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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

18 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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

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

Emily149

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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!

Claire26

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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!

Joel18

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

No-Fracked-Gas-in-Mass

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

Comments ( 1 )

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jane-winn 10/07/2013

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

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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!! :)

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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