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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.

Our History

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 thirty 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 9,000 acres of distinctive natural areas from development.

Quiet Preservation – A celebration of the Foundation’s 40th Anniversary was published by the magazine Nantucket Today in July 2003. This wonderful article by Terry Pommett gives a brief history of the organization along with some beautiful photographs of several properties and our founding members (reprinted with permission from the July 2003 issue of Nantucket Today).

The Founders

The Nantucket Conservation Foundation was founded in 1963 because of the generosity and foresight of the following individuals:

  • Walter Beinecke, Jr.
  • Tell Berna
  • Alcon Chadwick
  • Frederick W. Haffenreffer
  • Roy E. Larsen
  • John L. Lyman
  • Robert F. Mooney
  • W. Ripley Nelson
  • Charles G. Snow
Early Foundation Map B&W

Historical Notes:

  • The first piece of land that the Foundation acquired was the “Bird Sanctuary,” a 0.9 acre parcel on North Beach Street in the Brant Point area of Town in 1963.
  • The first property that the Foundation purchased with its own funds was the 625 acres parcel known as Ram Pasture and the Woods. It cost $1,000 per acre in 1971.
  • The Foundation’s first employee was Jim Lentowski, who was hired in 1971 as an administrator. His role expanded and evolved into the Executive Director’s position. Jim retired from the Foundation in July 2018 after 47 years of service.
  • Roy Larsen, former vice-chairman of Time, Inc., served as the Foundation’s second President from 1963-1973.
  • The largest single donation of land, 861 acres in the Middle Moors, was made by Tabitha (Turner/Dumper) Krauthoff and Louis C. Krauthoff, II. In fact, Tabitha Krauthoff is also the largest donor of land to the Foundation.
  • The smallest parcel of land owned by the Foundation is the 0.1 acre Larsen Park in the heart of the village of Sconset.
  • The most expensive property that the Foundation has purchased is the 110 acre Nantucket Field Station, which cost $22 million dollars, or $200,000 an acre in 2008.
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