Lexington, KY - The Equine Land Conservation Resource (ELCR) is proud to name the late Marjorie V. Kittredge of Massachusetts as recipient of the Anson W. Taylor, Jr. Award for Leadership in Equine Land Conservation. The award, being awarded posthumously, will be presented to her son Charlie Kittredge and daughters Lucinda Sullivan and Ellen Scott by ELCR CEO Deb Balliet and ELCR Advisory Council member Susanna Colloredo-Mansfield during a special ceremony during the General Assembly of the Massachusetts Special Olympics Fall Tournament, Equestrian Finals, on October 15 at Kittredge's Windrush Farm in Boxford, MA.
The goal of ELCR's Anson W. Taylor, Jr. Award is to recognize an individual or organization that demonstrates outstanding leadership in land conservation and access for equine use, and/or set an inspirational example for others to do the same. Initially established in 1999, this award was renamed in 2010 in honor of the late Anson W. Taylor, Jr. of Pennsylvania. Taylor, a founder and past president of ELCR, was a visionary leader and tireless advocate for land conservation for equestrian use. Taylor also was a generous volunteer and national leader with the United States Pony Clubs, and an avid horseman and foxhunter as a member of the Radnor Hunt.
In 1950, Marjorie V. Kittredge, a life-long horsewoman, and her husband bought the 195-acre property that would become Windrush Farm in North Andover, MA to raise their family. In 1964, she founded a therapeutic riding program with three horses for a small group of students with emotional challenges and learning disabilities. She then worked to expand those services and become one of the first therapeutic riding centers in the United States.
Today, Windrush Farm is a non-profit working horse farm with 25 mounts and seven licensed instructors that provide an array of educational and therapeutic activities to more than 1,480 people each year, specializing in teaching physically, emotionally, and learning disabled children and adults to ride and work with horses. A pioneer in the field of equine therapy, Windrush Farm has achieved accreditation as a Premier Therapeutic Riding Center from the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International and certification from the American Hippotherapy Association, as well as recently adding Horses for Heroes (H4H) to its roster of services, a program available to all veterans with disabilities that serves wounded personnel from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.
As time passed, Kittredge became increasingly concerned by the threat of possible division and development of the Windrush property. Kittredge was keenly aware of the farm’s proximity to Boston’s dense and sprawling population and that local land use laws that would permit a minimum, twelve-lot subdivision on the property. If measures were not taken to protect the farm, as an official with the North Andover Community Preservation Committee and Planning Board reported in 2009, "there is a strong likelihood it would be developed...which would change the area measurably."
To ensure the legacy of Windrush, Kittredge, supported by her three children, partnered with the Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national non-profit conservation organization dedicated to conserving land for communities and future generations to use as parks, gardens, and natural areas, in a unique and revolutionary effort to protect all of Windrush's acreage for future public and equestrian use and continuation of the therapeutic riding program. In a true collaboration for the good of the property and community and a subsequent major effort by all involved parties to secure funding and grants, the Kittredge family agreed to make their beloved farm available at a significantly reduced price to allow TPL, the towns of North Andover and Boxford, MA, and Windrush Farm Therapeutic Equitation, Inc. to partner with Essex County Greenbelt Association to acquire ownership of the property and become holder of a conservation easement to protect the property in perpetuity. Located next to 1,600 acres of conservation land, including Boxford State Forest, Windrush is also a critical component in safeguarding the area's wildlife habitat; protection of a regional water source; preservation of an extensive network of trails for hiking, cross-country skiing, and horseback riding; and to allow permanent public access to the land for community use.
"Windrush Farm’s invaluable services, the outstanding natural resources on the property, and the towns' dedication allowed TPL to leverage funding locally, from the state, and across the country," said TPL project manager Darci Schofield upon announcement of the successfully-completed campaign. "Windrush Farm underscores the unique connection between land conservation and the vitality of a valuable economic and community asset, and we are grateful the property is forever protected."
"Marjorie Kittredge was a caring and generous leader who understood the importance of the land in the Boston metropolitan area to the future of Windrush Farm, and the consequent impact it would have on the entire community," noted ELCR CEO Deb Balliet. "She had the vision to use all tools and resources available to preserve Windrush forever. This complex undertaking with its many partners, agreements, transactions, and successful multi-million dollar fund-raising campaign is a marvelous example to all equestrians, therapeutic riding organizations, and the communities they serve.”
About the Equine Land Conservation Resource (ELCR): The Equine Land Conservation Resource is the only national not-for-profit organization advancing the conservation of land for horse-related activity. ELCR serves as an information resource and clearinghouse for land and horse owners on issues related to equine land conservation, land use planning, land stewardship/best management practices, trails, liability and equine economic development. For more information about the ELCR visit our website at www.elcr.org or call (859) 455-8383.