SVT Acquires CR on Bedford Property

Concord Road CR, Bedford

SVT recently agreed to hold a conservation restriction (CR) on a 36-acre property owned by the Town of Bedford. The property, which sits off Concord Road, includes trails, wooded wetlands, and a certified vernal pool. It also connects several adjacent conservation properties, and it is accessible from the Minuteman Bikeway Extension.

The Town of Bedford purchased the land with Community Preservation Act funds and donated the CR to SVT. Since adopting the CPA in 2001, the Town has purchased at least a dozen properties that it has conserved as open space. One of the requirements of the CPA is that a third party must hold a CR over any land purchased with CPA funds.

SVT is delighted to work with the Town and hold the CR on the Concord Road property. We have also filled the role of CR holder on several of Bedford's past acquisitions, including the O'Connor land where we maintain hiking trails.

Saving the Smith Property: Join the Crowd!

Photo by Paul Bakstran

SVT and the Town of Harvard—with the cooperation of Littleton Conservation Trust—are teaming up to purchase the 60-acre Smith Property and protect its ecological assets.

The property, which has been owned by the Smith family for generations, includes forest, wetlands, and old farm fields. It runs along both sides of Whitcomb Avenue and is wedged between Black Pond in Harvard and Beaver Brook in Littleton. 

With all of these features and with caverns and caves scattered throughout, the Smith Property has become a beloved community asset, well-known for its spectacular views, its unique wildlife habitat, and its agricultural history.

Once we purchase the property, we'll create hiking trails so the public can explore and enjoy this beautiful landscape.

SVT must raise $185,000 for our portion of the project. We have applied for several foundation grants, and we have launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise $35,000 toward the purchase price by November 15.

Please help protect this land by donating to the crowdfunding campaign. Your donation--in any amount--will help turn this property into a valued community resource.

Learn more about the project.

Storybook Trail at Wolbach Reopens

Storybook Trail Has Reopened

SVT has reopened the hiking trail at our Wolbach Farm location on Wolbach Road in Sudbury. The trail includes our popular Storybook Trail, which features the pages of a storybook posted on 12 stations along the 3/4-mile path. It's a delightful place to take a walk with a young child, especially one who is learning to read.

Earlier this fall, we had closed the trail because of wasp activity, but the activity has subsided.


2018 Annual Meeting Recap

Youth Stewards Owen and Trevor Ludlam chatted with their mother, Amy, and SVT's Dan Stimson prior to the awards ceremony.
Walter Bickford with SVT's Ashley Davies.
Kimball Simpson accepted the Steward of the Land Award.
Brett Peruzzi (left) with SVT's Michael Sanders.
SVT's Christa Collins (center) greeted D.D. and George Harrington when they arrived for the meeting.

More than 100 members gathered at Wolbach Farm on September 13 for SVT's 65th Annual Meeting, where we recapped recent successes and honored the recipients of our Annual Conservation Awards:

  • Trevor and Owen Ludlam were recognized as Youth Stewards of the Year for their work on trails in Framingham.
  • Walter Bickford of the Berlin Conservation Commission received the Lewis Conservation Award for his commitment to conservation efforts throughout the SVT region, including the recent Great Oak Farm project.
  • Kimball Simpson was named the Steward of the Year for his many years of service as a Preserve Steward at Walkup and Robinson Memorial Reservation in Westborough.
  • Brett Peruzzi was named the Morgan Volunteer of the Year for his contributions to SVT as a Preserve Steward and as a member of our Marketing & Outreach Committee.
  • George and D.D. Harrington were awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for their years-long efforts to conserve over 200 acres of their land in Framingham.
  • Rep. Chris Walsh was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Public Service award for his broad, long-time commitment and support of conservation efforts.

We also thanked our retiring board members and officers for their years of dedicated service: Marylynn Gentry, Chris Jenny, Lisa Valone, and Lyell Slade.

Thank you to Roche Bros./Sudbury Farms, Middlesex Savings Bank, Capital Group Properties, and the Morgan Family for their support of the meeting.

Celebrate Our Wild & Scenic Rivers

All SVT members are invited to join with the River Stewardship Council, SVT, and other conservation partners as we celebrate Conservation in Action: the 50th Anniversary of the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act.

Sunday, October 14
2:00 to 5:00 pm
Minute Man National Historical Park and The Old Manse

The federal Wild & Scenic Rivers program was inaugurated in 1968, and a 29-mile stretch of the Sudbury, Assabet, and Concord Rivers was designated Wild & Scenic in 1999. SVT played a key role in initiating the effort that led to this designation. 

The celebration will include paddling events, activities and tours, and refreshments. For details, visit RSVPs welcome!

Trail Opens at Horse Meadows Knoll

On Saturday, September 29, SVT and the Harvard Conservation Trust (HCT) wrapped up a two-year collaborative project with the official opening of our new hiking trail at Horse Meadows Knoll. Several local officials and many interested hikers joined us for the early-morning event, which included trail walks led by SVT staff and board.

This lovely property on Sherry Road in Harvard is a great place to view bird, beaver, and bat activity. The 1-mile trail meanders by a beautiful pond and wetlands, and it also passes rocky outcroppings and goes up and over a drumlin-shaped knoll.

Explore it for yourself! Learn more and download a trail map.


SVT's Comments on Eversource Project in Desert Natural Area

Memorial Forest, Photo by Raj Das

SVT continues to oppose Eversource's planned transmission line along the abandoned MBTA line between Sudbury and Hudson. The proposed underground utility line will cut through hundreds of acres of conservation land that was paid for with private, municipal, state, and federal dollars. This includes the Desert Natural Area, which sits at the intersection of Hudson, Marlborough, and Sudbury and incorporates SVT's Memorial Forest.

Eversource has been working on the transmission line project for several years, and SVT has responded with public statements in March 2016 and Spring 2017

On August 8 of this year, Eversource issued a Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR).  In response to the FEIR, SVT has expressed our concerns about the project to the Massachusetts Environmental Protection Agency.  Read our letter regarding the FEIR

Good News at Gowing's Swamp

Black-Eyed Susans at Gowing's Swamp. Photo by SVT Staff.
Baptisia  at Gowing's Swamp. Photo by SVT Staff.
Baptisia at Gowing's Swamp. Photo by SVT Staff.
Milkweed and Goldenrod at Gowing's Swamp. Photo by SVT Staff.
Milkweed and Goldenrod at Gowing's Swamp. Photo by SVT Staff.
Small Meadow Flowers at Gowing's Swamp. Photo by SVT Staff.
Small Meadow Flowers at Gowing's Swamp. Photo by SVT Staff.

At Gowing's Swamp in Concord, SVT and our conservation partners have been working to rejuvenate a valued habitat. The Gowing’s Swamp natural area supports a unique bog and other wetlands that are surrounded by a walking trail through pleasant oak-pine woodlands. Over time, invasive plants here have squeezed out the native plants that our native birds, bees, and butterflies rely upon for survival.

A few years ago, we set out to reverse this trend so native plants can thrive and provide food and habitat for our native pollinators and birds.

As of August 2018, the wildlfowers are back! What was once a field of invasive Japanese knotwood is now an expanse of black-eyed susans dotted with white vervain, pretty yellow partridge pea, and other native and non-invasive plants. We’ve also seen a resurgence of common milkweed, wild indigo, goldenrod, and dewberry.

We are thrilled with this progess, but of course our work is not done—the battle against invasive plants never truly ends. We will continue to fight the invasives and protect the health of this special ecological area. Read more about the Gowing's Swamp project.  

Fall Program and Events Calendar Now Online

Want to hike a trail? Interested in hawks? Curious about making tea with dried herbs?  

Sign up for an SVT program!  Our Fall 2018 Program and Events Calendar includes guided trail walks, natural history discussions, a cycling outing, a paddling trip, and more. Most programs are free for SVT members.

Download a pdf or read it online.

Registration required. Register today; many programs fill up quickly.


Summer Star Watch--Program Cancelled for August 17

Because of the predicted thunderstorms and expected cloud cover, we have cancelled the Star Watch program that was scheduled for this evening, Friday, August 17, at Wolbach Farm.

We regret that we had to cancel the program.

At this time, we are unsure whether we will be able to reschedule this popular event. Stay tuned.