Groups Launch Fundraising Effort to Protect Windrush Farm
NORTH ANDOVER, MA, 9/1/2009: Today Windrush Farm Therapeutic Equitation and The Trust for Public Land launched a sixty-day fundraising effort to finalize permanent protection of Windrush Farm on Lacy Street in North Andover and Boxford, Massachusetts.
Working in partnership, Windrush Farm Therapeutic Equitation, Inc. (WFTE) and The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national non-profit conservation organization, have until October 31, 2009 to raise the $3.5 million purchase price from state, town, and private sources. As of today, the partners need $250,000 to meet their $1 million private fundraising goal.
Windrush Farm-a scenic mix of fields, forest, and a rare Atlantic White Cedar Bog-is the longtime WFTE headquarters, which each year provides equine-assisted therapies to more than 300 children and adults with disabilities and veterans of war. Founded in 1964 by Marjorie Kittredge, WFTE is the pioneer of more than 780 programs of its kind supported by the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association.
“WFTE is thrilled about this public-private partnership and we need a final fundraising push to succeed in sustaining services for people with significant disabilities, such as cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury autism, or visual and auditory impairments,” said Amanda Hogan, WFTE’s executive director. “Please make donations right away-we don’t want to miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
Please send your tax-deductible gift payable to: The Trust for Public Land, Ms. Patti Murray, 33 Union Street, Boston, MA 02108 Please note “Windrush Farm Conservation Project” on your check. To make a donation online, go to www.tpl.org/WindrushFarm or www.windrushfarm.org. For information about a gift of appreciated stock, please contact Patti Murray, 617-367-6200.
WFTE plans to expand the number and variety of programs to include the general public. Potential new programs include community gardens, collaboration on environmental studies for North Andover students, and summer camps that feature riding, gardening, and other outdoor activities.
Windrush Farm connects to more than 1,600 acres of existing conservation land-which includes Boxford State Forest-with extensive trails for hiking and cross-country skiing. Conserving Windrush Farm protects valuable water quality resources such as the Ipswich River watershed-providing a regionally important drinking water source-and Fish Brook, critical habitat for Brook Trout. Further, Windrush Farm’s diverse landscape sustains State-listed rare and endangered species.
“Many thanks to a generous landowner who has kept this land open for nearly half a century and is now providing WFTE and the Town with the time needed to raise funds to permanently protect this outstanding property,” said TPL project manager Darci Schofield.
Protection of Windrush Farm also helps North Andover achieve several goals identified in its 2006 open space and recreation plan. As proposed, the Town of North Andover will ultimately purchase 160 acres of the property to be held and managed for conservation purposes and WFTE will acquire the remaining 35 acres, including all of the buildings, paddocks, and pastures. The Town of North Andover will also purchase a conservation restriction on WFTE’s land, ensuring that none of the property would be further developed.
Essex County Greenbelt Association, a regional land trust with extensive holdings in North Andover and Boxford will co-hold the conservation restriction on the WFTE land and will hold a conservation restriction on the land to be acquired by the Town, providing a consistent layer of protection across the entire Windrush Farm property.
“Greenbelt has long viewed Windrush Farm as one of the most significant unprotected properties in the area,” said Ed Becker, Greenbelt’s executive director. “We are excited to have the opportunity to work with WFTE, the Town of North Andover, and The Trust for Public Land on this important conservation project.”
Voters at North Andover’s May 12 Town Meeting approved $2.5 million in Community Preservation Act funds, $800,000 of which the Community Preservation Committee anticipates will be reimbursed through state and private grant programs. No new taxes are required for the purchase.
“The Town has a one-time opportunity to permanently protect this valuable landscape and to substantially leverage our $1.7 million contribution and $1.8 million in state and private funding,” said John Simons, chair of both the North Andover Community Preservation Committee and the Planning Board. “If fundraising proves unsuccessful, it is likely that the highly developable land will become another ordinary subdivision.”
The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit conservation organization conserving land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since its founding in 1972, TPL has helped protect more than 2.8 million acres of land nationwide, including nearly 13,000 acres in Massachusetts. TPL depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to achieve our land for people mission. For more information, please contact TPL at 617-367-6200.
Windrush Farm Therapeutic Equitation, Inc. is a nonprofit working horse farm that provides effective innovative equine assisted therapies to more than 300 disabled children and adults each year. A pioneer in the field of equine therapy, WFTE’s mission is to use the horse to expand the personal, emotional, and physical boundaries of all persons. www.windrushfarm.org.