Short-Term AmeriCorps Opportunity at SVT

 SVT has a short-term opening for a Stewardship Technician as part of the Student Conservation Association Massachusetts Conservation Corps program. This position is expected to run 30 weeks, from March 29 to October 22, 2021.

The Stewardship Technician will assist with property maintenance and management at SVT's 90 reservations (which total 2,350 acres) and along SVT's 65 miles of trails.

Working alone and with volunteers, the Stewardship Technician will be responsible for several invasive plant control projects. The Technician will also conduct outreach to reservation visitors, mow trails and small fields, maintain trails and trail signage, and conduct property visits. The Stewardship Technician may also assist with other conservation land stewardship tasks as needed. 

Breakdown of specific projects and estimated % of time spent on each:

  • Intensive invasive plant control (40%) - Stewardship Technician will focus on four different invasive plant control project areas: (1) Smith Conservation Land - manually remove invasive plants, recruit and supervise volunteer efforts; (2) Gowings Swamp - evaluate knotweed in restoration area and determine actions needed, engage in selective removal of glossy buckthorn; (3) Wolbach Farm - manually remove invasive plants on grounds and adjacent forested areas, complete initial mapping update and assessments; (4) North Field -  manually remove invasive buckthorn, connect with and supervise efforts of Wayland Girl Scouts
  • Access and trails (30%) - Stewardship Technician will engage in field mowing 1.5 days/week from mid-May through mid-August, with increased mowing possible at the end of the term. Stewadship Technician will also respond to seasonal issues on trails as needed and be available to supplement volunteer stewards. Existing trail projects that the member may assist on include the following: (1) new bridge permitting to replace two existing bridges; (2) trail reroute to be completed during a group volunteer workday; (3) trail marking; (4) bridge and boardwalk maintenance and repair
  • Outreach and education (30%) - Stewardship Technician will regularly visit the more popular SVT reservations to engage visitors in education about the SVT and their properties, as well as to encourage good dog-walking etiquette and other SVT rules and regulations. 
  • Checking property boundaries (5%)

Required Member Responsibilities (Essential Functions)

  • Invasive plant control at select SVT reservations
  • Training and serving alongside volunteers
  • General property monitoring and trail maintenance, including boundary checks
  • Visitor outreach and education
  • Providing firm and friendly guidance on dog-walking rules and etiquette

Required Qualifications

  • Bachelor's degree or upper class standing in natural resources management, environmental science, or related field of study
  • Experience with plant identification
  • Physical ability and willingness to operate a DR Field & Brush mower
  • Experience with basic hand and power tools
  • Willingness to spend long hours outdoors, sometimes bushwhacking
  • Have vehicle and valid driver’s license
  • Ability and willingness to interact with visitors for educational purposes

Recommended Qualifications

  • Experience with invasive plant identification and removal
  • Experience with public outreach and education
  • Experience working with volunteers
  • Experience with trail maintenance
  • Comfortable with operating a chainsaw

How to Apply

This position is part of a specialized SCA AmeriCorps program and if you are selected, you will be serving as an SCA AmeriCorps member. 

Please read the complete job description (Position ID: PO-00731428) and apply through the SCA website at



Storybook Trail Gets a Makeover

A Daisy Troop gathers at Wolbach Farm before heading out on the Storybook Trail.

Boy Scout Connor Goodwin has given the Storybook Trail at Wolbach Farm a new look. For his Eagle Project, Connor designed, built, and installed new cases along the trail to protect the book pages from wind, rain, and snow.

As of January 2021, the Storybook Trail feature The Wish Tree by Kyo Maclear, the tale of a young boy and his sled who befriend several wild animals on their trek to find a fabled wish tree. We've already seen lots of traffic on the revamped trail, as families are eager to take a walk on these beautiful winter days.

A few pages of the book are posted at each of the 12 stations along the 3/4-mile path. Enjoy the story in sections as you walk through the woods! (Remember: The trail could be muddy or snowy.) Directions to Wolbach.

Protecting an Atlantic White Cedar Swamp

Photo by Cyndy Sims Parr, Flickr
Photo by Cyndy Sims Parr, Flickr:

In late December 2020, Bill and Martha Cooper donated 2.5 acres of land in northwest Sudbury to SVT. This property and SVT's adjacent Bracket-Leland-Benedict property are part of an Atlantic white cedar swamp that forms the headwaters of a tributary of the Assabet River. (Because these properties are primarily wetland, they do not have public trails.)

We are grateful to the Coopers for this generous gift and for helping to protect an unusual habitat that is considered to be imperiled in Massachusetts.

Photo by Cyndy Sims Parr, Flickr

New Homes for Owls

SVT's Dan Stimson and Matt Morris installed the owl boxes at SVT headquarters.
SVT's Dan Stimson and Matt Morris installed the owl boxes at SVT headquarters.

Thanks to SVT Member Leslee Halleran, we may soon be hearing the hoots of owls at SVT's Wolbach Farm in Sudbury.

Leslee recently donated several owl boxes to SVT, two of which we have installed in the woods around our headquarters. One box is designed for the tiny eastern screech owl, the other is built for the larger barred owl.

Barred owls start seeking nesting spots at this time of year, so we hope the box will be inhabited soon. Eastern screech owls typically don't nest until later in the year, but some enterprising owl could start storing prey in the box at any time.

So keep an ear out if you are in the vicinity of Wolbach Farm this winter!


Nature Sightings: The Best of 2020

Red foxes, photographed by Russ Place.

Over the course of the past year we've received 673 submissions to our Nature Sightings page! This was a big increase over a typical year and is likely thanks to the renewed connections that people have been making with nature throughout this difficult period. It's another affirmation of the importance of local nature in our everyday lives.

Moths, weasels, raptors, turtles, woodpeckers, foxes, bears, and bugs: our list of species for which we have photos continues to grow and is now at 654! These photos and videos demonstrate the diversity of species that SVT and its conservation partners in our region support through our land conservation and stewardship efforts.  

We're grateful to everyone who shares their sightings throughout the seasons, and as we look forward to 2021, we're taking this time to share some of the best images from 2020.

View our picks in the SVT Nature Sightings, Best of 2020 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.

Healthy Land Supports a Healthy Society

Clockwise from top left: Photos by Raj Das, Joan Chasan, Brent Mathison, SVT Staff

Nature lovers can easily see the value of land conservation and stewardship. The local lands protected by SVT and other land trusts provide wonderful opportunities to hike, watch birds, and enjoy fresh air. They protect habitat for wildlife and add scenic beauty to our region.

Yet our protected lands also do much, much more.

Natural areas, working farms, and working forests provide us with clean air, clean drinking water, nutritious food, and sustainable building materials. On a broader scale, healthy lands also support healthy economies and enrich our quality of life.

As an example, the more than 7,000 farms in the state directly support nearly 26,000 jobs. These jobs boost spending at local businesses, generate local tax revenue, and enhance property values. Local parks and open spaces also contribute to our quality of life and make Massachusetts a desirable place to live, providing a further boost to the economy. The availability of outdoor activities is especially appealing to younger adults, which makes the state more attractive to businesses looking for a strong labor pool.

Economic Benefits. 
SVT has helped numerous landowners use agricultural preservation restrictions or conservation restrictions to protect their working lands, which make big contributions to local economies.

Community Character. Our friends at the Lowell Parks & Conservation Trust are helping to create and maintain the Concord River Greenway Park, a city-owned multiuse recreational trail. Photo courtesy of Lowell Parks & Conservation Trust.

A 2013 Trust for Public Land study found that for every dollar we invest in land conservation in Massachusetts, we see a fourfold return in the economic value of natural services. Conserved lands, which include parks, natural areas, and working lands, support hundreds of thousands of jobs in the tourism, outdoor recreation, agriculture, forestry, and commercial fishing industries.

Healthy natural areas can also mitigate many of the damaging effects of climate change. Evermore frequent and severe storms result in widespread property damage and lost productivity. Prolonged droughts disrupt local food production. Increased pollution has a detrimental effect on human health and drives up medical costs.

By conserving natural areas, we protect the intrinsic ability of nature to fight back. Undeveloped forests store carbon and keep the understory cool. Trees and other plants filter pollution and contaminants from our air and drinking water. The grassy banks and wetlands along our rivers filter and slowly release storm water, which protects us from floods.

In other words, the protection of each local forest, farm, or meadow has a ripple effect on the health of society. With your support, SVT can continue to play a key role in protecting the health of our region.

Check out our December 2020 Wren newsletter for some specific examples of natural areas that contribute to healthy societies.


Together in Spirit

Thank you for sharing!   

In lieu of our annual Give Thanks for the Land Walk, which we could not hold because of the pandemic, we invited our members and friends to independently tour our trails and join together in spirit. On five of our trails, we posted "Give Thanks for the Land" signs, and we asked people to take selfies to share on our social media pages.

You responded with some great photos! We posted individual submssions on our Facebook and Instagram pages, and we also combined them into this short video (see below). Enjoy!

Have photos to share from your trail walks? We're eager to see your trail photos at any time of year. Please send them to [email protected], and we'll continue to share them on Facebook and Instagram.


#GivingTuesday for the Trails--It's Not Too Late to Give

Giving Tuesday Update, 12/10/2020: Thank you to the 160 donors who have contributed to our #GivingTuesday for the Trails campaign. Because of your generosity, we reached our $65,000 fundraising goal--and the campaign is still accepting donations. Thanks to your support, we can continue to take good care of our conservation lands and our more than 65 miles of trails. 

Thank you especially to the two anonymous donors who contributed matching goals to the campaign: Each donor intially contributed a $10,000 match, and one of them added a second $10,000 match midday to encourage other donors to help us meet our goal. 

We are still accepting donations. If you would like to contribute to our #Giving Tuesday campaign, please go to #GivingTuesday for the Trails. Your support is welcome and will be immediately put to good use! Thank you.


November 24, 2020: 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