Middlebury College Wins Conservation Award

Addison County Economic Development Corporation (ACEDC) member Middlebury College has been named winner of the inaugural Charles H.W. Foster Award for Exemplary Academic Leadership in Land Conservation, presented by Academics for Land Protection in New England (ALPINE), a program of Harvard University’s Harvard Forest. Middlebury earned the award for the conservation of its Bread Loaf campus in Ripton, Vermont. President Laurie Patton will accept the award on behalf of Middlebury in a ceremony on February 22 at the Harvard Kennedy School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

“We are deeply honored for this recognition from an organization that shares our concern about protecting important lands for future generations,” said Patton. “Colleges and universities are some of the largest private landholders in the U.S., and it is important for us to lead by example in the area of land conservation."

According to David Foster, director of Harvard Forest, Middlebury was selected for the award based on three criteria, including outstanding effort to protect a landscape of high environmental and cultural significance; high levels of engagement among administration, alumni, staff, faculty, and students; and the project’s far-reaching impact.

Middlebury announced its plans to conserve the 2,100-acre Bread Loaf lands in November, 2014. Middlebury College trustee and conservation philanthropist Louis Bacon ’79 joined with the College to ensure that the lands in the Green Mountains would be conserved, protected, and properly managed in perpetuity with their own endowment. The Moore Charitable Foundation, Bacon’s private foundation, and the College established the Bread Loaf Preservation Fund to preserve and maintain the Bread Loaf campus and the surrounding forests and fields while also supporting educational programming and recreational activities. The land will be protected through a conservation easement held by the Vermont Land Trust.

“Middlebury has long demonstrated environmental leadership, and this landmark conservation of Bread Loaf furthers our institutional commitment to a more sustainable world," said Nan Jenks-Jay, dean of environmental affairs.

ALPINE’s mission is to encourage the faculty, students, administration, staff and alumni of institutions of higher education across New England to become engaged in the conservation of land across the region. Charles H.W. Foster, for whom the award was named, was the first secretary of environmental affairs for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, one of the first full-time executive directors of The Nature Conservancy, the dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and a lecturer in the Harvard Kennedy School’s Environment and Natural Resources Program.

The award event will be co-sponsored by the Harvard Forest, the Harvard Kennedy School’s Environment and Natural Resources Program, the Harvard Kennedy School's Center for Public Leadership and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, and will include introductory comments from David Foster; Henry Lee, director of the Environment and Natural Resources Program at the Harvard Kennedy School; and James Levitt, director of the Program on Conservation Innovation at the Harvard Forest and Manager of Land Conservation Programs at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. Middlebury's Jenks-Jay will offer a brief overview of the Bread Loaf initiative and its impact.

A view of Bread Loaf Mountain as seen from Middlebury's Bread Loaf campus in Ripton, Vermont. Photos by Brett Simison.

This will be an invitation-only event. For further information on the award, contact Janet Wiseman, jwiseman@middlebury.edu.