formed 350MA Berkshire Node, and in that capacity I frequently find myself at meetings where we share concerns with BEAT. I'd have to say that they are amazingly dedicated, and always present and vocal at events where support for environmental causes is crucial. They're also highly knowledgeable and informed, which is extremely useful to me in my role as the webmaster for 350MA-Berkshires.org, where accurate information from expert sources is extremely important. I know I can count on BEAT to know what's going on, and to be at the forefront of environmental activism in the area!