Westborough Land Trust NEWS
Fall 2013

Read About . . .

A profile of the new president

Scott Shumway becomes WCLT president [MORE]

Attracting butterflies and gardening in dry conditions

Lessons from the WCLT Butterfly Garden [MORE]

New Faces on the Board

Meet WCLT’s Five New Directors [MORE]

Stewardship News

New Charm Bracelet Trail Completed between Gilmore and Libbey [MORE]

A profile of the new president

Scott Shumway becomes WCLT president
by Kris Allen

Scott Shumway

From lush rain forests in Costa Rica to a wind-swept barrier beach off Cape Cod, from sand dunes to Westborough’s vernal pools, complex ecosystems have long intrigued Scott Shumway, the newly elected president of the Westborough Community Land Trust (WCLT). He routinely shares his fascination with the natural world with the people of Westborough, as well as with the students he teaches as professor of biology at Wheaton College.

“I can’t recall any time in my life when I didn’t have an interest in nature,” says Scott, a native of Springfield, MA. “I remember my grandmother naming certain flowers and teaching me to identify mockingbirds and purple martins. I also spent time going on nature walks with guides at the Laughing Brook Audubon Sanctuary.” To this day, Scott remains an avid hiker, birdwatcher, and beachcomber with a contagious delight in exploring nature’s mysteries.

Which one is a youthful Scott Shumway?
Which one is a youthful Scott Shumway?

A double major in biology and environmental studies at Tufts University laid the groundwork for his studies. Scott holds a doctorate in ecology and evolutionary biology from Brown University and joined Wheaton’s faculty in 1991. His wide-ranging research includes coastal plant communities, coral reef communities, vernal pools, and tropical rain forest plants.

“I have conducted research on ecosystems and species that I found to be exotic and interesting, including salt marsh grasses, sand dune plants, and vernal pool amphibians,” Scott notes.

Scott with his son Cooper at Lamanai, Belize
Scott with his son Cooper at Lamanai, Belize

Field study on Hummingbird Cay in the Bahamas as an undergraduate sparked Scott’s interest in tropical ecosystems. Scott offers his students a similar field experience during a two-week course in tropical biology in Belize and in Costa Rica. To enhance this study, Scott co-created Rainforest Plants (2009), a web-based teaching tool for students, researchers, and ecotourists.

Closer to home, Scott’s decades of research on the ecosystems of the Atlantic coast resulted in his book, The Naturalist’s Guide to the Atlantic Seashore: Beach Ecology from the Gulf of Maine to Cape Hatteras (2008). This field guide to the beach is the only comprehensive guide describing coastal and marine communities of this seashore. Approximately 300 photographs—many taken by Scott—illustrate the in-depth introduction to Atlantic coastal plants, wildlife, and ocean creatures.

Westborough has benefitted from Scott’s field research as well. A founder of the Wheaton College Vernal Pool Research Team, Scott has supervised students’ research projects on local conservation lands. These studies have culminated in certification of more than 40 vernal pools in Westborough and Norton, MA. Scott also volunteered his professional expertise to serve on Westborough’s Conservation Commission from 1998–2004 and on the Open Space Preservation Committee from 2002–2008.

At Philmont
At Philmont

Westborough residents since 1995, Scott and his wife Lisa are active in the Westborough Unitarian Universalist Church and Boy Scout Troop 100. Scott enjoys hiking New England’s trails, particularly with his son Cooper. Last year they completed a 70-mile backpacking trek at the Philmont Scout Reservation in New Mexico.

“Hiking the trails of Westborough’s Charm Bracelet is great exercise for tackling more challenging terrains,” says Scott. “Many people don’t realize the beauty and diversity that these 26 miles of trails offer in our backyard. Over the past two years I have probably hiked every trail in Westborough.”

Scott became a director of WCLT in 2007 and has been very active in WCLT public programs and trail stewardship. His popular programs include a tour of downtown trees, a spring bird walk, a paddle on Mill Pond, as well as talks on vernal pools and invasive plants. Scott also helped to clear and now maintains the Charm Bracelet trail through Wile and Libbey Forests off Adams Street.

“As president of Westborough Community Land Trust, I plan to increase membership, encourage more active engagement, and protect additional open space for public enjoyment,” says Scott. “I love to be outdoors, to constantly learn more about the natural world and then share my passion for nature with other people.”

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Attracting butterflies and gardening in dry conditions

Kathy Leblanc

Lessons from the WCLT Butterfly Garden
by Kathy Leblanc

Editor's Note: Life-long gardener and WCLT member Kathy Leblanc planned and created the WCLT Butterfly Garden and has almost single-handedly maintained it for the past 12 years. The Butterfly Garden has a wild rather than manicured look, as befits its location in a Town conservation area.

The WCLT Butterfly Garden, which has now been in existence since 2001, was conceived as a certificate project in Native Plant Studies for the New England Wild Flower Society. It was also designed to enhance the entrance of the Headwaters Conservation Area (HCA) at Andrews Street.

A Challenging Location

  • Challenges of the area were the sandy and rocky soil, the slope of the land which led to the beginning of erosion due to of lack of vegetation, and the presence of oriental honeysuckle and other invasive plants.
  • Past uses of the area were as a pig farm and a gravel pit.

Garden Beginnings

  • The plan was to use plants loving well-drained soil and lots of sun and, as much as possible (but not exclusively), native plants that attract butterflies. The hope was to have something always in bloom.
  • Time for planning and carrying out the first phase of the garden was about 12 months.
  • Many rocks had to be dug out of garden. They were put to good use as garden border and as warm resting places for butterflies.
  • Almost all the work was done by one person.

Garden Plan

  • The Garden was planted mostly with perennials and occasional annuals that attract butterflies. Plants were chosen to serve as nectar plants for adult butterflies and as host plants for butterfly caterpillars.
  • Original size 25' by 10'. Later expanded to 40' by 10'.
  • The garden was loosely fenced in to delineate borders but to allow maximum visibility.

Butterfly Garden

The Plants

In the following lists:
* indicates caterpillar host plants
** indicates butterfly nectar plants

Plants that proved most successful in this very dry environment over the long term are:


  • Symphyotrichum novi-belgii (New York Aster) * **
  • Baptisia australis (False Blue Indigo) *
  • Buddleja davidii (Butterfly Bush) **
  • Ceanothus americanus (New Jersey Tea) * **
  • Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) **
  • Hemerocallis fulva (Daylily) **
  • Leucanthemum × superbum (Shasta Daisy) **
  • Liatris novae-angliae (New England Blazing Star) **
  • Monarda didyma (Bee Balm) * **
  • Rudbeckia hirta (Black-eyed Susan) **
  • Vaccinium angustifolium (Lowbush Blueberry) **
  • Vernonia noveboracensis (New York Ironweed) **


  • Lantana camara (Lantana) **
  • Tagetes patula (French Marigold) * **
  • Zinnia elegans (Zinnia) **

Volunteer plants that came into the Garden by themselves

  • Anaphalis margaritacea (Pearly everlasting) *
  • Rudbeckia hirta (Black-eyed Susan) **

What didn’t work? Plants tried in the garden but found to be less successful include Aquilegia canadensis (Wild Columbine), Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Weed), Coreopsis verticillata ‘Moonbeam’ (Moonbeam Coreopsis), Solidago rugosa (Roughstem Goldenrod), and Viola pedata (Birdfoot Violet).

Garden Maintenance

  • The major problem has been access to water, especially for new plantings. Once established, plants were hardier. Water frequently had to be carried in. A neighbor kindly volunteered access to her water supply.
  • Some maintenance is required each year, but less than at first. New plantings and annuals require frequent watering.
  • Weeding is kept to a minimum except for Spirea tomentosa, oriental honeysuckle, and wild raspberry.
  • Over 12 intervening years open land has filled in, and erosion is no longer a problem. Grasses fill in much of space between plants and prevent erosion.

The Butterflies

Butterflies and a moth that have been observed in garden include:

American Copper
American Copper
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Great Spangled Fritillary
Great Spangled Fritillary
  • American Copper
  • American Painted Lady
  • Cabbage White
  • Clouded Sulphur
  • Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
  • European Skipper
  • Great Spangled Fritillary
  • Juvenal’s Duskywing
  • Leonardus Skipper
  • Monarch
  • Mustard White
  • Pearl Crescent
  • Red Admiral
  • Silvery Wing
  • Hummingbird Clearwing Moth
Hummingbird Clearwing Moth
Hummingbird Clearwing Moth

The Future

The Butterfly Garden is relatively stable with established plants. Some years a few new plants are added. Annuals are sometimes planted to fill in and maintain interest. Without regular supervision, though, spirea, honeysuckle and other unwanted plants push their way into the garden.

The Butterfly Garden is an ongoing project. As someone has wisely said, “Garden is a verb!”

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New Faces on the Board

Meet WCLT’s Five New Directors

Five new directors joined the Westborough Community Land Trust (WCLT) board of directors as of the annual meeting in June. They are Warren Anderson, Stephanie Garrett, Darcy Lane, Christopher Sassetti, and Carolyn Spring.

Warren Anderson

Warren Anderson
Warren Anderson and his family have lived in Westborough since 1997, the same year WCLT formed. The Andersons have been frequent participants in WCLT events, such as trail walks, invasive species removal projects, and the litter clean up.

Warren received the 2011 WCLT President’s Award in recognition of his work in bringing all of the town’s Boy Scout units together to remove invasive honeysuckle from the land around WCLT’s Gilmore Pond, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America in 2010. He currently serves as the chartered organization representative for three Boy Scout units in town, coordinating their leadership and maintaining continuity of their programs.

From their home on Lake Chauncy, the Anderson family makes frequent treks into the woods and fields of the nearby Westboro Wildlife Management Area. The recreational aspects of open space preservation are important to him, but Warren feels equally strongly about the natural and cultural benefits.

“Preserving open space not only maintains wildlife habitat and vegetation, but also preserves history. A walk through the woods provides a glimpse into the past, whether that is the life of an early farmer, the shape of the land before modern human habitation, or the geological history of the region.”

In his professional life, Warren is a design engineering fellow at Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) in Boxborough. Besides his day-to-day management responsibilities, Warren is currently the technical program chair for the 2013 EOS/ESD Symposium. In the past, he has served as the workshop chair for the symposium as well as the management committee chair for the 2011 International ESD Workshop.

Stephanie Garrett

Stephanie Garrett
Stephanie Garrett has been a sixth grade teacher in Westborough for 12 years and is a long-term resident of Westford, Massachusetts. She has taught every subject but especially loves science and English language arts.

A few years ago, she took part in a summer professional development opportunity in Concord, Mass. This two week sabbatical, called the Walden Woods Project, recruited teachers from all over Massachusetts to create place-based curriculum for the middle grades based on Henry David Thoreau and the natural history of Massachusetts.

“I absolutely loved this experience because it marked a paradigm shift in my thinking about how teachers could use the space beyond the walls of the classroom. I co-wrote a curriculum guide as part of this course with a colleague based on the place-based philosophy and later wrote a grant called The Mill Pond Protector’s Project to further the place-based experience for students at Westborough’s Mill Pond school. The Walden Woods curriculum I co-wrote won an award from the Sudbury River Trustees Commission, and the Mill Pond Protector’s Project curriculum was handed to every grade-level team in the building to use as a classroom and/or place-based resource.

“I am especially inspired by Henry David Thoreau. I explicitly teach my students how he lived and how his scientific journals are still considered to be excellent primary sources for climate scientists studying climate change in this region. I deeply believe in connecting kids to nature so that they can be the future stewards of our natural world.

“I visit the trails behind our schools often with as many students as I can to teach them about the chestnut tree blight and the lessons we can learn from our past mistakes. Identifying trees, birds, and their vocalizations is absolutely thrilling to my students. And quite honestly, every single time I see a kid’s face light up when they discover a mass of wood frog eggs in the river, or the wak wak wak of a pileated woodpecker, I am happy because I know that nature can teach if you let it.”

Stephanie has a BS degree in education from Salem State University and a M. ED degree in educational curricula from Tufts University.

Darcy Lane

Darcy Lane
Darcy Lane and her family have lived in Westborough for many years. She previously served on the Westborough Education Foundation board of directors and has been an active volunteer for the Westborough Library and the town’s Senior Center. Darcy is passionate about the environment and the need to preserve open space in our community.

Christopher Sassetti

Christopher Sassetti
Christopher Sassetti and his family moved to Westborough in 2004. They are frequent users of the trails in town and value the preservation of open space. The WCLT trails are one of the reasons they moved to Westborough, and they very much want to see them maintained and expanded.

Chris coaches in the Westborough youth soccer program and is active with the Unitarian Universalist congregation.

He is an associate professor at UMass Medical School.

Carolyn Spring
Carolyn Spring has lived with her family in Westborough for more than 25 years. She strongly supports the mission of WCLT.

When her children were younger, about once a month the family would hike at Walkup, the Andrews/Nourse property, and the Bowman Conservation Area. She and her husband would point out the different wildlife, the beaver dams, trail markings, animal tracks, and vegetation. She wants other families, young and old, to be able to enjoy hikes in town.

Carolyn is active with the Rotary Club of Westborough (board member-director), Westborough Cultural Council, Westborough Public Library (trustee), 100th Town Chorus, and Knox Trail Council-Boy Scouts (Eagle Scout boards of review).

She is an attorney specializing in estate planning and elder law. She practices in Westborough.

Know the Continuing Directors
The five new directors join the ten continuing directors: Bob Nolan, David Jablon, John Metzger, Kelly Thomas, Marjorie Fisher, Mark Fox, Mary Casey, Scott Shumway, Sue Abladian, and Steve Rowell.

Outgoing members of the board of directors are: Allison Johnson Hall, Maureen Johnson, Vivian Kimball, Ricky Lopatin, and Sharon Williams.

Officers & Executive Committee Chosen for 2013–2014
Officers and members of the executive committee for 2013–2014 were elected at the annual meeting. All are chosen annually from the board of directors. The executive committee includes the officers plus two members at large.

They are: Scott Shumway, president; John Metzger, vice president; Marge Fisher, secretary; Kelly Thomas, treasurer; Steve Rowell, assistant treasurer; Robert Nolan and Susan Abladian, members at large.

Thanks to the Nominating Committee
Many thanks go to WCLT’s nominating committee for their work in proposing candidates for election to the board of directors, executive committee, and WCLT offices. Mary Casey chaired this year’s nominating committee, which included Darcy Lane, Bob Nolan, Chris Senie, and Kelly Thomas. Scott Shumway served as consultant.

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Stewardship News

New Charm Bracelet Trail Completed between Gilmore and Libbey

Gilmore Pond

Stewardship Committee chair Marge Fisher reports that on Saturday, September 14, a work party consisting of Scott Shumway, Warren Anderson, Mark Fox, Al Sanborn, and herself completed the trail and blazed the newest segment of the Charm Bracelet. The new trail goes between WCLT’s Gilmore Pond and the Town’s Libbey Conservation Area, eliminating the need to walk on the street between these two destinations.

Blazing the trail
Blazing the trail

“Many thanks to the Land Preservation Committee for finalizing the Staffier easement that makes this trail possible,” Marge says, “and to Stewardship members Jerry Breecher (chainsaw and GPS), Brian O’Keefe and his two boys Michael and Andrew, Mark Fox, Al Sanborn (string trimming), and myself for prep work on the trail route.”

The new trail is a quarter (0.25) mile long and runs from the southwest corner of the Gilmore Pond property to the Adams Street entrance to the Libbey Conservation Area. The trail route is marked with the familiar diamond-shaped Charm Bracelet signs. It crosses private property so walkers are asked to stay on the trail. Marge points out that “a few large boulders along the way are suitable for leaning or perching on for a meditative rest.”

As yet unnamed, the new trail will be added to WCLT’s maps of the area in the near future.

Tossing the net
Tossing the sampling net

The Stewardship Committee is also monitoring the water quality of Gilmore Pond. WCLT president Scott Shumway, who is professor of biology at Wheaton College, has enlisted two senior honors thesis students to help in this effort. Students Anne Bennett and Sarah Moore will be testing the water at Gilmore as well as two similarly sized ponds for comparison.

Collecting the sample
Collecting the sample

As a final note regarding the Gilmore/Upper Jackstraw Brook area, Marge says, “We are very grateful that Boy Scout Troop 382 has become stewards of the property. They will be performing monitoring and maintenance projects two to three times per year. Their first work party was on September 5th.”

Marge also notes that Al Sanborn has done extraordinary work through the summer mowing and string trimming. “For this we are grateful indeed!”

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