About > Mission
Highstead works to inspire curiosity and build knowledge about plants and wooded landscapes in order to enhance life, preserve nature, and advance sound stewardship practices.
Since its formation in 1982 by James and Elisabeth Dudley, Highstead has steadily evolved as a woodland sanctuary for the study and appreciation of woodland plants, animals, and habitats, including its well-known collection of native Kalmia (mountain laurel). Starting in 2005, Highstead expanded its local mission to engage in more rigorous woodlands research and conservation on a more regional scale. Highstead today:
(1) Plays a leadership role in the New England-wide Wildlands and Woodlands Initiative, working with the Harvard Forest and other local, state, and regional partners to conserve at least 70% of the region’s forested landscape and the myriad ecologic, economic and cultural benefits it provides;
(2) Conducts extensive ecological research on its own property and beyond, playing an important role in long-term research on deer-forest relationships in Southern New England and long-term forest monitoring across New England; and
(3) Manages the 100-plus acre Highstead property and programs to a) inspire and educate visitors about the natural world and the need and opportunities for conservation, and b) serve as a compelling, tangible example of the Wildlands and Woodlands conservation vision.