News

Imagine 2050: A Smashing Success

Thank you to everyone who participated in our Imagine 2050 Virtual Gala. The event, held on March 5, was our most successful Benefit ever.

The choice was clear: You are as excited as we are to imagine a future filled with healthy natural areas.

The money we raised will help us accelerate the pace of land conservation, as we continue our work of protecting the region's most important natural habitats before they are lost forever. 

If you were not able to join us on Friday, we invite you to watch a recording of our Virtual Gala at
https://imagine2050.causevox.com/

Weed Warrior Program Is Spreading

In January, Maddie Kiszewski and Jorgen Hansen participated in a Weed Warrior session at Gowing's Swamp in Concord.

In 2020, SVT launched a Weed Warrior program to train volunteers in invasive plant identification and removal. Once certified, Weed Warriors can visit SVT properties on their own or in small groups to pull and dispose of non-native invasives.

Our friends at CISMA are now adopting the program and sharing it with other organizations in the region. CISMA, or Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area, is a partnership of organizations that collaborate to control invasive plants in the SVT region.

The expansion of the Weed Warrior program will create a large pool of certified volunteers who can work on a variety of invasives removal projects, regardless of the sponsoring land trust or conservation organization.

Interested? Learn more at our Weed Warrior page.

 

Please: Leash Your Dogs

We've received several reports about dogs running free on our trails in recent weeks.

Please remember that during the COVID-19 pandemic, SVT requires that dogs be leashed on our trails and in our parking areas. Most of our conservation partners have the same requirement. 

By complying with this policy, you will help others feel safe during this stressful time.

And please remember to pick up after your dog! In addition to being unsightly, dog waste is harmful to the ecology of our natural areas

Thank you for your cooperation in helping us keep our trails safe, clean, and enjoyable for all.

Grace Fauver, Michelle Soares Vanslette Join SVT Staff

Grace Fauver (left) and Michelle Soares Vanslette
Grace Fauver (left) and Michelle Soares Vanslette

We are excited to welcome to new members to the SVT staff. 

Grace Fauver of Concord is our new Director of Development and Community Engagement. She comes to SVT with an extensive background in nonprofit fundraising and development for conservation organizations.

Most recently, Grace served for eight years as Director of Institutional Partnerships at The Trustees, and she previously served five years in senior development positions at Earthwatch Institute. She holds master’s degrees from Simmons School of Management and Boston University and a bachelor’s degree from Macalester College in Minnesota.

Michelle Soares Vanslette of Wayland joined SVT as our Director of Finance and Administration in January. Michelle brings a wealth of experience in finance, management, and accounting to her new position.

Michelle comes to SVT from FAIRWAYiQ in Waltham, where she has been the Director of Finance and Administration for five years. Prior to that, she spent seven years as Controller for the nonprofit YWCA in White Plains, New York. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Binghamton University.

Grace and Michelle have both hit the ground running and are already making valuable contributions to our work. We're looking forward to being able to hold in-person gatherings again so you can meet them in person!

Habitat Management in Littleton

At our Smith Conservation Land, which abuts Beaver Brook in Littleton, SVT will be taking action to control and reduce the impacts of aggressive Asian bittersweet vine so that our native pollinators, birds, and plants can thrive. 

Learn more about our plan.

Third Grader Raises Funds to Save Pollinators

With motivated youth like Matthew Rosenblum, the future of conservation is in good hands.

In early 2020, Matthew (who was in third grade at the time) learned that our native bees and other pollinators are endangered, partly due to the loss of habitat. Rather than hope for the best, this young member of the First Parish of Sudbury decided to take action.

Matthew launched a campaign called "Nature Needs Our Help" to raise funds in support of SVT's efforts to protect pollinator habitats. Through First Parish, he started selling reusable metal water bottles that sported his campaign slogan along with an image of a bee. Each bottle sold for $15, and by the end of 2020, Matthew had raised $600 for SVT.

But his impact extended far beyond fundraising. Matthew's passion inspired the Religious Education program at First Parish to incorporate the "Nature Needs Our Help" message into its April 2020 Earth Month curriculum. There were lessons on protecting pollinators and local ecosystems, a visit with a beekeeper, and at-home projects for building "bee hotels" and pinecone birdfeeders to help local wildlife.

Thank you to Matthew for his hard work in support of conservation and for encouraging others to take action, too. We are impressed by his ingenuity and his incentive to make a difference!

New AmeriCorps Opportunity at SVT

SVT has an opening for a Conservation Steward 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 Conservation Steward 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 Conservation Steward will be responsible for several invasive plant control projects. The Steward will also conduct outreach to reservation visitors, mow trails and small fields, maintain trails and trail signage, and conduct property visits. The Conservation Steward 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%) - Conservation Steward 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%) - Conservation Steward 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. Conservation Steward 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%) - Conservation Steward 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 https://www.thesca.org/serve/young-adult-programs/how-to-apply

 

 

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: https://www.flickr.com/photos/cyanocorax/5041537528/

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!