The Harvard Conservation Trust, HCT, is a private, charitable, non-profit land trust whose mission is “to preserve the unique character and natural resources of Harvard”.
We actively seek to preserve:
- Harvard’s rural character and farmlands;
- Areas conducive to outdoor education, recreation, and enjoyment;
- Areas of historical significance or natural beauty;
- Water resources, wildlife habitat, and areas of ecological significance.
Harvard is a place of scenic beauty, rich wildlife habitat, and deep cultural heritage. Accordingly, our top priority is to protect the lands that hold these defining features, for the benefit of our community, the Commonwealth, and future generations. To accomplish this, we seek to acquire lands through gifts or purchases. We then hold the land in trust, or in turn, sell or give the land to the Town for conservation purposes and protection under Article 97 of the State Constituiton. The Trust is chartered under the General Laws of Massachusetts, empowering us to buy, sell, or hold property.
“In all things of nature, there is something marvelous.”
Our work complements that of the Town Conservation Commission. In comparison, the Conservation Commission is a seven member municipal board, appointed by the Board of Selectmen and tasked with regulatory functions and the maintenance of Town-owned conservation land. Conversely, we are an independent, non-profit organization. As such, we remain nimble and can devote our time to creatively pursuing potential acquisitions – especially where the Town might be hampered from acting directly by statutory restrictions, financial circumstances, or timing.
Today the Trust comprises over 350 members and is governed by a volunteer board of 15 Trustees. All Trustees are Harvard residents, and each may serve for a maximum of two three-year terms. Six volunteer Board Committees conduct the work of the Trust, these include: Land Protection, Stewardship, Outreach, Finance & Investment, Development & Membership, and Nominating & Governance. Board Committees are composed of Trustees and Associate Trustees. We welcome any member who would like to become more involved to contact the Trust about volunteer opportunities.
Currently we own over 317 acres and manage 20 conservation restrictions for an additional 418 acres. In total, we have helped to protect over 850 acres in Harvard since our founding in 1973.