WCLT 2010 Scholarship Awarded
As the winner of the Westborough Community Land Trust’s 2010 Earth Day essay contest, graduating Westborough High School senior Kyle Reed-Edwards received the 2010 Westborough Community Land Trust Scholarship. This award recognizes a deep appreciation and concern for the natural environment on the part of the recipient.
Kyle’s essay focused on protecting Westborough’s natural heritage and highlighted the peaceful area surrounding Gilmore Pond.
Two graduating seniors received honorable mention for their essays. Brian Leslie wrote about raising public awareness of storm drain pollution and ways to avoid storm drain pollution. Kelly M. Reilly wrote about sustainable living and the importance of local and personal efforts to live sustainably on an everyday basis.
The WCLT Scholarship Committee was pleased with the entire group of Earth Day essays. The committee was impressed with the level of environmental consciousness expressed and the many environmental projects and actions the students described.
WCLT values the students’ ideas about living sustainably and caring for Westborough’s natural environment.
Kyle Reed-Edwards’ Earth Day Essay 2010:
I have lived in Westborough most of my life and have always enjoyed being outdoors. I became involved in scouts in third grade and recently submitted my Eagle Scout project for approval. Through scouts I discovered even more about the environment and the importance of preserving it. I have learned to respect the environment and the significance of preserving it for future generations. I also learned the fun of working with others and doing projects aimed at preserving our natural resources.
Over the years, I have discovered some great walking trails in Westborough. Protecting Westborough's natural heritage is very important to me and to our town. I think one place that is exceptionally beautiful in Westborough is the approximately 13 acres around Gilmore Pond. It is like no other place in Westborough. When you enter the trails of the Community Land Trust near Gilmore Pond, you feel like you have entered the woods of Maine. It is quiet, serene and peaceful. I literally do not remember hearing anything but birds singing while I was there. The Pond, in fact, attracts many species of birds and other wildlife. There are also a variety of trees and other vegetation.
Gilmore Pond has a rich history in Westborough. The pond was originally created as a reservoir for the fire department and the surrounding land was used for farming. The Pond connects to several waterways in Westborough including the Cedar Swamp. Gilmore Pond was also the original site of the Westborough Hockey Team. Now, it boasts great walking trails with scenic views of the Pond. It also has a dam that was recently repaired, helping to preserve the pond for years to come.
As striking as the area around Gilmore Pond is, it does have some problems. I discovered this when I started my Eagle Project there. Over the years, invasive species of plants such as honeysuckle, multiflora rose, and oriental bittersweet have been choking out the native plants. The invasives grow quickly and take up space and light. They crowd out the other local plants. The area was so congested with invasive species it made the area difficult to walk through and enjoy. With direction from the Westborough Community Land Trust Steward, Don Burn, I led my fellow scouts in weeding out about an acre of these invasive species in the area. I learned more about varieties of plants than I ever knew existed! I realized the great significance of preserving the native species. It is possible that over time, the native species could become extinct if not preserved. It is likely that the invasive species could eventually encroach upon the pond or even change the habitat of many animals that depend on it. These are just some examples of the changes that invasive species could cause.
I just went for a hike by Gilmore Pond this week and I was proud to see a crop of Jack in the Pulpits blooming in the area we cleared. It remains free of invasive species and I hope to see more native plants such as the Jack in the Pulpit flourish again.
Through scouts I have also learned the value and importance of being a good citizen. Working on my citizenship badges and my Eagle Scout Project I got to know more about Westborough and the amazing dedicated members of this community. I never realized it would actually be fun to do manual labor. I discovered this when I worked with others on my Eagle Project. I feel proud to live in such a great town that cares about preserving its heritage not just for today but also for future generations. Not only will people enjoy this area but the habitats of animals and native plants will have the opportunity to thrive as well.
In this age where every speck of land seems to be eyed by developers, I am proud to live in a town that cares about preserving its natural resources. Westborough has a strong heritage that I hope we can preserve and enjoy for many generations to come.