Storybook Trail: New Tale for Spring

To celebrate the beginning of spring, SVT is posting a new book to our Storybook Trail at Wolbach Farm: A Seed is Sleepy. Part of a series of illustrated nature-themed books by Dianna Hutts Aston and Sylvia Long, this story helps children understand the intricate world of seeds.

The Storybook Trail has proved to be very popular since it opened in September. The 3/4-mile trail includes 12 stations, each of which contains a page or two of a book written for young readers. To keep the trail fresh and interesting, we change the story at the start of each season.

Be sure to visit soon to enjoy this new story (but wear proper footwear—the trail winds through the woods and can be snowy and muddy).

Learn About Forest Management at Memorial Forest

On Saturday, April 1, Executive Director Lisa Vernegaard will lead a walking tour of SVT's Memorial Forest Reservation in Sudbury. Lisa will lead you through parts of the forest that have recently been thinned as part of our multi-year project to restore the rare pitch pine/scrub oak barrens to this landscape. 

During the walk, Lisa will explain why SVT embarked on the project, which species it will affect, and how we expect the forest to respond. Space is limited, so please register today if you wish to attend.

In the meantime, you are welcome to tour Memorial Forest on your own. In February, we reopened the Desert Loop trail, which had been closed during the tree-thinning. We have posted new trail markers to help you find your way, and we will continue to tidy up the trail corridor as the spring progresses.   

Project Update: Ciesluk Forest

Thank you to everyone who donated to our crowdfunding campaign for the Ciesluk Forest project. We raised nearly $38,000 during this campaign, which ran from February 1 to March 12. With these funds, we will support the purchase of the Ciesluk property and create trails across the land to Garfield Woods and Forty Caves. 

SVT is working with the Towns of Berlin and Clinton to protect the 55-acre Ciesluk Forest. The two towns are on track to purchase the land by the end of April. SVT will hold a conservation restriction on the land and has plans to create trails on it by summertime. Read more about this project.

Thank you! 

Thank You to the "Creatures of the Night"!

More than 200 people attended SVT's 2017 Annual Benefit at the Sheraton Framingham on Saturday, March 11, to dine, dance, and contribute much-needed funds for SVT's conservation work. Thank you to all attendees and donors who the made the "Creatures of the Night Gala" such a rousing success.

Thank you to our Business Sponsors, Village Bank and Northern Bank.

Thank you also to our hard-working Benefit Committee who planned the event and the auction: Andi Jenny, Ellie Johnson, Sue Kurys, Debra Sager, and Sonja Strong. And thank you to all volunteers who solicited auction items.

Special thanks to Nele Kaps for her innovative invitation and program designs.

Thank you to all of the attendees who supported our conservation work with their generous bids in our Silent and Live Auctions.

Finally, we are grateful to all the businesses and individuals who generously contributed items to the Benefit Auction

We're already making plans for our 2018 event, our 25th Annual Benefit Auction. See you there!

Two Programs Postponed: "Starting Seeds" and "Vernal Pools"

SVT has rescheduled two March programs because of weather conditions:  

An Introduction to Vernal Pools, which is on the calendar for Tuesday, March 14, has been postponed because of the impending storm. The new date is Tuesday, March 21, 7:00 to 8:00 pm at Wolbach Farm. The program still has seats available. Register here. Cost: SVT members--free. Non-members--$10. 

Starting Seeds Indoors for the Home Gardener, which was scheduled for Saturday, March 11, was postponed because of the cold temperatures. We have rescheduled it for Saturday, March 18, 11:00 am to 12:30 pm. This program is co-sponsored by Stearns Farm CSA and will be held in the greenhouses at Stearns Farm. The program still has openings. Register here. Cost: SVT and Stearns Farm CSA members--$5. Non-members: $15.

We also have several other programs on tap for March and April. Topics include Bats, Bobcats, Dragonflies, Woodcocks, Forest Management, and Guided Walks. Some are perfect for young children, others are geared toward adults. Check our Program Calendar for more details.


Memorial Forest Update, Trails are Open

We are pleased to let you know that we have re-opened the Desert Loop Trail at Memorial Forest.
We are pleased to let you know that we have re-opened the Desert Loop Trail at Memorial Forest.

As an update regarding our ongoing efforts to restore pitch pine-scrub oak barrens, we are pleased to let you know that we have re-opened the Desert Loop Trail at Memorial Forest.  

We have posted new signs to help you find your way, especially now with the snow cover.  As the snow thaws we will continue to tidy up the trail corridor.

Please remember to keep to the marked trail, and, enjoy!

$6500 Challenge Match! Help Save 55 Acres in Berlin and Clinton

Photo by Brent Mathison

Thanks to the support of many individuals and foundations, we are on the way to success with the Ciesluk Forest project--a joint effort of SVT and the Towns of Berlin and Clinton to save 55 acres of habitat for threatened species. 

We are close to our fundraising goal, but we still need to raise $40,000 by February 28th. To close the gap, we've launched a crowdfunding page. We have raised over $29,000 and have only a few days left to reach our goal.

UPDATE, February 24: Trout Unlimited has made a generous challenge pledge to this project. Between now and February 28, Trout Unlimited will match all donations totaling up to $6500. 

Please join the crowd today and help us reach this challenge goal!

Your donation--in any amount--will help protect 55 acres of important wildlife habitat. It will also help open a trail to the adjoining conservation lands (including Garfield Woods and Forty Acres), which span 248 acres of spectacular forests, cold water streams, and steep ledges.

Visit our crowdfunding page to help us bring this project home! And after you make your donation, please share the link with friends and family who care about protecting the environment.

Together, we can conserve these 55 acres forever! Thank you for your support.

"Owls" Are the Theme of Christmas Bird Count

Barred owl photo by Sue Feldberg
Barred owl photo by Sue Feldberg

The results from the 57th Concord Christmas Bird Count (CBC) have been tallied, and "owls" are the theme of the year. Held on January 2, the CBC had 290 volunteer counters, many of whom gathered at SVT headquarters the next to day to share their results.
The volunteers recorded 165 owls, including 45 northern saw-whet owls, 68 great horned owls (double last year's tally), and 31 barred owls. It's unclear whether these numbers indicate an increased population, a greater inclination for the owls to screech and be heard, or simply a greater effort on the part of counters to seek them out. Several counters rose well before dawn this year in the hopes of finding owls.
Red-bellied woodpeckers (418)  and pileated woodpeckers (65) also achieved new count highs, as did the horned lark (555). Overall, the counters tallied 82 species and 35,411 individual birds.

You can read the CBC's complete analysis and learn more about the count on the CBC website.


Annual Benefit Auction Preview

Design by Nele Kapps

With a theme of "Creatures of the Night Gala," SVT's Annual Benefit is scheduled for Saturday, March 11, at the Sheraton Framingham.

Get creative with your attire, and you could win the prize for the Best Costume!

In 2016, we held our most succesful fundraiser in the 23 years we've been hosting the Annual Benefit, and we are looking to top that success in 2017.

Check our Annual Benefit page for information about this year's auction: weekend accommodations, dining gift cards, event tickets, and more!

Memorial Forest Update

SVT's restoration project in Sudbury's Memorial Forest hit a snag in earlier this month because of weather conditions, but we are continuing the work and hope to complete it soon.

In early January, we put the work on hold because of unseasonally warm weather, which left the ground very soft. The cutting was complete, but we still needed to drag the trees from the forest. Because the ground was so soft, the large, heavy "skidder" that drags the trees out of the forest would have caused unacceptable damage.

When the colder weather returned on January 20, we restarted the operation. Going forward, weather will continue to determine the work schedule.

This week (January 23-27), both the Desert Loop trail and the trail along the rail bed will be closed to allow the skidder work to proceed.

We understand that everyone is eager to get back on the trails, but please observe the trail closure signs for your own safety. Your cooperation will also allow the workers to complete the job. Once the trees are cleared, we will re-mark the trails and re-open them as soon as possible.

Thank you for your patience.