WCLT 2019 Fall Newsletter

A Word from the President

It’s not easy being green. Or is it? Historically, WCLT as an organization has been reluctant to mention two words — climate change — in the context of our mission triad (conservation, stewardship, education) out of concern for appearing political and offending members.
WCLT is a non-profit organization, incorporated in 1997, and we welcome members of any affiliation. Our purpose is to help manage the environment in which we all live: to responsibly protect natural green spaces in the town of Westborough; to acquire lands for conservation and passive recreation; to be good stewards of our land and trails; and to educate ourselves and our community on these topics.
Although WCLT has quietly and thoughtfully avoided the words “climate change” over the past few years, our mission and actions already help to mitigate climate change, especially at the local town level. I encourage all of us — WCLT Board of Directors, committees, members, volunteers, town inhabitants — to alter our perceptions that the words “climate change” appear political and to replace that perception with an acknowledgement that climate change affects all of us, independent of political or other divisions. 

The winds are changing. I sense a shift in WCLT attitudes. In September, the WCLT Board of Directors discussed and endorsed the Climate Change Action Resolution article, which will be presented October 21 2019 at the Fall Town Meeting. This resolution is non-binding and asks the Town to create a plan. I encourage you to attend, listen, discuss, and participate in as much as you see fit. 

Gillian Beamer, WCLT President
Invisible Worlds Made Visible

Scott Chimileski, a Harvard Medical School-based microbiologist and science and wildlife photographer, was the guest speaker at WCLT’s Annual Meeting in June. Using facts and photos taken with various kinds of microscopes, he presented a unique perspective on the invisible world of microbes.
While most of us think of nature in terms of plants and animals that we can see, Scott emphasized that the overwhelming majority of life is visible only through a microscope.  Microbes are smaller than one-tenth of a millimeter (0.1 mm), which is the limit of human visual acuity. For comparison, there are 1 trillion microbial species, but only 10 million plant and animal species. Microbes include not only bacteria, but also algae and fungal cells and others. Of all these microbial species, only a few hundred are pathogens of humans, although it’s the disease-causing microbes that usually make the headlines.

Microbes live everywhere – under polar ice, in geothermal ocean vents, in the soil of forests and our own back yards. The human mouth contains 6 billion microbial cells, approaching the number of people on Earth.   News reports have raised people’s awareness of microbiomes – microscopic ecosystems nested within larger ecosystems – and our relationship with them.

Scott noted that microbes such as bacteria are social organisms. Most prefer to live in biofilms, in which individual microbial cells of one or more species are connected by a substance that they produce. Biofilms and colonies have an architecture of their own, often visible with microscopes.

“The net impact of microbial life is a plus,” Scott said.  Certain fungal microbes are “invisible chefs,” making certain cheeses, for example. Soil microbes are “nature’s medicine-makers,” producing chemicals which they use in low concentrations (to communicate, for instance) but which humans use in high concentrations as antibiotics. Microscopic algae are the “makers and maintainers” of our biosphere, consuming carbon dioxide and producing the oxygen we need to breathe.

We humans do not yet know enough about how to manipulate microbiomes, according to Scott. The over-use of antibiotics is a real problem because it causes the evolution of “superbugs” that are resistant to many antibiotics. The impact of climate change on microbiomes is not yet known, as it triggers the growth of microbes from permafrost, potentially leading to more methane (a potent greenhouse gas) in the atmosphere.

Has your curiosity been piqued? Check out at Scott’s photos of microbes online at microbephotography.com. Or attend the exhibition curated by Scott and Roberto Kolter, “Microbial Life: A Universe at the Edge of Sight,” at the Harvard Museum of Natural History through March 2020. Or read Scott’s richly illustrated book, co-authored with Roberto Kolter, Life at the Edge of Sight: A Photographic Exploration of the Microbial World (Harvard University Press, 2017)
Stewardship Notes
By Keith Martin, Stewardship Chair
Lydia O'Connell's Westborough Charms Passport helps families discover Charm Bracelet trails.
The Stewardship Committee is eagerly awaiting the completion of paperwork on the $93K MassTrails Grant that WCLT has been awarded to enable us to make the Gilmore Pond Trail a universal-access all-persons trail. We intend to complete most of the construction over the summer and fall of 2020, and we need your help!
While we prepare to undertake this ambitious project, we are starting to identify volunteers with key skills needed to make the project a success. We are looking for volunteers with carpentry and/or light-construction skills to lead the construction of segments of boardwalk and a 15-foot bridge. If you have the skills and are willing to take on responsibility for building a boardwalk segment, please let us know at stewardship@westboroughlandtrust.org
Over the years, WCLT has benefited from the efforts of many Westborough scouts. Recently, Lydia O’Connell completed her Girl Scout Gold Award with the creation of a fun family activity for children: Complete the Westborough Charms Passport by visiting eight of our trails, and add your name to the Hall of Fame! This activity will take you to trails at these “charms”: Sawink Farm, Gilmore Pond, Libbey/Wile, Bowman Conservation Area, Cedar Swamp, Mill Pond-Andrews Street, Walkup & Robinson, and Mill Pond-Mill Road. To find out more, visit https://tinyurl.com/WestboroughCharms.
Nicholas Smaldone, Mary McCormack
Read the winning Earth Day essays 

The recipients of WCLT’s two 2019 scholarships were Westborough High School (WHS) graduating seniors Nicholas Smaldone and Mary McCormack. The scholarships were awarded on the basis of essays written for WCLT’s Earth Day Essay Contest. Read the press release and the winning essays. WCLT was also pleased to recognize two other WHS seniors, Bethany Woodcock and Lydia O'Connell, with honorable mentions. 
WCLT Values Our Business Partners

We thank our business partners for helping WCLT to preserve and protect more land and to offer trails and educational programs: EMSEAL Corporation, Pearson Advisory Investor Relations, Thomas Financial Associates, Arturo's Ristorante, and Julio's Liquors. How can your organization join WCLT as a business partner?  Find out by contacting bizpartners@westboroughlandtrust.org.
Try a Trail Close to Home!

Have you seen the new edition of WCLT’sTry a Trail e-newsletter? It features the trail from Mill Pond School to Osprey Point (in the Headwaters Conservation Area)?  Check it out here:
Try a Trail – Mill Pond School to Osprey Point

And if you’re searching for more local trails to walk this season, look at the suggestions and maps in our past 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!
Watch Videos of WCLT Events and More!
Looking for something to watch when you’re inside this winter? Did you know that Westborough TV (WTV) has more than 40 videos of past WCLT walks, talks, and other events? Get in touch vicariously with Westborough’s great outdoor environment! Explore the offerings available for instant viewing online on Westborough TV’s WCLT page
Programs for 2019 - 2020
Below is a brief list of upcoming WCLT events and important dates.  For information, updates, or cancellations, check the WCLT website calendar or email events@westboroughlandtrust.org.

October 14, 2019 • 7-9 am
Mid-October Monday Morning Bird Walk
Look for uncommon sparrows and warblers in the fields north of Lake Chauncy. Everyone is welcome and new birders are encouraged to participate. Binoculars strongly recommended.
Meet: Take Dr. Solomon Carter Fuller Way [formerly Hospital Road] off Lyman Street in Westborough. Park and meet just before the yellow gate at the end of the road near the water. 
Questions: Contact Nick Paulson grendelpgill@yahoo.com or call 508-330-4401.
No registration needed.
Trail map: http://westboroughcharm.org/guide/maps/map_FishWildlife.pdf
Presented in partnership with the Forbush Bird Club (Worcester County’s bird club since 1931) by expert birder Nick Paulson.
Sunday, October 20, 2019 • 1:30-3:30 pm
Fascinating Fall Fungi
Discover mushrooms and other fall fungi with mycologist Larry Millman, author of “Fascinating Fungi of New England,” the first-ever guidebook devoted exclusively to New England species. He will focus on mushroom ecology and identification rather than on edibility. Meet at the Walkup & Robinson Reservation, 400 Friberg Parkway, Westborough.
Limit: 18 people.
E-mail: events@westboroughlandtrust.org
Trail map: Walkup and Robinson Memorial Reservation trail map
October 27, 2019 • 1:30-3:30 pm
Introducing the Boroughs Loop Trail
The Boroughs Loop Trail is a new trail network connecting the hiking paths of Marlborough, Northborough, Southborough and Westborough, encouraging the exploration, enjoyment, and protection of the Boroughs’ natural resources. The trail officially opens on October 5, and this walk, co-sponsored by the Sudbury Valley Trustees, is one of several introductory walks being held on various sections throughout October. This walk will highlight the section of the BLT which passes through Westborough.
Meet: At SVT’s Sawink Farm property, 30 Walker St., Westborough.
REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED at https://www.svtweb.org/programs/calendar
Area map: https://www.svtweb.org/sites/default/files/CraneSwamp.pdf
Boroughs Loop Trail website: https://www.svtweb.org/BLT
November 2, 2019 • 1 pm-dusk
Celebrate the Charm Bracelet’s 20th Anniversary
Join WCLT for a fun afternoon! Park at Minuteman Park and meet BoD members to hike Charm Bracelet trails at the Bowman Conservation Area. You can choose to hike short loop trails at Bowman, or hike the longer 5.5 mile (approximately 2.5 hours) self-guided section of the Charm Bracelet ending at the Libbey-Wile property.
Meet: Bowman Conservation Area, 72 Bowman St, Westborough.
Shuttles will be provided. 
The afternoon includes socializing around the fire pit and treats at Bowman. Bring headlamps or flashlights.
No registration needed.
November 3, 2019 • 7:30 am-12 noon
Northborough/Westborough Bird Walk
Look for birds at ponds around Northborough and Westborough and at the Westborough Wildlife Management Area. Everyone is welcome and new birders are encouraged to participate. Binoculars strongly recommended.  
Meet: Casta Diva Restaurant, 35 Solomon Pond Rd, Northborough, MA (previously Guiseppe’s Grille) (Exit 25A off I-290.)
Questions: Contact Nick Paulson grendelpgill@yahoo.com or call 508-330-4401.
Trail map: http://westboroughcharm.org/guide/maps/map_FishWildlife.pdf
Presented in partnership with the Forbush Bird Club (Worcester County’s bird club since 1931) by expert birder Nick Paulson.
November 6, 2019 • 6:30 pm
All About Monarchs
Monarch butterflies are popular seasonal visitors with a fascinating story. Join us to see their incredible transformation from egg to butterfly, and learn how this prepares them to undertake the journey to their winter home in Mexico. Learn about the challenges they are facing, how conservation efforts are attempting to strengthen their numbers, and how you can make a difference in your own back yard. 
Meet: Westborough Public Library, 55 West Main Street.  
REGISTRATION REQUIRED at https://www.svtweb.org/calendar/all-about-monarchs-presentation-0
Presented in partnership with Sudbury Valley Trustees by Dan Stimson, SVT Assistant Director of Stewardship. SVT is a nonprofit, member-supported land trust that protects natural areas and farmland for wildlife and people in the region surrounding the Sudbury, Assabet, and Concord Rivers.
November 11, 2019 • 7-9 am
November Monday Morning Bird Walk

Join us at the Westborough Wildlife Management Area to look for the wide variety of waterfowl stopping at Lake Chauncy during their migration. Everyone is welcome and new birders are encouraged to participate. Binoculars strongly recommended. Take Dr. Solomon Carter Fuller Way [formerly Hospital Road] off Lyman Street in Westborough. Park and meet just before the yellow gate at the end of the road near the water. 
Questions: Contact Nick Paulson grendelpgill@yahoo.com or call 508-330-4401.
No registration needed.
Trail map: http://westboroughcharm.org/guide/maps/map_FishWildlife.pdf
Presented in partnership with the Forbush Bird Club (Worcester County’s bird club since 1931) by expert birder Nick Paulson.
Board of Directors 2019-2020

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
Copyright © 2019, All rights reserved.
Our mailing address is:
PO Box 838, Westborough , MA 01581