The Westborough Community Land Trust actively works to educate the public about environmental issues, the wonders of nature and Westborough's open space, and the importance of preserving land. WCLT conducts programs and activities that highlight the Westborough's natural resources and WCLT properties:
Each year, WCLT sponsors a series of guided walks to introduce families to the beauties of the nature surrounding them in Westborough. Walks often introduce new trails of the Charm Bracelet trail system or newly acquired properties. Renowned experts, such as Mark Lynch of Massachusetts Audubon Society, have led spring and fall bird walks, particularly at the Headwaters Conservation Area, which is located on the migratory flyway. Local naturalists have led specialized tours, such as native butterflies with Dolores Price of Massachusetts Butterfly Club and edible plants with forager Russ Cohen.
WCLT partners with Westborough public schools to develop environmental education programs that focus on our community's natural resources.
Reflections on Nature - WCLT received a grant from the Westborough Cultural Commission to collaborate with Gibbons School to offer a Reflections on Nature program for the seventh grade. All seventh grade science classes explored the nature trail adjacent to the school with WCLT environmental educators to learn about ecology and native plants and thenwrote a journal about their observations of nature.
Mill Pond Outdoor Classroom Project - WCLT educators trained 10 "Trail Teachers" to lead nature walks for 4-6th grade science classes at the adjacent Headwaters Conservation Area. In this outdoor laboratory, volunteers assist students in monitoring weather and climate conditions, soil and water quality testing, and creating a trail map.
Environmental Club - WCLT works closely with high school Environmental Club members on projects such trail clearing, creating and publishing a map and trail guide of Hero Property, and recycling activities.
The Westborough Community Land Trust (WCLT) runs an annual Earth Day Essay Contest for graduating Westborough High School seniors and awards the two $1000 WCLT Scholarship to the winners to recognize a deep appreciation and concern for the environment. WCLT encourages young people to explore the out-of-doors and to develop a strong connection with the natural resources of Westborough. This connection should lead to responsible, thoughtful decisions about the environment. See scholarship page for details.
WCLT promotes environmental awareness for all ages through its walks and educational presentations. Multimedia programs have presented such topics as "Winter Tracking" and "Living with Wildlife" by wildlife biologists from Massachusetts Fisheries and Wildlife, as well as nature photography of Mill Pond, and vernal pool ecology.
Nature-thon - Families enjoyed following challenging clues to learn about the wildlife and native plants at the Headwaters Conservation Area during the early summer Nature-thon “treasure hunt.” Younger children explored nature up close on a “Passport” trail, complete with nature stamps and nature facts.
Wilderness Treasure Hunt - In a family-friendly letterboxing and geocaching excursion, children found maps to caches with their smart phones or hand-held GPS devices. When they found a cache, they signed the logbook and continued on to find the treasure in the Headwaters Conservation Area around Mill pond.
The Westborough Wonders Program
WCLT volunteers expose children to the wonders of nature through walks, talks, and specific activities tailored for organized groups, such as Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.
Since its inception, WCLT has sponsored Earth Day activities in Westborough. These have included town-wide litter clean-ups, a school poster contest, and recycling fabric collections. Earth Day Festivals have featured presentations on alternative energy uses, hybrid cars, ecological landscaping, water quality, and recycling initiatives.
Storm Drain Stenciling Program
In collaboration with the Westborough Department of Public Works, WCLT volunteers stenciled next to storm drains the cautionary message, “Do Not Dump. Drains to River” to warn against polluting local rivers and ponds.
To celebrate Arbor Day, WCLT has planted a native tree, such as a Liberty Elm or a disease-resistant American chestnut, on WCLT property.
WCLT publishes a periodic newsletter with updates on its stewardship and land preservation activities, educational programs, and articles of general environmental interest.
Annual Meeting Environmental Lecture
WCLT has hosted such keynote speakers as Ron McAdow, Executive Director of Sudbury Valley Trustees; Brad Blodgett, state ornithologist (now retired); Frances Clark, affiliated with New England Wildflower Society; Nancy Bryant, Executive Director of the SuAsCo Watershed Community Council; Deborah Carey, Executive Director of the Broadmoor Audubon Center; Dr. Tom French, Assistant Director for the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program at MassWildlife; and Dr. Mark Pokras of Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine.