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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

29 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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!

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.

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.

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!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!!!

Volunteer

Rating: 1

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Comments ( 1 )

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jane-winn 10/20/2014

Thank you so much for helping with our river cleanups! Looking forward to getting wet and dirty with you again next summer. - Jane

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.