Pre-Acquisition Saves Valuable Riverfront Parcel in Middleborough

By Scott MacFaden, Director of Land Protection

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On October 25, working closely with multiple partners including the town of Middleborough, the Native Land Conservancy (NLC), The Archaeological Conservancy (TAC), and the Compact for Cape Cod Conservation Trusts, Wildlands acquired Ja-Mar Farms, a 20.4-acre holding along the Nemasket River in Middleborough. 

The site of a former turkey farm that last operated over a generation ago, the Ja-Mar Farms property includes over 1,100 feet of frontage on the Nemasket, an important tributary of the Wild and Scenic Taunton River, and scenic open fields juxtaposed with areas of wooded upland. It is within several areas identified as important wildlife habitat by the Commonwealth’s Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program, including BioMap 2 Core Habitat. 

In partnership with NLC and TAC, the town had worked for over a decade to achieve the preservation of the property and was slated to finalize a closing in late August; however, the town was unable to because of a complication involving an existing Conservation Restriction on a portion of the land (as further described below). With an expired Purchase and Sales Agreement and a private seller/developer anxious to complete the transaction, the town asked Wildlands to “pre-acquire” the property on its behalf to ensure that it wasn’t forever lost. NLC and TAC provided direct financial contributions to the purchase, while the Compact’s Thomsen Land Fund loaned the balance needed to close the deal to Wildlands and NLC. Wildlands’ pre-acquisition of Ja-Mar Farms is the first step in a journey that will culminate in our transferring the land to the town sometime in mid-2019.

  Ja-Mar Farms in Middleborough

Ja-Mar Farms in Middleborough

The existing Conservation Restriction encompasses roughly half of the property’s acreage and was acquired by the town in 2010 when a full preservation outcome seemed unlikely. The town will eventually assign that restriction to NLC and TAC, but cannot do so until first working with its state legislative delegation to advance legislation that complies with the requirements of Article 97 to the Massachusetts State Constitution. This amendment was enacted in 1972 to establish procedures municipalities must comply with before taking any actions regarding municipally-held open space property interests. While intended as a type of procedural obstacle to converting municipally-held open space to other uses, or selling such lands, Article 97’s provisions apply even to situations such as the Ja-Mar Conservation Restriction assignment, which does not involve a conversion to non-conservation use. 

An increasingly significant component of our land protection work involves pre-acquiring properties for a partner entity, typically a public agency. In most cases, nonprofit organizations like Wildlands can mobilize more quickly than our public partners can, a particular benefit when prompt action is required to ensure a property’s preservation. We are pleased that we could be of service to the town of Middlebrough and the other partners involved with this project, and look forward to working with them to achieve the preservation outcome long envisioned for the Ja-Mar Farms property. 

Wildlands Celebrates the Season, Raises Money for Youth Programs at OkTRAILberfest

By Rachel Calderara, Education & Outreach Manager

  Photo courtesy of Andrew Lederman Photography

Photo courtesy of Andrew Lederman Photography

Wildlands Trust hosted its second OkTRAILberfest celebration on Saturday, October 13, attracting over 200 guests to its headquarters at Davis-Douglas Farm in Plymouth. OkTRAILberfest honors the traditional German-style celebration of beer and brats, but in addition offers a variety of guided hikes on our local trail systems. What better place to end a hike than at a festival with locally brewed beer, farm fresh food, and live music?

A hot buffet of German themed faire was provided by Farms to Forks Catering, offering up bratwurst, sauerkraut, homemade pretzels, potato pancakes, and root veggies. Locally crafted beers from Plymouth breweries Independent Fermentations Brewing and Mayflower Brewing were on tap, ranging in styles from IPA to Porter. Local folk band Butch McCarthy and the Gentlemen of Leisure kept the festival spirit alive while our guests ate, drank, and mingled in the Community Conservation Barn and by fire pit.

  Green Team members stand next to the raffle table at OkTRAILberfest. Photo courtesy of Alex Cattullo.

Green Team members stand next to the raffle table at OkTRAILberfest. Photo courtesy of Alex Cattullo.

The community came together to cheer on competitors of the midafternoon growler hoisting contest, with the winner in both female and male divisions taking a growler home from Mayflower or IndieFerm. At the end of the day, everyone gathered again at the raffle drawing for their chance to win over 20 prizes, totaling $1,770 in value, donated by local businesses.

OkTRAILberfest honors the Wildlands Trust mission to protect land and keep our communities connected to the natural world, while also raising money for the Youth Unplugged Initiative. Youth Unplugged provides opportunities for the next generation to engage in outdoor learning. Through keystone Green Team and Envirothon programs, as well as partnerships with existing youth groups, Wildlands provides kids and teens throughout the region with productive, hands-on opportunities to learn about the environment and contribute to their communities.

With the help of generous sponsors, vendors, and festival attendees, $7,000 was raised at OkTRAILberfest this year to keep Youth Unplugged programs running through 2019 and beyond!

Thank you to sponsors, vendors, and everyone who came out to celebrate!

Welcome to our new AmeriCorps Member, Hayley Leonard!

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Hayley Leonard has joined Wildlands Trust for 11 months of AmeriCorps service in the Massachusetts-based TerraCorps program. As a TerraCorps Community Engagement Coordinator, Hayley will build the capacity of Wildlands Trust by developing meaningful and inclusive educational programming for adults and teens in our region. Hayley is a recent graduate of the University of Maine where she earned her Bachelor of Science in ecology & environmental sciences. During her undergraduate career, she spent her summers interning for Earthwatch Institute and working at a 4-H camp on Cape Cod. Wildlands is excited to welcome her to the team and we look forward to seeing what another great service year will bring!

Reduce Food Waste This Fall with Pickling

By TerraCorps Community Engagement Coordinator, Hayley Leonard


With summer coming to an end, you may have found yourself with an overabundance of vegetables from your garden. Rather than rushing to incorporate them into meals before they go bad, why not try pickling them? For nearly 5,000 years, humans have been pickling as a way to preserve foods, whether it be fruits, vegetables, or meats.

“Pickling” is a general term that refers to preserving food in an acidic medium. Traditionally, pickling was done through fermentation, which relies solely on salt and the beneficial bacteria, lactobacilli, to convert the sugars and starches naturally present in food into lactic acid. Fermented foods offer an array of health benefits due to being packed with probiotics. However, if the idea of fermenting your own foods seems daunting to you, don’t worry! You can still achieve the same great taste by using vinegar as the acidic medium. Vinegar pickles should be canned if you plan to store them in your pantry long term, but canning is not necessary if you choose to store them in your refrigerator. Making refrigerator pickles is as simple as boiling a vinegar based brine, pouring it over the foods you wish to pickle, and sticking the jar in the fridge. Refrigerator pickles will last up to two months and are ready to be eaten in as little as 5-7 days.

Pickling is a simple way to cut down your food waste and add a zest to any meal. Fresh pickles on a burger? Nothing better. Pickled mushrooms to dress your Bloody Mary? Yes, please! Pickled red onions on your taco? Delicious. Pickled peach salsa? Why not? The options are endless when it comes to pickling, but one thing I can guarantee is that you will never look at store bought pickled foods the same.

Interested in learning how to pickle your own veggies? Join us Saturday, October 20, 2018 for a pickling workshop at Davis-Douglas Farm in Plymouth. Registration and more information can be found on our events page at