Westborough Land Trust NEWS
Fall 2012

Read About . . .

Chairman of Earth Day Town-wide Clean-up Honored

Bruce Tretter Receives WCLT’s President’s Award [MORE]

Read the Scholarship Winners’ Earth Day Essays

WCLT Awarded Two Scholarships to Students This Year [MORE]

WCLT Honors Scouts’ conservation work

Westborough’s Boy Scout Troops Earn WCLT’s 2012 Pepper Award [MORE]

Find Out Who’s Who

Meet WCLT’s Two New Directors [MORE]

Charm Bracelet Makes Westborough Desirable

Westborough’s Charm Bracelet Highlighted in Central Mass Best Communities List [MORE]

Giant swallowtails cited as evidence of climate change

WCLT Member Spots New Butterfly in Town [MORE]

A canoe and three kayaks travel the Sudbury River to Cedar Swamp Pond

WCLT’s Cedar Swamp Paddle Adventure [MORE]

WCLT’s Westborough Purple Loosestrife Biocontrol Project Update

WCLT’s Loosestrife Biocontrol Project in Its Fifth and Final Year [MORE]

Chairman of Earth Day Town-wide Clean-up Honored

Bruce Tretter Receives WCLT’s President’s Award

WCLT president John Metzger congratulates Bruce Tretter
Photo courtesy of Vivian Kimball
WCLT president John Metzger congratulates Bruce Tretter

The Westborough Community Land Trust (WCLT) presented Bruce Tretter with its President’s Award at the June 2012 WCLT Annual Meeting. The award recognizes a member who has given exemplary service to WCLT.

For the last five years, Bruce has served as the unparalleled chairman of the Town-wide Earth Day Clean-up sponsored by WCLT.

In describing Bruce’s role in making the event a success, Kris Allen said, “Conscientious, organized, and enthusiastic, Bruce Tretter has translated his commitment to a healthy environment into civic action. Several weeks before each clean-up in April, Bruce surveys the town on his bicycle to record the areas with the worst debris. With persuasive charm, he recruits volunteers from all corners of Westborough, from the Scout troops to schools, from local companies to church groups. As many as 110 volunteers have been called into action and assigned work sites on Westborough’s Earth Day Clean-up.”

“The Town-wide Earth Day Clean-up is important to ensure a greener Westborough,” according to WCLT President John Metzger, “but it also enables many Westborough families to introduce young children to community service. The Westborough Community Land Trust is very grateful for Bruce Tretter’s leadership—he has made a tangible difference to protect the town’s environment.”

Bruce has a record of public service in other arenas as well. He served on Westborough’s School Committee for 11 years, worked on the Capital Expenditures Committee, and recently joined the new Biking Committee. Thanks to his daily bike ride of 20 miles or more, Bruce is well aware of the need for bike paths both to promote fitness and family recreation and to connect bikers safely to their environment.

Bruce’s personal interest in healthy cooking has evolved into a profession. He aims to make novices comfortable with cooking a meal by following recipes through step-by-step pictures. His newest production, “Just Eggs: Quick and Easy,” is part of his Show Me How video and picture book recipes. Underlying his efforts is his resolution to help people follow a healthy and uncluttered lifestyle—and have a smile on their face doing it.

“Receiving the President’s Award from the Westborough Community Land Trust means what the Land Trust stands for is definitely having an effect our town,” Bruce commented. “I got involved years ago just to lend a hand and was glad I did. Now it’s about passing on that pride to others, and having a lot of fun doing it. Picking up trash is cool! Just look at how the town looks after our cleanup.”

Back to top

Read the Scholarship Winners’ Earth Day Essays

												Gagliano, scholarship winner
Photo courtesy of Vivian Kimball
Jamie Gagliano, one of two WCLT 2012 Scholarship winners, stands for a round of applause from WCLT members.

WCLT members attending the annual meeting in June gave an enthusiastic round of applause to the two winners of WCLT’s 2012 Scholarships. The awards were made on the basis of essays submitted in WCLT’s annual Earth Day essay contest.

Click here to read the two winning essays, “Sandra Pond” by Jamie Gagliano and “Sustainable Living in Westborough and Beyond” by Kyle Ashworth.

This was the first year that WCLT awarded two scholarships—a change marking WCLT’s increased community presence in its 15th anniversary year. For the six previous years, 2006–2011, one scholarship had been awarded each year.

Scholarship winners and students who received honorable mentions are celebrated in the WCLT Scholarship Hall of Fame on the WCLT web site.

Back to top

WCLT Honors Scouts’ conservation work

Westborough’s Boy Scout Troops Earn WCLT’s 2012 Pepper Award

Pepper Award presentation
Photo courtesy of Vivian Kimball
Pepper Award presentation with (left to right) WCLT president John Metzger, WCLT director Scott Shumway, Sam Mayo (100), Alex Barnhart (100), Brian Barnhart (Eagle Coach for Troop 100), Brian Couthinho (100), Frank Yeung (former scoutmaster of Troop 382) , Josh Saari (4), and John Travers (scoutmaster Troop 4).

For outstanding work in conservation, the Westborough Community Land Trust (WCLT) presented its 2012 Ellie and Jack Pepper Award collectively to the Boy Scout troops of Westborough (Troops 4, 100, and 382) at the WCLT Annual Meeting in June. The Pepper Award recognizes individuals in the community who have done outstanding work in conservation and land preservation.

Boy Scouts from these troops have invested hundreds of hours creating hiking trails, maintaining trails, repairing bridges, and removing invasive species from conservation land in Westborough.

“Since 2001, WCLT has sponsored 46 Eagle projects,” said Scott Shumway of the WCLT Board of Directors, who spoke about the award at the meeting. “The work done by these Scouts is greatly appreciated by WCLT. The projects have increased public enjoyment of open space in Westborough and helped protect natural communities against the negative impacts of invasion by non-native species.”

Projects carried out under the guidance of WCLT are typically labor-intensive, with each project involving 10–20 people. According to WCLT stewardship committee member Don Burn, “The Scouts averaged over 100 hours a project, so these 46 projects represent roughly 2.5 scout-years of effort.” The projects are honored in WCLT’s Boy Scout Eagle Project Hall of Fame on the WCLT web site.

In 2011, WCLT sponsored eleven Eagle Scout service projects. These “Eleven in 2011” Eagle projects created new hiking trails, improved existing trails, and cleared invasive plant species from WCLT properties.

“In order to attain the rank of Eagle, a Scout must complete a service project,” Scott explained. “As part of executing the project, the Scout must demonstrate leadership skills by recruiting other people to contribute time to the project. The project must benefit the Scout’s community, school, or church.”

The “Eleven in 2011” Eagle projects accomplished the following work for WCLT:

  • Dan Buress (100), Dan Murphy (4), and Brian Couthinho (100) removed invasive plants from WCLT’s newest property at Indian Pond, expanding upon work initiated by Ben Roth (100) in 2009.
  • David Whalen (382) removed invasive plants from the Town’s Headwaters Conservation Area at the Andrews Street entrance, helping to preserve an early successional habitat for native plants and animals.
  • Eric Brandt (100) cleaned up an old dump at the Upper Jackstraw Brook Reservation. He is probably the only scout to reach the highest ranks of both the Boy Scouts of America and Scouts Canada.
  • Alex Barnhart (100) exceeded expectations by clearing the entire length of a completely overgrown 0.7 mile trail at the Westborough Wildlife Management Area. WCLT had thought that clearing this trail would require two separate Eagle projects.
  • Mouli Ghandi (100) contributed to the multi-year effort to eradicate invasive species from the WCLT property surrounding Gilmore Pond, part of the Upper Jackstraw Brook Reservation.
  • Sam Mayo (100) repaired the entrance to the Charm Bracelet trail at the Town’s Bowman West Conservation Area.
  • Jake Sanders (4) cleared trails around Hoccomocco Pond, an EPA Superfund Site that has now been cleaned up and is ready for public recreation along its scenic shoreline.
  • Josh Saari (4) created new trails at the WCLT Oak Bluffs property.
  • David Zingher (100) rerouted the Fox Hill Trail near Fisher Street.

Accepting the Pepper Award at the annual meeting on behalf of Westborough’s Boy Scout troops were John Travers (Scoutmaster of Troop 4), Brian Barnhart (Eagle Coach for Troop 100), Frank Yeung (former scoutmaster of Troop 382), and four new Eagle Scouts: Sam Mayo (100), Alex Barnhart (100), Brian Couthinho ( 100), and Josh Saari (4).

“WCLT looks forward to continuing to work in partnership with Westborough’s Boy Scouts for the benefit of our town’s environment,” said WCLT president John Metzger.

Back to top

Find Out Who’s Who

Meet WCLT’s Two New Directors

Members of your land trust who attended the Westborough Community Land Trust (WCLT) annual meeting in June elected two new directors. The new directors are to serve 3-year terms that expire in 2015.

David Jablon
David has lived in Westborough with his wife and children for twenty years, hiking its trails, volunteering as a soccer coach, and occasionally acting as a conservator and gardener of shared spaces. He has worked in Westborough since the 1980s, tending the roots of Banyan Systems, and later developing techniques and standards for personal cryptography.

Bob Nolan
As senior director of marketing communications at Fallon Community Health Plan in Worcester, Bob has extensive experience in developing messages and ideas that lead to sales. He recently completed two terms as president of the Worcester Public Library Foundation board. Soon after moving to town in 2001, Bob and his wife became WCLT members. They live near Mill Pond and regularly enjoy the trails there. Bob commutes to work by bicycle more than 120 days a year. To keep things interesting, he recently became a beekeeper. His two queen bees, Latifah and Polli Nation, are busy creating offspring that are pollinating Westborough’s plant life.

David and Bob replace outgoing members of the Board of Directors, past president Garry Kessler and past secretary Elaine Moore. Directors are elected to 3-year terms with a limit of 3 consecutive terms.

Five Directors Re-elected
Members attending the meeting also re-elected five current directors to 3-year terms on the Board of Directors, with terms to expire in 2015. They are Sue Abladian, Vivian Kimball, John Metzger, Steve Rowell, and Sharon Williams.

Officers & Executive Committee Chosen for 2012–2013
Other important business at the annual meeting included electing officers and members of the executive committee. All are chosen annually from the Board of Directors. The executive committee includes the officers plus two members-at-large.

The 2012–2013 officers and executive committee of WCLT are: John Metzger, president; Sharon Williams, vice president; Marge Fisher, secretary; Allison Johnson Hall, treasurer; Steve Rowell, assistant treasurer; and Sue Abladian and Scott Shumway, members-at-large.

Many thanks go to WCLT’s nominating committee for their conscientious work in proposing a slate of candidates to the membership for election to the Board of Directors, executive committee, and WCLT offices.

Know Your Continuing Directors
The current Board of Directors totals 15 members. The eight continuing directors (and the expiration dates of their terms) are: Mary Casey (2014); Marge Fisher (2014); Mark Fox (2014); Allison Johnson Hall (2013); Maureen Johnson (2013); Rickey Lopatin, (2013); Scott Shumway (2013); and Kelly Thomas (2014).

Back to top

Charm Bracelet Makes Westborough Desirable

Charm Bracelet logo

It’s no secret to WCLT members and residents of Westborough, but the word is getting around: the Charm Bracelet makes Westborough a desirable place to live.

This summer Westborough’s Charm Bracelet trail system was highlighted in the snapshot description of Westborough as the ninth best community (out of 72) in central Massachusetts. The ranking comes from the Central Mass Best Communities list developed by GoLocalWorcester, a digital media business that delivers local news and information:

“While more urban than some other Central Mass towns, the Westborough Community Land Trust oversees 15 different sets of walking trails, called the ‘Charm Bracelet.’ When completed, the 28-mile loop around the town will connect every open space, recreation area, school and neighborhood.”

Also featured in the snapshot description was Westborough’s access to commuter rail, Route 9, and Route 495, which makes the town “an ideal commuter location.”

The eight towns ranked more highly than Westborough were Worcester (1), Harvard (2), Shrewsbury (3), Hopkinton (4), Paxton (5), Northborough (6), Holden (7), and Sutton (8).

Click here to read the June 29, 2012 article about Westborough.

Check out the Charm Bracelet trails at http://www.westboroughcharm.org/.

Back to top

Giant swallowtails cited as evidence of climate change

WCLT Member Spots New Butterfly in Town

Giant Swallowtail
Photo courtesy of Nancy Burke

These days we’re used to worrying about the loss of wildlife from our area, but sometimes we also gain new wildlife, possibly due to climate change. In August, WCLT member Nan Burke may have been the first person in Westborough to report and photograph a new butterfly in town.

“I was looking out my window and saw an unusual butterfly dining at my purple butterfly bushes for a couple of hours,” Nan said. “After some research, I found that it was a giant swallowtail butterfly, which is unusual in this area, but has been recently found in western Mass.”

Nan grabbed a camera and snapped a few pictures. She reported her sighting on WCLT’s Sightings page on August 18.

Giant Swallowtail
Photo courtesy of Nancy Burke

Giant swallowtails (Papilio cresphontes) are found year-round in Florida and are common in the southeastern U.S. and Mexico. But they’re rarer northward. In recent years, they have appeared in western Massachusetts, in locations such at Bartholomew’s Cobble near the Connecticut line. Occasionally they have also been reported in central and eastern Massachusetts.

These butterflies are about the size of the largest of our eastern tiger swallowtails (Papilio glaucus). When sipping nectar, they often flap their wings to balance themselves at a flower, instead landing and sitting still. Plants in the rue/citrus family serve as food plants for their caterpillars.

As it turns out, giant swallowtails are hot news. They served as a prime example when butterflies made news this summer as “canaries in the coal mine” that can provide warnings with respect to climate change. A Harvard study published in August showed that southern butterflies are shifting their ranges northward.

Giant swallowtails and another butterfly, the fiery skipper (Hylephila phyleus), are noted as evidence that southern butterflies have been moving into Massachusetts. See the Nightly News television pieces:

The authors of the Harvard study estimated population trends for nearly all butterfly species in Massachusetts (100 of 116 species), based on 19 years of data collected by the Massachusetts Butterfly Club. According to the study, their results “suggest that a major, climate-induced shift of North American butterflies, characterized by northward expansions of warm-adapted and retreat of cold- adapted species, is underway.”

And we can see it happening right here in Westborough.

Back to top

A canoe and three kayaks travel the Sudbury River to Cedar Swamp Pond

WCLT’s Cedar Swamp Paddle Adventure

												paddle the Sudbury RIver
Photo courtesy of Jim Lagerbom
Janet and Warren Anderson paddle the Sudbury River between Fruit Street and Cedar Swamp Pond

Late April usually presents a rare opportunity to visit Westborough’s Cedar Swamp Pond. It’s a time when the water is high enough to allow a trip by canoe or kayak—and 2012 was no exception. WCLT member Janet Anderson led a small group of intrepid paddlers, including her own family, to the remote pond in Cedar Swamp via the Sudbury River on Sunday afternoon, April 29.

The group included one canoe and three kayaks.

“It was nice weather for paddling, not too cold and not too hot. We had very low water but it was just passable in the narrowest channels,” Janet reported. “High winds on the pond made it very difficult to explore the pond itself, although one couple paddled all the way around the perimeter.”

“Only one person got wet,” Janet noted. “He hit a tree and tipped, right before we pulled out at the end of the trip.”

A pair of wood ducks
Photo courtesy of Garry Kessler
A pair of wood ducks

Highlights of the trip included wildlife sightings, including “lots of painted turtles and a pair of wood ducks,” Janet said. “We saw the big beaver lodge, but the dam seems to have disappeared. I suspect it was swept away by the heavy rain the week before.”

Janet, who is involved in WCLT’s purple loosestrife biocontrol project using loosestrife-eating beetles, took the opportunity to check out the invasive purple loosestrife coming up around Cedar Swamp Pond.

“There is a great deal of purple loosestrife in the wetlands around the pond,” she observed. “I was just thinking what a wonderful release site for the biocontrol beetles this would be, when I saw a few eaten leaves in one area. I looked closer, and there were a few loosestrife-eating Galerucella beetles on the plants. Not a lot, but with time maybe they will multiply. It was nice to see them there. I don’t think we have released anywhere near there, so they are doing some good traveling on their own!”

Galerucella beetle 
												on loosestrife
Photo courtesy of Janet Anderson
Galerucella beetle feeding on purple loosestrife leaves

To get to Cedar Swamp Pond on the Sudbury River, the group put their boats in the water near the bridge on Fruit Street (about 1/8 mile southwest of Flanders Road on the Westborough-Hopkinton border), adjacent to the commuter rail line. They passed through conservation property, paralleled the Mass Pike, crossed under I-90 and I-495, and then headed inland into the heart of Cedar Swamp to reach the pond, which is part of the headwaters of the Sudbury River.

There was much less water in the river only a few weeks later, as is typical in late spring. “I don’t think anyone will be paddling it again until next spring,” Janet commented.

In early May, WCLT member Don Burn led a well-attended walk from Bay State Commons to a vantage point in Cedar Swamp that offered a view of the pond.

People also sometimes find it possible to hike to Cedar Swamp Pond in the dead of winter, if the swamp is frozen solid enough for walking. During the rest of the year, the swampy ground is usually too wet to allow people to approach the pond on foot.

Back to top

WCLT’s Westborough Purple Loosestrife Biocontrol Project Update

Galerucella beetle
Purple loosestrife-eating Galerucella beetle

Biocontrol of purple loosestrife is under way in Westborough. WCLT’s Westborough Purple Loosestrife Biocontrol Project is scheduled for its fifth and final year in 2012–2013. Last spring WCLT volunteers were pleased to have help from the Westborough High School environmental club, also known as the E-club.

Purple loosestrife-eating Galerucella beetles appear to be establishing populations in the wild, as intended. These leaf-eating beetles have been released at only a few selected sites, but people have been noticing purple loosestrife plants with chewed leaves in many parts of town. The beetles spread when they fly off to find loosestrife plants at two different points in their year-long life cycle—when they first emerge from the soil as beetles (after transforming from their larval stage) in July, and then again in the following May after overwintering in the soil.

Read all about WCLT’s project in the recent article, “Biocontrol Comes of Age,” in Massachusetts Wildlife magazine (No. 3, 2011).

Back to top