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Smith College to preserve 190 acres in Whately

Smith College is signing a conservation restriction on 190 of the 240 acres of the college-owned property.

It will be held by the Kestrel Land Trust, a 19-town regional organization dedicated to conserving the land of the Connecticut River Valley.

The signing takes place at 9 a.m. at the Bechtel Environmental Classroom at 80 Poplar Hill Road in West Whately.

The legal agreement permanently prohibits development and assures that Smith will conserve the land’s natural resources.

“This is the first step in a long-term partnership, which will ensure the stewardship of this special place to conserve wildlife habitat, encourage ecologically responsible education and research and promote sustainable forestry and agriculture,” Kestrel Land Trust Executive Director Kristin DeBoer said in a statement. “It is a legacy Smith should be proud of.”

The MacLeish Field Station is identified by the Nature Conservancy as a “resilient” landscape that supports a diversity of plants and wildlife.

It was named after friends of former Smith College President Jill Ker Conway, the MacLeishes of Conway, who are passionate environmentalists.

The field station includes a small building that Smith College uses for environmental research, outdoor education and low-impact recreation. The conservation agreement ensures that those projects will continue.

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