Business Briefs: leadership transition at BNRC; Buttala named executive director; Medicare seminar; Pittsfield Cultural Council committee invitation; Petal Certification for environmental center

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By Monday, May 22 Trade and Commerce
Heather Bellow
Tad Ames, president of the Berkshire Natural Resources Council, will step down from his post at the end of December.

BNRC president Tad Ames to step down

Pittsfield — Berkshire Natural Resources Council has announced that Tad Ames will depart effective Sunday, Dec. 31, after more than 27 years of service to the organization, the last 16 as president.

Ames said that he has made the decision to resign from BNRC in order to make a change in his professional career and to seek new opportunities. “I am now in my mid-50s and I’ve reached an age and a stage in my professional life where I have the opportunity to create one more chapter,” said Ames. “It is not easy to leave a place and people whom I love so much, but I want to seize the opportunity to be part of another story.”

Tim Crane, chair of BNRC’s board of directors, said that Ames had informed him of his thinking in January and that he and Ames immediately focused their efforts to complete the capital campaign with its culmination to correspond with Ames’ announcement.

Ames announced his decision to the staff and BNRC board of directors on May 1. Crane said that BNRC’s search for its next president would start promptly.


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Lee Buttala named executive director of Seed Savers Exchange

Lee Buttala

Lee Buttala

Decorah, Iowa — The board of directors of Seed Savers Exchange has announced the appointment of producer, author and Edge columnist Lee Buttala as its new executive director, effective Monday, July 10. Buttala succeeds John Torgrimson, who steps down from the position after seven years of service.

A Midwest native, Buttala is currently overseeing a strategic plan for Bedrock Garden in Lee, New Hampshire, after a stint as director of marketing communications for the Berkshire Botanical Garden in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Buttala served as co-editor of the award-winning book “The Seed Garden: The Art and Practice of Seed Saving,” published by Seed Savers Exchange in 2015, and as preservation program manager for the Garden Conservancy in Cold Spring, New York, from 2010–12.

His media work includes serving as executive producer and director of PBS’ “Cultivating Life;” television producer for “Martha Stewart Living,” for which he won an Emmy Award in 2003; garden editor of Martha Stewart Living magazine; and associate editor at Alfred A. Knopf Publications. He majored in economics and English at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and has done additional study in landscape design at the Chelsea Physic Garden in London and the New York Botanical Garden, and in Japanese garden design and history at Kyoto University of Art and Design.


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Salisbury Bank offers seminar on basics of Medicare

Millerton, N.Y. — Salisbury Bank will offer a seminar on Medicare choices and options for eligible applicants on Wednesday, May 24, at 5:30 p.m. at its Millerton location.

Seminar attendees will be provided with an overview of Medicare as well as information on how to make decisions about Medicare choices. Topics of discussion will include how Medicare works, what is covered and what is not, and the differences between a Medicare Supplement and an Advantage Plan. The seminar will be presented by Steven G. Irving, a senior insurance agent who is licensed in New York and Connecticut with Bankers Life.

Reservations are suggested, but not required. To reserve a spot, contact Kevin Norton by calling (860) 4533497 or emailing with “MEDICARE” in the subject line.


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Pittsfield Cultural Council seeks committee members

Pittsfield — The Pittsfield Cultural Council is extending an invitation to Berkshire County residents to apply to join the committee. Those who join in the summer will be on board in time to participate in the reviewing of fall grant applications. The committee invites potential members to attend a meeting, ask questions and see how they can be involved.

Funded by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the PCC reviews yearly grant applications from artists, cultural groups and organizations in Pittsfield and surrounding communities and funds projects that best serve the needs and interests of the residents of Pittsfield.

The PCC meets once a month from July through February. There is a limit of two three-year terms that members may serve, and new member recruitment is ongoing throughout the year. There are no special qualifications to join the council. For more information about the PCC or to attend the next meeting, contact PCC at


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Class of 1966 Environmental Center achieves Petal Certification

Williamstown — Williams College’s Class of 1966 Environmental Center has achieved Petal Certification from the International Living Future Institute, meeting six of the seven environmental performance criteria for its Living Building Challenge. Amy Johns, director of the college’s Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives, accepted the building’s Petal Certification at the Living Future Conference in Seattle on May 18.

Twelve months of consecutive data showed that the center qualified in six of the seven environmental performance criteria for the LBC but fell short for the energy standard, just missing full certification as a Living Building.

“We knew when we started that the Living Building Challenge is just that—a real challenge—and that it would take time, experimentation and ongoing learning to achieve certification,” said Johns. “What we have learned can be passed on to the community and to those who come after us in pursuit of the LBC, and that’s what makes this building a valuable place for teaching.”

Twenty imperatives determine ambitious goals in seven areas, known as petals: energy, water, materials, site, health, equity and beauty. To date, only 11 buildings in the world have received full LBC certification.


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