Local charity awards $73,000 to nonprofits in North Central Massachusetts

FITCHBURG — The Community Foundation for North Central Massachusetts, a Fitchburg-based public charity, has awarded $73,720 in grants targeting environmental preservation and animal welfare.

Through the Community Foundation’s Environmental Conservation and Animal Welfare Grant Program, grants will be distributed to local nonprofit organizations in North Central Massachusetts. They will support long-term, viable initiatives in their respective communities that focus on “preserving and accessing the natural beauty” of the area and “improving the well-being of domestic animals”, according to the president of the association. Community Foundation, Stephen Adams.

“This year’s recipients are doing incredible things to help protect and promote the quality of life for people and animals across our region,” Adams said in a press release.

The largest grants, totaling $10,000, $10,000 and $7,500, went to the Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust, Gardner’s GAAMHA Inc. and the Groton Conservation Trust, respectively.

Funding to the Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust will help permanently protect 202 acres along the southwest shore of Tully Lake Athol and prevent degradation of the lake’s viewshed.

GAAMHA will use its grant to purchase hay for horses, goats and sheep from the Carl E. Dahl Home of Athol at Cass Farm. A treatment center for drug addiction and mental disorders, Cass Farm also serves as a home for livestock rescued from abandonment, neglect, abuse, malnutrition, poor health and slaughter.

The Groton Conservation Trust will use its grant to improve community access to the Bates-Blackman property. Funds would cover constructing an accessible parking spot, restoring grasslands with native grasses and wildflowers, building grass trails through the grasslands, improving the safety of an existing trail and benches to sit on.

10 smaller grants were also awarded: The Nashua River Watershed Association, Inc. of Groton received $6,970 to support The Wild Inside program.

The North County Land Trust in Leominster has received $6,250 to support the launch of an engaging environment and wellness program.

The Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society received $5,500 for its Catmobile low-cost spaying and neutering program.

Mass Audobon received $5,000 to support their nature and social-emotional learning sites, as part of their Head Start program, in Athol, Gardner and Winchendon.

The Massachusetts Chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association received $5,000 to support collaboration with educators and community members to create and deliver a program on pollinators and pollinator habits and build a hall outdoor class.

Athol Farm School received $5,000 to help purchase a horse-drawn hay mower.

Lancaster’s RFK Community Alliance received $5,000 for its Rein in a Dream program, which offers therapeutic horseback riding

Squannacook Greenways received $4,300 for the final phase of construction of the Squannacook Rail Trail.

The Newfoundland Pony Conservancy Center received $3,200 to purchase new rubber mats and halters for the eight Newfoundland ponies residing at the Carl E. Dahl House.

For more information, visit cfncm.org.

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