WCLT 2018 Fall Newsletter

A Word from the President

To Leash or Not to Leash?
My original plan for the fall newsletter was to share hopes and goals for WCLT over the next few years, and many beyond that. This plan grew from a day-long retreat held at the Warren Conference Center and Inn, Framingham State University in May 2018. Board and committee volunteers came together to discuss challenges, and brainstorm solutions, strategies, and tasks. One of my favorite outcomes was support and excitement that the Stewardship committee (Chair: Keith Martin) is pushing forward changes to the Gilmore Pond Trail. I am, however, saving those thoughts and details for the spring e-newsletter. Here instead, a bit about dogs and leashes from current WCLT policies and perspectives.
A few pieces of background information:
1) WCLT owns 170+ acres across 7 regions (click here for list of properties) . Some of our properties have trails; others do not. On the lands we own, we permit many activities including walking dogs on leashes or under the owner's voice control.
2) WCLT also builds and maintains trails on properties we do not own. This includes trails where private property owners have granted us permission, and trails of the Charm Bracelet network. Trails that are part of the Charm Bracelet currently run through a mixture of private property, Town property, state property, and other properties. For example, the trails at Mill Pond are on Town and WCLT property, as well as state Department of Conservation & Recreation (DCR) property.
You may wonder, “What does that actually have to do with dogs and leashes?” And I would answer: Because our trails run across properties that we own and those that we do not own, WCLT maintains a single policy that is consistent with easements, the Town’s 2017 bylaws, and similar conservation groups. The answer to “To leash or not to leash” is thus decided by the dog owner, not by WCLT. We promote maximal, responsible, and flexible use of properties and trails. All people are welcome to enjoy WCLT properties and trails, whether they answer yes to leash or not.
Gillian Beamer president@westboroughlandtrust.org

Call for New Board, LPC, & Nominating Committee Members

WCLT needs you!

Would you like to make a difference at WCLT?  If so, please consider joining the WCLT Board of Directors, the Land Preservation Committee (LPC), or the Nominating Committee. WCLT president Gillian Beamer reports that these important committees would like to consider volunteers who are interested in these openings:

Board of Directors – one director 
Contact: Gillian Beamer president@westboroughlandtrust.org
Chris Sassetti vice-president@westboroughlandtrust.org 
Vince Aquilino  nominating@westboroughlandtrust.org

Land Preservation Committee (LPC) – one or more members 
Contact: Don Burn landpreservation@westboroughlandtrust.org
Adam Last landpreservation@westboroughlandtrust.org

Nominating Committee – one or more member.
Contact: Vince Aquilino  nominating@westboroughlandtrust.org

What do the Board and these committees do?
The Board of Directors oversees the activities of the land trust, and along with several committees, runs the organization. The Board meets monthly and currently consists of 11 members.

The Land Preservation Committee works with landowners, homeowner associations, and the Westborough Planning Board to protect or acquire open space in various ways. Prior experience with land protection, property law, or land appraisal is desirable but not required for committee members, as is the ability to interact with landowners. 

The Nominating Committee finds people to serve on the Board. Most of the work takes place during a few meetings in late winter.

Board of Directors 2018-2019
Gillian Beamer, President 
Christopher Sassetti, Vice President  
Marjorie Fisher, Secretary 
Kelly Thomas, Treasurer 
Warren Anderson, Member at Large
Adam Last, Member at Large
Vince Aquilino • Ellen Bishop • Pete Dunbeck • Michelle Scerbin • Karen Yeowell
Thanks to WCLT’s Business Partners

Once again, we thank our five business partners: EMSEAL Corporation, Pearson Advisory Investor Relations, Thomas Financial Associates, Arturo's Ristorante, and Julio's Liquors.  Their support helps WCLT to preserve and protect more land and to offer trails and educational programs to the greater Westborough and Central Mass communities.

How can your organization join WCLT as a business partner? Find out more by checking the business partner page on the WCLT web site.
or just contact us: bizpartners@westboroughlandtrust.org.
Earth-friendly Gardening – Annual Meeting Talk

How can we create lovely, hardy gardens and landscapes that are good for the environment, save energy, use less water, help pollinators, and are sustainable?  Some recommendations came at WCLT’s Annual Meeting in June from guest speaker Mark Richardson of the New England Wild Flower Society (NEWFS). He oversees the NEWFS botanic garden at Garden in the Woods in Framingham and the NEWFS native plant nursery at Nasami Farm in Whately, MA.

Mark listed three principles of earth-friendly gardening:
  1. Plant so that plants – especially native plants – cover the ground. “Emulate natural plant communities to conserve resources.”
  2. Plant healthy native plants for healthy soils.
  3. Strive to be a “lazy gardener,” in other words, make your garden and yard self-sustaining and sustainable.
Putting these principles into practice means avoiding mulch (the store-bought kind). “Mulch is not an ornamental feature,” Mark says. “Fallen leaves are the perfect mulch.” 

Use more compost, especially for vegetable gardening, he suggests. Don’t dead-head – “don’t cut back the hydrangeas.”

The principles also mean avoiding fertilizers, fungicides, and pesticides in order to build a vibrant community of soil microbes and beneficial insects such as bees and butterflies. Use native plants, which are naturally adapted to the climate, rainfall, and soils of the region (as long as they’re planted in the conditions that they’re naturally found in). 

“Choose the right plant for a spot,” Mark says, and try NEWFS’ free Native Plant Finder. For results, simply enter your zip code in the online program.

For detailed information about 100 native plants, check out Mark’s book with Dan Jaffe, Native Plants for New England Gardens.

Mark urges everyone to avoid “neonics,” or neonicotinoids, a class of systemic agricultural insecticides resembling nicotine. He explains that they are absorbed by plant tissues and make the entire plant “toxic to just about anything that feeds on it.” He notes that spraying done one year can continue killing off insects for the next 4-5 years.

To capture stormwater, he suggests rain gardens, green roofs, and bioswales along driveways.

Finally, Mark favors removing or reducing lawns. He recommends a Washington Post article, “Lawns are a soul-crushing timesuck and most of us would be better off without them”.

Click here to see a Westborough TV video of Mark’s talk at the 2018 WCLT Annual Meeting.
Maureen Johnson receives President’s Award

Congratulations to Maureen Ramsey Johnson, who received the 2018 WCLT President’s Award at the Annual Meeting in June.  The award recognizes a member for exemplary service to WCLT.  Maureen served as sole member and chair of the Membership Committee for almost 15 years, working tirelessly behind the scenes, and played a key role in putting on various WCLT special events over the years.

Successful Family Nature Hike &
Scavenger Hunt

WCLT’s first-ever fall Family Nature Hike and Scavenger Hunt on a beautiful October day at WCLT’s Gilmore Pond was a hit! Janet Anderson, Education Committee chair and organizer of the event, reports that 75 people (adults and kids in 31 family groups) turned out for the event. Many enthusiastic comments have come in.

“Very nearly everyone found everything on the scavenger hunt list!” Janet says. “Many thanks to all who attended and all who helped to make this first-time event a success!”
Photos by Gillian Beamer
Post your nature sightings!

What do you see around Westborough? Let us know!Report your own local nature sightings on WCLT's Facebook page! (Photos are welcome but not required.)  Click on “Posts” in the list on the left side of WCLT’s page to get the “Visitor Posts” column on the right side of the page.

If you don't have a Facebook account, you can e-mail your nature sightings & photographs.

We welcome all Westborough nature, whether plants, insects, animals, fungi, or something else! Include your name, what you saw, and where. 

Photo by Paula Kirk
Try a Trail Close to Home!
If you’re looking for a local trail to walk this fall or winter, check out the suggestions in our Try a Trail e-newsletters:
Try a Trail: John Malley Trail
Try a Trail: Osprey Point
Try a Trail: Gilmore Pond
Try a Trail: Sandra Pond

Write About Your Favorite Trail
If you have your own favorite trail in town, write about it for Try a Trail!  E-mail us (300 words or less). We can add some trail information and share it with others.  Photos welcome!
Working on Malley Trail bog bridging 
Stewardship Notes

Stewardship chair Keith Martin reports that significant work was completed this summer along the Malley Trail on the southern shore of Mill Pond. Volunteers installed 18 bog bridges that had been reclaimed from the now-closed Blue Flag Trail.  John White led the construction of additional bridging as part of his Troop 100 Eagle project. The Malley Trail goes between the Mill Pond boat ramp on Mill Road and the Headwaters Conservation Area (HCA) near the Andrews Street entrance.
In addition to normal trail maintenance, over the next few months the Stewardship Committee will be investigating the possibility of creating a stroller- and wheelchair-friendly trail around Gilmore Pond. This would be a large multi-year project with great benefits to the community.
You can help!If you regularly walk the trails in Westborough, it’s easy to help the stewardship committee keep the trails in good shape. If you notice any problem areas (fallen trees, trash, graffiti, or trails becoming too narrow due to foliage growth), please send a report by email to Keith Martin at stewardship@westboroughlandtrust.org.
If you are interested in becoming a trail monitor, or if you are willing to help out with some occasional trail work, send a note to the same address. “We maintain a mailing list for volunteers,” Keith says,” and we’d be thrilled to add you to it!”
Click for the trail maps showing the Malley Trail: 
Mill Pond Area Trail Map
Try A Trail Close to Home
photo by Karen Yeowell

If you missed a recent WCLT “Nature Notes” column in the Westborough News, look for it on the WCLT web site. There you can also find more than 200 past columns, indexed by date, common name, Latin name, and category.
Read the 2018 Scholarship Essays

Have you read the Earth Day essays written by WCLT’s two 2018 scholarship recipients, Peter Howarth and Victoria Helle? If not, check out the essays and release here
Watch Videos of WCLT Events and More!

Have you seen this Westborough TV video of the 2018 WCLT Annual Meeting talk by guest speaker Mark Richardsonon Earth-friendly Gardening?
Have you ever wondered about the role of the Sandra Pond Reservoir in supplying drinking water to Westborough?  Find out in an informative You Tube video made as a Silver Award project by Girl Scouts Leila Ahmed, Infanta Antony, and Emily Benton of Troop 30125 about Bowman Conservation Area and Sandra Pond
If you missed last spring’s live animal show, “The Nature of My Backyard,” you can see it on a Westborough TV video:
Note that events can be viewed on any device, including iPad, iPhone and Android.
For older shows you will need Windows media player.
Deer Hunting in Westborough – Oct 2018 Update
by Scott Shumway
It is deer hunting season. Deer hunting is only allowed in certain locations in Westborough and only with written approval of the property owner. There are three deer hunting seasons in Massachusetts:
  • Archery (Oct 15-Nov 24)
  • Shotgun (Nov 26 – Dec 8)
  • Primitive Firearms (Dec 10 - 31).
All three types may take place at the state’s Wildlife Management Area in Westborough. Bow hunting is allowed on certain Town properties (Bowman West, Libbey Conservation Area, Orchard Swamp), New England Forestry Foundation’s Wile Forest, certain Sudbury Valley Trustees (SVT) properties, parts of Cedar Swamp, and WCLT property in Orchard Swamp. 
Bow hunting on Town and WCLT properties is strictly regulated by the Chief of Police and requires a special town permit. SVT allows bow hunting on their Cedar Hill property with a permit. SVT also allows bow and shotgun hunting on their property in Cedar Swamp by permit.  In some instances, including the SVT properties, bow hunting may be allowed throughout all three periods.  
Why allow deer hunting? The two most important natural predators of white-tailed deer are wolves and humans. Humans killed off almost the entire wolf population long ago and have strictly regulated human hunting activities for most of the past 200 years. The result has been an increase in deer populations largely free of significant predators. In many parts of Massachusetts, the current deer population density is thought to be higher than it was during pre-European settlement.
Why control deer populations? Deer are vegetarians, consuming leaves, flower buds, fruits, nuts, and tender plant stems. Experiments have demonstrated that high-density deer populations are having a negative impact on many native plant species, some of which have either been eliminated from some forests or are no longer able to regenerate. 
Deer also eat ornamental plants, especially in suburban towns like Westborough. Drive through the Wayside neighborhood and look at the evergreens (yews and arborvitae) that have had all of their lower branches consumed by deer. In extreme cases deer have such difficulty finding food in the winter that they die of starvation.
Interactions between deer and automobiles are growing increasingly common. The results can be deadly for deer, automobiles, and drivers. Many more deer are injured or killed by automobiles in Massachusetts than by hunters. 
Deer are carriers of bacteria responsible for Lyme Disease. This can be a debilitating disease for humans and is spread between deer, mice, and humans by deer ticks. Lowering deer populations may help reduce the incidence of Lyme Disease in humans and pets.
Why is bow hunting preferred over other types of hunting? Bow hunters hunt from an elevated tree stand. The shot is aimed toward the ground, the effective range is short, and shots are silent. It is thought to be the safest of all hunting methods.
What precautions should you take to avoid being mistaken for a deer? Know when and where hunting is likely to occur. All trails in Westborough remain open during hunting season. Most hunting occurs during early morning and late in the day when deer are more active. 
Wear blaze orange or other bright colors when walking in the woods during hunting season. Dick’s Sporting Goods and Cabela’s have a fine selection of blaze orange vests and hats. Assume that hunters, legal or otherwise, may be in the woods during open season. Thanks to laws dating back to Puritan times, hunting is not allowed on Sunday in Massachusetts.
What should you do if you observe illegal hunting? Call 911 and notify the Westborough Police. Please note that it is illegal to harass law-abiding hunters.
Note that this information is correct to the best of my knowledge. Double check to be safe!  Wear orange in the woods for the rest of the year.  Click here for trail maps.
2019 WCLT Events at a Glance

Below is a brief list of upcoming WCLT 2019 events and important dates.  For information, updates, or cancellations, check the WCLT website calendar. For more information e-mail WCLT

Westborough Walks Meet-up
To find out about other, more impromptu guided walks taking place around Westborough, check out Westborough Walks, WCLT’s online Meet-up group
Sunday, January 27, 2019 • 1:30-3:30 pm
Who Made Those Tracks?
Tracking expert Paul Wanta will introduce thefun and fascinating hobbyof tracking.
Meet at the MassWildlife headquarters, 1 Rabbit Hill Rd., Westborough.For questions,contact events@westboroughlandtrust.org.
Sunday, February 24, 2019 • 1:30-3:30 pm
Atlantic Puffins and Other Birds of Downeast Maine
Find out about birds of northern New England, such as the Atlantic puffins of Machias Seal Island (Maine) and the spruce grouse of boreal forests, in a slide talk by WCLT member and nature photographer Garry Kessler.
Talk location: Westborough Public Library meeting room, 55 W. Main St., Westborough MA. No reservation needed. For questions, contact events@westboroughlandtrust.org.
Saturday, March 23, 2019  • TWO SHOWS:  9:00 and 11:00 am
Live Animal Show: Raptors, Masters of the Sky
Bring the family to get up close and personal with live eagles, hawks, falcons, and owls from around Massachusetts and around the world, presented by Tom Ricardi of Mass Birds of Prey Rehab Facility. No reservation needed. Free; donations gratefully accepted at the door.
Location: Knights of Columbus Hall, 17 Willow St., Westborough MA. Park in lot in rear and in Arturo’s parking lot, 54 East Main St.
For questions, contact: events@westboroughlandtrust.org.

Saturday, April 13, 2019 • TWO CLEAN-UP MEETING TIMES: 6:30 am and 9:30 am
Drop-In Picnic Lunch 11:30-12:30

Earth Day Town-Wide Clean-up with Online Sign-up and Volunteer Picnic Lunch
Join the annual town-wide litter clean-up sponsored by WCLT, and enjoy a drop-in Earth Day picnic lunch afterwards!  Early birds meet at 6:30 am at West Meadow Plaza or Bellows Road. Families check in at 9:30 am at Bay State Commons Green. Free picnic lunch afterward at Bay State Commons Green gazebo, thanks to local restaurants, supermarkets, and businesses.  Back this year: Optional online sign-up in April at http://westboroughlandtrust.org. For questions, contact: earthday@westboroughlandtrust.org

May event: to be announced

Monday, June 17, 2019 • 7:00-9:00 pm
WCLT Annual Meeting
Invisible Worlds (Speaker: Scott Chimileski)
When most people think of nature, they think of plants and animals they can see. But the overwhelming majority of life is visible only through a microscope, and these microbes affect our lives. Harvard Medical School-based microbiologist and science photographer Scott Chimileski will open the door for us to see into the secret lives of microscopic creatures: How they hunt, travel, and communicate. His beautiful photographs of microbe colonies will illustrate the talk. He is the author, with Roberto Kolter, of Life at the Edge of Sight. 
Location: St. Luke’s Parish Hall, 1 Ruggles St., Westborough, MA.
For questions, contact events@westboroughlandtrust.org.
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