HARWICH — The Harwich Conservation Trust has named Neil and Anna Rasmussen as their 2017 Conservationists of the Year in recognition of their leadership and land-saving philanthropy.
The Rasmussens are Concord residents with a home in East Harwich who over the past 13-years have provided inspiration, leadership and financial support for the efforts to protect multiple tracts totaling more than 108 acres of natural habitat in Harwich, Harwich Conservation Trust Executive Director Michael Lach said.
“These lands will now provide extraordinary outdoor opportunities, including hiking and scenic vistas for future generations in addition to protecting biodiversity and threatened species,” Lach said.
In the annual meeting of HCT held at the Wequassett Resort and Golf Club in August, Anna Rasmussen spoke of the couple's Concord roots and the celebration of the 200th birthday of the writer and naturalist who inspired the American Environmental Movement, fellow Concordian Henry David Thoreau.
“Like Henry, we too made a pilgrimage to Cape Cod. We discovered for ourselves what Thoreau described as the wild 'grandeur' of the perfect confluence of sand and sea,” she said, adding the couple wished to thank all the Harwich Conservation Trust members who have “stepped up to preserve the many unique and irreplaceable natural landscapes that will continue to nurture, inspire, teach and enlighten the future Thoreauvians, problem-solvers, and stewards of this beautiful but fragile planet we call home.”
She said Thoreau is still alive on Cape Cod, citing his portrait hanging over the mantle in the tavern of the Wequassett Inn named in his honor. “With a wise and reverent vigilance, he seems to lovingly and protectively watch over the truly magnificent and incomparable Pleasant Bay –in do so – he reminds us all to do the same,” Rasmussen said.
“I have had the pleasure of working with the Rasmussens for many years on land conservation projects and their leadership continues to inspire our members,” Lach said.
Since the founding of HCT in 1988, Lach said the trust has preserved more than 550 acres. The HCT is dedicated to preserving land that protects woods, water, wildlife, and the shared quality of life that is deeply rooted in the natural lands of Cape Cod, he said.