Windrush Farm Partners Complete Fundraising

NORTH ANDOVER, MASS., Nov. 20, 2009: Today Windrush Farm Therapeutic Equitation and The Trust for Public Land announced they have successfully reached their $3.5 million goal to permanently protect Windrush Farm in North Andover and Boxford, Massachusetts.

Windrush Farm Therapeutic Equitation, Inc. (WFTE) and The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national non-profit conservation organization, had until Oct. 31, 2009 to raise the $3.5 million purchase price from a combination of state, town, and private sources. Otherwise the property was at risk to be sold for development. 468 individual donors contributed $1 million during a private capital campaign. Now TPL and partners are working diligently to finalize the terms of the purchase by Dec. 31, 2009, as required in the agreement.

“With the generous donations of so many from here in town, around the state, and across America, we now have the funding necessary to conserve the land and sustain our services for people with significant disabilities,” said Paul Spiers, President of WFTE’s Board of Directors.

Windrush Farm-a 195-acre 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, including veterans of war. Voters at North Andover’s May 12 Town Meeting approved as much as $2.5 million in Community Preservation Act funds for the Windrush Farm Conservation Project. Grants secured by TPL on behalf of the town from the Open Space Institute and the State’s Local Acquisitions for Natural Diversity (LAND) program together reduce the town’s commitment from $2.5 million to nearly $1.7 million.

“The Commonwealth is pleasured to support this worthy land protection project,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles. “I congratulate The Trust for Public Land, Windrush Farm Therapeutic Equitation, and their many partners for preserving this valuable habitat for public enjoyment, as well as expansion of WFTE’s valuable programs.”

TPL also secured a state conservation partnership grant program award for WFTE, reducing their purchase price by $85,000.

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 plans to expand the number and variety of programs to include the general public, such as community gardens and summer camps. Windrush Farm contains State-recognized critical wildlife habitat supporting rare and endangered species. Its protection would create a nearly 1800-acre contiguous block of conservation land and connects to an extensive trail network including the Bay Circuit Trail and trails in Boxford State Forest. Conserving Windrush Farm also protects the Ipswich River watershed-providing drinking water to more than 330,000 residents in 15 Massachusetts communities.

“WFTE’s invaluable services, the outstanding natural resources on the property, and the Towns’ dedication allowed TPL to leverage significant and diverse funding locally, from the state, and across the country including donations from Hawaii, Texas, Arizona, Kansas, and Colorado,” said TPL project manager Darci Schofield. “The project highlights the unique connection between land conservation and the vitality of a valuable community and economic asset, and we are grateful we have the funds to protect the property forever.”

Protection of Windrush Farm also helps the Towns of North Andover and Boxford achieve several open space goals. 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 buildings, paddocks, and pastures.?The Town of Boxford?will hold a conservation restriction on 9 acres of WFTE’s land in Boxford, and North Andover will also purchase a conservation restriction on the remaining 26 acres of WFTE’s land. Essex County Greenbelt Association will hold and co-hold the conservation restrictions ensuring permanent protection from development on the entire property. Details of the restrictions and shared use of the property between the partners need to be worked out and finalized before Dec. 31.

Spiers added, “We are extremely appreciative of all the private donors, foundations, and the land trust partners for their commitment to this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

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.

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.