Events of Interest December 23, 2023

Dear Friends and Acton Conservation Trust Members,

The gingerbread houses are back at the Colonial Inn!

The following events may be of interest:

Daily – December 31
Self-Guided Story Walk®  of Walden Pond, “The Shortest Day”
Your schedule 
915 Walden St., Concord, MA 01742
The Shortest Day: Celebrating The Winter Solstice By Wendy Pfeffer; Illustrated by Jesse Reisch
Woods Path Trail 
Come learn about the Winter Solstice, and how people from around the globe have celebrated the shortest day of the year over the millenia.
Posted on the Accessible Trail to the Thoreau House Site Trail, an easy 1/2 mile, crushed stone surface trail. All ages. 
The StoryWalk® Project was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, VT and developed in collaboration with the Kellogg-Hubbard Library. StoryWalk® is a registered service mark owned by Ms. Ferguson.  
Programs are free and open to the public. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Reasonable accommodations upon request. Email or call (978) 405-2082 for more information, No dogs/pets allowed on premises year-round. Park closes when visitor capacity is reached—DCR Closure Alert:

Through December 31, 2023
The Town of Acton is seeking volunteers interested in clean energy to join the Clean Energy Coaching Program. Coaches work with the Town and Abode Energy Management to learn the ins and outs of clean energy upgrades and pass along their knowledge to Acton residents and businesses. Apply today to help reach Acton’s climate action goals by leading community progress in decarbonization.
HAVE QUESTIONS? Reach out to the Sustainability Office at,  or 978-929-6515 for more information.
APPLY NOW! Visit apply.

Tuesday, Dec. 26
Full Cold Moon
Clear skies permitting, you’ll see the last full moon of 2023 
According to The Old Farmers Almanac, moon names have Native American origins, as Native Americans would use monthly moons to track the seasons.
The December full moon is called the Cold Moon due to cold weather officially moving in around that time of year. It has also been called the Long Night Moon since it occurs near the winter solstice, the longest night of the year.

Sunday, December 31, 2023
Audubon’s 124th Christmas Bird Count – 64th Concord CBC
Midnight to midnight
For more information, visit
The Christmas Bird Count for Acton, Boxborough, Concord, Littleton, Harvard, Westford will be on December 31, 2023
The longest running Citizen Science survey in the world, Christmas Bird Count provides critical data on population trends. Tens of thousands of participants know that it is also a lot of fun.  Data from over 2000 circles are entered after the count and become available to query under the Data and Research link.  Find a count near you (Acton, Littleton, Harvard, and Westford) and sign up to participate.  
Acton, Littleton, Harvard, and Westford:  Andrew Magee, (978) 263-0683,

Sunday, January 1, 2024
First Day Hike
11:00 AM
Groton Conservation Fitch-Woods Hike with Susan Hughes and Chuck Vander Linden
Join trustees Susan Hughes and Chuck Vander Linden in another GCT tradition, hiking on the first day of the year. We will begin and end at Williams Barn and explore Fitch-Woods in a 4 mile hike. Start your year off right! This all ages event is free*. All are welcome! 
Please register  so we know to expect you.

Monday, January 1, 2024
First Day Hike
12:00 – 2:00 pm EST
Location: Walden Pond State Reservation, 915 Walden St., Concord, MA
About the Event: DCR invites you to start off the New Year with a sprinkling of good company and a cup of hot chocolate after a hike around Walden woods! Meet at the Thoreau House Replica for the 1-1.5 mile guided hike along the Accessibility Trail, Wyman Path, and Bean Field Road. Hot chocolate will be available at the Thoreau House Replica after the hike.
Henry David Thoreau, portrayed by historian Richard Smith, will be in the replica house with the woodstove burning, entertaining folks with tales of his days at Walden Pond. Sponsored by The Walden Woods Project. First Day Hikes have been a DCR tradition since 1992. No pets are allowed at Walden Pond State Reservation. All children must be accompanied by an adult.
The Walden Woods Project is the official, state-designated Friends of Walden Pond group. In this capacity, we partner with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to support education programs, stewardship, and visitor experiences at Walden Pond State Reservation (WPSR). We are working to make Walden more accessible, to keep the pond healthy, and to serve the needs of the diverse people that visit this iconic part of the New England landscape.
WPSR Parking fees: $8 MA resident; $30 non-MA resident

Sunday, January 7
Winter Sow: Bumblebee Project
2:00 – 3:30 PM
FRS Unitarian Church, 27 School Street, Carlisle MA
Help preserve biodiversity and add beauty to your yard by participating in our winter seed sowing workshop! This program supports native pollination systems by providing specific plant habitat for the most at-risk pollinators. These seeds have coevolved under New England weather conditions with most requiring a period of repeated freezing and thawing to unlock their germination capacity. We’ll be making planters out of gallon jugs to be placed outdoors over winter and transplanted as seedlings in the Spring. The jug method ensures ideal conditions for seedlings to plant this Spring and Summer; no gardening experience needed.
More info about the event and the Bumblebee Project can be found here.

Sunday, January 7
Winter Sow: Concord
1:00 – 4:00 PM
Verrill Farm, 11 Wheeler Road, Concord MA
In this free workshop, you will learn how to sow seeds into milk jugs for easy, outdoor, over-wintering germination of native pollinator-supporting plants. To accommodate more people, demonstrations will be given at 1 PM, 2 PM, and 3 PM. After attending a demonstration, participants will prepare the growing containers and plant seeds. Plan to browse our resource table and learn about plans for a local Pollinator Pathway, too! Registration is required.
More info & register here.

Monday, January 15
Civil Disobedience
1:00 – 2:30 pm EST
Location: Walden Pond State Reservation, 915 Walden St., Concord, MA
About the Event: Commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s civil rights legacy and Henry David Thoreau’s abolitionist legacy at the Walden Pond Visitor Center. Join an interactive panel led by Concord historian Richard Smith and The Robbins House President Nikki Turpin to discuss the influence of Thoreau’s essay “Civil Disobedience” on activists King and Gandhi and current acts of civil unrest. This event is co-sponsored by the Friends of Walden Pond, the Thoreau Society, and the Robbins House.

Wednesday, January 17
Winter Sow Workshop
4:00 to 6:00 p.m.
Wayland Town Hall, Wayland
Get a head start on next summer’s native perennial garden in this hands-on workshop.
Local Native Plant gardeners Shelley Trucksis and Jean Milburn will explain a winter sow technique for growing native flowering perennials from seed. Winter sowing is an economical way to add native plants to your yard and support pollinators in synergy with surrounding properties.
Fee: $10 to cover materials (soil and five packets of seeds). Participants should also bring five one-gallon translucent milk jugs and a box to carry filled jugs home. For more information click here.
Email Shelley to register!


Volunteer for Boston Area Gleaners 
Sign up at

 *Please join the waitlist if a trip is full! Not only will this help us gauge interest moving forward, but if someone is unable to attend who had previously committed, and depending on your place on the waitlist, you will be automatically added to the roster.


SAFETY ALERT:   Wear blaze orange this fall during outdoor visits and activities!Hunting is now through end of December. 
Be safe, be seen! While hunters are required to wear blaze orange during certain seasons, all people who are outdoors this fall should wear blaze orange as a precaution for increased visibility.
Mass Wildlife Hunting Information. 
Video: See hunting season video on the effectiveness of blaze orange

New Tax Break for Charitable Contributions 
(From SVT electronic newsletter,
Getting ready to make your year-end charitable donations? Your generous contributions to SVT play a key role in the conservation of the natural areas that make this region of Massachusetts so special.
And here’s something to keep in mind: For the first time in over two decades, Massachusetts residents can deduct charitable donations from your 2023 state income taxes (even if you don’t itemize your federal taxes).
This means you can deduct the donations you’ve made to SVT and other nonprofits since January 1 of this year. So keep track of those receipts! And thank you for your support.
Please always consult your tax advisor before taking any deductions.

Acton Conservation Trust Membership Season 
If you love Acton’s open space and trails, wildlife, scenic vistas, guided walks and virtual/in person lectures, and programs, please consider joining or renewing your ACT membership.  Donations to ACT are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowable by law.  As an additional bonus, ACT offers a free baseball cap with ACT logo.  To join or renew, visit and a click on “Join/Donate”.

Growing the ACT Board of Trustees
Are you interested in preserving open space in Acton?   While Acton has the benefit of many acres of open space, some undeveloped parcels in Acton are not yet protected … Read more:


Sincerely yours,

Susan Mitchell-Hardt 
President, Acton Conservation Trust