The MFHA Foundation created the District Conservation Awards to recognize outstanding conservation efforts and to inspire future land preservation among members of the foxhunting community. This year's recipient for the New England region is Susanna Colloredo-Mansfeld of Myopia Hunt (MA). Terence Hook, MFH, Green Mountain Hounds (VT) and the New England representative to the MFHA board, surprised her with the award at the recent all-New England hunts meet north of Boston. She received an engraved silver julep cup and a one-year subscription to Covertside.
MFHA Board representative Terence Hook presents the award to Susanna Colloredo-Manfeld. Photo by Shawn Tinkham.
Hook said, "When the Myopia Hunt was founded in 1882, and even when the MFHA was founded in 1907, access to open land was not a major problem. Now, in the 21st century, one of the most important missions of the MFHA - in particular by the MFHA Foundation - is to promote land conservation and garner support from beyond the hunting community. One of the best things I get to do is to recognize an exceptional individual who has done exceptional things for land conservation in the interest of hunting." He added, "Susanna Colleredo-Mansfeld needs no endorsement from the MFHA - on the contrary, it is our honor to be able to recognize her contributions. This is the least we can do to honor the vigilance and dedication that will keep our sport going into the 22nd century."
In support of Colloredo-Mansfeld, Myopia joint Master Kim Cutler submitted a narrative of her accomplishments, beginning with Colloredo-Mansfeld's desire to protect the local countryside of her childhood for her own children to enjoy. Dismayed at how the land had been divided and threatened when she returned home as an adult, she formed the Essex County Trail Association (ECTA), which today protects access to a network of over 450 miles of trails across six towns in eastern Massachusetts.
Cutler stated: "Susanna is an ardent supporter of every major conservation organization in Essex County and many throughout Massachusetts. The Essex County Greenbelt, on whose board she has served for many years, helps landowners, farmers, towns and organizations realize land conservation goals, and has protected more than 15,000 acres of land. This past year, Susanna spearheaded a coalition to save a 525-acre tract of land, Sagamore Hill, from development. Making a significant challenge grant and working tirelessly to rally support for this cause, Susanna has ensured that Sagamore Hill will now be preserved in perpetuity for all Essex County residents. Greenbelt President, Ed Becker, says, 'Susanna has a disarming way of working with diverse groups of people to achieve our conservation goals. She uses a sense of humor and self-deprecation to get people to come around.' The Myopia Hunt is especially grateful that we can continue to hunt across Sagamore Hill, a beloved Essex County property noted for its panoramic views, high open fields and old stone walls.
"Susanna is the driving force behind the preservation of Appleton Farms, the oldest continuing working farm in the country with over 1000 acres, now under the protection of the Trustees of Reservations. Susanna led Appleton Farms Grass Rides, educating participants on horseback about the ecological history of this Trustees of Reservations property. Fostering a love of the landscape and its history no doubt recruits future land conservationists and proponents of open space as a way of preserving community value.
"She is a respected and beloved member of the equestrian community. Her family shares her love of equestrian sports. Her son, Franz, is a leading polo player in the area; her grandchildren are often in the hunt fields and are polo players as well. Her hunting days are over, but she remains a permanent fixture at our events. She may be seen at the Myopia Horse Show, at hunt teas, at stirrup cups waving to and cheering on the foxhunters as we hunt her property. Always humble and gracious, Susanna’s campaigns are always for others, not herself. Her concern for the quality of life in our community is based on the respect for the land and for responsible development."
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