Happy Earth Month from SVT

In this short video, Lisa Vernegaard, SVT Executive Director, shares an Earth Day message of thanks and invites all of our members and friends to Stand Up for Nature and celebrate the earth.

"and then it's spring" Comes to the Storybook Trail

The Storybook Trail at Wolbach Farm now features and then it's spring by Julie Fogliano, with illustrations by Erin E. Stead.

This is a simple tale about a boy (and his dog) who dig, plant seeds, and watch the brown earth for signs of spring. The story gives early readers a chance to try out their new skills.

The Storybook Trail is located along the George Lewis Memorial Trail at SVT’s Wolbach Farm at 18 Wolbach Road in Sudbury. The trail is only ¾-mile long, making it the perfect length for a walk with young children.

A few pages of the book are posted on each of the 12 stations along the path. In Fall 2020, Boy Scout Conner Goodwin designed, built, and installed new stations to better protect the book pages from the elements.

Enjoy the story in sections as you walk through the woods! The trail, which goes up and over a hill, can be uneven and muddy. Please wear proper footwear, and note that it's best to leave the stroller in the car.

New CR in Berlin

In April 2021, Jeffrey and Gretchen Stoddard of Berlin placed a conservation restriction on their beautiful property in northern Berlin
In April 2021, Jeffrey and Gretchen Stoddard of Berlin placed a conservation restriction on their beautiful property in northern Berlin

In early April, SVT was delighted to accept a conservation restriction (CR) from Jeffrey and Gretchen Stoddard on their beautiful property in the northern part of Berlin. The CR forever limits the use of these 20 acres of pastureland and woodland to a single-family home and horse facilities.

The Stoddard land abuts the picturesque Great Oak Farm, which SVT and the Town of Berlin conserved with a CR in 2018.

By donating the CR to SVT, the Stoddards are able to take advantage of the Massachusetts Conservation Land Tax Credit (CLTC). This credit rewards landowners who donate land or a CR (or sell it at below-market value) to permanently protect an important natural resource.

Landowners who qualify can get up to $75,000 in a state tax credit, which can go a long way toward covering transaction costs such as appraisals and legal fees. Massachusetts funds the program for up to $2 million per year, and donors must be certified prior to making the donation. (The CLTC is so important to our work that SVT and other groups are supporting legislation to increase the funding to $5 million per year.)

Although the tax credit makes a nice incentive, for most landowners it plays only a small part in the motivation to leave a legacy of conservation. The Stoddards have made an incredibly generous gift to SVT and to their community in Berlin, and we are truly grateful! Thank you.

Chickatawbut Woods: Help Us Cross the Finish Line

The deadline for SVT to purchase the 19-acre Chickatawbut Woods property in northern Framingham has been exteneded until June 1. But we still need to raise $31,000 for this effort.

Good News: A private foundation along with property neighbors Stuart and Lee Bauer have together agreed to match the next $15,000 in donations! Every contribution will go twice as far.

SVT and the City of Framingham have been working to protect this land for more than a decade. We want to ensure the property, which links two city-owned conservation lands, remains undeveloped and permanently accessible to the public. 

Please help us cross the finish line and protect this wooded gem. Learn more and donate.


Earth Day 2021: Stand Up for Nature

SVT needs more than 24 hours to celebrate the Earth, so we’re planning Earth Day activities throughout the month of April!   

Stand Up for Nature with SVT and join us for a volunteer project or a nature walk.

We've also collected information about Citizen Science Projects, Community Clean-Up Days, and programs and events sponsored by others:

Want an SVT yard sign for your lawn? Send an email to [email protected] to schedule a pick-up.

Happy Earth Day!

It's Time to Pull Garlic Mustard

Garlic Mustard
Garlic Mustard

Garlic mustard is an invasive biennial that crowds out native plants, both through excessive seed production and by secreting a chemical through its roots that suppresses the growth of other species. 

Garlic mustard blooms from April to June, so now is the time to be on the lookout for this plant in your yard. Learn to distinguish garlic mustard (top image at left) from look-a-likes, such as early saxifrage (image at lower right).

If you discover garlic mustard, you can control it by pulling and disposing of it. Just be aware that you might need to repeat the process for several years:

  • Pull it before it flowers and creates seeds. To pull, grab at the base of the plant and pull up the roots.
  • Compost the plants in a pile (do not put in your garden compost). If no seeds are present, bag the plants until dry and then dispose in the trash. 
  • You can also contact your local public works department to see if it offers other disposal options.

Early Saxifrage

Early Saxifrage

Of course, garlic mustard is an herb, so some people dispose of it by incorporating it into recipes! A web search will reveal more information about this option.

SVT has also scheduled some Garlic Mustard Pulls to clear this invasive plant from our properties. To help out, please sign up for an upcoming Volunteer Work Day.

To learn more about garlic mustard, check out the CISMA website.

SVT Seeks Stewardship Field Assistant for Summer 2021

SVT has an opening for a Stewardship Field Assistant to assist with invasive plant control projects and property maintenance at SVT reservations this summer.

The Stewardship Field Assistant will conduct manual pulling and control of invasive plants, working alone and with volunteers. The SFA will also mow trails and conduct routine trail maintenance. 

This position runs for 12 weeks, from June 1 through August 20, 2021. 

Learn more and apply.

Protecting the Plant Communities at Kelly Property

On March 23, SVT’s Meredith Houghton hosted an online meeting about the effort to protect the Kelly Property in Upton. The event included a presentation from noted botanist Ted Elliman, who described the local plant communities and explained why they are important to protect. A recording of the event is available online.

SVT is joining with Metacomet Land Trust and the Town of Upton to permanently protect the Kelly Property and combine it with the popular Peppercorn Hill Conservation Area. The property hosts mature forests, wetlands, a vernal pool, and impressive rocky outcrops. In addition, about 1 mile of the Peppercorn Hill trail network crosses this land.

We want to protect the ecological features, close a gap in the Conservation Area, and ensure the public always has access to the entire trail network. SVT is raising funds to help MLT purchase part of the land.

Our deadline is June 30, and we are still $20,000 short of our fundraising goal.  Learn more.

Help Us Expand Upton's Peppercorn Hill Conservation Area

The view from atop the Kelly Property

SVT is collaborating with Metacomet Land Trust and the Town of Upton to protect the 66-acre Kelly Property that sits within Upton’s Peppercorn Hill Conservation Area.

A popular hiking trail crosses the Kelly Property and extends onto other conservation lands owned by the Towns of Upton, Hopkinton, and Milford. The land is dotted with rocky outcrops, wetlands, and habitat for rare plant species.

We want to permanently protect these ecological features, close a gap in the Conservation Area, and ensure the public always has access to the trail.

SVT must raise $73,000 to assist MLT in its purchase of 23 acres of this land. We've received $45,000 from a foundation grant, and we are seeking the public's support in raising the remaining $28,000.

Please learn more about this project and make a donation to help conserve this land.









Carved Wren Adorns Wolbach Kiosk

Joe Crowder installed the carved logo on the Wolbach kiosk on February 24.
Joe carved the BLT logo into the kiosks in Marlborough before they were installed.

The trail at Wolbach Farm now sports a nifty carving of our logo, thanks to SVT member Joe Crowder.

Joe, who is also a member of the Marlborough Trails Committee, had previously carved the Boroughs Loop Trail logo into the BLT kiosks in Marlborough. Because those kiosks are new, he was able to carve the logo into the upright posts before the kiosks were assembled and installed.

Joe enjoyed the project so much that he offered to "brand" the SVT kiosks with a similar carving. Of course, our Wolbach Farm kiosk was installed years ago, so Joe carved the logo into a piece of wood and attached it in late February. He's now working with SVT's Dan Stimson to identify other kiosks that could be dressed up with this silhouette of a marsh wren perched atop a cattail.

This fun addition to our trail heads reminds visitors that they are on an SVT property. Thanks, Joe!