Tad Ames leaving Berkshire Natural Resources Council after 27 years

PITTSFIELD — The Berkshire Natural Resources Council has had only two presidents in its 50 year history. It soon will be looking for its third.

Tad Ames, who has spent 27 years with the organization, including the last 16 as president, has announced that he will resign from his current position effective Dec. 31.

Ames will be 55 in September, the month the council officially celebrates its 50th anniversary. He is interested in making a career change, and felt now was the right time to do it.

"At this age of my life and with a wonderful career at the BNRC sort of cresting and having reached a high point, I simply thought it was a great time for both the organization and me to make a change," he told The Eagle.

"My passion is writing," said Ames who originally came to the Berkshires 31 years ago to write for The Berkshire Eagle. "I'd really like to get back to focusing on that as the primary source of my professional calling. My wife and I are thinking about perhaps starting a communications/consulting business, but my eyes are open to a range of possibilities."

Ames decided to remain in his current position for an additional seven months to give the council ample time to find his successor.

"There's exciting work still to be done," he said. "The 50th anniversary is in September, and I feel an emotional desire to be here through that celebration."

Council Chairman Tim Crane said the organization hopes to have selected a successor by the time Ames leaves. A search committee has already been formed.

"We will likely have our first meeting next week," Crane said. "We are going to make full use of the luxury of time to do as thorough a search as we can. We're not going to dally at the front end. We're getting right on it."

The search committee has yet to decide whether national or regional candidates will be considered for the president's position.

"I have an idea," Crane said. "But that's the first thing the search committee is going to talk about."

The Berkshire Natural Resources Council was formed in 1967 with the mission of conserving the county's natural lands. One of the founders was George S. Wislocki, who became the council's first president. Ames joined in 1990 as an assistant to Wislocki, before becoming president in 2002 when Wislocki retired.

Under Ames' tenure, the council has protected for public use and enjoyment over 18,000 acres in Berkshire County, including well-known reserves at the Hoosac Range, Basin Pond, Alford Springs, The Boulders, Mahanna Cobble, Clam River, Constitution Hill, Bob's Way and Steadman Pond. The staff has grown from 2 1/2 to 7 1/2 employees.

In 2015, the council was awarded the Francis W. Sargent Conservation Award by the state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife for the first time.

In June 2014, the council launched the High Road campaign to support the creation of a countywide town-to-town trail system. Donations to the High Road campaign passed the $5 million mark last month.

"After George's long career, when Tad took this position he had the opportunity to build on what George really created, and I would say he built on the legacy in a way that makes his mark on the organization second to none," Crane said. "The organization is greatly strengthened and broader in its mission, and with a new challenge in front of it really creating a great platform for us to recruit the next leader.

"I can't say enough about what Tad has done." he said. "Anyone in the organization would say the same thing."

Reach Business Editor Tony Dobrowolski at 413-496-6224.


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