This summer, former Hilltown Land Trust Board President, Cummington resident, and dedicated conservationist Wil Hastings passed away. Wil helped shape a vibrant land conservation community in the Hilltowns through his passion for environmental issues and the beauty of our region.
Wil’s impact on Hilltown Land Trust was immense. He served on our Board from 1992 until 2012, serving as President for the last 17 years of his tenure.
When Wil retired from the Board in 2012, former Board member Lincoln Fish remarked, “When Wil joined the Board we noticed that he spoke and spoke frequently! […] He soon became our voice.”
“If Wil says yes to an invitation to participate, you may very well get more than you asked for because when Wil is in, he is all in,” said current HLT Board President Rus Peotter at Wil’s memorial service. “The actions he took and the leadership he provided not only helped HLT survive, but grow dramatically in its work and impact.”
During Wil’s time, he oversaw the transition of HLT from an all-volunteer organization to a staffed organization, and helped forge our affiliation with The Trustees.
The actions [Wil] took and the leadership he provided not only helped HLT survive, but grow dramatically in its work and impact.Rus Peotter, HLT Board President
In a 2019 interview about his time with Hilltown Land Trust, Wil said, “What I’m the happiest and proudest of is getting Sally to be the Executive Director and Marie Burkart the [now former] President, and I think they have done a terrific job.”
Wil also led the charge to our first accreditation process with the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, a long and arduous process that helped ensure our small organization met important professional standards.
“We wouldn’t be the organization we are today without Wil’s visionary foresight, legal expertise, and interest in finance and complexity,” said Executive Director Sally Loomis. “Thanks to Wil, we set a high standard for HLT’s conservation work from our earliest years.”
Securing a healthy future for Hilltown Land Trust and the land we conserve was always a priority for Wil. He leaves behind a generous bequest, in addition to the legacy of Hilltown conservation he helped build during his lifetime.
“Creating estate-plan gifts for HLT that will help keep it active indefinitely after death is a way to help build a charitable earth-supporting legacy on local ground and with local trees,” said Wil last year. “I find that indescribably satisfactory!”
Green Legacy Circle members like Wil help conserve and care for land in the Hilltowns for future generations. To learn more about the ways you can leave a green legacy for the Hilltowns, visit the Green Legacy Circle page on our website.