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The Land Trust News | Spring 2015

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Wanted: Six New Board Members

We are currently seeking to add six new members to the WCLT Board of Directors for the coming year (starting in June).

The Board of Directors governs WCLT, but various committees (Education, Stewardship, Outreach, and Land Preservation) do much of the real work. Board members serve three-year terms with a limit of nine years.

The Board meets once a month from September through June. Directors are expected to participate in the activities of one of the committees.

Whatever your skills are, we can find a use for them. The only requirement is a passion for protecting open space.

As president, I am working to grow our membership, cultivate an actively engaged membership, acquire a major piece of property, and create a new corporate membership category. If you would like to work with me to achieve these goals or have dreams for WCLT that you would like to bring to fruition, please consider serving on the Board of Directors.

To explore serving on the Board, please contact me to set up a time to talk. Nominating Committee members Warren Anderson (chair), Bob Nolan, and Vince Aquilino would also be happy to talk with you about the Board.

Scott Shumway, WCLT President

[winter hikers]

Pat Lambert (in purple) and Kim Beauchemin co-led an AMC Charm Bracelet hike at the Walkup & Robinson Reservation on Valentine's Day. Photos by Kim Beauchemin


Have you ever thought about hiking Westborough's entire Charm Bracelet trail, section by section? Well, the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) has!

This year, for the first time the Worcester Chapter of the AMC is offering a series of hikes, “Redlining the Charm Bracelet.” The hikes will take place throughout the year – one or two each month – and will cover all sections of the Charm Bracelet. "Redlining" means marking off trails on a map as you finish hiking them. That's how hikers can measure progress against their goal of completing all trails in an area.

Westborough's Charm Bracelet trail system consists of a nearly complete loop around town of roughly 28 miles, plus many more miles of side trails connecting open spaces, recreation areas, schools, and neighborhoods, and links to trails in neighboring towns.

“This gem of a trail is located in or near our own backyards,” says Pat Lambert, a Westborough resident who originated this AMC series of Charm Bracelet hikes. She is past chair of the Worcester Chapter of AMC, as well as a member and former director of the Westborough Community Land Trust (WCLT).

There is no charge for participating in the hikes, and you do not have to be a member of AMC. The length of the hikes will vary, depending on the section of Charm Bracelet being covered. Most will be between three and 10 miles long.

Participants who hike all the Charm Bracelet sections will receive special recognition from the Chapter and from the Westborough Community Land Trust (WCLT), which builds and maintains Charm Bracelet trails. These participants will also receive Charm Bracelet trail markers provided by WCLT.

Four hikes in AMC's Charm Bracelet series have already taken place. The first was in Libbey-Wile (trail map) in January, the second at the Westboro Wildlife Management Area (trail map) in early February, and the third at the Sudbury Valley Trustees (SVT) Walkup & Robinson Reservation (trail map) on a snowy Valentine's Day. Eight people, including three Westborough residents, buckled on their snowshoes and attended the Walkup & Robinson hike. Pat Lambert and AMC member Kim Beauchemin led the hike. The fourth hike in late March was at SUASCO (the Mill Pond/Headwaters Conservation Area). (trail map)

Pat notes that hikes in these areas are likely to be repeated in the future, “so people who aren't into snowshoeing can participate.”

AMC has nine leaders lined up to head hikes in the series. Before each hike, its leader will check out the section of trail being covered and become familiar with the terrain and the area.

The next hike is scheduled for Thursday, April 23 at the Sudbury Valley Trustees Cedar Hill and Sawink Farm reservations. (Trail map)

As details are finalized, each hike will be posted on the AMC Worcester Chapter's web site (www.amcworcester.org) and an e-mail will be sent to people who have signed up to be notified.

Would you like to participate or find out more? To be placed on the list to receive e-mail notices of these hikes as they are scheduled, or for answers to your questions, contact Pat Lambert.

Many thanks to the Worcester Chapter of AMC and to Pat for creating this wonderful opportunity for people in Westborough and beyond to explore the Charm Bracelet.

[earth day clean up]

A team from H&S Environmental took part in last year's clean-up.


Save the date: April 25
Join WCLT's 17th Earth Day Clean-up

Help make Westborough greener and cleaner after all the snow! Join WCLT's 17th annual town-wide Earth Day Clean-up on Saturday, April 25, rain or shine, at these times and locations:
6:30 a.m. at Westmeadow Plaza traffic island (Rt. 9/135)
6:30 a.m. at Bellows Road and Rt. 9:30 (behind St. Mary's Credit Union)
9:30 a.m. at Lake Chauncy Beach (Trash bags and maps showing littered areas in town will be distributed to participants.)

If you can't participate on April 25, consider picking up litter on another day. Or rally your friends, neighbors, youth group, or co-workers to clean up an area that needs it.

If you have any questions or recommendations regarding sites in town in need of litter cleaning, please either call 508-446-7790 or e-mail clean-up coordinator Bruce Tretter.

[meet the raptors]

Tom Ricardi. Photo by Jeff Kimball


Most of the time, if you get to see a bird of prey at all, the raptor is far up in the sky or perched in a tree among branches and foliage, but on Saturday, March 28, more than 220 people attended Westborough Community Land Trust's (WCLT) live animal event, “Meet the Raptors,” to get a good, close look at some of these magnificent birds.

Wildlife biologist and licensed rehabilitator Tom Ricardi returned to Westborough for a double showing of live raptors after his popular 2011 presentation. Adults and many eager children filled the Knights of Columbus Hall for both sessions. The audiences enjoyed seeing and learning about a great horned owl, a red-phase eastern screech owl, a Eurasian eagle-owl, a Harris's hawk, a kestrel, a golden eagle, and a red-tailed hawk. Tom walked slowly around the hall with each raptor on his arm for everyone to see. The audience was amused when the very large Eurasian eagle-owl nibbled gently at Tom's ear.

Tom noted that he does not give his birds names because they are wild animals, not pets. He explained that all the raptors shown had been rehabilitated after injuries but would no longer be able to survive in the wild so they cannot be released. He also emphasized the need to preserve wild species of birds and other animals and their habitats both here and around the world.

Tom runs the Massachusetts Birds of Prey Rehabilitation Center in Conway, MA. There he cares for 75 injured birds and runs a captive-breeding program.

WCLT was pleased to bring this live animal event to Westborough with support from the Westborough Newcomers Club and the Westborough Cultural Council, a local agency supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.


[snow at sawink farm]

This winter's deep snow in the woods at Sawink Farm
Photo by Marge Fisher

“With so much snow on the trails, it's hard to know what's ahead of us,” reports Marge Fisher, chair of the Stewardship Committee. Undaunted, she supplies a view of what the committee is likely to be doing in 2015 once conditions permit.

• Bridge reconstruction. The biggest project for this year will likely be some major reconstruction of the bridge on the Malley Trail at Orlando's. Beaver activity has been backing up that brook and undercutting the banks. (Trail map)

• Trail building. Plans will be in the works to create a trail through the newly obtained Orchard Swamp parcel (from NGRID). The trail would run from behind the Haskell Street ball fields easterly toward East Main Street just north of the NGRID transformer yard. (Trail map – but note that the area described is mostly off the bottom of the map)

• Trail clean-up. A work party or two will be needed to tidy up all the trails at the Bowman Conservation Area in preparation for a “grand reopening.” (Trail map)

• Invasive removal. Keeping after the invasive plants along the edge of Gilmore Pond is among the ongoing projects. “This work really opens up some beautiful views,” Marge notes. (Trail map)

• Scout projects. Finally, the Stewardship Committee will continue to work with both the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts on Eagle, Gold, and Silver award projects.

If you are interested in volunteering to help the Stewardship Committee with any of these projects, or to serve on the committee, please contact Marge.


AMC Charm Bracelet Hiking Series

Earth Day Clean-up

Meet the Raptors

Stewardship News


[baby fox]

WCLT Sightings Are Moving to Facebook

Have you seen an unusual bird, or a baby fox? Or maybe the deer have come to visit your backyard, or an amazing flower has just bloomed! Now, you can post your Sightings on WCLT's Facebook page! Sightings is moving from the WCLT web site to the WCLT Facebook page for easier posting and sharing.

You'll see that WCLT president Scott Shumway has already been posting there to share some of his own local sightings and nature adventures!

There are two ways to post your own sightings:

1. Post right on the WCLT Facebook page.
If you belong to Facebook, you can just go ahead and post your sightings. Don't forget to upload your photo!

2. Send an email.
If you don't belong to Facebook, send an e-mail with your story and photo to WCLT and we'll post for you.

With the arrival of spring, we look forward to lots of nature sightings – plants, insects, animals, landscapes – in Westborough!


For more information, visit us on the web at the WCLT website or on Facebook

APRIL 2015

Redlining the Charm Bracelet: SVT Cedar Hill and Sawink Farm
Thursday, April 23
SVT Cedar Hill and Sawink Farm
For details on this AMC Charm Bracelet hike, see this AMC Worcester Chapter web page.
Contact: Pat Lambert

Earth Day Town-wide Clean-up
Saturday, April 25
6:30 am – West Meadow Plaza (Rt. 135) or Bellows Rd
9:30 am – Lake Chauncy parking lot, Lyman St
Join the annual town-wide litter clean-up sponsored by WCLT. Volunteer with your family, friends, youth group, neighbors, or co-workers. Wear gloves, long sleeves, and sturdy shoes. Trash bags will be provided.
Contact: earthday

MAY 2015

Knowing Our Wild Edibles: Finding, Growing, Eating
Sunday, May 31 1:30 – 3 pm
Mass Fish & Wildlife Headquarters, Rabbit Hill
Walk with Dan Jaffe of the New England Wild Flower Society (NEWFS) at the Westboro Wildlife Management Area to learn about wild plants that can feed us and related issues of sustainability and conservation.
(Trail map)
Contact: events

JUNE 2015

National Trails Day Hike
Saturday, June 6
9 am
Sawink Farm Reservation, Walker Street
Celebrate this day with a 5-mile hike from Sawink Farm, through MWRA's open meadow, over Cedar Hill (with wonderful views of Westborough), through Crane Swamp with its great biodiversity, and back through the treatment plant to climb the newest trails over Walnut Hill. If time permits there may be a short diversion to the open channel of the Wachusett Aqueduct before returning to Sawink Farm.
(Trail map)
Contact: events

WCLT Annual Meeting: “Epic Journeys”
Monday, June 15
7 – 9 pm St. Luke's Parish Hall
Ruggles Street
See the stunning video, “Epic Journeys” by Shawn Carey and Jim Grady, about the amazing long-distance migrations between the northern and southern hemispheres by three shorebird species (red knot, piping plover, semipalmated sandpiper) that can be seen on Massachusetts' ocean beaches. Program followed by reception, refreshments, and Annual Meeting business.
Contact: events

Westborough Community Land Trust
PO Box 383  |  Westborough Massachusetts  |  01581