Grand Opening at Smith

Dan Stimson and Laura Mattei (at right in photo) led the walk for our conservation partners. Photo by Rick Findlay.
Dan Stimson and Laura Mattei (at right in photo) led the walk for our conservation partners. Photo by Rick Findlay.
The walkers paused along the trail to discuss the wonderful wildlife habitat at Smith Conservation Land. Photo by Rick Findlay.
The walkers paused along the trail to discuss the wonderful wildlife habitat at Smith Conservation Land. Photo by Rick Findlay.

On Sunday, January 12, a day when the weather seemed more appropriate for early June, SVT and our conservation partners held a grand opening trail walk at the Smith Conservation Land on the Littleton-Harvard town line.

SVT's Laura Mattei (Director of Stewardship) and Dan Stimson (Assistant Director of Stewardship) led the walk for the project partners who helped purchase and protect this property. In attendance were representatives of Harvard Conservation Commission, Harvard Conservation Trust, Littleton Conservation Trust, and Littleton Conservation Commission. We were also pleased to welcome Steve Smith of the Smith family, who previously owned the land.

To make it easier for the public to access the trails, we have created a parking area on Whitcomb Avenue in Littleton. With trail loops now open on both sides of the road, Smith Conservation Land boasts expansive views of both Beaver Brook Marsh and Black Pond Ravine.

Get directions and a trail map.

Happy Anniversary, MESA

Photo by William Dunbar.
Photo by William Dunbar.

The year 2020 marks the 30th anniversary of the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act (MESA), which protects vulnerable species and the habitats on which they rely.
Many species have benefited from MESA protection, including the peregrine falcon, the bald eagle, and the northern red-bellied cooter. 

Currently, MESA lists 169 species of animals and 258 species of plants as Endangered, Threatened, or of Special Concern. See the full list.

Conservation Corridor Expands

In the northwest part of Upton, a town characterized by beautiful forests, SVT now holds a conservation restriction on the Bonner property. The CR was granted to us by Metacomet Land Trust, which was given the land for habitat protection and passive recreation.

Named for the late Dr. Barbara Bonner, founder of the Turtle Hospital of New England, the 70-acre parcel adjoins the Sweetwilliam Farm CR and Upton's Whitney Conservation Area on North Street and is part of an extensive corridor of protected land.  Metacomet is building trails on the property that will be accessible from the Whitney Conservation Area trailhead.

Nature Sightings: The Best of 2019

A coyote, by Steve Cumming.

We received over 400 Nature Sightings submissions in 2019, most of which included several photos of the flora and fauna in our region.

Thank you to all the photographers who shared these wonderful images. Your generosity has contributed to a growing list of nearly 650 species catalogued on this site. 

For your enjoyment, we’ve gathered some of our favorite images into our annual Best of Nature Sightings album. This year's collection includes mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, flowering plants, insects, and even a crustacean. Beyond capturing our imagination, as you've seen in our weekly Nature Sightings e-newsletter, these images help us communicate the importance of SVT's mission.

View our picks in the SVT Nature Sightings, Best of 2019 Google Photo Album.

If you have an interesting picture or video to share, please contact Dan Stimson at [email protected]

To receive weekly e-mails summarizing the latest Nature Sightings, subscribe to our free Nature Sightings e-newsletter on the top of our Nature Sightings page.


Trails Now Open at Smith

We've been talking about the Smith Conservation Land for months, and now you can see it for yourself.  

SVT has opened the hiking trails on this 60-acre property that spans the Littleton-Harvard town line. We've also added a parking area on Whitcomb Road.

Smith offers hikers expansive views of both Beaver Brook Marsh and Black Pond Ravine. There are trail loops on both sides of the road, and you can extend your walk by continuing onto additional Town of Harvard conservation lands. 

Directions and a trail map are available on our Smith Conservation Land page.

Visit the Storybook Trail During Winter Break

Looking for an outdoor activity for young children during vacation week? Check out the Storybook Trail at SVT's Wolbach Farm in Sudbury. 

The Storybook Trail is a 3/4-mile path that wends through the woods and over a small hill. Along the way, we've installed 12 stations, each of which contains a few pages of a children’s book that is ideal for toddlers or young readers.

You can read the story in sections as you take a pleasant walk and encourage your children to explore nature. The trail is always open to the public, free of charge.

Each season brings a new tale. We are currently featuring Owl Moon by Jane Yolen, a Caldecott Medal winning book that tells the story of a young girl and her father who go owling late on a winter night. 

Wear appropriate footwear: The path through the woods can be snowy, icy, wet, or muddy.


Add Nature to Your Gift List

As you shop for holiday gifts, be sure to keep Nature in mind. You can make a lasting impact on our natural areas by giving an SVT Membership or by shopping at Amazon Smile.

Give an SVT Membership

Share your love of nature with your friends and family by giving them memberships in SVT. They'll learn about regional conservation and be able to attend most SVT programs at no cost. Plus, new Gift Memberships at the Family level and higher qualify for an SVT Trail Guide. An SVT Gift Membership is a great way to help those you love connect with the out-of-doors. Give one today!

Shop at Amazon Smile

If you shop at, you can simultaneously support SVT and our conservation efforts at no extra cost to you. Sign up for the Amazon Smile program, select SVT as your charity of choice, and then 0.5% of your eligible purchases will be donated to us. It's a simple way to support a cause you care about. (Please be sure to log in at before making a purchase).

Kick Off the Holiday Season at Hosmer House

If you are in the vicinity of Sudbury Center this weekend or next (December 7-8 or 14-15), stop by the Holiday Open House at Hosmer House. SVT has once again decorated a Christmas tree for the annual event, which this year has a theme of "Story Land." 

The Holiday Open House will be held December 7-8 and December 14-15, from 11:00 a.m. to 4 p.m. On Saturday, December 7, the house will open for extended hours until 7:30 p.m. to coincide with the town's Menorah and Tree Lighting ceremony. Hosmer House is located at the intersection of Rte. 27 and Concord Road in Sudbury.

Each year, the Sudbury Historical Commission invites local nonprofit organizations to decorate the 1790s-era Hosmer House, and the public is invited to enjoy the decorations on the first two weekends in December. 

For the Story Land theme, SVT has decorated our tree with images of the books that have been featured on our Storybook Trail at Wolbach Farm. And in keeping with our mission to protect natural areas for wildlife and people, our tree also includes ornaments of wild animals and outdoorsy people.

Other participating groups have chosen specific stories as the theme for their rooms, including A Secret Garden, Lady and the Tramp, Madeline, and Peanuts. 

Tour the Hosmer House and enjoy the decorations for yourself! Complimentary refreshments will be available at this festive event, and holiday gifts will be available for purchase. Admission is free, although donations are welcome. 

Giving Tuesday Results: Thank You!

On Giving Tuesday (December 3), SVT members and friends really stepped up to support healthy habitats for bees and butterflies (and the myriad of wildlife that benefit from natural areas).

We received an incredible $22,132 in donations for our #GivingTuesday campaign. In addition to more than 100 gifts of all sizes, one donor, inspired by our $10,000 challenge match gift, gave $10,000!

Combining the donations and the challenge match, we raised $32,132—an SVT #GivingTuesday record!

Thank you for your generosity and for your personal investment in the health of local lands. We are honored to carry out this work on your behalf.

Giving Thanks for the Land

Photos by Steve Gaebeler

On the morning after Thanksgiving Day 2019, two dozen hikers joined SVT Executive Director Lisa Vernegaard for a brisk walk at Hamlen Woods and Mainstone Farm in Wayland. This marked the sixth consecutive year that Lisa has led the "Give Thanks for the Land" walk to celebrate the bounty that natural areas bring to our lives. 

The walk offers a great way to get out of the house while avoiding the hustle and bustle of Black Friday shopping. Put it on your calendar for 2020!