Munroe Farm in Rehoboth Preserved!

Thanks to the generosity of landowners Walt and Sharon Munroe, the Trust recently completed the Munroe Farm Conservation Restriction in Rehoboth.  The Munroe Farm’s 100+ acres includes open fields, carefully managed woodlands, a portion of the “Great Maple Swamp”, a large expanse of wooded wetland, several vernal pools, and scenic views that have changed little over Walt and Sharon’s years as stewards of the farm. 

The Munroe Farm CR is the Trust’s second in Rehoboth, following the 52-acre CR donated by the Bertozzi family in 1999 and situated just a few miles to the northeast.  Both of these CR’s help protect the rural character of North Rehoboth, an area that still retains its bucolic look and feel despite development pressures and Rehoboth’s attractiveness as a bedroom community for nearby Providence. 

Supplied by the Munroe family, the above photo captures Walt at a rare moment of respite from his many activities on the farm, and is a fine example of life imitating art.  The “statue” is a wood-carving of Walt and his trusty canine companion Sadie, created by Munroe family friend Mike Higgins.  It turns out that the statue became something of a local icon even before Walt’s untimely passing last August.  The photo was taken at the request of a customer of the Munroe’s Feed and Grain store, who one day stopped by and requested that Walt pose for a picture with his wooden likeness.  Ever the gentleman, Walt graciously obliged the customer’s request.

From all of us at the Trust, our most sincere thanks to Walt and Sharon Munroe for their unsparing commitment to preserving their seventh-generation farm, and for their patience and good humor throughout the years it took to complete the CR. 

Note:  You can learn more about this project by clicking here.

 

How Much Wood Would A Woodchuck Chuck

The Woodchucks of Plymouth, a local, all volunteer, woodworking club comprised mostly of retirees, recently delivered 7 well-crafted benches for the Brockton Audubon Preserve in Brockton and Hoyt Hall Preserve in Marshfield. 

The late Lenny Barbieri and the late Charlie Stasinos founded the club in 1995 to promote the art of woodworking and to exchange ideas and knowledge of the craft. Under the watchful eye of Bill Nemec, approximately 20 members worked on this project for Wildlands Trust.

Funding for this project came from The Department of Conservation and Recreation -  Recreational Trails Grant Program. 

Wildlands Trust thanks the Woodchucks of Plymouth for all of their hard work and their beautiful benches.

 

JUNE 11TH IS NATIONAL GET OUTDOORS DAY

Did you know that this Saturday, June 11, is National Get Outdoors Day (GO Day)?

National Get Outdoors Day was launched on June 14, 2008. Building on the success of More Kids in the Woods and other important efforts to connect Americans – and especially children – with nature and active lifestyles, various groups agreed to lead an inclusive, nationwide effort focusing on a single day when people would be inspired and motivated to get outdoors. GO Day partnered with federal, state and local agencies, key enthusiast organizations and recreation businesses to promote a healthy, fun day of outdoor adventure aimed at reaching first-time visitors to open spaces and connecting children to the outdoors.

GO Day is an outgrowth of the Get Outdoors USA! campaign, which encourages Americans, especially our youth, to seek out healthy, active outdoor lives and embrace our parks, forests, refuges and other public lands and waters.

What better way to celebrate this day than by taking a hike on one of our great trails on our preserves through out southeastern Massachusetts.  Click on the button below to find one of our trails near you.  Happy Hiking!!!

An Easy Way To Contribute

Did you know . . .  that if you buy things on Amazon that you can contribute to Wildlands Trust through their AmazonSmile program?

What is AmazonSmile you ask??

AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon that lets customers enjoy the same wide selection of products, low prices, and convenient shopping features as on Amazon.com. The difference is that when customers shop on AmazonSmile (smile.amazon.com), the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to the charitable organizations selected by customers.

How does AmazonSmile work?

When first visiting AmazonSmile, customers are prompted to select a charitable organization from almost one million eligible organizations. In order to browse or shop at AmazonSmile, customers must first select a charitable organization (and that would be Wildlands Trust!). For eligible purchases at AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price to the customer’s selected charitable organization.

And that is it!!  It is so easy to donate to us just by buying things that you already want.  Check it out by clicking on the button below.

and THANK YOU for supporting Wildlands Trust!!

Summer Intern Position's Available at Wildlands Trust

The Wildlands Trust has 2 summer internship opportunities available for the summer of 2016.  Preference will be given to qualified candidates who are college students majoring in an environmental concentration. 

Position #1-  Natural Resource Monitor
Location:  Plymouth, MA

Hours:     10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  12 weekend days between June 25th and August 21st    
                   (some flexibility for you to pick days)

Duties:    Intern will monitor the public usage of the Halfway Pond Conservation Area in
                   Plymouth collecting data that will become the foundation of a management plan.
                   Training provided.

Skills:      Great attitude! Data collection and observation skills, strong interpersonal skills,
                   good judgement, ability to ride a mountain bike, interest in being outside.

Stipend:  $500 upon completion of project.

Position #2 - Trail Intern
Location: Plymouth, MA

Hours:      16 hours per week, through August

Duties:     Work to ground truth the accuracy of maps of existing trails so we can prepare a
                   new publication on hikes in Plymouth. Training provided.

Skills:       Great attitude! Comfortable hiking in the woods alone, valid driver’s license,
                   self-starter, experience with hand tools, strong computer skills. Ability to use GPS
                   unit desirable.

Stipend:   $500 upon completion of project.

If interested in either of these positions, please send a cover letter along with your resume to admin@wildlandstrust.org. No phone calls please.

 

Wildlands Property Manager Becomes a Keystone Cooperator

Erik Boyer, Property Manager at Wildlands Trust, successfully completed the 3-day Training Workshop for the Keystone Project, held at the Harvard Forest in Petersham, NH this spring.   

In ecology, a keystone species is one whose impacts on its environment are larger and greater than would be expected from one species. The Keystone Project invests education and reference materials in important, keystone people making a large impact at their local level. The training covers subjects such as forest ecology and management, wildlife management, land protection, and community outreach. In exchange for the training and take-home resources, graduates of the program, called Cooperators, agree to return to their communities and volunteer at least 30-hours of their time towards projects that promote forest and wildlife conservation.

The Keystone Project is designed to stimulate forest landowners and community opinion leaders to be advocates of sound forest conservation, and to help inform the land management and conservation decisions of their friends, neighbors, organizations, and communities.  Keystone Cooperators can be very effective in doing this, since they are well-connected community leaders.  Other past Cooperator projects have included permanently conserving their own land, initiating a forest landowner cooperative, promoting management on municipal and conservation lands, writing newspaper articles, hosting educational events, and improving their own properties for wildlife, recreation, and timber.

Keystone Cooperators, Class of 2016, were drawn from all over the state - from Pittsfield to Plymouth, and 23 towns in between.

Keystone Cooperators, Class of 2016, were drawn from all over the state - from Pittsfield to Plymouth, and 23 towns in between.

More than three-fourths of all woodland in Massachusetts is owned by thousands of private families and individuals. Much of this land is at risk of conversion to developed uses. It is important to reach woodland owners as well as communities and land trusts with information on the care of their land. Keystone training is designed to provide Cooperators with skills and information to better engage in this important activity at the local level.

The Keystone Project is organized by the University of Massachusetts Department of Environmental Conservation and UMass Extension, with support from the Harvard Forest, MA Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, the MA DCR Service Forestry Program, and the Leo S. Walsh Foundation.

For more information on forest conservation or Keystone, contact:
Erik Boyer at 774-343-5121 x106 or eboyer@wildlandstrust.org

One of the Region’s Most Rural Communities Protects its First Pieces of Public Open Space

Wildlands Trust was honored to be part of the ceremony held recently to celebrate the opening of Plympton’s first conservation lands, Cato’s Ridge and Churchill Park.  Karen Grey, Executive Director of Wildlands Trust, was a featured speaker at the event held to honor the many partners who helped bring this project to fruition.  Grey’s comments addressed the importance of the Community Preservation Act in local land protection. In this case, a $22,000 contribution from Plympton CPA funds leveraged the permanent protection of over 100 acres of open space.

Rain and mud did not deter the crowd of almost 100 people from coming out to celebrate this momentous occasion.  We congratulate all involved with impressive accomplishment.

WILDLANDS TRUST PARTNERS WITH DUXBURY SCHOOLS

This past month the Duxburrow Path Outdoor Learning Center opened to great fanfare in Duxbury, MA. This community based effort began in 2013 and continues in development currently. 

The goal of the project is to create an outdoor learning area for use by all three of the Alden Street schools as well as the community of Duxbury.  The newly-opened outdoor learning area follows the trails used by Duxbury’s early European settlers to get around Duxbury and travel to Marshfield and Plymouth. 

Phase I including planning, design and preparation for the project has been completed.  Now underway, Phase II focuses on the construction of an outdoor amphitheater by Duxbury High School students.  The school site offers extensive, unique learning opportunities that will help students take full advantage of project based learning through access to ponds, wetlands, wood areas, marshland, tidal rivers and gardens. It will be dedicated to providing hands-on learning experiences in nature that support and enhance current academic goals while also fostering a love for nature and life long learning

Wildlands Trust was a collaborator on the project from the beginning, working with Science Director Cheryl Lewis to help replicate the Trust’s Climate Lab as the model for the Outdoor Leaning Center.

 

 

ANOTHER YEAR OF ENVIROTHON SUCCESS!

Thursday, May 12th marked the second time Brockton High SchooL/Wildlands Trust participated in the annual Massachusetts Envirothon Competition. The team of nine Brockton High School students had the chance to compete in the state-wide competition held at the beautiful Hopkinton State Park this year. The team has worked hard since the beginning of the school year, learning the science and social issues behind four key areas of natural resource conservation: soils, water, wildlife, and forestry. 

Our team on competition day at Hopkinton State Park

Our team on competition day at Hopkinton State Park

All our students had a great time preparing the hands-on skills necessary for each section, and our Soils sub-team placed 2nd in the Soils Ecostation category!

Our award winning (2d place) soils sub-team in the pits determining soil qualities

Our award winning (2d place) soils sub-team in the pits determining soil qualities

Additionally, every year has a unique Current Issue Topic, around which the students base their community research. This year’s topic was “Invasive Species Management” and the students created a 3-tiered Action Plan. First, they sent out a survey to local environmental professionals to assess the issue of invasive species, which got back almost 70 responses in just two weeks!  Second, they decided to gain hands-on, personal experience by helping to remove a truck-load of invasive Buckthorn and Honeysuckle from Wildlands Trust’s Brockton Audubon Preserve.  Third, they filmed their experience and created a PSA video to share with BHS’s 4,000+ students and on Brockton Public Access Television to educate the public about the problem of invasive species.  Through these efforts, the team earned both the Community Research Award and the Community Action Award and will have letters sent on their behalf detailing their accomplishments to the Brockton Superintendent of Schools, local newspapers and media outlets, and their district’s state representatives. 

Congratulations to our students!  We are so proud of all their hard work and dedication!

Students present their findings about Invasive Species

Students present their findings about Invasive Species

Discussing a potential invasives with a local gardener

Discussing a potential invasives with a local gardener

We would like to thank the Brockton Public Schools Transportation Department for providing transportation to the Envirothon Workshops throughout the year and the Competition.

ENVIROTHON IN ACTION TODAY

GOOD LUCK TO OUR WILDLANDS TRUST ENVIROTHON TEAM WHICH IS COMPETING TODAY.

The Envirothon is Massachusetts’ leading natural resource education program for high school students, emphasizing hands-on, team-oriented problem solving and community involvement that prepares young people for environmental careers and active citizenship.  We are so proud of our group of students from Brockton High School who have worked so hard this year.

Check out the video that was made last year about the event.  (Our team members are from Brockton High School)

Conservation Landowners

About Conservation Landowners

Wildlands Trust is proud to work with conservation landowners to protect over 90 separate municipal and privately-owned properties comprising over 2,200 acres throughout southeastern Massachusetts.  Conservation landowners are a special group of people committed to preserving the conservation values of their properties for future generations.  Through legal land protection mechanisms such as Conservation Restrictions (CRs), Agricultural Preservation Restrictions (APRs), and Deed Restrictions (DRs), Wildlands Trust is able to ensure the protection of many unique and precious habitats and landscapes. 

CRs, APRs, and DRs limit specified future uses of the land, such as development, but allow you to maintain ownership, management, and the right to sell your land or pass it on to heirs.  This may result in significant local and federal tax benefits.  As a conservation landowner, you are responsible for complying with the specific terms of the restriction as well as all of the local, state, and federal laws that regulate land-use activities in your area. 

Questions?

Wildlands Trust staff is always happy to discuss landowner interests and concerns.  Contact Scott MacFaden, Director of Land Acquisitions, by e-mail at smacfaden@wildlandstrust.org or by phone at 774.343.5121 x.107.

Helpful Links for Conservation Landowners

 

 

 

 

The Gift That Keeps on Giving . . .

Our new website, aside from being beautifully streamlined and user friendly, also offers the opportunity for you to donate with a recurring automatic gift.  We received many requests from donors and were unable to offer that feature with our old website. 

Now, through Network For Good, users can enter a credit card, choose the amount and frequency of their gift, and a donation will be made to the Wildlands Trust automatically.  Users can change or stop their donation at any time, choosing “edit a recurring donation” in the top right corner of the donation page. 

We are excited to offer this convenience because we know it makes it much easier to budget and who doesn’t love getting fewer appeals in the mail?  A small gift, even $5 or $10, goes a long way in providing a steady stream of funding to protect the land you love.

We would love your feedback on our new donation page.  Please email ddisabel@wildlandstrust.org to let her know what you think.

Thank you for supporting land protection!

Biodiversity and the Wildlands Trust

By Kathleen Anderson

Wildlands Trust now protects over 7,000 acres scattered through 35 towns from Plymouth north to Milton, west to Swansea, and encompassing much of the vast Taunton River watershed, the largest in Southeastern Massachusetts and the second-largest in the Commonwealth. 

Over the years I am sure records of mammals and birds observed on various of our properties have been noted but, to my knowledge, there has been no organized effort made to record the total number of species (i.e. the biodiversity) of our properties:  Not only birds and mammals but the reptiles and amphibians, the fish, the insects, and the plants. 

With the seemingly endless development of our “empty” land, refugia for native species becomes less and less.  Hence, the importance of Wildlands Trust properties for biodiversity protection becomes greater and greater.

For instance, during my 66 years at Wolf Trap Hill Farm in Middleboro, I have documented the following:

  • 35 of the 50, or three-quarters, of the land mammals known to occur in Massachusetts, including Moose!
  • 193 of the 500, or two-fifths, of the Commonwealth’s bird species (which includes sea birds not to be expected to occur so far inland)
  • 25 of the 46, or more than 50 percent, of the known reptiles and amphibians (“Herps”).
  • 47 of the 103 butterflies (almost half of the state’s known species)
  • 30 of the 106 dragonflies (“Odonata”) or about one-fifth of the known species

And I am still working to learn more about the dragonflies. 

Just imagine the total Massachusetts species of wildlife whose existence continues secure on our properties, many species of which we are still unaware of, I am sure. 

Postscript:

Middleborough resident Kathleen “Betty” Anderson is a true eminence in the conservation field.   Among her many accomplishments, she foundedthe Manomet Bird Observatory (now known as the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences), co-founded Wildlands Trust and served as a board member, and served on the Massachusetts Audubon Society Board of Directors and the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program Advisory Board.  She also has made substantial contributions to land protection in her community through land donations and the grant of a conservation restriction to Wildlands Trust that collectively protect over 120 acres.  We are privileged to have the opportunity to share her observations on biodiversity in Southeastern Massachusetts as seen through the prism of her beloved Wolf Trap Hill Farm.  Betty is keeping her eyes peeled for the next Moose to visit her property.   

EAGLE SCOUT PROJECT COMPLETED

Curtis McLellan of Plymouth completed his Eagle Scout service project recently for Wildlands Trust.  He installed a wooden bench, the new sign, and the trail markers on our Emery Preserve in Plymouth.  Wildlands appreciates the research, planning, management, and general hard work that have gone into this project.  The bench is well-built, sturdy, and comfortable.  The trail markers he installed has helped enhance the visitor experience, and the sign that he designed is tasteful and highly visible so that visitors can find this wonderful trail – which is now even more improved by the raking and brush removal that he and his volunteers performed.  These are all significant improvements to the Emery Preserve, and we expect them to last for many years to come.

Curtis has shown great leadership, care, and project management skills throughout his Eagle Scout service project, and his professionalism and good nature made it a pleasure working with him.

We thank Curtis for choosing to work with Wildlands Trust on his project.  We are a small, friendly non-profit organization accomplishing great things.  Our members and volunteers support our efforts and are very important to us – thank you!

If you have a chance, check out the new bench at the Beech tree in our Emery Preserve!

HELP US GET AN AD IN THE BOSTON GLOBE

Are you a Boston Globe subscriber? If so, we have a favor to ask. Help us earn a free ad in the Globe just by showing your support. Simply click the link below and enter your subscriber information and the name and location of our organization before April 30, 2016. It only takes a minute, and it doesn’t cost you a dime.

Your support will be converted into GRANT advertising dollars, which we can redeem for ad space in the Globe. The more dollars raised, the larger the ad — which means more exposure for Wildlands Trust and the important work we do.

Thank you in advance for your support. We appreciate it more than you know.

 

WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS . . .

We love to see people out enjoying our properties with their dogs.  Dogs and their owners are an important constituency for opens space and land protection.

Please be responsible and considerate of all who enjoy our properties,

If you have a cute picture of your pup on one of our properties, send it to us at info@wildlandstrust.org and it just may end up on our gallery of photos.

Teddy with his new find on Cushman Preserve in Duxbury

Teddy with his new find on Cushman Preserve in Duxbury

YOUTH UNPLUGGED....

Brockton High School Envirothon Team Trains at Worcester Technical High School

The MA Envirothon Competition invites high school students across the state to test their knowledge on Natural Resource Science and contemporary environmental issues.  Wildlands Trust is proud to sponsor and help coach the Brockton High School Envirothon team.  Last month, the team attended a full day of workshops at the Worcester Technical High School to learn more about the competition, how to use field guides,  invasive species in MA, and more.


CONSTRUCTION IS WELL UNDERWAY

Construction on the new Community Conservation Hall began just a few short weeks ago, and look how quickly it is coming along!  With the opening of this new community center comes the opening of many new and exciting doors for Wildlands Trust and southeastern Massachusetts as a community.  The Hall will provide necessary space for programs, educational workshops, volunteer/community trainings, appreciation events and social gatherings, and much more!

 As we are approaching the final stage of this project please consider making a donation to help create a local community center for conservation.


PUBLIC/PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP SAVES 22-ACRE SWANSEA PROPERTY AT THE 11TH HOUR

by Scott MacFaden, Director of Land Protection

Over the past several months, the Trust partnered with the Town of Swansea and a generous private donor to preserve the 22-acre Tierney property in southwest Swansea, near the Palmer River and the Rhode Island border. The Trust helped facilitate the project to its conclusion, and the Town came away with the ownership interest in the premises. 

In November, Swansea Conservation Agent Colleen Brown requested our assistance in exploring options to preserve the Tierney property, which was only days away from being sold to a private, non-conservation buyer.  Colleen advised that the owner might be willing to consider selling for conservation.  However, as a public entity that must typically obtain Town Meeting approval for large expenditures, and with the next Town Meeting many months distant, the Town was not in a position to purchase the property on short notice. 

 Fortunately, the Trust was favorably positioned to mobilize quickly and advance the project to a successful outcome.  One of the advantages nonprofit land conservation organizations possess is the ability to respond to opportunities with dispatch.  For this project, the Trust was able to obtain agreement with the landowner to sell the land for conservation within a few days, and raise the $10,000 needed to purchase the property thanks to the generosity of a nearby business concern.  A fundraising request to Todd Blount, the principal owner of Blount Fine Foods in Fall River, was almost immediately answered favorably.  The Trust raised the balance needed to cover closing costs. 

The Palmer River in Swansea

The Palmer River in Swansea

The Tierney property is the Trust’s first completed project in Swansea since we acquired the holdings of the former Swansea Land Trust in 2007.  Its 22 wooded acres support a mix of upland and wetland habitats, and includes at least one potential vernal pool.  The property is proximate to a 15-acre parcel recently acquired by the Town, as well as the Trust’s Barney-Bell Preserve.  Collectively, these properties are an important component of the Palmer River corridor, a long-established local and regional protection priority. The Palmer River is part of the Barrington-Palmer-Warren Rivers watershed, which comprises 67.8 square miles in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.  The Palmer eventually converges with the Barrington River to form the Warren River, which is a significant contributor to Upper Narragansett Bay. 

The Tierney project is yet another example of how successful land protection efforts are often contingent upon partnerships nurtured on many levels.  Although the Trust has a small staff, the geographic area we serve is extensive, and ranges from Boston’s shadow south to the Cape Cod Canal and west to the Rhode Island line.  In order to maximize our land protection efforts, we rely on a wide network of allies and supporters, and particularly municipal colleagues like Colleen, to keep us abreast of potential land conservation opportunities in their communities.  These local contacts also provide us with detailed knowledge of priority parcels, and important historical context for their protection. 

As Colleen noted, “the preservation of this land along with our recent acquisition of a nearby property were key pieces for land and river protection on the Palmer River, a class A river. More than 20 years ago. Jeanne Wadleigh, a member of the Swansea Conservation Commission and a member of the Swansea Land Trust worked very hard with members of the Barrington Land Trust formulating a plan to protect this corner of Swansea and Barrington RI. They recognized that this area is significant for animal and plant habitat, endangered and otherwise, as well as water quality of the Palmer River. It is also historically significant, as this area was the birthplace of the Town of Swansea, the site of the beginning of King Philip’s Wars and is very significant to colonial American history. Now with the acquisition of the Tierney land, more than 100 acres of land are protected in the Palmer River watershed. “

On behalf of all of us at the Trust, many thanks to Colleen for her tireless efforts on behalf of open space protection in Swansea.  And special thanks to the employees and owners of Blount Fine Foods, whose generous and timely donation made this 11th-hour acquisition possible.