2018 Founders’ Award


Mimi McConnell_croppedThe roots of Mimi McConnell’s environmental activism began in her childhood growing up on a farm in western Pennsylvania. “The wonderful forests I walked through on my way to school inspired me as a girl,” she said. Her first environmental work dates to 1965 when she was honored at the White House for citizen involvement in creating Assateague Island National Park off the Maryland coast. “Then, I really got my feet wet when I became involved with Save The Bay in San Francisco.” After moving back east, she focused her talents on Save The Bay in Rhode Island. Her path was set.

Mimi moved to Cotuit in the early 80s, and joined the Board of the Cotuit-Santuit Civic Association. She helped lead the successful grassroots effort to preserve 35 acres at Crocker Neck, winning town approval of the $3 million purchase in 1986. She also helped found the Coalition for Buzzards Bay (now Buzzards Bay Coalition) and was its first Executive Director (1988-1995). Mimi served as a BLT board member in the late 1980’s. A strong advocate for many conservation land purchases, she represented Cotuit on the new Town Council in 1989 and became the second Council President in 1990.

From 1997-2002, she was the state-appointed Chair of the Community Working Group, charged with creating a master plan for the future of the 22,000-acre military installation now called Joint Base Cape Cod, and which became codified by the Commonwealth in Chapter 47 of 2002. She serves on the state-appointed Community Advisory Council (which advises the state’s Environmental Management Commission overseeing activities at 15,000-acre Camp Edwards), and the Joint Base Cape Cod’s Military-Civilian Community Council. She will shortly begin her 22nd year of service at JBCC. In 2004, she co-founded Maine Woods Forever, circling back to the connection she had to the woodlands as a schoolgirl.

Serving humanity, Mimi says, is what drives her. “Every acre is so important. What can we do to make a difference? Working with other like-minded people gives you hope that your own efforts are part of a larger mosaic.” We are delighted to honor Mimi McConnell for her positive spirit, can-do attitude and extraordinary hard work, which have created a lasting legacy in Barnstable, on Cape Cod, in New England and across the country.

Barnstable Land Trust annually honors an individual, organization, business or governmental organization who has acted in the spirit of our Founders. The award is given “for having the vision to empower the people of Barnstable to preserve the essence of Cape Cod – its open spaces and natural resources, wetlands, woodlands and wildlife.”