for her work as an educator, community leader and environmentalist.
West Barnstable resident Deborah Shiflett-Fitton is a longtime environmentalist, educator and community leader, who works for the Cape Light Compact in Energy Education Programs. An active and committed volunteer, Debbie has been involved in the Museum of Natural History, the Thornton Burgess Society, the National Wildlife Federation, the Cape Cod Outdoor Education Center, and AmeriCorps Cape Cod. She has also been the naturalist leading BLT walks in the Town’s Crocker Neck Conservation Area. She is a member of the Land Bank Committee, the Jane Eshbaugh Community Service Award Committee, and former chair of the Conservation Commission.
When accepting the Founders’ Award, Debbie personally mentioned those who have influenced her, especially longtime BLT member, the late Bruce McHenry (a 2001 Founders’ Award recipient). Bruce spurred her interest in the environment in 1977 when he came to speak at Springfield College, where she was an undergraduate. Bruce was working for the National Park Service, which was preparing to preserve a 1,000-foot-wide protective corridor along the Appalachian Mountain Trail. Because the land was close to her family home, Debbie adamantly opposed the plan, fearing the loss of nearby houses. Bruce, she recalled, tried to convince her of the importance of protecting connected areas for wildlife. Although she couldn’t see it at the time, he was “absolutely right,” she said, acknowledging how important viable open space is for all of us.
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.”