The Harvard Conservation Trust, HCT, is a private, charitable, non-profit land trust whose mission is “to preserve the unique character and natural resources of Harvard”.
We actively seek to preserve:
- Harvard’s rural and agricultural character;
- Open lands for outdoor education, recreation, and enjoyment;
- Areas of historical significance or natural beauty;
- The Town’s water resources, marshland, swamps, wetland, and wildlife;
- Sites of educational and environmental significance.
At the core of Harvard’s natural beauty is, of course, its land. Accordingly, our top priority is to protect the land of Harvard from unwanted development. So that open spaces can be protected for future generations, we seek to acquire lands through gifts or purchases. We then hold the land in trust, or in turn, sell or give the land to the Town. The Trust is chartered under the laws of Massachusetts, empowering us to buy, sell, or hold property.
Our work complements that of the Harvard Conservation Commission. In comparison, the Commission is a seven member Town board, appointed by the Board of Selectmen and tasked with regulatory functions and the maintenance of Town-owned conservation land. Conversely, we are an independent, non-governmental organization. As such, we remain nimble and can devote our time to creatively pursuing potential acquisitions – especially where the Town might be hampered from acting directly by statutory restrictions, financial circumstances, or timing.
Today the Trust comprises nearly 385 members and is governed by a volunteer board of 15 Trustees; all are Harvard residents each of whom may serve for a maximum of two three-year terms. Committee work includes Conservation, Stewardship, Finance, and Discovery. Our committee members are composed of Trustees and members. We welcome any member who would like to become more involved to contact the Trust about committee opportunities.
Currently we own over 265 acres and manage 18 conservation restrictions for an additional 406 acres. In total, we have helped to protect over 700 acres in Harvard since our founding in 1973.