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Annual Environmental




On February 29, 2020, MACC held our 49th Annual Environmental Conference at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. We had a good turnout, great weather, and were lucky the event happened before the Coronavirus Pandemic Emergency Declaration! With more than 790 attendees, the event was a bit smaller than the 893 attendees in 2019, but we made up for it in spirit and there was a dynamic keynote presentation.

Attendance and More

Our thanks to everyone who made the Annual Environmental Conference 2020 a great success! We could not have put on this conference without the help of many people including our awesome staff and more than 40 volunteers and moderators, 59 incredible workshop presenters, MACC’s (tired, but tireless) Annual Environmental Conference Committee from the Board of Directors, 11 student poster presenters, and our keynote speaker, Kathleen Theoharides, Secretary of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA). We had 49 diverse exhibitors, 17 sponsors, and 22 advertisers. It takes a Village to coordinate this conference!

Download the Workshops & Fundamentals Descriptions HERE

Download the Workshops Schedule at a Glance HERE



Conference participants were able to choose from a wide variety of 29 environmental workshops and five units of the Fundamentals for Conservation Commissioners training program. The training program gives commissioners solid grounding in the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act and regulations; wetlands permitting; open space planning, protection, and management; as well as conservation commission responsibilities and operations. The conference proceedings are available to conference participants at no charge and to others for $55; email us at for more information.



The conference got high marks from participants. Here are some of the comments:
“The conference is always a great event. It's nice to see colleagues from other organizations working across the state."
"Great set up, amazing range of workshops/courses, all very informative and I genuinely feel like it helped me as a new Conservation Agent."
"The number of informational booths was very impressive and beneficial to networking with contractors, etc."
"The map with directions showing where different rooms were as well as the map showing how to get to lunch were excellent. Secretary Theoharides' keynote was phenomenal.”
"This AEC, the variety of workshops was extraordinary. It was striking how varied they were."
“This was my first MACC conference. Sessions were more interactive than I anticipated and participants were all very positive. I came away feeling energized and more enthusiastic about my role as a (newly-appointed) Conservation Commissioner.” 


MACC’s Board of Directors’ Member, Kate Connolly, of Louison, Costello, Condon & Pfaff, LLP, and Ingeborg Hegemann of BSC Group, presented the 2020 Environmental Service Awards on February 29, 2020. This year, MACC honored Greg McGregor, Esq. of McGregor & Legere, P.C., for his Long Time Service to MACC and conservation commissions. Greg McGregor has been a member of the MACC Board of Directors since 1975, and he continues to enthrall audiences with his relevant legal-focused workshops.
The other well-deserving 2020 award winners included:
Dennis Houle, of Cotuit, Conservation Commissioner of the Year Award
Joel Jablonowski, of Acton, Youth Environmental Service Award
Angela Panaccione, of Palmer, Conservation Administrator of the Year Award.


 This year’s keynote address “Energy & Environmental Affairs and Conservation Commissions: A Shared Mission to Protect Natural Resources in the Face of Climate Change” was given by Secretary Kathleen A. Theoharides, of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA). Secretary Theoharides oversees the Commonwealth’s six environmental, natural resources, and energy regulatory agencies (the Departments of Environmental Protection, Public Utilities, Energy Resources, Conservation and Recreation, Agricultural Resources, and Fish and Game). She also serves as Chairman of the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, the Energy Facilities Siting Board, and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center. We were honored that the Secretary found time in her extremely busy schedule to speak to MACC’s Annual Conference, and appreciate her service to wetland protection as a former conservation commissioner in Grafton and Westborough.

The Secretary presented information on protecting our natural resources, climate change adaptation and the role of conservation commissions in mitigating climate change in our communities. The Secretary reminded us that we have a shared mission –EEA works on the state level, and conservation commissions work on the local level. All of us have roles to play to be good stewards through wetlands protection and land conservation.

Climate change is already leading to real impacts to communities all across the Commonwealth. The State’s Hazard Mitigation and Climate Adaptation Plan identifies many of the climate hazards impacting the Commonwealth now, and in the future, including extreme temperature, sea level rise and increased precipitation. EEA is providing new tools to address climate change from reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions to net zero, to building climate-resilient communities through the Municipal Vulnerabilities Preparedness Plan (“MVP”), along with investments in infrastructure.

The Secretary pointed out that commissions administer the Wetlands Protection Act and manage open space, and these activities ultimately contribute to climate change protections – from flood storage, clean water, habitat, and carbon storage. Conservation Commissions have key roles in local environmental protection – from permitting projects in their community to working on long range projects like Open Space and Recreation Plans or MVP Plans. EEA is providing funding and assistance to the MVP Program; there are now MVP experts in each Region of the Commonwealth.

The Secretary outlined the top vulnerabilities and priority actions for EEA, with stormwater management (right-sizing culverts and installing green infrastructure/nature-based solutions) at the top of the list of climate change resiliency actions. She also told the audience about supporting the MACC-MassDEP collaboration today and beyond. Actions include: all Circuit Rider positions will be filled by the end of March, and there will be new training sessions and collaboration between MassDEP and MACC. A copy of Secretary Theoharides’ uplifting and thought-provoking presentation is provided HERE.

The Annual Conference started in the morning with the Annual Business Meeting where commission members voted on the budget and on the slate of candidates to the Board of Directors. The MACC Officers and Board members are listed on our website HERE. We welcomed Donald D. Cooper, Esq. of Nixon Peabody and the Chair of the Andover Conservation Commission, and David Henkels, the Townsend Conservation Agent and Sudbury Conservation Commission Vice Chair to MACC’s Board of Directors. Welcome Aboard! 


A hearty “Thank You” goes to our 2019 Board President, Mike Howard of Epsilon, who provided support, advice, and guidance to the Board of Directors and Staff throughout the year. Thank you for your wonderful “can-do” attitude and fun workshops. Mike will continue on the Board of Directors as the Immediate Past President. Another hearty “Thank You” also goes to former Vice President of Education, Matt Schweisberg, for his hard work and service to the Board of Directors. We will miss you, but hope you will consider teaching workshops in the future!

In addition to the workshops, annual business meeting, lunch, and President’s Reception, there were many other reasons to attend the largest annual environmental conference in New England. There were 49 vendors in the Exhibit Hall, providing the latest information on wetlands and stormwater protection, climate change resilience techniques, coastal resource management, endangered species permitting, wetlands permitting, green infrastructure design and more. Attendees were able to speak with state regulators, college and university educators, environmental consultants, and other experts, to learn about the latest in science and technology. This year we were lucky to have a Stream Table demonstration by MassDOT, showing the effects of severe storms, erosion, and impacts to culverts.


For the third year in a row, MACC held a college student poster competition. There were 9 posters from universities and colleges across the region. The Student Poster competition is a great way to network with the next generation of conservation commissioners! Winning posters received cash prizes provided by Mike Howard, Matt Schweisberg, and Brandon Faneuf.


Participants were treated to morning breakfast goodies and a buffet lunch. Many had drinks, hors d’oeuvres, and conversations at the President’s Reception closing the conference. One lucky raffle winner was able to take home a Heron 11XT Kayak. The conference was a great opportunity to connect with old friends, make new friends and network with conservation commissioners, conservation agents, and other environmentalists from across the state. 



The College of the Holy Cross:"The use of the facilities of the College of the Holy Cross for this event does not constitute an endorsement by the College. The College of the Holy Cross does not endorse any candidate, or organization, in connection with this or any political campaign or election".


Conference SCHEDULE 

7:30 am Registration Begins, Exhibit Hall Opens, Morning Refreshments, Raffle Tickets & Book Sales (Open All Day)
8:30-9:30 Opening Session: Annual Business Meeting; Keynote Address; Environmental Service Awards
8:00-9:45 Student Poster Sessions
9:45-12:15 Fundamentals for Conservation Commissioners: Units 105 (Writing Effective Orders of Conditions) and 208 (Wetlands Buffer Zones)
9:45-11:00 Workshops: Series A
11:15-12:30 Workshops: Series B
11:15-2:30 Lunch at Kimball Hall. Visit Exhibit Hall, Book Sales & Raffle
11:45-1:15 Student Poster Sessions
1:30-4:00 Fundamentals for Conservation Commissioners: Units 103 (Plan Reading & Site Visit Procedures),
201 (Running Effective Con Com Meetings) and 202 (Wildlife Habitat)
1:45-2:45 Workshops: Series C
3:00-4:00 Workshops: Series D
4:00-5:30 President's Reception, Raffle Winners
 AEC 2020 Workshops At-A-Glance







 Bronze SponSors












Conference Supporters





Poster Session Supporter




Advanced Drainage Systems, Inc

Antioch University New England

Bay State Forestry Service

Barnstable County Cooperative Extension

Beals + Thomas

BSC Group, Inc

Central MA Regional Stormwater Coalition

Davey Resource Group

E. J. Prescott

Essex Horticulture

Eversource Energy

Filtrexx Northeast Systems

Fourth Generation Nursery 

Full Circle Technologies

Groundscapes Express

GZA GeoEnvironmental

Hancock Associates

HomeWorks Energy

Horsley Witten Group, Inc.

Hydrograss Technologies, Inc.

Hydro International

Hydroworks LLC

International Dark Sky Association - Massachusetts

Land Stewardship, Inc.

LEC Environmental Consultants, Inc.

Lucas Environmental, LLC

Mass Audubon

MA ALB Eradication Program (MADAR/USDA)

MA Department of Agricultural Resources (MADAR)

Ma Department of Conservation & Recreation (MADCR)

MA Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP)

MA Division of Ecological Restoration (MADER)

MA Department of Transportation (MassDOT)

Massachusetts Municipal Vulnerability Program (MVP)

Native Habitat Restoration

Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program

New England Wetland Plants, Inc.
Pavers by Ideal

Save Massachusetts Forests/RESTORE: The North Woods

SOLitude Lake Management

Stantec Consulting Services, Inc.

SWCA, Inc.

The Conway School

Tighe & Bond, Inc.

Triverus LLC

U.S. Army Corp of Engineers

USDA - Natural Resource Conservation Service

Vernal Pool Association

Woods Hole Group

more Calendar


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Featured Members

Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions (MACC)
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Phone: (617) 489 - 3930
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