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Amherst's Joanna Ballantine to head land conservation group

  • Joanna Ballantine of Amherst is the new regional director for Trustees of Reservations overseeing recreation lands in the Pioneer Valley, the Berkshires and Central Massachusetts.<br/>SUBMITTED PHOTO

    Joanna Ballantine of Amherst is the new regional director for Trustees of Reservations overseeing recreation lands in the Pioneer Valley, the Berkshires and Central Massachusetts.
    SUBMITTED PHOTO

  • Joanna Ballantine of Amherst is the new regional director for Trustees of Reservations overseeing recreation lands in the Pioneer Valley, the Berkshires and Central Massachusetts.<br/>SUBMITTED PHOTO

As the new regional director for Trustees of Reservations, the oldest statewide land conservation organization in the United States, Joanna S. Ballantine wants to have people go outdoors to enjoy the natural habitat.

“My goal is to continue to excite people to get outdoors, work our farms, walk our trails and grow our membership,” Ballantine said.

An Amherst resident and native, Ballantine recently was hired to oversee Trustees field staff and properties located in the Pioneer Valley, the Berkshires and central Massachusetts. She will have offices in Holyoke and Stockbridge.

Ballantine, 42, said she is excited about working with environmental educators, other land trusts, and people interested in ecology and cultural attractions.

One of the local projects is the ongoing work at Mount Warner in Hadley, which will become a new recreation area for the public to enjoy, she said. Another project culminates May 18, when the Trustees will be dedicating a new trail at Little Tom in Holyoke.

The Trustees, founded in 1891, own and manage 109 reservations located on more than 26,000 acres across the state. Ballantine’s region includes 44 reservations.

“We are thrilled Joanna has joined The Trustees as the regional director for our western Massachusetts properties,” said Barbara Erickson, Trustees of Reservations president, in a statement. “Her proven accomplishments in nonprofit leadership, community and program development, and fundraising combined with her passion for conservation and the outdoors will be a huge asset to our organization as we look to advance our mission in the Berkshires, Pioneer Valley and central Massachusetts and beyond.”

Ballantine, who describes herself as a passionate conservationist and outdoors enthusiast, said prominent reservations in her region include Notchview in Windsor, the Land of Providence in Holyoke and Naumkeag in Stockbridge, an estate and grounds known for its Blue Steps and gardens. She hopes people will appreciate these places and be inspired by them.

“The vision for our region is to continue to steward and protect properties already open to the public and to grow the land that is protected,” Ballantine said.

Ballantine has extensive executive experience in managing nonprofits, innovative outreach programming and philanthropy.

Previously, she served as executive director of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, where during her 12-year tenure $110 million was distributed in grants, program and operations in partnership with organizations and local, national and international communities.

She has also been director of Community Planning for the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts, senior planner for the Jewish Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma counties in California and program director for Hillel at the Claremont College in southern California.

Ballantine, who received her bachelor’s degree from Hampshire College, is working with her family in the creation of a new environmental and sustainability farm and wilderness overnight camp in Putnam Valley, N.Y.

She lives in Amherst with her husband, Clay, and two children, Hannah, 14, and Caleb, 10.

Ballantine said she is always excited to hear from people about ideas for improving the work of the Trustees. She can be contacted at jballantine@ttor.org.

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