Since 1963, the Nantucket Conservation Foundation, a membership supported, nonprofit conservation organization, has strived to permanently protect many important and beautiful areas of the Island for the enjoyment and education of residents, visitors, and future generations. Much of the natural open areas that we associate with Nantucket today shall remain protected in perpetuity because of the Foundation's efforts.
The Nantucket Conservation Foundation was created with the understanding that the best way to protect land is to own it. Beginning with an initial donation of less than one acre, we have since become the most successful land conservation and protection effort on Nantucket. Beaches, hardwood forests, dunes, shrublands, bogs, heathlands, marshes, grasslands, meadows, and ponds make up our holdings, representing over twenty-nine percent of the Island's total land area. The Foundation's dedicated members, Board of Trustees, and professional staff have worked diligently to make our organization what it is today: the Island's largest landowner, responsible for protecting over 8,700 acres of distinctive natural areas from development.
The Nantucket Conservation Foundation was founded in 1963 because of the generosity and foresight of the following individuals:
Walter Beinecke, Jr.
Frederick W. Haffenreffer
Roy E. Larsen
John L. Lyman
Robert F. Mooney
W. Ripley Nelson
Charles G. Snow
The mission of the Nantucket Conservation Foundation is to assist in the preservation of Nantucket's character by permanently conserving, maintaining and managing natural areas and habitats and to encourage an appreciation of and interest in the island's natural resources. The Foundation and its members wish to thank our Founders.
Land acquisition continues to be our primary focus. The majority of the land held by the Foundation has been generously donated by individuals, organizations, estates, bequests, and trusts. Additionally, the Foundation seeks to purchase tracts of land with conservation value that abut or are in close proximity to other conservation properties. Resources available from our Land Fund, accumulated from member donations and income received from leasing the Milestone and Windswept Cranberry Bogs to cranberry growers, make these efforts possible.
The Foundation currently owns many important tracts of land that, had they been developed, would have significantly altered the rural character and natural beauty of the Island as we know it today. These areas are currently used and enjoyed by the public for education and passive recreation purposes.
The tremendous influx of visitors to Nantucket during the summer and shoulder seasons require that we be responsible stewards of our numerous holdings. Additionally, many species of rare plants and wildlife occur on our properties that need to be monitored and protected. The Foundation works diligently to develop effective land management strategies, and collaborates with local researchers, other conservation organizations, naturalists, and town agencies. Our efforts include heathland and grassland management programs, erosion control efforts in sensitive coastal areas, inventory and protection of endangered species, and properties management.
Education and Scientific Research...
Educating visitors about the natural and cultural history of our properties and conducting scientific research are also important parts of our mission. Our Ranger Program provides visitors with personal, one-on-one contact Foundation representatives who able to supply knowledge about the natural history of our unique properties. We develop guides, maps, interpretive signs and educational materials for the many visitors to our properties.
The Foundation's Department of Science and Stewardship undertakes focused research, inventory and monitoring projects aimed at providing increased understanding of the rare resources found on our properties. This information is used to make well-informed ecologically-based management decisions and to develop detailed management plans for the Foundation's conservation lands. We also provide financial and technical support for other conservation organizations, students, and independent scientists that conduct research on our properties.
Membership in the Foundation
The success of our organization depends entirely upon voluntary membership contributions from conservation-minded individuals who share our concern for the Island's natural beauty. With their support, we can continue to protect Nantucket's unique, fragile places. All contributions to the Nantucket Conservation Foundation are tax deductible. Annual members receive an updated edition of the Foundation's detailed properties map, a membership decal, all Foundation newsletters and publications, and discounts on all Foundation merchandise.
We cordially invite you to join the Nantucket Conservation Foundation if you are not already a member.