Carol Baldwin, Ellen McCormick Honored

Ms. McCormick, Ms. Baldwin. Weston Today photos

Fans of Lachat Town Farm — and particularly of its founders, Carol Baldwin and Ellen McCormick — gathered at the farm on June 11 as the two received their awards as Citizens of the Year from the Weston Police Commission.

Dawn Egan, who chaired the commission’s selection committee, said the award goes each year to individuals with “character, integrity, and accomplishment” who have a history of making a contribution to the town.

Ms. Egan recounted the origin story of what she said is now “the heart and soul of Weston,” going back to 2006 when the town wondered what to do with the 40-acre Lachat property. She said Ms. Baldwin, a “mostly retired documentary producer” (whose awards include an Oscar and an Emmy) developed a vision of what the farm could become and “dreamed it could help unite the community.”


In 1997, the farm formerly owned by Leon Lachat was deeded to the Town of Weston and the Nature Conservancy, who came to a dual lease arrangement in 2011. The deal gave the Conservancy oversight of 22 wooded acres abutting Devil’s Den and the Town control of the 19-acre front meadow and buildings.

By that time most of the structures were dilapidated, including the historic Godfrey house, which dates back to the 1770s and came close to being demolished.

The Godfrey House, before and after

In 2012, Ms. Baldwin, Ms. McCormick, and Deirdre Doran formed Friends of Lachat, a nonprofit that reached an agreement with the Town and the Conservancy to raise money, begin the restoration, create a master plan, and manage the farm with no taxpayer funding.

Ms. McCormick was recruited for her “strong farming know-how,” said Ms. Egan, and for her land management expertise. She said Ms. McCormick’s varied career had ranged from leadership roles in a major retailer, a large publishing house, an internet startup, CEO of one of the startup’s spinoffs, and the founding of the Stratton Mountain School in Vermont, all while raising her children.

In an interview, Ms. McCormick told Ms. Egan that one of her favorite things about Lachat is “watching relationships develop.”

“The real gems”

Kat McConnaughey, who chairs the Lachat Town Farm Commission, slightly disagreed with a New York Times article that once described Lachat as “the gem of Weston.” She said, “the real gems of Weston are Carol Baldwin and Ellen McCormick,” and praised their role “making Weston a happier place.”

State Senator Ceci Maher presented a proclamation from the General Assembly expressing “sincere congratulations” for the award to Ms. Baldwin and Ms. McCormick and honoring their years of service to the town.

Ms. McCormick, characteristically, thanked the volunteers who have made Lachat what it is today.

Ms. Baldwin thanked Amy Kalafa and Michelle Fracasso for their early role, her husband and daughters, and “all the people in town who said this couldn’t be done. They challenged Ellen and me — two stubborn women.”

“There are so many interesting, generous, kind people in this town,” said Ms. Baldwin. “I like to think of Weston as a village. This effort, Lachat, is truly a creation of this village, this community.”

From left to right: Police Commission chair Beth Gralnick, member John Dembishack, Ms. McCormick, Commissioner David Muller, Ms. Baldwin, Commissioners Woody Bliss, Frank Ferrara, Peter Ottomano, Dawn Egan.

Editor’s Note: On June 16, we corrected the founding board members of Friends of Lachat, as reflected in this edition: Ms. Baldwin, Ms. McCormick, and Deirdre Doran. We regret the previous error.

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