Spring 2021
A Word from the President

I love this town.  It’s not the history or location that makes it so special, it’s the community that is willing to donate time, effort, and creativity to make everyone’s life a bit better.  I see this sense of community throughout youth sports, civic groups, charities, and even town governance.  But nowhere is it more evident to me than in WCLT.  Like many of you, I became involved in this organization simply because I enjoy the local open space and I wanted to contribute.  However, what I continue to find inspiring is how much a relatively small group of enthusiastic volunteers can accomplish.  And never has this effort been more valuable than the past year. 
With the normal pace of our lives disrupted, it’s been impossible not to appreciate our proximity to nature and the ability to share it safely with others on the trails.  The renewed importance of open space in our daily lives emphasizes the critical role our organization plays in protecting the land and making it accessible to everyone.  Despite its many challenges, this has actually been a remarkable year for the Charm Bracelet trail network.  The Town made two exciting land acquisitions, totaling almost 100 acres, which will expand our trail network.  Equally exciting progress has been made on our Gilmore Pond improvement project.  This work is supported by both a MassTrails grant and hundreds of volunteer hours, and will make this beautiful loop into our first universally accessible trail.  With a little extra creativity, we’ve also been able to promote trail use via a full slate of safe educational events. 
The most remarkable aspect of these achievements is that they were all made possible by the generosity of our membership and volunteers.  During this time when we are not able to physically gather in groups, we can still enjoy a sense of community by recognizing these shared accomplishments.  When I walk the trails, I am rejuvenated not only by nature, but also by the memories of working with all of you to preserve these special places. 

Chris Sassetti, president

Henry and Burt Osterweis on the new Gilmore Pond bridge, designed by Burt and constructed with help from several additional volunteers.
Stewardship Notes

This past year saw unprecedented usage of the Charm Bracelet trail system due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. It has been great to see so many people out on the trails, but with so much traffic, it’s more important than ever to remember to keep your dog leashed and to do your part to keep the trails free of trash.
In mid-2020, we broke ground on a multi-year renovation of the Gilmore Pond trail loop, supported by WCLT and a MassTrails grant. A new stone-dust tread surface has been installed, as well as a 20-foot bridge across the pond’s inlet. This spring and summer, we will be building approximately 300 feet of boardwalk, which will make the entire trail wheelchair- and stroller-friendly, starting from the Quick Farm Road trailhead and looping around the pond.
We will need a lot of help this year building and installing boardwalk sections and railing posts. If you’re at all handy with basic carpentry (or are just willing to lend a hand), please let us know at
The Stewardship Committee maintains and manages WCLT lands. We also develop and maintain trails on other town lands, encouraging public enjoyment of our open spaces while preserving habitat for our native plants and animals.
Keith Martin, Stewardship chair

Virtual WCLT Events in March

This March we bring you nature-oriented events that involve virtual participation, as described below. (We are skipping our usual March live animal presentation due to COVID-related concerns about in-person gatherings.) To see WCLT’s entire spring calendar events, go to

 “The Nature of Westborough”
WCLT’s 2021 Amateur Photography Contest

WCLT received 133 photo entries for our photo competition. Judges will decide the top three winners, but there’s a People’s Choice award as well. Here’s how you can vote for your favorites and see which photos won prizes.
Vote for the WCLT Photo Contest People’s Choice Award
 March 6-19
All 133 photos will be posted on our Facebook page in groups of 10 over the course of the week of March 6-12, in no particular order. On that page, click “Like” to vote for your favorites. (Share and get your friends to vote as well.) The photo with the most likes at midnight March 19 will win the People’s Choice Award. (Winners of the judged prizes will be excluded—one prize per photo).
Photo Contest Award Presentation via Zoom
On Sunday, March 21, 2021, 7:00 pm, find out via Zoom which photos won prizes, and learn from some of the judges what makes a great photograph and how they chose the winners. Everyone is welcome, whether you entered the contest or not.
Zoom link:

Thank you to the businesses that provided prizes: Curry Printing, Elsie Kaye Glassworks, Art Emporium, Hunt’s Photo Education and Walks, Tatnuck Bookseller, and Peter Christoph Photography.

Westborough Wildflower Hunt - March 1-October 31
Help WCLT inventory the wildflowers on our properties and elsewhere in Westborough by taking part in this fun scavenger hunt! The hunt starts in March and lasts through October. Have fun and learn to identify local wildflowers at the same time!

Every month, check WCLT’s Facebook page, where we will post pictures of wildflowers that usually bloom that month. If you spot those wildflowers in Westborough, comment with a picture and note where you saw it. Please, absolutely no picking flowers or damaging plants!
WCLT’s Pandemic Year in Review

How did WCLT fare in the pandemic year from March 2020 until today?

Key things got done in spite of the need to avoid in-person gatherings. Committees persevered in their work.

The 2020 Town-Wide Earth Day Cleanup was creatively reconfigured to take place without the usual in-person sign-ups, participation by groups and businesses, and celebratory picnic lunch. Yet 135 townspeople volunteered and picked up more than 200 bags of trash from Westborough’s roads and streets. The Education Committee plans a similar version of the clean-up for April 2021 but with group and business participation (with masks and social distancing).

The 2020 Annual Meeting, postponed to October, took place virtually on Zoom, featuring a presentation by Scott Shumway, “Experiencing Beauty in Nature during a Pandemic” and Susie Wells being given the 2020 President’s Award. The meeting also officially marked the transition in WCLT’s leadership as Chris Sassetti took over as president from Gillian Beamer whose 3-year term concluded.

Due to increased public use of Westborough’s 60 miles of trails during the pandemic, the Stewardship Committee’s crucial work of promptly clearing downed trees from the trails became more important than ever.

The Stewardship Committee also started and made good progress on its major project of constructing an all-person wheelchair- and stroller-friendly loop trail around Gilmore Pond. This work continues.

Virtual events took place, including a fall virtual scavenger hunt run through WCLT’s Facebook page, and a February zoom presentation “A Few Days in the Galapagos” by Garry Kessler.

WCLT's 2021 virtual winter amateur photography contest “The Nature of Westborough,” also run via WCLT’s Facebook page, got underway in January, with 133 photos entered by the end of February. Photo viewing, judging, and voting for the People's Choice award are scheduled for March.

Last spring’s in-person events had to be cancelled, but the Education Committee’s fall-winter calendar featured in-person walks (with masks and social distancing): a twilight-to-moonlight walk, two walks exploring the recently opened Boroughs Loop Trail connecting to trail networks in neighboring towns, and a January hike at Bowman West.

WCLT's other normal activities continued, including our sponsorship of Boy Scout Eagle projects and Girl Scout Gold projects, WCLT’s Earth Day Essay Contest 2020 leading to the awarding of two WCLT Scholarships 2020 to graduating high school seniors, and WCLT’s monthly “Nature Notes”  published in the Village News.

Behind the scenes, the Membership Committee and the Land Preservation Committee were busy with their ongoing quiet work.
2020 President’s Award Recipient, Susie Wells:
Like Life, WCLT is an Adventure


By Nancy Szostak Wright
Would you believe us, if we told you that Susie Wells’ middle name is Adventure?
Well, it is and it isn’t.
Sure, Susie Adventure Wells has a nice ring to it, but, no, it’s not listed on her driver’s license, or Social Security card. Though we think you’ll agree that it probably could’ve been when you hear about her adventurous upbringing.
Although she doesn’t recall any specific influencer to credit for her love of nature, Susie says she was exposed to the great outdoors and gardening at an early age.
“I grew up in Wellesley in the ‘50s and ’60s, a time when kids were free range. We rode all over town on our bikes and explored what seemed like wilderness to us, as kids.”
Her family climbed Mt. Monadnock every year. During early summers, they spent two weeks in Dennisport.
“I loved spending time with my cousins, especially the almost-daily explorations to the beaches and nearby tidal river.”
Susie’s father was a general contractor hired by the Cape Cod National Seashore to build the first shelter at Pilgrim Heights and the Race Point Beach bath house. The family spent the summer and fall weekends of 1962 in Orleans and enjoyed exploring the outer Cape.
It came as no surprise to Susie that the following year, her Dad bought and rebuilt a wooden 23-foot sailboat. He also bought a wooden penguin sailboat.
“Every weekend, when weather was good, we sailed all over Boston Harbor, fished, landed on and explored islands. We even sailed down to Hingham once to visit family friends, tying up across from their house.”
She fondly remembers that on Wednesdays, they went in for the dinghy races, which her father generally won.
“Sailing still is a family favorite... we did a lot of it on Lake Winnipesaukee.”
For 30 years, they shared a family cottage on Lake Winnipesaukee, where her three children, now in their 40s, spent a lot of time with cousins exploring the woods and local area.
“There was a tower on our land from which we could see a large part of the lake. We would lie on the floats watching stars, especially shooting stars. There were hikes, mountains, lots of things to do and places to go.”
Susie moved to Westborough in 1984. Prior to retiring, she spent 23 years in the finance department of a local, small electric design company.
“A couple of years after the Westborough Community Land Trust was established,” she recalls, “I joined some friends at Ellen Bishop’s home around the time when the Stewardship Committee was forming. I had been aware of the land trust and was looking to get involved.”
And get involved she did! She started with stewardship, creating and maintaining trails as WCLT acquired ownership of or access to land around town.
“Stewardship work was fun and rewarding for many years. Eventually I was asked to join the Board of Directors, a position I held for about three terms. Along with Don Burn, I was also an at-large member of the Executive Board, when Kris Allen was president.”
Other contributions Susie made were serving on the Nominating Committee for a couple of years and helping at WCLT walks by taking attendance and helping attendees. As she says, “I am most comfortable being a worker bee, not a leader bee.”

In addition to all of her volunteer work with WCLT, Susie has also had board-of-director assignments with Boy Scout Troop #100 and Westborough Community Chorus, which she joined in 1988.
When reflecting on all of her volunteer efforts for WCLT, Susie is most fond of her stewardship work and Charm Bracelet trail work. She even stored the stewardship tools and supplies at her home for many years.
“I have enjoyed being a part of the WCLT effort to make something special and lasting in Westborough, especially when I was active in stewardship. WCLT has had a big impact on me -- and Westborough -- with the protection of land, access to the Charm Bracelet trail system, and overall public awareness of local nature opportunities.”
Join us as we thank and congratulate Susie (Adventure) Wells for her many years of service and overall impact on WCLT. It has been quite an adventure, indeed, that has resulted in much caring, conservation, and community.
Fun fact: Susie’s middle name is Elizabeth, a name that her family has carried on for seven generations in a row.
  Join the Earth Day Cleanup April 10-17 

Never fail, pandemic or no pandemic, you know it’s spring when Westborough gets cleaned up in April by a host of enthusiastic volunteers during the annual WCLT Town-Wide Earth Day Cleanup.

This year the litter cleanup will take place during the week of April 10-17 as well as on Saturday, April 17, with online sign-up only.

Starting on April 1, go to
to sign up and choose an area to clean. (Due to continued coronavirus concerns, no in-person signups or picnic will be held.) You can clean your chosen area any day or time before noon on April 17.

If you sign up by April 9, trash bags will be dropped off at your home. Otherwise, you can arrange to pick them up. When you’ve finished cleaning up, leave closed bags by the road, and they will be removed on April 17. For the cleanup, wear gloves, long pants, long sleeves, and sturdy shoes. For questions contact:
Mark your calendar today!

WCLT Scholarships & Earth Day Essay Contest 2021

The Westborough Community Land Trust's two scholarships of $1,000 each will be awarded to the winners of our annual EARTH DAY ESSAY CONTEST, which is under way right now.

The contest is open to graduating seniors who attend Westborough High School (WHS) OR who reside in Westborough but attend a different high school. The essay contest runs March 1 - April 12.  Scholarships will be awarded at graduation.

Students can get essay questions, contest details, and scholarship applications online at the WCLT web site OR from the WHS guidance office. 

DEADLINE: MONDAY, APRIL 12 Essays and applications must be received by this date.

For more information, including essay questions, please check the WCLT web site

WCLT 2021 President's Profile
Get Out and Explore with Chris Sassetti

By Nancy Szostak Wright
When you’re a kid and you call Denver your home, the “great outdoors” becomes quite the playground for exploration. That’s where Chris Sassetti, WCLT’s new president, first connected with nature. He recalls, “I grew up spending all day outside, and I guess it just became a habit.”
Not only did Chris grow up in Denver, spending time in the Rockies, but he also enjoyed the amazing landscapes of the Southwest.  Then, when he moved to the San Francisco area, he had access to both the coast and the inland mountains.  In Westborough since 2004, he simply steps into his backyard and connects with nature more deeply than ever before.
“My wife and I love to hike. We did what we had to do to get our two kids, who are now at WHS, on the trails. In the end, however, our kids needed to discover nature on their own, and they both enjoy it in ways that are completely different from their parents’.” 

Having studied both microbiology and immunology in college, Chris tells his kids that he’s a graduate of the 22nd grade. His education paid off, as he is now a professor at the UMass Medical School.
Teaching and leading seem to be natural attributes for Chris. After getting involved with WCLT soon after moving to Westborough, he joined the Board of Directors in 2012, has served as vice president, and is now eagerly serving as president.  Along the way, he enjoyed contributing to educational events and stewardship activities.
Last fall during the pandemic, Chris ran a 10-week WCLT Virtual Scavenger Hunt 
via WCLT’s Facebook page, encouraging folks to explore a different trail each week in a socially distant way. More recently, in late January he led WCLT’s winter walk at Bowman West).
When asked about his favorite WCLT activity, he said, “I am particularly fond of the “C” in WCLT.  Events that draw the community together are my favorites.”
He cited WCLT’s live animal shows at the Knights of Columbus Hall as a great chance to get together with a big crowd in the winter (pre-pandemic, of course) and see the kids engaged in nature. He also mentioned the work crews on the trails and being able to spend time with friends and accomplish something that will last. 
Chris spends a lot of time on the trails. “My favorite discoveries have been the long hikes that are possible on the Charm Bracelet. It’s remarkable how far you can hike in our little town.”  He has several favorite 6-10-mile hikes, but now has his sights set on a 16-miler that WCLT Stewardship chair Keith Martin shared with him. 
In addition to his volunteer efforts for WCLT, Chris has volunteered for youth sports organizations in town, as well. “I loved contributing to youth sports until our kids outgrew the need for an unqualified parent-coach.” Fortunately, he has been able to stay involved in athletics through the town’s Special Olympics programs.
Reflecting on 2020, Chris mentioned that the pandemic has highlighted how important it is to have local and accessible open space. “Given the pressures for development in our town, WCLT’s contributions to protecting land and promoting its use tangibly improve life in our community – this year more than ever.”
Chris appreciates what makes WCLT such a successful organization, noting that WCLT only works because of the creativity, enthusiasm, and hard work of the volunteers.  “The common theme among my long list of goals as president is to make the experience of volunteering for WCLT as effective, rewarding, and fun as possible.” 
After 15+ years with WCLT, Chris finds it easy to stay motivated to help. “It’s fun! I’m constantly amazed by how generous our volunteers are, and how much we can accomplish. It’s just a fantastic organization.”
Chris’ advice for WCLT members? Get out and explore.  He made the effort this year to visit all of Westborough’s trails and found a number of really quiet and beautiful spots that he had never visited before. “Instead of hiking your favorite route, try a new adventure.”
Be sure to visit to find trail maps. Check the All Trails app ( or as well, as many local trails are featured there.
Meet the New Directors

Two new directors joined WCLT’s Board of Directors as of the October 2020 Annual Meeting.  They are Vincent Servello and Scott Henderson. Here's a bio for Vinnie. Meet Scott in a future newsletter.

Vincent Servello
Vinnie Servello grew up in Westborough and currently resides in Grafton. He and his wife Casey are Westborough High School grads. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Corridor 9/495 Chamber of Commerce and is a proud supporter of the Westborough Little League. He knows that preserving the environment around town and maintaining the trails are important for future generations, especially in current times. Vinnie is the owner of Servello CPA in Westborough, specializing in small business and individual accounting and tax services. He will be serving as WCLT’s treasurer.
WCLT Board of Directors 2020-2021
Christopher Sassetti, president
Peter Dunbeck, vice president
Gillian Beamer, secretary
Vincent Servello, treasurer

Warren Anderson
Ellen Bishop
Scott Henderson
Adam Last
Michelle Scerbin
Karen Yeowell
WCLT Values Business Partners

Especially during this pandemic year, 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
Copyright © 2021 Westborough Community Land Trust  All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
PO Box 838 Westborough MA 01581