The Berkshire Environmental Action Team is a prime example of how the local and the global can mesh. They're doing great work in the mountains of Massachusetts, where they've helped block pipelines; but they also connect it up to the rest of the world. This is precisely the mix we need!Bill McKibben, founder 350.org
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!
I have been a supporter of BEAT for almost 10 years now. I donate to many other non-profits, but at BEAT I feel that every cent of my donation is going directly into conserving the environment. The intelligence, dedication, and energy of the BEAT team is "unBEATable"! They educate, inform, network, and make a presence felt at all levels of government. Whether we know it or not, we all owe BEAT a big thank you.
I have always appreciated and been concerned about our natural environment. I recycle, I conserve, I "carry in / carry out", but I became an "accidental activist" when Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co proposed adding a new natural gas pipeline to the existing 2 lines, which are less than 300 feet from my house! BEAT has been incredibly helpful and supportive in so many ways - getting the word out, educating about the dangers, exploring effective strategies, doing research, applying political pressure (just to name a few). I just can't express how valuable working with BEAT on this issue has been. THANK YOU!
Beat is one of, if not the only genuinely concerned organization in Western Massachusetts. Their concern for the environment is a comfort in knowing there are still organizations out there who are protecting the environment for our future and our children's future. I am proud of their efforts and dedication in educating the public on the impact of fracked gas. Their knowledge is disarming.
I feel so lucky to have an organization like BEAT in my area. They keep me well informed and deeply connected to what is happening locally. They offer and coordinate intensive trainings that develop knowledgeable volunteers and enthusiastic participants. I can't rate them highly enough or thank them well enough for their years of hard impassioned work. Thank you from the bottom of the river to the top of the clouds for all you do to make this a more beautiful and healthy place to live.
Meredyth Babcock Becket resident
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.
I am a student at Berkshire Community College (BCC). I am majoring in Environmental Science. I became involved with B.E.A.T. during the spring semester of 2013 by taking an Environmental Advocacy class that Bruce Winn & Charlie Weinstein taught together at the college. I soon began finding ways to get involved with BEAT when I saw how committed Bruce was to Environmental Justice and Sustainable Land Management. While tagging along and trying to spread the word about B.E.A.T. in the community, Bruce and Jane Winn made me aware of a hotel that someone was trying to build dangerously close to, and in between, wetlands on Dan Fox Dr. in Pittsfield, MA. With B.E.A.T., I went and participated in site visits, attended Conservation Commission hearings on the matter, watched them help citizens of the community appeal the city's decision to the Department of Environmental Protection, and I saw the decision to let the hotel be built, not just in an environmentally sensitive area, but just up and across the street from a giant hotel (Patriot Suites) that lays dormant, DENIED! The "World" needs more organizations like this, we really do.
I became associated with BEAT through the Keeping Track program which they sponsor. This important program trains citizen scientists to recognize tracks and signs of wildlife, and to interpert, record, and monitor these signs. This information is critical for knowing local biodiversity and it can be used for local conservation planning. Beat also sponsors programs to monitor stream crossings, for river clean ups, vernal pool certification, monitoring movement of animals at road crossings, and educating the community about local conservation issues. It amazes my how much BEAT is able to accomplish on a small budget and with a small staff.
Berkshire Environmental Action Team...no doubt in my mind, the #1 non-profit - that supports and fights
for environmental justice...keeps our rivers clean...keeps people informed...and much more! I am on disability, so i am only able to do ...what i can do...so i donate my time and resources to Bruce and Jane whenever possible....acting as a cameraman on Berkshire Environmental Action TODAY-our T.V. show on PCTV and in the field during the Housatonic River cleanups...etc...there is more to do than can be done with existing resources! Please donate time/ money or whatever you can to help this worthy cause...Lets work together to help save the environment!!! David T.
Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT) is an absolutely wonderful nonprofit serving our community and the environment with passion, commitment, and respect for different points of view. I have been involved with BEAT for the better part of 7 years as a volunteer, donor, and a community member with experience in the field. I have long been inspired by Jane Winn's organizational approach and persistence, as well as her willingness to speak truth to power no matter how many times she has to do so. She never fails to impress me with her astute research and preparedness in community meetings, particularly those relating to the Housatonic River clean up and ongoing negotiations with GE and the EPA. Her honesty and integrity are completely integrated with BEAT's mission, directives, and culture. This is truly a model organization committed to preserving the environment creatively and intelligently. BEAT's outreach and coverage are excellent. Our local environment would be far less clean and secure and the community less well informed had BEAT not been here working tirelessly on its behalf, year after year, no matter what the challenges.
As a member of the local community, I like to know what's going on with local environmental issues, ranging from the cleanup of the PCBs in the Housatonic River to the protection of wildlife throughways. BEAT keeps me informed, and they also assure me that, even though I travel a lot for work and don't have time for much volunteer work, somebody is on the job. (We do donate, though.) They work extremely well with the network of other nonprofits in our community and are great community builders.
Knowing that BEAT exists and out there doing the job every single day gives me great comfort.
There is always something new to learn from Jane and BEAT, whether on the river, in a vernal pool, tracking wildlife, improving culverts,or attending the monthly GreenDrinks discussions on native and invasive species, carbon fuels, melting sea-ice, wind and solar energy, biodiesel, hydro-fracking, and the Keystone XL pipeline. BEAT works collaboratively with the Housatonic Valley Association, churches, camps and others to bring us all closer to appreciating the environment and how to take care of it.
Thank you for the great review and for all your help and especially for encouraging other people to volunteer! We are planning another presentation about the effects of climate change on the arctic - this time from a wildlife point of view. Thank you, again! -Jane
I have been occasionally volunteering and attending presentations with BEAT for a couple years now. They are enthusiastic, hard working, knowledgeable, and a pleasure to work with. I became involved in monitoring turtle mortality via road kill with them a few years ago. This project helps the highway department know where potential problems are with animal crossings, and they use this knowledge to make roads safer for both drivers and animals crossing the road.
From river clean-ups to vernal pool identification to highway culvert monitoring, they truly put an all-out effort into improving our environment in the Berkshires.
Thank you for the great review, and for all your help! Our Connecting for Wildlife program is really gearing up and there will be more tracking opportunities in south county this winter. And thank you for checking out that culvert. It sounds like they have a good plan for replacing it... just need to raise the money to do so. Thank you, again! - Jane
I have been volunteering with BEAT for 4 years and never cease to be amazed by the energy and enthusiasm that Jane and Bruce bring to to organization. From clean ups to environmental education, wildlife protection and more they work to improve and protect the Berkshire environment. It is a wonderful organization!
Thank you for the great review, and for all your help! Our Connecting for Wildlife program is really gearing up and there will be more tracking opportunities in south county this winter. Thank you, again! - Jane
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.
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
We have had the pleasure of helping out with a few BEAT cleanup days of the Housatonic River. Each time, the events have been well-organized, well-attended and excellently-directed. The results are always amazing. So much refuse is removed from the river and surrounding watershed! We would be remiss if we did not mention the immense effort put forth by BEAT to help educate the public about environmental issues. BEAT makes a difference in our community every day.
BEAT is at the center of much of the environmental advocacy protecting Berkshire County. They interact with the public through a regular comprehensive newsletter and monthly "Green Drinks" gatherings in various locations, plus occasional events like river cleanup days. Every environmental group in the area seems to reference them as a standard of excellence. About a year ago, Jane Winn, BEAT's director, helped me connect with other conservation organizations working in the Berkshires. As a result, I have since volunteered with the Housatonic Valley Association, Hoosic River Watershed Association, and the Hoosic River Revival Coalition. BEAT provided some of the equipment I regularly use in this work, including a camera, wading boots, and 100 foot tape measure - all important tools for doing stream survey projects. BEAT is highly respected as a keystone organization among regional environmental organizations, and is heavily relied upon for their expertise and tenacious defense of natural places. No organization I know of is more energetic or dedicated to the environment, and the Berkshires have benefited tremendously from BEAT's tireless efforts.
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!! :)
I have served as a volunteer, environmental activist and community organizer for the Berkshire Environmental Action Team (B.E.A.T.) for the past 2 years. In this small amount of time, I have become more educated about not only my local environment, but what I am able to do as a citizen on a global scale. B.E.A.T. keeps everyone up to date on not only their local community sponsored activities, but those abroad, regarding signature gathering for environmental activism. One of which just recently has been to become more active in our voicing the necessity of the Clean Air and Water Act that is currently in danger of being abolished by the United States Government. Without B.E.A.T.'s concern, heart and strong influence in our local and national communities, I would not have been as informed and active as I am today in helping protect our resources and wildlife currently being threatened by corporate entities in our country. B.E.A.T. has not only educated me on Vernal Pool Certifications and River Clean Ups (for free), they have also inspired me through all of their knowledge and passion to change my career. Recently I was enrolled as an Environmental Science major at the Massachusetts College of the Liberal Arts, where I will be studying to become an Environmental Engineer. A large thank you to the Berkshire Environmental Action Team for inspiring me to not only become more active and engaged as a citizen (which is a lot of fun I might add), but for helping me realizing my dreams and visions in this important career change. Long live the Environmental Action Team of the Berkshires! B.E.A.T. is coming up on it's 9 year anniversary this year since it's creation. They are coming full circle on a number of issues that set them in motion to create this wonderful and necessary organization in the first place. B.E.A.T. not only educates, but it Accomplishes it's Goals. Thank you very much B.E.A.T. for being so environmentally conscious, passionate, and conscientious in your approach to the more important struggle of our current state of affairs: Protecting the wildlife; protecting our environment.
I have worked w/ BEAT for at least 7 year, most of that doing mammal surveys. BEAT sponsors training through another nonprofit (Keeping Track) so that citizen scientists (me for one) have the expertise to monitor areas for different mammals based on tracks and signs the animals leave. This work fits in nicely with BEATS environmental work. Different teams set up transects and walk them 4 times a year. The tracks/signs are documented and the paper documentation filed at BEAT. This info helps support conservation of land. Recently we have worked in conjunction w/ Berkshire Natural Resources which purchases land and conservation easement. Being able to present landowners with a more detailed picture of what is happening on their property can help to tip the balance toward land conservation. Jane Winn/BEAT also teaches vernal pool monitoring which is another important way to identify areas to conserve. Salamander and frog reproduction is critical to chain of nature. Finally, I have also helped w/ Steam crossing documentation- movement of animals, amphibians in particular can be disrupted by road culverts which block movement Jane and Bruce are tireless in their work for the environment. My one constructive message which I have given to Jane on other occasions is to ask for money- not as much as the national environmental organizations but more than once a year.
The Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT) is the most effective grassroots environmental advocacy and education organization in Berkshire County and possibly in all of Massachusetts. I love the combination of action, education, and data collection that is supported by the integrity that underlies all BEAT activities. Activities include wildlife tracking, river cleanups, wildlife stream crossing and vernal pool data collection, environmental activism, event and activity information distribution, and more. I am honored to serve on the BEAT board.
I became involved with BEAT during the Keeping Track training program, I was impressed with the dedication and organization and follow up with this program. I remaind active with BEAT in helping set up and maintaing transects. I also worked with them to bring speakers, workshops and environmental movie showings to the Lenox, Pittsfield area. I found working with BEAT to be enjoyable and educational. They are always working toward raising awareness and improving our environment.
Worked with BEAT on amphibian stream/street crossings and looking at wetland replication status' of various construction projects in Berkshire County. On both accounts the leadership was extraordinary in their knowledge, support and feedback. The region has a truly great resource in BEAT. They bring resources and vision that can scale to almost any level and their passion for the diversity in our environment shows in everything they do.
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.
BEAT does a lot of good work, from birddogging city government to sponsoring Green Drinks, river cleanups, and classes on topics like vernal pool certification and culvert monitoring to help keep the public involved in all sorts of environmental issues. They also send out a regular email to update the public on environmental happenings around the city, the county, and beyond. I've enjoyed sharing in many of the efforts they organize.
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.
Review from Guidestar