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 over 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.

Area Trails Enhanced by Local Scouts

Visitors to two local hiking trails can now learn more about the lands they are crossing, thanks to the efforts of Boy Scouts who improved the signage at the trails.

In Sudbury, Jed Howrey of Troop 63 recently added informative signs about eskers and erratics to the trail at SVT's Gray Reservation

Jed wrote, designed, built, and installed the signs as part of his Eagle Project. Visitors can read about how these two types of glacial features were formed, plus they'll learn some fun facts about well-known eskers and erratics that sit beyond the SVT region.

Overall, the signs make a wonderful complement to the self-guided Glacial Features Walk audio tour at Gray.

In Westford, Michael Cassie of Troop 159 designed and constructed a trail head kiosk for the O'Brien Farm CR. The kiosk greets visitors to this historic farm, which has been owned by succeeding generations of the O’Brien family since 1886. It was protected in 2012 when descendant (and current owner) Charlie McColough sold a conservation restriction to SVT and the Town of Westford at a discounted price.

Michael built the kiosk for his Eagle Project. Charlie collaborated with SVT and others to fill it with information about features of note on the property as well as information about the conservation of the land.

Thank you to Jed, Michael, and all Boy Scouts who have completed their Eagle Projects on local conservation lands.

Meredith Houghton Joins SVT Staff

SVT is pleased to welcome Meredith Houghton as our new Land Protection Specialist. Meredith will play a lead role in identifying area landowners who are interested in conserving their property and then working with them to develop an appropriate conservation plan.

“I am excited to be a part of SVT and assist in forwarding their mission,” said Meredith. “Now more than ever, folks are relying on open space for their health and well-being, and I am eager to protect these critical resources for the benefit of both our communities and the environment.”

Christa Collins, SVT Director of Land Protection, commented, “We are so delighted to welcome Meredith to our team. She brings excellent practical knowledge and experience to the organization.”

Previously, Meredith has worked as an environmental consultant with several organizations, including Vanasse Hangen Brustlin in Watertown, and has been involved in regional environmental planning efforts in Massachusetts and New Hampshire with the Ipswich River Watershed Association and the Rockingham Planning Commission, respectively. She also spent three years as an environmental scientist at Apex Companies in Boston. She holds a master’s degree in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning from Tufts University.

SVT Presents Conservation Awards During 2020 Annual Meeting

More than 100 SVT members and guests attended our 67th Annual Meeting, which we held as a Zoom webinar on the evening of September 24, 2020. (Watch the recording.)

The highlight of the one-hour meeting was the presentation of our Annual Awards, which honor outstanding conservationists in our region.

Joan Pinkul of Wayland was selected as the Morgan Volunteer of the Year. This award was established in recognition of the commitment that our co-founder Allen Morgan and his wife, Alice, made to Sudbury Valley Trustees. It recognizes dedicated SVT members who, like the Morgans, have given freely and unselfishly of their time, talents, and resources in support of SVT's work.

Joan, who has been volunteering at SVT for more than 7 years, was honored for her dedication as an office volunteer and as a member of our Benefit Committee. As a weekly volunteer in our office, she willingly helps out on any project, including assisting with mailings, organizing files, and preparing materials for outreach events. For the past two years, Joan has also been integral to the planning of our Annual Benefit Gala and has provided essential assistance during the event itself. 

Next, Joe Tyrrell of Sudbury was named the 2020 Steward of the Land, an award that honors a volunteer land steward who exemplifies the respect for open space and dedication to ecological management that is key to SVT’s success.

Joe started volunteering with our stewardship staff in 2013, helping out at property visits, with baseline documentation reports, and in field cleanups. In spring 2015, he took on a task that, although unpleasant, he continues to execute faithfully every week: At Gray Reservation in Sudbury, Joe manages the Dog Waste station, disposing of the full waste bags and refilling the station with fresh bags. The task must seem like a thankless job at times, so with this award we are publicly saying, "Thank you, Joe."

Stuart Saginor received the Lewis Conservation Award for his work as Executive Director of the Community Preservation Coalition. Named in honor of SVT co-founder George Lewis, this award recognizes those who demonstrate a broad commitment to conservation in the SVT region and who encourage others to take action to protect the environment.

Since becoming Executive Director of the Coalition in 2006, Stuart has helped almost 100 cities and towns in Massachusetts adopt the Community Preservation Act. He also led the effort to increase state funding for the CPA program by 150%, and he has provided technical assistance that has helped CPA communities protect over 30,000 acres. He is thoroughly versed in the topic of CPA and is always willing to answer questions and provide guidance to our land protection community. We honor him for his deep commitment to conservation.

The recipient of the 2020 Distinguished Public Service Award is Delia Kaye, the Natural Resources Director for the Town of Concord. The Board of Directors established this award to recognize a public servant who has demonstrated exceptional leadership on environmental issues at the local, state, or national level.

Delia, who has an extensive background in wildlife biology and conservation, has held her current position for the past 14 years, and she has also served on the Steering Committee for the SuAsCo CISMA (Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area). In Concord, Delia has promoted native pollinator plantings and a greater understanding of wildlife habitat within the town. Her service stands out in her professionalism, her initiative, and in her willingness to take on controversial issues, such as the need to leash dogs on conservation lands. All in all, Delia exemplifies the spirit of public service!

Finally, we presented a Life Membership to Susan Litowitz, for her extraordinary contributions to SVT. Susan has been a lifelong champion of conservation, and since joining SVT in 2004, she has been a passionate supporter of our work. Thank you, Susan.

We thank all of the award recipients for their contributions to regional conservation.

HALT Expands Trail Network

The Hopkinton Area Land Trust (HALT) has expanded its trail network in the vicinity of SVT's Saddle Hill Reservation, making this area a more exciting place to hike.

Hikers can now enjoy a lengthy trek through:

  • SVT's Saddle Hill and Highland Park Reservations,
  • HALT conservation lands,
  • Hopkinton State Park, and
  • Town of Hopkinton conservation lands.

Now that autumn has arrived, it's a great time to get out and explore. Download a map of the Saddle Hill area.