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Antioch honors Harris with award

History of land conservation was the key

On Friday, Antioch University of New England’s Environmental Studies Department recognized longtime Dublin resident and one of three founding members of the Monadnock Conservancy, Betsey Harris, with the Community Member Environmental Excellence Award for her long history with land conservation in the Monadnock region.

One reason the department decided to recognize Harris is that she continues to take action to make land conservation a priority for this region, Antioch’s Director of Conservation Biology Peter Palmiotto said in an interview on Monday.

“[She’s] a model of being an active conservationist,” Palmiotto said.

Harris was unable to attend the award ceremony on Friday as she is currently visiting the Grand Canyon, according to Susan Harlow, assistant director of communications for Antioch in Keene.

Harris and her husband, John, were the first people to donate a conservation easement to the Monadnock Conservancy, Palmiotto said.

They then donated additional land in 2007 that helped establish a 731-acre greenbelt near the base of Mount Monadnock.

“She was a leader and catalyst who helped the Conservancy conserve more than 12,000 acres in its first decade and served on its board of directors for 20 years,” Palmiotto said.

The environmental awards, established in 2004, were created to recognize the good work done by local activists in the region. “People get critiqued too often,” Palmiotto said, “not enough praise and acknowledgment for the good things.”

The idea of holding these individuals up as models would hopefully translate into other people doing good things for sustainable living, Palmiotto said.

Lindsey Arceci can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 232, or larceci@ledgertranscript.com.

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