WCLT 2019 Spring Newsletter

A Word from the President

What has WCLT been up to and where are we going?

These questions have been on my mind for months, so I’ll get over my writer’s block and take a few minutes to bring you up to speed. Last May (2018) about a dozen WCLT Board members and committee chairs attended a day-long retreat and planning session facilitated by Amy Gay of The Mediation Group in Brookline, MA. To begin, each participant brought an object representing his or her answer to the questions: Why is WCLT important to you, and what’s at stake? Each person then explained the significance of the object. Many different objects appeared, including the yellow WCLT T-shirt, the WCLT logo, a dog leash, pruning shears, hiking boots, a jar of soil with decomposing leaves from the forest floor, a poem about the earth’s beauty, a trash bag, and a trail map. There was talk of bringing a chainsaw; and then the realization that chainsaws were a bit too big for the conference room. Participants responded passionately. It was great. Further, each of us had unique answers, yet 3 common threads emerged: family and community; land conservation; and education/appreciation of the natural world. The outcome of that exercise “What’s at stake”, and where are we going with it: an updated WCLT mission statement to roll out in 2019. 
We next worked in small groups to brainstorm and address questions for the organization:Define WCLT’s ideal state. What tasks should WCLT prioritize to achieve our ideal state? Although we did not reach a final answer regarding WCLT’s ideal state, we identified and prioritized tasks. I have space here to share two of the outcomes of the “Ideal state” exercise, and where are we going with it: A refreshed, mobile-friendly, easily navigable, image-rich WCLT website to roll out in 2019; and a grant application to the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation for trail improvement around Gilmore Pond. I am grateful and proud of the WCLT Stewardship Committee for coming up with the idea, and then dedicating time and energy on the application (and the project as it becomes established). Thanks also to the WCLT Land Preservation Committee, which also helped with the grant.
Gillian Beamer president@westboroughlandtrust.org

WCLT ProfileMaureen Johnson, 2018 WCLT President’s Award Recipient

By Nancy Szostak Wright

You’d have to shuffle off to Buffalo to visit the place where Maureen Johnson fell in love with the great outdoors. This most recent Westborough Community Land Trust (WCLT) President’s Award recipient is a four-season adventurer who has always loved exploring the world around her. In her words, “I am happiest when I am outside.” 

For her many years as a WCLT volunteer and leader, Maureen received the 2018 WCLT President's Award. “Maureen’s exemplary service to WCLT has been outstanding,” cited Gillian Beamer, WCLT president. “Not only do we recognize her years of service, but also her effective leadership as Membership Committee chair and Board member for the total number of terms allowed.” 
Maureen’s love of nature goes back to her childhood days. Having grown up in Buffalo, NY, she doesn’t mind the cold and the snow, and loves the sunshine. “We spent lots of time outdoors in New York when I was young – swimming, biking, and hiking in the summer, and sledding and skiing in the winter. Summer trips to the Adirondack Mountains were always a fun adventure.”

Following her graduation from Boston College, Maureen did a 10-year stint at Fidelity Investments. After that, she joined a small firm as Vice President of Operations and Client Relationship Management. Little did she know back then that building relationships would become her forte in the world of WCLT.
She became a member of WCLT during the years when Tim Buckalew and then Ellen Bishop served as president.  Ellen asked Maureen if she would get involved and take on Membership.  She agreed, not knowing what she was getting into, or how long she would be involved. She believed in, and was invested in, WCLT’s mission of conservation and preserving open space in Westborough.
Maureen remembers, “I stayed on the Board of Directors and chaired the (one person) Membership Committee for almost 15 years. I met and worked with a lot of great people who were passionate about WCLT and worked diligently to support its mission.“ 

Learning from environmental stewards such as Kris Allen, Maureen absorbed all she could about member communications and engagement.  “Quickly, I learned that membership was all about building relationships and communicating. I got to know many WCLT supporters.” Finding connections with other like-minded outdoorsy residents was easy because she loved being outside every day and met many people on the local trails.

Maureen and her husband, Ian, would take their son, Liam, and their enthusiastic black lab on trail hikes in the area. “My son, who is now 14, has been hiking with me since he was about two weeks old.  I’d snuggle him in a baby carrier and we’d walk our dog, Whitney, every day in the conservation area.  When he was old enough, Liam began to walk the trails, which made our explorations much longer and more interesting, as we inspected every leaf, rock, stick, and bug along the way. Then we graduated to snowshoeing on the trails in the winter when he was about three or four years old.  He is a now a Life Scout in Troop 100 who loves the outdoors.” 
The Johnson family spends a lot of time in Maine, too, where they love to swim, boat, and fish. When not on the water, they’re usually in the woods, or on the trails, hiking, biking, snowshoeing, and skiing.
When Maureen is not leading her family on outdoor adventures, she’s leading the way for various organizations through her volunteer work. She is treasurer of the Westborough Cultural Council, chair of Arts in Common, president of the Westborough Education Foundation, committee member in Troop 100 Boy Scouts, president of the Westborough Public Library Foundation, member of the Rangers on Track committee, and a member of Westborough Garden Club. She is involved in the schools and for over 15 years has delivered meals on wheels.

Reflecting on the progress WCLT has made, Maureen noted, “I am thrilled and impressed with how far WCLT has come. We recently celebrated 20 years, and membership has grown. We continue to gain new members every year. WCLT has done a great job with the trails and open space in Westborough, as well as educating the community.” Maureen recognized WCLT for its communication, activities, and events: informational newsletters, “Nature Notes” in the Westborough News, Facebook posts, educational programs like the annual live animal event in the spring, Earth Day Clean-up, and the many talks and walks sponsored by WCLT.

How does she find time to stay so involved? “I have to be organized, efficient, and able to multi-task. I try hard to work effectively and efficiently and I work with a lot of really great, talented people, which makes it fun.”

For Maureen, it all comes down to two things: relationships and passion. “I think forming good relationships with people really makes a difference. I am involved in things that I am passionate about, so it makes it easier to fit it into my daily life.”
Earth Day Clean-up and
Volunteer Picnic Lunch
Join the annual town-wide litter Earth Day Clean-up sponsored by WCLT and enjoy a drop-in picnic lunch afterwards! Mark the date on your calendar: Saturday, April 13. Early birds meet at 6:30 a.m. at West Meadow Plaza or Bellows Road. Families and everyone else are invited at 9:30 a.m. to check in at the Bay State Commons Green

Come on your own, or rally your family, co-workers, friends, or neighbors and form a team to beautify our town! Then from 11:30-12:30, volunteers will be treated to a drop-in picnic of pizza, healthy side dishes, beverages, and dessert at the Bay State Commons Green gazebo.

For the clean-up, wear gloves, long pants, long sleeves, and sturdy shoes. Trash bags and some rubber gloves will be provided. The optional online sign-up is back this year! In April, choose your clean-up location in advance and avoid the lines! 

Contact: earthday@westboroughlandtrust.org
Coming March 23rd!
WCLT Live Animal Show:
Rapters, Masters of the Sky
Get up close and personal with live eagles, hawks, falcons, and owls from around Massachusetts and around the world at this free event on Saturday, March 23! There will be two shows: 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.

Learn about the many impressive raptors that live right here in Westborough and the surrounding area, though they may not be frequently seen. The show is presented by Tom Ricardiof Mass Birds of Prey Rehab Facility.

Bring the family -- our popular spring live animal show is always a big hit with the young and the curious of all ages! Plan to arrive early as seating is limited.

No reservation required. Free; donations gratefully accepted at the door. (Supported in part by a grant from the Westborough Cultural Council, a local agency supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency. Supported in part by the Westborough Newcomers Club.)
Location: Knights of Columbus Hall, 17 Willow St., Westborough MA; parking lot in rear. Overflow parking in Arturo’s parking lot, 54 East Main St., and walk around behind the Arturo’s building to cross directly into the K of C parking lot. There is no parking along Willow Street.

Contact: events@westboroughlandtrust.org
Fall geology walk features glacial geology
Left: Lake Chauncy is a kettle hole lake. Right: Andy Koenigsberg discusses glacial sand & gravel deposits in old quarry 2018.
Photos by Bob Quevillon
In WCLT’s early November 2018 geology walk led by geologist Andy Koenigsberg, 36 people learned about the glacial geology of Westborough, especially features created by retreating glaciers.  The group walked the wooded Crane Esker trail, along an esker – a ridge formed by deposits from a river of meltwater that ran through or underneath a glacier. They also saw glacial sand deposits in an old sand and gravel quarry in the Mass Wildlife Management Area fields north of Lake Chauncy, itself a kettle hole lake formed when a partly buried chunk of glacial ice melted after the glacier’s retreat. For more photos and short video clips, courtesy of Bob Quevillon, click here

Trail maps of Crane Swamp
Trail map of Mass Wildlife Management Area fields north of Lake Chauncy
Almost-full moon in October.  Photo by Shellie Rapson James
WCLT’s First Twilight to Moonlight Walk

October 20 was a perfect night for WCLT’s first “twilight to moonlight” walk at the Fish and Wildlife land near Lake Chauncy. The moon was nearly full. Shellie Rapson James captured the beauty of the sunset and the moon in these and other photos.  

Thanks to Marge Fisher and Janet Anderson for this event.
October sunset over Lake Chauncy. Photo by Shellie Rapson James
Tracking walk reveals many tracks and signs of wildlife
Tracker Paul Wanta points out pheasant and hawk feathers indicating a kill site.  Photo by Gillian Beamer.
Tracker Paul Wanta gave an informative and entertaining presentation about tracks and signs of local wildlife to 51 people at WCLT's Tracking Walk in January at the Mass Fish & Wildlife Management Area in Westborough. The group got to see tracks of deer, coyote, red fox, mice, pet dogs, raccoon, and a possum. Signs included coyote scat, red fox scat, a dead vole, vole tunnels in snow, plant stems chewed by rabbits, pheasant and hawk feathers indicating a kill site, and remains of a beaver dam. Many thanks to Janet Anderson and the WCLT Education Committee for this fascinating winter walk!

Opossum track
Photo by Janet Anderson 
WCLT’s business partners provide valuable support

EMSEAL Corporation, Pearson Advisory Investor Relations, Thomas Financial Associates, Arturo's Ristorante, and Julio's Liquors are WCLT’s business partners.  Their valuable support helps us 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.
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
Stewardship Notes
By Keith Martin, Stewardship Chair
Schematic trail layout plan Gilmore Pond 
This is shaping up to be a busy year for the WCLT Stewardship Committee. We have just submitted a grant application to MassTrails that — if granted — will allow us to start construction of a 1/3-mile All-Persons trail around WCLT’s Gilmore Pond. This wheelchair- and stroller-friendly trail will take two years and hundreds of volunteer hours to complete, and it will only be possible with funding from MassTrails. Stay tuned for more info this summer!
This spring the Stewardship Committee plans to install an equipment storage shed on the Oak Street DPW lot, and we will be replacing our deteriorating property signs with new long-lasting steel signs.
If you want to stay in the loop on the Gilmore Pond project and other volunteering opportunities, send email to stewardship@westboroughlandtrust.org and ask to be added to the volunteers mailing list. If you notice any problem areas on the trails in town, please send a detailed description to the same address.
For area maps & information on WCLT’s Gilmore Pond
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 winter or spring, 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!

super blood wolf moon
Super blood wolf moon  
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. Photo by Garry Kessler

WCLT 2019 Scholarships & Earth Day Essay Contest 

The Westborough Community Land Trust (WCLT) is again offering two scholarships of $1,000 each. They will be awarded to the winners of our annual Earth Day Essay Contest (March 1 – April 8). The contest is open to:
  1. graduating seniors who attend Westborough High School (WHS);
  2. graduating seniors who reside in Westborough but attend a different high school. 
Scholarships will be awarded in June. How to enter? WHS seniors can get essay questions, contest details, and scholarship forms from the WHS guidance office as of Friday, March 1Seniors who reside in Westborough and attend a different high school can get essay questions, contest details, and scholarship forms online as of March 1 at the WCLT web site.  All submissions must be on paper (not online). 
Deadline: Monday, April 8. All essays and applications must be received by this date (on paper, not online).
Click here for more information, including essay questions, please check the WCLT web site as of March 1.
If you have questions, please email: scholarship@westboroughlandtrust.org   
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
2019 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

Friday, March 1, 2019
WCLT 2018 Earth Day Essay Contest & Scholarship Applications
Contest runs March 1 - April 8
Two $1000 scholarships to be awarded to contest winners. As of March 1, contest details & scholarship application information are available at Westborough High School guidance office (for WHS graduating seniors) and on WCLT web site (for graduating seniors who reside in Westborough but attend a different high school). Essays must be submitted on paper (not online) by Monday, April 8. For questions, please email scholarship@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 19, 2019, 1:30-3:30 pm
New England Wildflower Walk
Westborough’s Libbey/Wile Forest comes alive with beautiful wildflowers every May. Join us as we hunt for and identify flowering plants. Learn which are native and a little bit about what challenges these plants face. Feel free to bring your favorite wildflower book.No reservation needed. Kids accompanied by an adult are welcome, if they are able to stay on the trail to avoid trampling the flowers. Meet at the Gilmore Pond Trail entrance, GPS address approximately 19 Quick Farm Rd. Westborough. From Gilmore Pond we will cross Adams Street into the Libbey/Wile Forest; walk length approximately 2 miles on woodland trails.
Questions: events@westboroughlandtrust.org

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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