Star Childs & Betsy Gill

In their own words: Star Childs & Betsy Gill

Star Childs and Betsy Gill, along with their two other siblings, Anne Childs and Ned Childs, are building on their family's long legacy of conservation and education. They are helping to secure the future of Great Mountain Forest, a nonprofit that manages 6,000 acres of permanently protected woodland in northern Litchfield County.

STAR: Great Mountain Forest is the outgrowth of two gentlemen's idea of restoring a forest that was badly overused. When our grandfather and his friend Senator Walcott came here in the early 1900s, the forest was virtually gone.

BETSY: There were people working here from all parts of the world. It was dirty. It was noisy. It was industrial.

STAR: But it was perfect for what they wanted to do, which was demonstrate the restoration of wildlife cover and habitat. In so doing, they inspired our father, Ted Childs, with a conservation ethic. When he gained full ownership, he made it a place to come see forestry in action.

BETSY: And though Dad welcomed people to walk and hike, it wasn't seen as a place to come explore. That's really changed, and now we welcome people to visit, hike and ski.

It was certainly an enjoyable legacy to grow into. It was more or less biblical: to whom much has been given, much is expected. Another theme of Dad's was that there's no point in having something this spectacular, with this much uplifting potential, if you can't share it with others.

BETSY: All of us are interested in continuing this legacy. And Berkshire Taconic has been very helpful. A great part of the endowment is managed there, and we have an endowed fund designated for forestry salaries. People like to give to bricks and mortar opportunities, but I think one of the best places to put your money is an endowment. It continues to grow and it's really looking towards the future.

STAR: And the future is full of promise and potential. The forest will lead us wherever we go. 


Photo by John Dolan