BRIMFIELD — The Opacum Land Trust, a regional land conservation group, has been selected as a 2024 TerraCorps service site.

The land trust, formed in 2000, encompasses 13 towns in Western and south-central Massachusetts and works to protect natural and cultural resources in the area, with an eye toward preserving them for future generations. The body often works directly with individual landowners who are interested in protecting their properties, staving off development through donations and purchases, estate planning and restrictive land use.

TerraCorps, an environmental, nonprofit organization, strives for equity in conservation and places AmeriCorps members across a network of land-based community nonprofits working towards equitable land use, food justice and environmental sustainability.

Laney Wilder, executive director for the Opacum Land Trust, praised the group’s selection and emerging partnership with TerraCorps.

“We are excited to be selected to host a TerraCorps service member this year,” she said. “This opportunity will enable us to expand our stewardship program and help us to better care for protected and conserved lands in perpetuity.”

AmeriCorps, an independent U.S. agency operating nationwide, utilizes the services of millions of volunteers in a wide range of areas from senior care to clean energy and education.

TerraCorps operates as an AmeriCorps intermediary and administrator, helping community nonprofits leverage the AmeriCorps national service model. They recruit millions of service members annually, placing them in site organizations within a network of nonprofit partners throughout Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Wilder said the alliance will also push the land trust’s efforts forward. “The TerraCorps service member will fill a growing need at Opacum Land Trust to increase and improve the stewardship of our properties and enable us to keep up with the demands of land management as we continue to grow and serve our community.”

The program is funded in part by an AmeriCorps grant and is administered in the state by the Massachusetts Service Alliance.

Opacum operates in the towns of Brimfield, Brookfield, Charlton, East Brookfield, Holland, Monson, North Brookfield, Palmer, Sturbridge, Southbridge, Wales, Warren and West Brookfield.

The land trust has so far protected more than 3,800 acres of land with their efforts continuing to grow, Wilder said.

“As Opacum Land Trust heads into our 25th year, we are poised to grow by 25%, with an additional 1,000 acres in the process of being conserved.” She said. “The TerraCorps service member will help us to develop more sophisticated monitoring protocols and assist with monitoring and stewarding of our conserved properties so that we can better protect these lands for current and future generations.”

More information can be found at opacumlt.org.