Conservation deal saves Sisters of Divine Providence land from development, unique ecosystem to remain wild for future generations
Northeast Wilderness Trust (NWT), a conservation organization based in Vermont, announced on April 6, 2018, the conservation of 305 acres of Pine Barrens habitat located on Bishop’s Highway/Route 80 in Kingston, Massachusetts. NWT purchased the 305 acres from the Sisters of Divine Providence. To purchase the property, NWT received a charitable donation of funds from Kingston-based L. Knife & Son, one of the Sheehan family of wholesale beer distributorships.
This new conservation property includes an outstanding Coastal Plain Pond Shore habitat, over two-dozen vernal pools, and numerous rare plant and animal species. It abuts the Kingston State Forest and Nicks Rock Road Preserve providing opportunities for coordinated stewardship of conservation lands. The ponds on the site are known locally as Muddy Pond and as Lake Providence by the Sisters. Abutting the conserved land is Camp Mishannock, familiar to many local families and former students of Sacred Heart School who visited the camp or attended school there starting in the early 1950s.
“Conservation of the Muddy Pond Property benefits the local community by preserving the unique Pine Barrens and Coastal Plain Pond environment. This stunning ecosystem is now protected forever,” said Jon Leibowitz, NWT’s Executive Director. “It is critical to preserve open spaces of this size in Southeastern Massachusetts as they are increasingly rare,” Leibowitz added. NWT protects over 26,000 acres across New England and the eastern Adirondacks and is the only regional land trust focused exclusively on forever-wild conservation.
“Our company was founded 119 years ago in Plymouth based on the core value that giving back to the communities where we do business is part of what we do. The Coastal Plain Pond and Pine Barrens ecosystems in this area are globally rare and deserving the highest level of protection,” said Paul Bussiere, CEO of the Sheehan Family Companies. “We are honored to be able to support such important work and thank the Sisters of Divine Providence for their willingness to work toward a conservation outcome for this property. This project will benefit generations to come,” CEO Bussiere stated.
Sister Michele Bisbey, Provincial Director of the Sisters of Divine Providence, stated that “the Sisters are very grateful that the land they have cared for, shared with young women at Camp Mishannock, and cherished as Holy Ground for so many years will continue to be environmentally sustained for many generations to come.”
NWT is developing plans for the long-term stewardship of the property and seeks to engage with the local community and organizations. “This is our first land acquisition in Massachusetts,” said Leibowitz of NWT. “We look forward to working with the local community and other partners to advance our mission of forever-wild conservation. We encourage interested parties to get in touch with us and we will also be reaching out.”