#GivingTuesday for the Trails

SVT is dedicating #GivingTuesday, the global day of giving that offsets the consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, to the maintenance and care of our 65 miles of trails.

During the pandemic, many people have visited conservation lands for fresh air and exercise. Our trails have been more heavily used than ever before, proving just how essential nature is to our lives.

If you would like to help us care for our 65 miles of trails, visit #GivingTuesday for the Trails.

Your gift can go twice as far: Two generous SVT members have pledged to match total contributions up to $20,000!

Give Thanks for the Land: Take a Hike with Your Family

SVT traditionally hosts a Give Thanks for the Land walk during Thanksgiving weekend. While we cannot gather our members for a community walk this year, we can encourage everyone to independently tour our trails and join together in spirit.

Connect with nature by visiting an SVT property. We've posted a special greeting from SVT at five of our trails. Get the details.

Job Openings at SVT

SVT has two exciting job openings for experienced professionals in our Development and Finance departments:

Director of Development & Community Engagement
The DDCE is responsible for refining and leading the strategic direction of SVT’s Development program which includes membership, communications, marketing, outreach, and all other fundraising.

The DDCE coordinates the work of the Development Team to advance SVT’s strategic goals, raise ~$1 million operating revenue annually, and grow and nurture SVT’s membership base. Read more.

Director of Finance & Administration
The DFA works closely with the Executive Director to develop and implement SVT's strategic financial goals. The DFA administers the annual operating budget, analyzes investment results, and produces regular financial report.

The DFA also oversees human resources and benefits as well as managing equipment purchases and vendor contracts. This is a 32-hour/week position. Read more

Assessing the Restoration Effort at Memorial Forest

Two representatives of MassWildlife's Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program (NHESP) recently joined SVT’s Laura Mattei for a tour of Memorial Forest and the Desert Natural Area on the Sudbury-Marlborough line. The trio assessed the current status of the long-term effort to restore pitch pine-scrub oak barrens at this site, with an eye toward determining our next steps.

Chris Buelow, Senior Restoration Ecologist, and Caren Caljouw, Prescribed Fire Program Manager, were impressed with the condition of the property, where we conducted a planned burn in 2014 and cleared trees in 2016. They noted an abundance of scrub oak as well as the presence of several plants that are characteristic of these types of barrens, such as Labrador Tea and pinweed.

Caren also made recommendations for how to prepare the site for our next planned burn, scheduled for 2022. (We had originally scheduled a burn for Spring 2020, but the pandemic forced us to postpone it.) SVT will be mowing (masticating) the cleared areas around the Desert Loop Trail this winter in preparation for the next burn.  

During the tour, Laura recorded these short videos of Chris and Caren describing the landscape.



New Tale on the Storybook Trail

The Storybook Trail at Wolbach Farm now features We're Going on a Leaf Hunt by Steve Metzger. This simple tale about three children who seek out leaves of different colors is ideal for toddlers and preschoolers, and it will also give 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—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. Enjoy the story in sections as you walk through the woods! 

Upton Voters Approve Kelly Purchase

Another important conservation project has received a green light from local voters. During a Special Town Meeting on November 10, voters in Upton approved the use of Community Preservation Funds for the purchase of the Kelly Property that sits within the Peppercorn Hill Conservation Area. The privately owned property consists of four parcels that span 66 acres.

SVT and the Metacomet Land Trust are working with the town to conserve this land. More good news arrived just days before the Town Meeting, when Metacomet learned it had received a state grant that will enable it to purchase of one of the parcels. This reduced the burden on the town, which now needs to purchase just three parcels.

SVT is assisting with fundraising and will hold a conservation restriction the entire property. Learn more.

Two Big Wins: Kelly and Chickatawbut

We are excited to learn that two projects we are working on have received much-needed funding from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts:

In Upton, the Metacomet Land Trust received a $56,000 Conservation Partnership grant toward the purchase of one parcel of the Kelly Property, which sits within the Peppercorn Hill Conservation Area. SVT and Metacomet are working with the Town of Upton to conserve this land. The good news comes at a great time: The project is on the warrant of a Special Town Meeting scheduled for November 10. Learn more.

Similarly, the City of Framingham has received an $80,000 LAND (Local Acquisitions for Natural Diversity) grant to be used for the purchase of Chickatawbut Woods. The city is supporting SVT's effort to purchase this 19-acre property in the Greater Callahan Area, and it will hold a conservation restriction on the land if we succeed. Learn more.

We also congratulate the Town of Bolton for receiving a $308,000 LAND grant for the acquisition of the Taggart Land, a forested area near the Still River Tributary. SVT had encouraged our Bolton members to support this project at their Town Meeting in June.

Learn more about the $8.7 million in grants that Massachusetts awarded to parks and land conservation projects this week.

Job Opening: Director of Finance & Administration

SVT has an immediate opening for a Director of Finance & Administration.

Working closely with the Executive Director, the DFA is responsible for developing and implementing SVT's strategic financial goals. The DFA plans and administers the annual operating budget, analyzes investment results, and produces regular reports on the organization’s financial performance. The DFA also oversees Human Resources, vendor contracts, and equipment purchases.

In addition to working independently to fulfill the job responsibilities, the DFA must also work collaboratively in a team setting with the Executive Director, the staff, the Board Treasurer, and the Board’s Finance Committee.

This is a part-time (32-hours/week) position based out of our headquarters in Sudbury, MA.

Read the full job description.

Job Opening: Director of Development & Community Engagement

SVT has an opening for a Director of Development & Community Engagement (DDCE). We are seeking someone to grow our capacity so we can accelerate our efforts to protect and care for the region’s vulnerable natural areas and farmlands.

The DDCE is responsible for refining and leading the strategic direction of SVT’s Development program which includes membership, communications, marketing, outreach, and all other fundraising.

This is a full-time position based at SVT’s headquarters, located at Wolbach Farm in Sudbury, MA.

Read the full job description.

Littleton Voters Approve Browns' Woods Project

Littleton Special Town Meeting, October 18, 2020
Littleton Special Town Meeting, October 18, 2020

The effort to protect Browns' Woods got a big boost on October 18, when Littleton voters overwhelmingly supported the purchase of the property at a Special Town Meeting. This vote follows an earlier announcement that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has awarded a grant to the town to be used toward the purchase (see below).

SVT is participating in the effort to protect this property and add it to Littleton's local conservation lands. We will raise funds to cover the costs of holding a conservation restriction and to offset expenses for the Town. The Littleton Conservation Trust is helping with outreach and has made a very generous $10,000 contribution to SVT's fundraising campaign. 

Learn more and donate to this effort.

Littleton Project Receives State MVP Grant

Good news for the Town of Littleton: In September, the town received a $763,050 "MVP" Action Grant from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The town will use the money to purchase and protect the Browns' Woods property and create a link between other conserved lands in the area.

MVP, or Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness, grants were created by the Baker-Polito administration to encourage Massachusetts cities and towns to become more resilient in the face of climate change. The grants help municipalities identify climate hazards, develop strategies to improve resilience, and implement priority actions to adapt to climate change. In September, the state awarded $11.1 million in MVP grants, bringing the total to $44 million since 2017.

The Town of Littleton will use its grant toward the purchase price of the Browns' Woods property, which sits on Tahattawan Road and Harwood Avenue. The conservation of Browns' Woods will protect a local watershed and create a corridor of conservation lands that include Prouty Woods, Long Lake, and the Littleton Town Forest.

SVT supports the conservation of this property because of its many ecological features. Browns' Woods consists of upland hardwood and softwood forests, shrub land, emergent wetlands, and a potential vernal pool. The property and adjacent Long Pond ecosystem supports habitat for beaver, otter, muskrat, bobcat, fox, coyote, groundhog, raccoon, fisher, mink, stoat/ermine, and smaller mammals. Over 125 species of birds have been observed in the area.  

The MVP grant covers only part of the purchase price, so during a Special Town Meeting on October 17 (postponed to October 18 due to weather), residents will be asked to approve the use of Community Preservation Funds for the purchase. We encourage our Littleton members to vote yes!

If residents approve the use of the funds, SVT and the Littleton Conservation Trust will set out to raise additional money for the project, and SVT is expected to hold a conservation restriction on the land. Learn more about Browns' Woods.