An attorney from Hadley, Mass., Alexandra D. Dawson was known throughout New England for her work in conservation law and environmental activism. Born in Maryland in 1931, Dawson married shortly after graduating from Barnard College and after raising a family of three, she resumed her education, earning a law degree from Harvard in 1966. Early in her legal career, she took up the cause of protecting “wildlife, wetlands, and woodlands.” She was among the earliest employees of the Conservation Law Foundation and later served as general counsel for the Metropolitan Area Planning Council. The author of a string of influential works in environmental law, including (1978), (1982), and the (1978-2006), she was also an educator, teaching at Antioch College (where she launched the environmental studies program), Tufts, the Kennedy School of Government, and Rhode Island School of Design. Among other commitments, Dawson was a key figure in the Kestrel Trust and served long stints on the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions (MACC) and the Hadley Conservation Commission. Dawson died of complication from emphysema on Dec. 30, 2011.
The product of a forty year commitment to conservationism, Dawson’s papers provide valuable documentation of land preservation efforts in New England, with a focus on the evolution of the legal context. Dawson was a formidable figure in efforts to protect wetlands, agricultural land, and open space, and her papers offer insight into land use planning, her teaching, writing, and speaking.
- Land use--Law and legislation--Massachusetts
- Wetlands--Law and legislation--Massachusetts
- Kestrel Trust