The Norcross Wildlife Foundation (Norcross) is pleased to announce that at its October 2020, Board of Directors meeting, Bill Labich was voted in as a new member of the Board.
The Foundation is led by a volunteer Board of Directors who oversee its operations and ensure its financial and legal health. Board Chair, Liz Austin, of South Hadley, Massachusetts, states that “We are very pleased to welcome someone to the Norcross Board who brings such depth and breadth of experience in conservation work. Bill Labich’s election is a big step forward in Norcross’s mission to protect and conserve natural land and protect wildlife”.
Bill is a resident of Holyoke, Massachusetts, and works as a Senior Conservationist for the Highstead Foundation, a regional conservation non-profit based in Redding, Connecticut, dedicated to increasing the pace of land protection in New England and beyond through science, sound stewardship and collaboration with diverse partners. He leads Highstead’s Regional Conservation Program with the goal of advancing the pace and practice of collaborative landscape conservation. His work there has raised $23 million for regional conservation since 2009, and Bill is recognized as a national expert in collaborative landscape conservation. He received a Master’s Degree in Regional Planning from The University of Massachusetts, Amherst, worked for seven years for the New England Forestry Foundation and for eight years as a regional planner for the Franklin Regional Council of Governments (Franklin County, Massachusetts), before joining Highstead.
Bill is the author of several articles relevant to land conservation, including the 2015 Regional Conservation Partnership Handbook and he is a co-author of the influential 2017 publication Wildlands and Woodlands, Farmlands and Communities: Broadening the Vision for New England.
Bill is a long-time member of the volunteer leadership team at the Eagle Eye Institute, based in Peru, Massachusetts, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering youth from underserved communities, especially youth of color, to play an active role in caring for our environment.
Bill already has a close working relationship with Norcross Wildlife Foundation’s new Executive Director, Ed Hood, who for six years has been coordinating the MassConn Sustainable Forest Partnership which Bill helped to found in 2007. Both Ed, and Norcross Board Member and former Chair, Charlie Baeder, have worked with Bill as part of the Regional Conservation Partnership Network that Bill coordinates.
Norcross has been engaged in protecting rare and endangered species of wildlife for more than 50 years with a focus on its 8,000 acres of conserved land, most of which is centered around its core wildlife sanctuary in Wales, Massachusetts. The Norcross Wildlife Sanctuary has nature trails open to the public spring through fall, and environmental education programs for over 6,000 participants and school children a year. Although its work is focused on New England, Norcross has supported conservation work across the U.S. and continues to seek new ways to carry-out its mission of protecting rare and endangered species, particularly plants.
The Board of Directors includes a diverse group of individuals from the Northeast who are all personally committed to the Foundation’s core mission of preserving wildlife, caring for the Wildlife Sanctuary, and providing environmental education. Bill brings a strong skill set to this work and shares the priority of engaging with and including more people of color in the work of environmental conservation.