July 18, 2019
Jenny Hansell Now President of Berkshire Natural Res. Council

Jenny Hansell
April 3, 2018 — The Berkshire Natural Resources Council, a Pittsfield nonprofit that works to protect and preserve the scenic beauty and ecological integrity of the Berkshires for public benefit and enjoyment, recently announced that Jenny Hansell has been appointed president.

She succeeds Tad Ames, who stepped down, following conclusion of a $5 million capital campaign in connection with the launch of the organization's Berkshire High Road vision, after serving 17 years in the post.

“We conducted a national search resulting in an initial pool of 60 applications. Out of this, Jenny rose to the top on the strength of her experience, track record, and clear articulation of the leadership skills necessary to match the organization’s needs and aspirations.” said Tim Crane, board chair of Berkshire Natural Resources Council (BNRC). “The board is delighted as much by her passion for the challenge as by her exemplary qualifications.

"She possesses a sense of urgency to make real BNRC’s vision of a county-wide, interconnected network of trails while leading BNRC’s broader conservation mission that has become increasingly ambitious and complex."

Hansell is the third chief executive of BNRC since it was founded 51 years ago.

Prior to joining BNRC, Hansell served as executive director of the North East Community Center in Millerton, NY, for seven years. Previously, she worked for a dozen years as a self-employed grant writer for nonprofits. She also served as a writer/producer for the Sesame Workshop.

“It is an honor to have the opportunity to join BNRC at this critical moment in its evolution so I can help bring The High Road to fruition,” said Hansell. “I am looking forward to the chance to get to know and work with the organization’s talented staff, board, volunteers and community partners, to walk the trails from New Marlborough to Williamstown, and play a part in the preservation of our beautiful Berkshires for generations to enjoy.”

Hansell earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in American/U.S. studies from Yale University and a Master of Public Administration degree in public policy from the University of Connecticut.

BNRC was founded by George Wislocki in 1967. In 2002, Ames succeeded Wislocki. Today the organization stewards nearly 22,000 acres of conservation land, including approximately 50 miles of hiking trails.

Crane noted, "Tad’s stewardship, notably his High Road vision, has created a remarkable platform for the next phase of BNRC’s history.”

The Berkshire High Road vision aims to create a system of trails that connects all of the Berkshires, linking towns to trails, and was inspired by the Coast to Coast trail in England and the Camino de Santiago in Spain. Its doing that by selecting and buying lands and easements throughout the Berkshires.

Of the $5 million raised by the capital campaign, $2.5 million is being set aside to acquire land and easements, $500,000 for creating new trails, trailheads, signage, and other public access improvements, and the remaining $2 million for long-term stewardship and care of land, trails, and the High Road network.

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