The Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts (CFNCM) has awarded 12 Environmental Preservation and Animal Welfare grants totaling $73,720 to area nonprofits.

“The Environmental Preservation and Animal Welfare Grant Program focuses on preserving and providing access to the natural beauty of North Central Massachusetts, as well as enhancing the welfare of domestic animals,” said Stephen Adams, president of the Community Foundation. “This year’s recipients are doing amazing things to help protect and promote the quality of life for people and animals throughout our region.”

The Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust received $10,000 in funding to assist with permanently protecting 202 acres along the southwest bank of Tully Lake in Athol. This project will prevent the degradation of the Tully Lake viewshed and ensure the continued integrity of the setting as both a recreational destination for tens of thousands of people each year and as a habitat for the various natural communities that live there.

A $10,000 grant for GAAMHA, Inc., will be used to purchase hay for the horses, goats and sheep at the Carl E. Dahl House at Evergreen Grove in Athol. This unique program uses an innovative approach to address the unmet needs of two very different populations that serve one another in a symbiotic way: adult men with co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders and rescued livestock who now call the farm home after being spared from abandonment, neglect, abuse, malnutrition, poor health and slaughter.

The Groton Conservation Trust was the recipient of a $7,500 grant to enhance community access to the Bates-Blackman property in Groton. This project will cover the construction of an accessible parking space, restoration of meadows with native grasses and wildflowers, construction of grass paths through the meadows, safety improvements to an existing trail and benches for seating.

Additional Environmental Preservation and Animal Welfare grant recipients include:

  • Nashua River Watershed Association, Inc., in Groton: $6,970 to support The Wild Inside program
  • North County Land Trust in Leominster: $6,250 to support the launch of engaging environmental and wellness programming
  • Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society: $5,500 for the Catmobile program, which provides low-cost spay/neuter services
  • Mass Audubon: $5,000 to support nature and social-emotional learning at Head Start sites in Athol, Gardner and Winchendon
  • Northeast Organic Farming Association – Massachusetts Chapter: $5,000 to support collaboration with educators and community members to create and deliver a curriculum on pollinators and pollinator habits, and to construct an outdoor classroom
  • The Farm School in Athol: $5,000 to assist with the transition to draft power by helping with the purchase of a horse-drawn hay mower
  • RFK Community Alliance in Lancaster: $5,000 for the Rein in a Dream program, which provides therapeutic horsemanship
  • Squannacook Greenways: $4,300 to go towards the fourth and final phase of Squannacook Rail Trail construction, which connects Townsend and Groton
  • Newfoundland Pony Conservancy Center: $3,200 for the purchase of new rubber mats and halters for the eight Newfoundland ponies that reside at the Carl E. Dahl house

The Community Foundation’s grant programs seek to improve the quality of life in North Central Massachusetts by supporting initiatives that have a capacity for long-term viability, offer thoughtful plans of action and outcome measurements and leverage collaborations.