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A Self-Guided Mindfulness Hike at the Charcoal Trail

BNRC and Shire Quests Present: A Self-Guided Mindfulness Hike at the Charcoal Trail

 Friday, August 13 – Sunday, September 26 (extended) at the Yokun Ridge South Reserve, Stockbridge 

Begin with an audio meditation to ground in your breath and body, then turn off your phone and walk the 1.6-mile loop in serenity and awareness with periodic invitations to practice presence, gratitude, and forest bathing. Take your time! 

The Berkshire Natural Resources Council (BNRC) and Micah Mortali – the founder of the Kripalu School of Mindful Outdoor Leadership and Shire Quests – will be presenting a self-guided mindfulness hike at the Charcoal Trail from Olivia’s Overlook in Stockbridge from August 13 through September 26. 

This installation will feature two opening audio meditations you can download and listen to before your hike (either at home or from a QR code at the trailhead) to remember the original history of the land and cultivate a practice of present-moment awareness and gratitude while out in the woods. Along the trail, there will be a series of four signs serving as invitations to breathe, relax, and center yourself in a mindful outdoor experience. Give yourself a reset and take some time to connect to the land. 

Click here for the audio meditations to listen to before your hike.


Directions to Olivia’s Overlook:

Google Maps Link 

From Lenox: Take Route 183 west for 1.5 miles, passing Tanglewood. When Route 183 curves left, bear right onto Richmond Mountain Road (sign says to Rt. 41/Richmond). Drive 1.5 miles and the parking lot will be on your left. 

From West Stockbridge: Head north on Swamp Road and make an immediate right onto Lenox Road. At 2.0 miles, turn right and continue another 0.1 mile to Olivia’s Overlook on the right. 

From Pittsfield: Take Rt. 20 west 0.8 miles. Make a left onto Barker Road and drive 6.6 miles. Make a left onto Lenox Road and drive 1.8 miles to Olivia’s Overlook, on the right. 

42.3519, -73.3377 (Olivia’s Overlook – Charcoal trailhead parking) 





MassTrails Grant Helps Connect Town and City Centers to the Outdoors

August 2021

Berkshire Natural Resources Council (BNRC) has received a $28,000 grant from MassTrails, an inter-agency initiative of the Commonwealth led by the Governor’s Office, in collaboration with the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, the Department of Transportation, and the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

The grant will be used to expand trail options at BNRC’s Thomas & Palmer Brook conservation reserve, and to advance plans to connect Great Barrington’s downtown center by footpath to Thomas & Palmer Brook and other conserved lands heading north toward Stockbridge. The work proposed for this next phase will include the construction of a new woodland hiking trail connecting the popular accessible loop at Thomas & Palmer to the upland forest, and natural features within it.

BNRC President Jenny Hansell travelled to Cape Cod in July to participate in the MassTrails award ceremony. At the ceremony, Governor Charlie Baker announced nearly $4 million in grant funding to support 52 trail projects across the Commonwealth.

Also in attendance were Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides, Department of Transportation Secretary Jamey Tesler, and Department of Conservation and Recreation Commissioner Jim Montgomery.

“This is all about access for everyone to the Berkshire outdoors,” said Jenny Hansell, President of BNRC. “Making it easy for everyone to stay well outside is a top priority for BNRC. This means accessible trail design, and providing opportunities to walk out onto trail systems from downtown centers as part of BNRC’s High Road network. The MassTrails support of this vision is a wonderful gift to all who love the special character and natural beauty of the Berkshires.”

On its website, MassTrails states, “Trails are the intersection of conservation, community, transportation, and recreation. They connect Massachusetts residents and visitors to the places in which we live, learn, work, shop, and play.”

Work made possible by the MassTrails grant to BNRC will begin immediately.

Previous MassTrails grants to BNRC have funded work at the accessible-design Old Mill Trail in Hinsdale and Dalton, construction of the Parsons Marsh boardwalk in Lenox, and the initial accessible-design trail at Thomas & Palmer Brook.

Family Hike to Monks Pond, Lenox

Tuesday, August 24th  (Rain date: Wednesday, August 25th)
10:00 am – 11:30 am

What lives below the surface of Monks Pond? Maybe a water boatman or even a frog! Join BNRC and Berkshire Family Hikes for a morning of exploration. We’ll enjoy a child-led walk to Monks Pond and spend some time dipping nets to carefully catch and release some of the pond creatures.

For questions or to RSVP, email Taylor at  

Directions to Brothers trailhead:

Google Map Link

From Olivia’s Overlook, head east down the road. Parking is less than a mile down the road on the left.

GPS:42.3543, -73.3292 (Brothers Trailhead parking)

Family Self-guided StoryWalk at Berkshire South Community Center, Great Barrington

Take a stroll and learn about animals!

The StoryWalk® will be on display for a self-guided adventure from Saturday, June 26th – Monday, July 5th (dawn to dusk) at Berkshire South Community Center. 

What are some things we can learn about animals from the shape of their mouths, beaks, or bills? What can we infer about animals with sharp teeth compared to large, flat teeth? Are there any animals that don’t have mouths? In Animal Mouths, award-winning nature photographer and environmental educator Mary Holland shares fascinating animal mouths with readers of all ages.

While the audience of the book is 1st to 3rd grade, the content is great for all ages- even adults!

Be sure to also check out the author’s incredible Naturally Curious blog.


Crissey Rd, Great Barrington, MA 01230

Look for signs in the field next to the parking area.


Berkshire Natural Resources Council 2021 Summer Volunteer Workdays


To RSVP email Mariah at or Christopher at

Safety Protocols 

  • BNRC volunteer workdays will be limited to 3-10 participants that must RSVP.  Staff members will not count toward the total participants.
  • Self-screen your health and don’t come to a workday if:
  • You or somebody in your household experiences COVID-19 symptoms or has traveled within the past 2 weeks to a location where COVID cases are high.
  • Anyone in your household has been exposed to someone with COVID-19.
  • Fully vaccinated participants may attend volunteer workdays without a face mask if comfortable doing so or are welcome to bring a mask and work masked as desired. BNRC will have extra masks in case someone forgets theirs.
  • Participants who are not fully vaccinated are required to wear masks for workdays when social distancing is not possible Again, BNRC will provide masks as needed.
  • All participants must practice social distancing by remaining 6 feet away from others on the trail. This includes stepping off the trail to let other visitors pass.
  • Participants must bring their own water, snacks, and work gloves. BNRC will have work gloves to provide you to keep if necessary.

Hoosac Range Corridor and Vista Clearing
Friday, July 30th, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm (8-10 Volunteers — 2 Open Slots)

This workday will focus on defining the corridor along the 6-mile (total out-and-back) Hoosac Range Trail. BNRC will provide all tools. If you have loppers and/or pruners, please feel free to bring. Please wear sturdy shoes, and bring gloves, 32oz of water, and lunch. The outlined safety protocols must be followed.

  1. Susan LeBourdais 
  2. Rosemary O’Brien 
  3. John Kidd  
  4. Mary Spina 
  5. Ken Kelly
  6. Eva Schuster
  7. Barbara Petersen
  8. David Ellis
  9. (Open)
  10. (Open)

Email Mariah at or Christopher at with any questions or to RSVP.

Other volunteer opportunities:

Invasive Hardy Kiwi Cut & Pull Volunteers with the Berkshire Environmental Action Team
Year-round, Fridays – 10:00 to 11:30 am
Location: Meet at Burbank Park on Onota Lake, off Valentine Road, Pittsfield
Please email for more information, or call Jane Winn at 413-230-7321 if you are planning to attend.


BNRC y Berkshire Language Management trabajan conjuntamente para ampliar el acceso al aire libre.

10 de junio de 2021

Los mapas de los senderos, se encuentran ahora disponibles de forma gratuita en formato digital y/o impreso para los senderos del Berkshire Natural Resources Council (Consejo de Recursos Naturales de Berkshire). Silvana Kirby, intérprete certificada a nivel nacional y traductora fundadora de Berkshire Language Management, fue parte fundamental en la creación de estos nuevos mapas para los residentes y visitantes del condado Berkshire.

Después de varias conversaciones con organizaciones sin ánimo de lucro, empresas y miembros de la comunidad de los Berkshires, BNRC llegó a comprender que la accesibilidad lingüística estaba creando una barrera para que los hispanohablantes se sintieran cómodos y bienvenidos en las rutas de senderismo de la región. Posteriormente, la Sra. Kirby colaboró con BNRC para traducir todos los folletos de los mapas de los senderos del inglés al español.

Berkshire Language Management, fundada por la Sra. Kirby en 2004, es una empresa de servicios integral en la gestión lingüística, la conciencia cultural y la educación. Ofrece servicios de traducción, interpretación y competencia cultural.

BNRC participa activamente en la búsqueda de maneras de garantizar que sus reservas sean acogedoras para todos los que las visitan y para aquellos que llaman a los Berkshires su hogar. BNRC identificó como una prioridad inmediata la traducción de los mapas de senderos debido a su importante capacidad para ayudar a las personas a comprender cómo navegar en un sendero, qué esperar en términos de dificultad y la información que estos folletos brindan sobre el mundo natural.

Todos los folletos de los mapas de los senderos de BNRC en inglés, disponibles en más de las 56 reservas populares de conservación de BNRC, se han traducido al español. Estos mapas de los senderos se encuentran disponibles en el sitio web de BNRC y al escanear el código QR en los quioscos de inicio de los senderos de BNRC. Además, se proporcionan los mapas de los senderos en papel de forma gratuita en cinco de los senderos más populares de BNRC. Estos incluyen cordilleras, llanuras, riachuelos como los de Hoosac Range, los Boulders, Housatonic Flats, Thomas & Palmer Brook y Yokun Ridge South.

BNRC continuará ampliando estos esfuerzos, eventualmente imprimiendo todas las rutas de sus mapas en español y traduciendo otros materiales existentes y futuros de BNRC.

Sra. Kirby compartió que “Acepté la oportunidad de traducir los mapas y trabajar junto con BNRC. Nuestro equipo de traductores proporcionó un marco de conciencia cultural para llegar a la comunidad
hispanohablante en Berkshires y para educar a nuestra comunidad sobre los beneficios de caminar de manera segura por los senderos de este”.

“Todas las reservas de BNRC son gratuitas y se encuentran abiertas al público. Sin embargo, esto por sí solo no es suficiente para que sean verdaderamente acogedoras y cuidadosamente inclusivas”, dijo Jenny Hansell, presidenta de BNRC. “Al expandir las ofertas de idiomas de BNRC, buscamos eliminar un obstáculo de comodidad significativo en el terreno que BNRC pone a disposición para uso público. Y esperamos que el aumento del acceso a idiomas en las reservas de BNRC cultive un entorno más inclusivo para todos los habitantes de Berkshires que buscan explorar, disfrutar y mantenerse bien al aire libre”.

Creada en 1967, la misión del Consejo de Recursos Naturales de Berkshire ha sido proteger y preservar la belleza natural y la integridad ecológica de los Berkshires para el beneficio y deleite del público. Existen 56 reservas de conservación de BNRC repartidas por todo el condado de Berkshire, gratuitas para el público, abiertas para la recreación de todos, todos los días, gracias principalmente a los donantes. Con sus partidarios, BNRC conserva el terreno, construye y mantiene los senderos y, por lo general, ofrece salidas grupales gratuitas durante todo el año. Puede encontrar en línea en el sitio web más información acerca de todas las propiedades y senderos de BNRC, y sobre la aplicación gratuita de BNRC: Berkshire Trails.

Berkshire Language Management fue fundada el 2004. Nuestra misión como traductores es sobresalir en la teoría de la lingüística extranjera aplicando nuestro conocimiento de la competencia lingüística y cultural para brindar un excelente servicio al cliente y satisfacer las necesidades más actuales de nuestra industria. Visítenos en

Para obtener más información, comuníquese con Mariah Auman al 413-496-0596 o a
Consejo de Recursos Naturales de Berkshire | 20 Bank Row, Pittsfield, MA 01201


BNRC and Berkshire Language Management collaborate to expand access to the outdoors

June 10, 20121

Mapas de senderos—Spanish language trail maps—are now available for free in digital and/or print for Berkshire Natural Resources Council hiking trails. Silvana Kirby, a nationally certified interpreter and founding translator of Berkshire Language Management, was instrumental in creating these new maps for Berkshire residents and visitors.

After conversations with Berkshire non-profits, businesses, and community members, BNRC came to understand language accessibility was creating a barrier for Spanish speakers to feel comfortable and welcome on the region’s hiking trails. Subsequently, Mrs. Kirby collaborated with BNRC to translate all its English trail map brochures into Spanish.

Berkshire Language Management, founded by Mrs. Kirby in 2004, is a full-service language management, culture awareness, and education company. It offers translation, interpretation, and cultural competency services.

BNRC is actively engaged in finding ways to ensure its reserves are welcoming for all who visit and who call the Berkshires home. BNRC identified trail map translation as an immediate priority because of its important ability to help people understand how to navigate on a trail, what to expect in terms of difficulty, and for the information, trail map brochures provide about the natural world.

All of the English BNRC trail map brochures—available at the most popular of BNRC’s 56 conservation reserves—have been translated into Spanish. These mapas de senderos are available on the BNRC website, and by snapping the QR code at BNRC trailhead kiosks. Additionally, paper mapas de senderos are provided free at five of BNRC’s most popular trails. These include the Hoosac Range, The Boulders, Housatonic Flats, Thomas & Palmer Brook, and Yokun Ridge South.

BNRC will continue to expand on these efforts, eventually printing all trails of its maps in Spanish, and translating other existing and future BNRC materials.

Mrs. Kirby shared, “I embraced the opportunity to translate the maps and to work together with BNRC. Our team of translators provided a cultural awareness framework to reach the Spanish speaking community in the Berkshires and to educate our community with the benefits of safely hiking the trails in the Berkshires.”

“All BNRC reserves are free and open to the public. However, that alone is not enough to make them truly welcoming and thoughtfully inclusive,” said Jenny Hansell, president of BNRC. “By expanding BNRC’s language offerings, we seek to remove one significant comfort obstacle on the lands that BNRC makes available for public use. And we hope that increasing language access on BNRC reserves will cultivate a more inclusive environment for everyone in the Berkshires who seeks to explore, enjoy, and stay well in the outdoors.”

Established in 1967, the Berkshire Natural Resources Council mission is to protect and preserve the natural beauty and ecological integrity of the Berkshires for public benefit and enjoyment. There are 56 BNRC conservation reserves spread across Berkshire County, free to the public, open to everyone for recreation, every day, all thanks to donors. With its supporters, BNRC conserves land, builds and maintains trails, and typically offers free year-round group outings. More about all BNRC properties and trails, and BNRC’s free Berkshire Trails app, can be found online at

Berkshire Language Management was established in 2004. Our mission as translators is to excel in the theory of foreign linguistics by applying our knowledge of language and cultural competence in order to provide excellent customer service and meet our industry’s most current needs. Visit us at

For more information contact Mariah Auman at 413-496-0596 or
Berkshire Natural Resources Council | 20 Bank Row, Pittsfield, MA 01201

Caminata Familiar Autoguiada A través de una Maravillosa Historia en The Boulders, Pittsfield

¡Camina 1.25 millas y aprende sobre las huellas de diferentes animales!


La caminata basada en el libro StoryWalk® estará en exhibición desde el sábado 17 de julio hasta el domingo 1 de agosto (desde el amanecer hasta el atardecer) en The Boulders Reserve en Pittsfield. ¡Únete a esta aventura autoguiada!


Los animales están a nuestro alrededor. Aunque no los veamos continuamente, podemos encontrar señales de que han estado allí. Algunas señales pueden ser marcas de patas en la nieve o en el barro (huellas), y también podemos encontrar cortezas masticadas o rasgadas, hogares o incluso heces y orine (rastros). Los niños se volverán detectives de animales luego de aprender cómo “leer” las señales de los animales a su alrededor. ¡Y los detectives más astutos podrán hasta descifrar qué estaban haciendo estos animals!

El libro esta dedicado a niños de jardín hasta el 3er grado, pero el contenido esta hecho para todas las edades, incluyendo adultos.

Asegúrese de consultar también el increíble blog Naturally Curious del autor y llame al Berkshire Athenaeum para obtener una lista de títulos recomendados para niños sobre adaptaciones de animales (413) 499-9480.


El área de estacionamiento está a la izquierda de la casa en esta dirección: 1051 Dalton Ave, Pittsfield, MA 01201 y frente a Hubbard Avenue. Hay una escalera de piedra y un quiosco informativo que ingresa al acceso sur a The Boulders Reserve.

¿Sabía que puede ver una mochila de senderismo BNRC en Berkshire Athenaeum, la biblioteca pública de Pittsfield?

Las mochilas están llenas de todo lo que necesita para una aventura al aire libre segura, divertida y educativa.

  • Lupa
  • Par de binoculares
  • 2 ponchos de lluvia
  • Kit de primeros auxilios
  • Guía de árboles y flores silvestres
  • Guía de mariposas y polillas
  • Guía de aves
  • Brújula
  • Repelente de insectos
  • Diario

¡Asegúrate de ver uno para tu próxima aventura! 

On Bears and the Berkshires

By Christopher Densmore

Volunteer & Outreach Assistant

I lived in Oregon and New Mexico for several years—and backpacked extensively in remote forested wildernesses across the West. So I never imagined that the first time I would ever meet a bear would be back here in my hometown in the Berkshires. Of course, I imagined charismatic megafauna in places like Yellowstone or Yosemite. They wandered in craggy peaks and alpine forest of the Sierras and Rockies. I’ve had plenty of dreams about bears, but I never saw them here growing up. Naturally, now that I’m back East, I’ve had more black bear encounters since September in quaint little Williamstown than I had in my entire time out West.

The black bear population in Massachusetts has been growing steadily since the 1970s to over 4,500 bears currently. Their range now encroaches even on the suburbs of Boston. While I didn’t know it as a kid, I grew up in bear country.

This fall, I ran into a mother and two cubs while hiking on Mt. Greylock with my cousin. It was a moment of sublime witnessing at Stony Ledge. The three of them lumbered onto the trail about 50 yards in front of me and paused, noticing us headed their way. We all froze. The mother and I locked eyes, mutually assessing the risk we signified to each other’s day. And before I could respond with anything resembling prudent risk management, she and the cubs galloped off down the hill.

In both fall and spring, solitary ramblers in black crossed my path while on trail runs in Hopkins Forest and on Stone Hill mere minutes from the town center. This spring, still another mischievous fellow ransacked our birdfeeders and our neighbors’ garbage twice in the night. We’ve since learned to adapt and remove food sources, but it was quite the surprise and delight to catch that cheeky offender on night on video in the beam of my flashlight. Watching from the roof of our porch, I could see he was a regular Pooh. He clambered up the trunk of the apple tree, cautiously waddled out onto the main branch to grab the suet feeder, accidentally dropped it on his way down, and then fumbled around with the wire cage of the suet cake until the fatty treat was unlocked and devoured. The charming magic of the more-than-human world incarnate!

A black bear in standing meditation enjoying the ambiance of a BNRC reserve. Bears have become increasingly common in New England in recent decades.

The black bear population in Massachusetts has been growing steadily since the 1970s to over 4,500 bears currently. Their range now encroaches even on the suburbs of Boston. While I didn’t know it as a kid, I grew up in bear country. Learning to live with bears is becoming a regular feature of life here, and it’s a blessing to have such charming neighbors roaming the land.

Collaborative Conservation in New England

One of the reasons such a population has established and thrived here in the Berkshires is that approximately three-quarters of the county is forested, and over a third of that land is under some form of permanent conservation protection. This is in no small part due to the work of organizations like the Berkshire Natural Resources Council (BNRC). So, really, it shouldn’t be a surprise that we have a plethora of wildlife here.

After all, the Berkshires are a critical wildlife corridor in the long chain of the Northeast Appalachians. They connect the Hudson Highlands to the Green Mountains and other ranges farther North. These hills and forests enable the continued movement of wildlife along that north-south axis. Such corridors will become critically important for wide-ranging mammals like black bears, moose, or bobcats in the era of abrupt climate change. Adapting to changing conditions may require substantial migrations—both for humans and our more-than-human kin.

These larger species, which require the largest tracts of contiguous habitat to thrive, are bellwethers for the health of the land and ecosystems in general. If there’s enough of a patchwork of protected lands with varied latitudes and elevations for them to survive at the higher levels of food chains, then species with smaller ranges will hopefully have ecological niches to thrive as well. Our relationships to large, wide-ranging species may well be a profound indicator of our capacity for empathy for the natural world in general.

Ambitions to increase conservation require diverse stakeholders for success. Regional organizers are critical for large-scale planning and organization. And smaller land trusts like BNRC must maintain intimate relationships with landowners, monitor conservation restrictions, and change hearts and minds in local communities.

There are many organizations that are instrumental in creating the mosaic of conserved lands that will provide such necessary refuge for wildlife. A less-than-exhaustive list includes BNRC, Mass Audubon, The Trustees of Reservations, the Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), and many local land trusts and municipalities. Large landscape conservation often requires Regional Conservation Partnerships (or RCPs) between these many organizations. These networks of varied stakeholders in land protection can develop conservation plans across administrative boundaries. RCPs steward a broad ecological commons that goes beyond categories of private or public ownership.

For instance, the Berkshire Taconic RCP—of which BNRC is a part—focuses on its namesake mountain ranges clustered around the borders of several states. Bears aren’t particularly concerned whether they’re in Massachusetts or New York after all. The Berkshires Taconic RCP establishes a framework to manage and conserve land beyond the constraints of borders. Another collaborative regional vision is the  Wildlands and Woodlands initiative—a project of the conservation non-profit Highstead and the ecological researchers at Harvard Forest. They envision conserving over 70 percent of New England as forests in the coming decades. Around 25 percent of the region is conserved forestland now—much of the forestland is unprotected.

Ambitions to increase conservation require diverse stakeholders for success. Regional organizers are critical for large-scale planning and organization. And smaller land trusts like BNRC must maintain intimate relationships with landowners, monitor conservation restrictions, and change hearts and minds in local communities. Regionally and in town, collaboration among a broad network of interdependent partners is key to cultivating ecological resilience.

The Berkshire Wildlife Linkage

One relatively local project within these conservation frameworks is the Berkshire Wildlife Linkage—a project stewarded by TNC. The Linkage aims to alleviate habitat fragmentation and expand wildlife corridors – particularly through areas of human construction and development. The Berkshires have some of the highest concentrations of complex and varied habitats in Southern New England, and TNC and the Staying Connected Initiative identified them as a focal area. The Initiative is an international landscape connectivity collaborative working across the Northeast Appalachian bioregion that aims to conserve forested cores here in the most in-tact temperate broadleaf forest in the world. And it aims to facilitate the free movement of wildlife day to day, seasonally due to migration, and in response to the changing climate. Land trusts like BNRC play a big role in connecting tracts of land for wildlife near developed areas. Its High Road initiative is as critical for its wildlife safety and sustainability impacts as it is for recreational delight.

The Staying Connected Initiative’s map of the broad Berkshire Wildlife Linkage, which straddles the borders of four states. A huge variety of different public and private stakeholders and landowners are necessary to conserve across such a wide tract of land.

Another major component of habitat connectivity is creating passages for wildlife to safely cross roads. Every week, my heart breaks to find the body of some fox, beaver, squirrel, or deer mangled on the roadside while I’m out bicycling. Three years ago—and please forgive this grisly image—I nearly lost my stomach contents upon glimpsing the severed upper half of the corpse of a bear by the highway. When I let the feeling of these lost lives in, my conscience demands action and intense scrutiny of the tenets of human exceptionalism. These bears I’m witnessing—so clever and robust in their presence and creativity on the land—are worthy of our love and respect. The roadside deaths, and the property damage and risk to human life they represent as well, are not some unavoidable consequence of development.

The Appalachian Trail, itself a potent symbol for the long corridor of Eastern conserved lands, crosses over 40 roads in 90 miles of trail through the Berkshires. These roads can create isolated habitat islands that are disastrous for their more-than-human inhabitants.

In fact, earlier this year, Sweden made headlines for its plans to build “reno-ducts”—or bridges for reindeer—across several northern roads. The bridges will support the reindeer to cross highways while foraging for lichens that have become more difficult to access due to climate change. Freeze-thaw cycles have begun to trap the lichen under layers of ice, and those layers prevent the reindeer from smelling and accessing the lichen. As the reindeer range northward searching for areas where lichens are more accessible, they must cross roads. Providing safe passage for them supports their capacity to adapt and reduces human property damage and injuries due to motorist accidents.

With major roads like state Route 2 and the Mass Pike bisecting the Berkshires, opportunities abound here as well to ensure wildlife can pass safely under or over our routes of commerce and transit. The Appalachian Trail, itself a potent symbol for the long corridor of Eastern conserved lands, crosses over 40 roads in 90 miles of trail through the Berkshires. These roads can create isolated habitat islands that are disastrous for their more-than-human inhabitants. And they can prevent latitudinal and elevational changes species must make to adapt to a changing climate.

In collaboration with TNC as part of the Wildlife Linkage, BEAT actively advocates for improving roads for both motorist safety and habitat connectivity. For almost a decade now, they’ve used tracking, mapping, and analysis to pinpoint where wildlife cross roads, and they make recommendations to the Mass Department of Transportation on how to alleviate the risks of these crossings. Maximizing motorist safety and minimizing the ecological footprints of roadways turn out to be in distinct alignment. Often, the fix is as simple as requiring small shoreline passages in culverts where roads must already be built over rivers and streams. With much infrastructure due for work already in the coming years, rebuilding plans can accommodate for wildlife.

Toward Intersectional and Interspecies Solidarity

As I reflect on these ways the Berkshires spotlight questions of human development and large landscape conservation, I’m in awe of the challenges and possibilities of building sustainable interspecies relationships in the region. I feel blessed to be able to witness wildlife so regularly, wander woodland paths with abandon, and live in a place where the hills sing purple in the evening. And yet I am anxious about the balance of conserving the magic of this place while still welcoming and defending all those—human and more-than-human—who must make homes here in the coming years.

Reducing the ecological footprint of necessary human development justly and equitably is a critical cornerstone of preserving that magic. So is conserving a broad, durable, and resilient land base for people and our wild companions. The black bears that dance in my dreams and trammel my front yard deserve refuge. And in this era of ecological reconciliation, ethical action demands profound interrogation of the meanings of diversity, equity, inclusion and justice in the human and more-than-human worlds. And I’m grateful to be a part of the fabric of BNRC’s efforts to steward a contemporary ecological commons for the wellness of all beings.

A Williamstown native, Christopher Densmore originally fell in love with wild lands as a kid exploring Hemlock Brook—a Hoosac and Hudson tributary with headwaters near BNRC’s Berlin Road Reserve. He earned his BA from Carleton College, worked as a sommelier and outdoor guide in Oregon and New Mexico for several years, and is a student in Eastern Oregon University’s MFA in Environmental Writing. When he isn’t writing or identifying forest flora, he meditates, gardens, and reads abundantly. Christopher’s work with BRNC entails supporting volunteers, curating communications, and assisting with education and outreach. He cherishes supporting others to build more intimate relationships with the more-than-human-world.

Caminata Familiar Autoguiada A través de una Maravillosa Historia en Housatonic Flats, Great Barrington

¡Camine 1 milla y disfrute de la divertida historia de un joven búho!


Otis, el búho estará en exhibición para una aventura autoguiada desde el sábado 15 de mayo hasta martes 1 de junio (desde el amanecer hasta el anochecer) en Housatonic Flats, Great Barrington.

Con fotografías hermosamente detalladas, Mary Holland capta los primeros meses de la vida de un búho. Los grandes ojos y las esponjosas plumas se robarán el corazón de los lectores mientras aprenden cómo los padres de los búhos carabo norteamericanos preparan a sus jóvenes críos para el gran mundo fuera del nido. Acompaña a Otis mientras aprende a comer, pelea con su hermana, y se prepara para alzar el vuelo.

Si bien la audiencia del libro es para niños de 1º a 2º grado, el contenido es excelente para todas las edades, ¡incluso para adultos!

Asegúrese de consultar también el increíble/sorprendente blog del autor : Naturally Curious .


Desde Lee: desde la intersección Mass Pike / Big Y, tome la Ruta 102 suroeste hacia Stockbridge. En Stockbridge, gire a la izquierda en la Ruta 7. Después de pasar el Monument Mountain, antes de llegar a Price Chopper, busque el estacionamiento en el lado derecho de la carretera.

Desde Great Barrington: desde Price Chopper, diríjase hacia el norte por la Ruta 7 durante menos de media milla. El estacionamiento estará a la izquierda.

Desde Lenox: tome la Ruta 7 o la Ruta 7A sur hacia Great Barrington. Después de pasar el Monument Mountain, antes de llegar a Price Chopper, busque el estacionamiento en el lado derecho de la carretera.

GPS: 42.216357, -73.343895 (estacionamiento al inicio del sendero)