Appalachian Mountain Club head John Judge picked to lead The Trustees of Reservations
Venerable Massachusetts conservation group The Trustees of Reservations has chosen John Judge of the Appalachian Mountain Club to become its new top executive.
Judge, 54, has been the President and CEO of the AMC for almost a decade. He will become the Trustees’ new permanent head after CEO Barbara Erickson died from a rare form of appendix cancer in January.
Judge says his love of nature began from his days as a Boy Scout and working at summer camps.
“Through the years, whether it be at Habitat for Humanity, where I had implemented a lot of sustainable, sustainable building practices from using recycled materials to orientating houses and landscaping lots to minimize not only impact on the earth but also groundwater runoff and lowering the maintenance for a lot of these homes, and then to the work in Springfield, where I had a really great portfolio under Mayor Sarno where I did economic development and city planning," said Judge. "So it was just a really nice series of steps that led me to the Appalachian Mountain Club, which is the county’s oldest conservation and outdoors organization.”
In 2012, he took charge of the AMC. Founded in 1897, the preservation and exploration NGO maintains shelters and runs hiking trips and trail operations throughout the Northeast.
“My feeling was that, for us to move the needle on climate change, we needed to strengthen nature system services, and we came up with this idea of resilient trails," Judge told WAMC. "So, you know, building not only outdoor recreational infrastructure, but making sure that it had multiple conservation related purposes, to boost ecosystem services, help with groundwater run off to lower heat island effect, if it was, say, in an urban area. So I've had a varied career that started out as an Eagle Scout and led me to where I am today, CEO of AMC.”
In 2022, Judge will officially step into his new position at The Trustees, becoming the new leader of the 130-year-old organization and the 123 reservations it maintains throughout the commonwealth.
“For many folks, this has been the time of the outdoor reset, the pandemic and this time, has been a challenging time for so many folks in a time when they've come back to realizing how important the outdoors and nature is to them," said Judge. "So I like to call it the outdoor reset. But in addition to that, there's this greater realization from folks that, with extreme weather events and in climate change, we need to do something, we all need to step up and do something.”
Judge says The Trustees has a responsibility to make its mission open and welcoming to all.
“For far too long, the outdoors was just the bastion of the folks that we know, whether it be through family or geography, that they had access to it," he said. "And we need to make sure that the outdoors is accessible to everybody and inclusive to everybody, and that includes a multi-tiered effort. And that includes everything from making sure that the programs and places are geared toward different folks coming out in terms of skill level, beginners to experts, that we have we have offerings that will engage folks. That includes pathways to jobs and leadership positions.”
The Trustees has 17 locations in Berkshire County, from Mountain Meadow Preserve on the Vermont state line in Williamstown to Bartholomew’s Cobble at the southernmost point in the county in Sheffield.