The Medford-Brooks Estate Land Trust is an all-volunteer, community nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and restoring the Brooks Estate in Medford, Massachusetts. M-BELT was founded in 1998 and is a successor to the Brooks Estate Preservation Association (BEPA), which led the successful citizen-driven campaign to preserve the Brooks Estate in perpetuity.
Since then, we have worked as the Manager of the Estate and grounds to protect both the landscape, open space, and historic buildings on the property. We offer on-site events, tours, and volunteer opportunities to celebrate the historical legacy and natural wonder of the Brooks Estate. Our mission is to protect and fully restore the Brooks Estate for public benefit.
We are supported by memberships and monetary donations from residents in Medford and surrounding communities, as well as Community Preservation Committee grants and in-kind donations. Join us in our mission is to ensure the legacy of The Brooks Estate remains available for the enjoyment of all by making a donation today.
The road to restoration starts here
Since 1998, M-BELT has raised funds from members and donors, secured in-kind donations, as well as other funding sources. To date, funds have been received from:
- Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)
- Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund (MPPF)
- The Cummings Foundation
- Community Preservation Act
CPA projects have included:
- Stone wall restoration
- Manor interior & exterior work
- Landscaping improvements, including invasives removal
- Access drive & related infrastructure design
Meet the MBELT Board of Directors
M-BELT’s Board of Directors is comprised of community members from all walks of life who come together to propel the mission of M-BELT forward.
Tom Lincoln grew up in New York. He has lived in Medford since 1989 and has worked on a variety of environmental and historic preservation issues since 1993. He served as the head of the Brooks Estate Preservation Association (EPA) from 1994 to 1997 and has been President of M-BELT since 1998.
Third-generation Medford resident and community activist Doug Carr has served on the M-BELT Board since its inception in 1998. As an architect, Doug has lent his talents to M-BELT to oversee the restoration of the 1880 Shepherd Brooks Manor and manage over $1.5M in restoration projects during his tenure. As the primary author of the Brooks Estate Master Plan, Doug is most excited about the long-term future as a financially self-sufficient entity and continuing the Brooks Family legacy for our community.
Outdoor enthusiast and nature lover Audrey Stanwood fell in love with the Brooks Estate following an organized bird walk and has been exploring the area ever since. A member of several birdwatching clubs and nature and conservancy organizations, Audrey’s primary focus is to serve as a voice for the diverse birds and woodland creatures who make their home at the Estate. She educates the public through guided bird watches throughout the year and has served on the M-BELT Board for 20 years.
Mark Warren learned about The Brooks Estate shortly after moving to Medford and was immediately impressed by the extent of the wooded area and the stately Shepherd Brooks Manor. Devoted to giving back to the community he lives in, Mark joined the M-BELT Board in 2017. Before joining M-BELT, Mark has lent his time and talents to creating urban greenspace, most notably as the founder of the Tri-Community Greenway (now the Cameron Bain Greenway) that runs through Stoneham, Woburn, and Winchester. He looks forward to developing the Estate as a destination for hiking, leading walks, and sharing his enthusiasm for trails on the grounds with the community.
Medford Historical Commission Liaison – Jennifer Keenan discovered the Brooks Estate like many others do – by walking her dog. Over the last 11 years, Jen has witnessed the upkeep and maintenance of the Estate and values her proximity to this local gem. As a member of the Medford Historical Commission, Jennifer was appointed as the liaison to the Brooks Estate Board of Directors in 2011. She serves to inform the community at large on the developments at The Brooks Estate about maintaining historical integrity and overall upkeep of the area.
City Council Liaison – Zac Bears is the Vice President of the Medford City Council. He has served as the Council’s representative on the M-BELT Board since 2020. He loves long walks in the Brooks Estate, walking down the boardwalk, and spending time at Brooks Pond. Zac is excited to acquire funding to restore historic buildings and construct a new access drive to create an amazing gathering place for our Medford community.
Interested in history, nature, architecture or all of the above? We currently have an open seat on the M-BELT Board and we would love to have you join us!
Artist rendering – The Brooks Estate Plan
Medford Brooks Estate Master Plan
The Brooks Estate Master Plan is a comprehensive document that details the long-term vision for the Brooks Estate, including the further restoration of the Shepherd Brooks Manor, the Carriage House, and the natural and historic landscape.
The central goal of the Plan is to complete the basic restoration of the property to:
- maximize its community potential
- ensure that it is financially self-sufficient
- maintain its natural and historic values
- provide funds for other improvements
The original Master Plan was written between 2011-2012. While the basic principles and goals remain the same, the financials, cost estimates, and “what has been accomplished” sections are now out of date. We are in the process of updating and revamping the Master Plan and will post the revised document when it is ready. For a good overview of the history and principles of the Brooks Estate Master Plan, please download the Executive Summary. Please note the List of Accomplishments (pg. 6) is now considerably longer, and the cost estimates and Business Plan forecasts (pgs. 11 & 12) are now out-of-date.