Youth Stewards

View a list of current opportunities or highlights from past projects.

The Youth Conservation Stewards Program provides an opportunity for youths to build their skills in community service and conservation. Youths learn new skills while contributing to the improvement and maintenance of our reservations or providing environmental education to the public. Initially, the program focused on boy and girl scouts in the communities of Framingham, Sudbury, Wayland and Westborough; however, the program is open to all youths in any of our 36 communities and from any affiliation. 

Past projects have included environmental education, designing and posting signage, controlling exotic-invasive plant species, trail improvements and bridge work. Youths are encouraged to visit our properties and suggest projects of their own. 

Our projects generally fall into two categories: leadership projects and general community service projects. Leadership projects require the youth to do project design, planning and coordination as well as implementation. Leadership projects are appropriate for Boy Scouts seeking their Eagle rank, Girl Scouts seeking a Silver or Gold Award, and school students doing an honor project. The general community service projects are usually group projects, although some can be done by individuals. They usually entail tasks that can be implemented during one or two work sessions. 

How does the program work?

A youth group leader or individual youth should first review the information contained on this web page and then contact an SVT staff member, Laura Mattei or Dan Stimson, about their interest.  We will discuss potential projects, suitability and timing and choose an appropriate project.  Project selection may include site visits.  SVT staff provides guidance and technical support throughout the project.  

Current Youth Volunteer Opportunities

Framingham
  • Baiting Brook Welch - Create Interpretive material and relocate existing kiosk.
  • Cowassock Woods - Invasive plant control.
  • Harrington Field - Clear a stone wall of exotic-invasive plants.
Sudbury
  • Lyons-Cutler Reservation - Replace or renovate hiking bridge
  • Lyons-Cutler Reservation - Replace broken and aging boardwalks
  • Memorial Forest - Renovate bridge to accomodate horseback riders
  • Memorial Forest - Replace aging bridge near entrance
  • Wolbach Farm - Create an updated interpretive trail guide
Southborough
  • Turenne Reservation - Invasive shrub removal.
Northborough
  • Cedar Hill - Build bench at hill-top kiosk.
Wayland
  • Upper Mill Brook - Improve trail from Claypit Hill Road.
Westborough
  • Walkup and Robinson - Create an updated interpretive trail guide
Westford
  • O'Brien Farm CR - Build Kiosks at trail heads

Possibilities for multiple reservations

  • Create deer exclosures for vegetation monitoring on an SVT reservation.
  • Nature study and education.
  • Design interpretive trails to be posted on the website.

  

April 2014

Wayland High School students help SVT during their second Annual Service Day at Greenways Conservation Area.
Wayland High School students help SVT during their second Annual Service Day at Greenways Conservation Area.
Wayland High School students help SVT during their second Annual Service Day at Greenways Conservation Area.
Thanks to Wayland High School students for helping out at Greenways Conservation Area during their second Annual Service Day. The group helped maintain a long bridge connecting the north and south trail sections.

May 2013

Two enthusiastic sports teams from Lincoln-Sudbury High School helped to clear invasive shrubs at Wolbach Farm.
Two enthusiastic sports teams from Lincoln-Sudbury High School helped to clear invasive shrubs at Wolbach Farm.
Two enthusiastic sports teams from Lincoln-Sudbury High School helped to clear invasive shrubs at Wolbach Farm.

December 2012

Isaac Feldberg, Eagle Scout candidate in Sudbury, did a fabulous job of researching and preparing information materials about the pitch pine/scrub oak barrens habitat restoration being proposed at the Desert Natural Area.
Isaac's crew readies the kiosk for installation.
Isaac Feldberg, Eagle Scout candidate in Sudbury, did a fabulous job of researching and preparing information materials about the pitch pine/scrub oak barrens habitat restoration being proposed at the Desert Natural Area (which includes SVT's Memorial Forest). Isaac and other volunteers built and installed an informational kiosk at the restoration site. Isaac is also a budding journalist and had an article about the project published in both Sudbury and Marlborough newspapers.

June 2012

The Lincoln-Sudbury senior boys volleyball team volunteered to assist SVT with trash pick-up and glossy buckthorn removal at the Memorial Forest in Sudbury.
The Lincoln-Sudbury senior boys volleyball team volunteered to assist SVT with trash pick-up and glossy buckthorn removal at the Memorial Forest in Sudbury.
The Lincoln-Sudbury senior boys volleyball team volunteered to assist SVT with trash pick-up and glossy buckthorn removal at the Memorial Forest in Sudbury.
The Lincoln-Sudbury senior boys volleyball team volunteered to assist SVT with trash pick-up and glossy buckthorn removal at the Memorial Forest in Sudbury.
 

May 2012

Sudbury Venture Crew 1776, the co-ed unit of Sudbury Boy Scouts, spent a day at Greenways Conservation Area in Wayland completing a service project to preserve land and plant life along the Sudbury River.
Sudbury Venture Crew 1776, the co-ed unit of Sudbury Boy Scouts, spent a day at Greenways Conservation Area in Wayland completing a service project to preserve land and plant life along the Sudbury River.
Sudbury Venture Crew 1776, the co-ed unit of Sudbury Boy Scouts, spent a day at Greenways Conservation Area in Wayland completing a service project to preserve land and plant life along the Sudbury River.
Sudbury Venture Crew 1776, the co-ed unit of Sudbury Boy Scouts, spent a day at Greenways Conservation Area in Wayland completing a service project to preserve land and plant life along the Sudbury River.  Over time foot traffic (man and dog) has destroyed the natural vegetation that prevented erosion and run-off of soil into the water. This labor-intensive project involved constructing and installing split rail fencing.
Greenways, with its meandering trails, woods, and fields abutting the Sudbury River is a popular spot for dog walkers.  In fact, there is one particular area that is a favorite for dogs to access the water.  This area has been worn away and has been gradually expanding; the bushes and scrub that help stabilize the slope have been completely decimated. 
In an initial effort to remediate the problem, the Sudbury Venture Crew erected a fence in 2009.  That fence has not completely solved the problem. Dogs and hikers are still able to get around the fence and continue to damage the plants in the area. The newly finished area provides a passageway that leads from the trail to the river for access, but limits the area so that the natural habitat will be protected.
On a warm, sunny Saturday in May, seven members of the Sudbury Venture Crew enthusiastically dug post holes and constructed the split rail fencing. They then reinforced the fence with wire mesh to prevent pets and people from straying off the designated pathway. Along side the fence, the Crew laid brush on either side of the trail as a further deterrent.  The next phase of the project will involve introducing native plantings to reestablish vegetation to the area now bare.
As the Venture Crew was finishing up, they had the opportunity to see their hard work put to good use.  Rebecca Cutting, chair of the Venture Crew Parent Committee observed, “The dogs got it.  They are eager to get to the water and don’t care how they get there!”  Dog walkers along with their canine friends thanked the Venture Crew for their work in preserving the land and watched as their dogs easily made their way to the water.

April 2012

At Wolbach Farm the students, shown here with SVT's Christa Collins, helped with some spring cleaning around the grounds of SVT's headquarters.
At SVT's Half Moon Meadow Brook in Boxborough, students helped remove invasive species and downed tree limbs along the field edge.
Thanks to two groups of Seniors from Acton-Boxborough Regional High School for volunteering at two SVT sites during their Senior Community Service Day! SVT projects at Wolbach Farm in Sudbury and Half Moon Meadow Brook in Boxborough were among 50 projects in Acton, Boxborough and Sudbury, where over 400 ABRHS students completed almost 1000 hours of community service. At Wolbach Farm the students helped with some spring cleaning around the grounds of SVT's headquarters. In Boxborough, the students helped remove invasive species and downed tree limbs along the field edge at the property.
 

November 2011

Framingham Troop 12 Boy Scouts helped to clear storm debris from trails at SVT's Henry's Hill in Framingham. Photo by Gregg Shupe.
Framingham Troop 12 Boy Scouts removed the invasive Oriental bittersweet vine from trees at SVT's Waters & Weir Fields in Framingham.
Framingham Troop 12 Boy Scouts helped to clear storm debris from trails at Henry's Hill and removed the invasive Oriental bittersweet vine from trees at Waters & Weir Fields.  Learn tips on improving wildlife habitat in your own back yard, including how to deal with invasive species such as bittersweet, with our Improving Wildlife Habitat In Your Backyard brochure.

November 2011

Sudbury Cub Scout Den 3, Pack 60, helped trim trails at SVT's Lyons-Cutler Reservation in Sudbury.
Sudbury Cub Scout Den 3, Pack 60, helped trim trails at SVT's Lyons-Cutler Reservation in Sudbury.
Sudbury Cub Scout Den 3, Pack 60, helped trim trails at SVT's Lyons-Cutler Reservation in Sudbury.
Sudbury Cub Scout Den 3, Pack 60, helped trim trails at SVT's Lyons-Cutler Reservation in Sudbury.  The boys, all third graders at the nearby Loring School, opened up a trail that had received a lot of damage in the recent heavy snow storm.  Frank Vitale, an SVT volunteer, showed the group some results from his Camera in the Woods that he's been monitoring this year at the reservation.  The group also checked out the great blue heron rookery at the reservation.

November 2011

A group of volunteers help carry in a new bridge at SVT's Wolbach Farm in Sudbury, as part of Charles Eyermann's Eagle Project.
The new bridge is in place over a newly restored section of stream at Wolbach Farm.
The stream now flows unimpeded across the trail.
Charles Eyermann, of Troop 61 in Sudbury, finished work for his Eagle Project at SVT's Wolbach Farm in Sudbury.  Over the course of a few weekends, Charles and his group of volunteers removed an old culvert along the Nature Trail at the property.  The culvert would often clog up, resulting in erosion on the trail and the banks below.  After removing the pipes, Charles and his group created more natural stream banks, stabilizing them with jute netting.  They used some of the soil removed from around the pipes to repair damage from past erosion on the trail and built a new bridge to cross the stream that now flows freely underneath.