Success! Ciesluk Forest Is Protected--Now Known as Forty Caves

SVT has been creating trails across Forty Caves.

After more than a year of planning, negotiating, and fundraising, SVT and the Towns of Berlin and Clinton have protected Ciesluk Forest, an important natural resource that straddles the town line. And more good news: A formal site survey found that the forest spans 63 acres and not 55 acres as we initally thought.

The Town of Clinton purchased 22 of the acres and the Town of Berlin purchased 41. This past week, SVT agreed to terms on a conservation restriction with each town. Going forward, we will be responsible for building and maintaining recreational trails across the land and ensuring its wildlife habitats remain healthy and vibrant.

The protection of Ciesluk Forest adds to the abutting conservation areas of Garfield Woods, Forty Caves, and Musche Woods. Collectively, these four conservation areas, totaling 241 acres, will now be known as Forty Caves.

"The Towns of Berlin and Clinton were wonderful partners in this endeavor," said Ashley Davies, SVT's Senior Land Protection Specialist, "and we would not have been successful without a grant from the Massachusetts Local Acquisitions for Natural Diversity [LAND] program." The project received also received essential funding from the two towns, foundation grants, SVT, and private donors.

SVT is creating new trails across the land, which will allow us to reopen the access to our Garfield Woods Reservation This land has been closed for several years because the only access point crossed an active railroad line. Stay tuned for news about the trail opening, most likely in early August.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the success of this project.


SVT Opens New Trail in Hopkinton

SVT's Whitehall Woods Reservation, Hopkinton
Chelsea Polevy, an SVT MassLIFT-AmeriCorps Member, cut the ribbon during a special ceremony to open the trail at Whitehall Woods.
As part of the ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 3, SVT led a trail walk through our new Whitehall Woods Reservation.

On Sunday, June 4, SVT opened the trail at our Whitehall Woods Reservation in Hopkinton for public use. Whitehall Woods is SVT's newest reservation, and its 32 acres complement hundreds of previously protected acres in the adjacent Upton State Forest and Whitehall State Park. 

The trail across this 32-acre property creates a new access point to the trails in Upton State Forest, which spans the Hopkinton-Upton town line. Parking is available at 203 Pond Street, across from Whitehall State Park.

Check our Whitehall Woods Reservation page for a trail map.

The Red Flag Project

If you have visited SVT's Gray Reservation in Sudbury recently, you may have noticed small red flags along the path. What are they marking? Dog waste!

Emily Anderson, a MassLIFT-AmeriCorps member at SVT, is working to raise awareness about the impact that dogs have on conservation land. Emily has used these flags to mark any dog waste that is visible from the hiking trail at Gray. By May 30, she had posted more than 85 flags along the trail!

Learn more about the project, dog waste, and SVT's dog-walking policies.


Brook Trout in Memorial Forest

Memorial Forest, Photo by Raj Das
Memorial Forest Stream, Photo by Raj Das

Earlier this week, a local lover of brook trout was introduced to SVT's Memorial Forest Reservation in Sudbury. He was thrilled to find a cold water stream so close to Boston.

The visitor described the visit in his Small Stream Reflections blog, where he posted beautiful photos of the property. 

We love hearing stories from visitors to our properties. They let us know we are making a difference. Tell us about your visit to an SVT reservation--and send us your photos! 

Earth Day and Volunteer Week: Success Despite the Rain

Sanofi-Genzyme employees volunteered with SVT during National Volunteer Week 2017.
On Earth Day 2017, volunteers from Youth in Philanthropy cleared trails at SVT's Baiting Brook Meadow Farm CR in Framingham.
SVT volunteers cleared trash from the road sides in Northwest Framingham during National Volunteer Week 2017.
Volunteers helped SVT's Stewardship staff clear a new trail at Ciesluk Forest during National Volunteer Week 2017.
SVT Volunteers pulled invasive glossy buckthorn at Memorial Forest as part of National Volunteer Week 2017.

Thank you to everyone who volunteered with SVT on Earth Day 2017 (April 22) and during National Volunteer Week (April 23 - 29). Despite the rainy weather that forced us to cancel or postpone some projects, we enjoyed several successful outings.

On Saturday, April 22, SVT celebrated Earth Day with a great crew from Youth in Philanthropy from the MetroWest Foundation. Led by SVT MassLIFT-AmeriCorps members Lisa Long and Chelsea Polevy and by volunteer Bill Fadden, the crew cleaned up and rehabilitated trails at Baiting Brook Meadow Farm in Framingham. The volunteers also built a trail section to a historic Boy Scout camp on the property. 

On April 23, SVT kicked off Volunteer Week in Northwest Framingham, where a team of volunteers sporting new SVT safety vests beautified roadsides by collecting litter along Edmands and Nixon Roads. Strong teamwork and good cheer made for light work. 

In Westborough on April 27, 22 employees from Sanofi-Genzyme assisted SVT with trail restoration and landscape maintenance at our popular Walkup and Robinson Memorial Reservation.

In Berlin, our Stewardship staff worked with volunteers on April 29 to clear new trails across Ciesluk Forest in anticipation of the land's permanent protection. The trails connect to our Garfield Woods Reservation and will allow us to reopen trails on that property, which have been closed because their only access point crossed an active rail line. 

On April 28, students from Acton-Boxborough High School helped SVT make an important adjustment to the Storybook Trail at Wolbach Farm. Working with MassLIFT-AmeriCorps members Chelsea Polevy and Emily Anderson and with volunteer Kevin Paquin, the students lowered the posts on the storybook stations to "child height," which will make it easier for young readers to read the stories for themselves. 

And on May 1, during a project that was rescheduled because of rain, another band of volunteers fought invasive plant species by pulling glossy buckthorn at Memorial Forest in Sudbury

Wish you had participated in Volunteer Week?  Volunteer Week may be over, but you can still volunteer. We have opportunities available year-round both on our properties and in our office. Check our Volunteer page for more information.

Beer in the Barn: A Member-Guest Event

SVT members are invited to bring a non-member guest to our first-ever Beer in the Barn event.

This Member-Guest event, scheduled for May 13, 2017, in the barn at Wolbach Farm, is part of our Spring Membership Drive. We have a goal of gaining 500 new members by June 30 so we can increase the pace at which we protect and care for land in our 36-community region.

Enjoy a sampling of craft beers from two local breweries--Navigation Brewing Co. in Lowell and Rapscallion in Acton--while you help us spread the word about our conservation work. Invite your friends, family, and neighbors to learn more about SVT and become members for themselves. 

Admission is free, but you must bring a non-member guest to attend.

Learn more and register by May 10.

Volunteer Week Update: Activities Rescheduled Due to Rain

Framingham Roadside Cleanup, April 23, 2017
Youth in Philanthropy, Photo by Julie Williams
Youth in Philanthropy, Photo by Julie Williams

Thank you to everyone who has participated in SVT's projects during National Volunteer Week. Unfortunately, the rainy weather has forced us to alter some of our planned activities.

The Buckthorn Pull at Memorial Forest in Sudbury, which was planned for today (Tuesday, April 25), has been rescheduled for Monday, May 1, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.  Register.

The Buckthorn Pull at Gowing's Swamp in Concord, which is on the schedule for tomorrow (Wednesday, April 26), has been called off.  We have not yet rescheduled this event. 

But before the rains came, the week got off to a great start.

On Saturday, April 22, SVT celebrated Earth Day and kicked off National Volunteer Week with a great crew from Youth in Philanthropy from the MetroWest Foundation.  At the Baiting Brook Meadow Farm CR in Framingham, the team—led by SVT MassLIFT-AmeriCorps members Lisa Long and Chelsea Polevy and SVT volunteer Bill Fadden—cleaned up and rehabilitated trails which were affected during recent forestry operations. The group also built a trail section to a historic Boy Scout camp on the property.  Despite the soggy day, enthusiasm was high. We invite you to visit SVT's trails in Northwest Framingham, which connect to Callahan State Park.

On Sunday, April 23, a team of SVT volunteers beautified roadsides in northwest Framingham by collecting litter along Edmands and Nixon Roads. Beginning at the Edmands Road entrance to Callahan State Park, volunteers collected discarded bottles and trash along the road in front of many SVT properties and residential homes.  The strong teamwork and good cheer of the team made for light work. 

Interested in becoming an SVT volunteer?  Contact Michael Sanders.


Walk the Trails with SVT at Trail Fest on June 10

Mark your calendars: SVT's 6th annual celebration of local trails is scheduled for Saturday, June 10, in Northwest Framingham. Join us for a day of hiking, music, food, and more.

In the morning, we'll enjoy guided walks through the woods and fields of Northwest Framingham, where we'll hike over properties owned by SVT, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and others. In the afternoon, we'll enjoy a cookout in the field of the Framingham Friends Meetinghouse on Edmands Road. We'll also have live music, children's activities, and more. 

Register now

Hikers have a choice of walks: 10K exercise pace, 6K education pace, 6K exercise pace, and 3K education pace. The education walks will have a moderate pace, and the leaders will occasionally stop to discuss the topography, plants, and animals of the region. The exercise walks will have a more vigorous pace without stops.

The walks have staggered start times so everyone will finish around noon, just in time for lunch.

Bring your family, friends, and neighbors! Explore these natural landscapes in the heart of MetroWest. 

Trail Fest 2017 is being sponsored by:

  • TD Bank
  • The Longellow Clubs
  • Integrated Martial Arts
  • Crossfit Prototype
  • Whole Foods Market

Learn more and register.

Time to Make Plans for Summer Camp

This summer, SVT's Wolbach Farm will once again be a host site for Mass Audubon's Drumlin Farm camp program. The three-day to five-day sessions are designed for children entering pre-K to Grade 1.

The Drumlin Farm Summer Camp program helps young children connect with nature as they play, use their imaginations, and explore various habitats. Themes for this year's sessions include "Wings and Things," "Fuzzy Wuzzies," "Marvelous Mammals," and "Spineless Wonders." 

The first session will be held the week of June 26. Camp runs from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. 

Registrations are now being accepted. Learn more.

Sign Up for National Volunteer Week with SVT: April 23-29

SVT has planned several events for National Volunteer Week, which runs from Sunday, April 23, to Saturday, April 29. It's not too late to make plans to join us for one of these events.

Plus, we recently added a new event for April 29 in Framingham. Click each link to learn more and register:

If you are a new SVT volunteer or simply want to learn more about our volunteer opportunities, please attend our Volunteer Orientation during Volunteer Week (light refreshments will be served):

Monday, April 24, 6:00 pm
Wolbach Farm
18 Wolbach Road, Sudbury, MA

To register for the orientation, please contact Michael Sanders at, 978-443-5588 x111.

If you can't attend a Volunteer Week activity but are still interested in volunteering for SVT, check out our Volunteer page where you can learn more about our entire Volunteer Program.