Events of Interest February 16, 2024

Dear Friends and Acton Conservation Trust Members,

Red Squirrel Middens   “These piles of shredded cones are called middens and they’re made by red squirrels.  These hardy little mammals stay active all winter and their middens provide places to store and retrieve their food, even when the snow is deep.  A squirrel’s territory can be up to about 4 acres in size. Squirrels create their middens at the base of good cone-bearing trees.”  

Read more at squirrel-middens/ 

The following events may be of interest:

Tuesday, February 20
Not Your Average Cause – Fundraiser 
All Day
Not Your Average Joe’s, Acton, 305 Main St, Acton, MA 01720
Acton Conservation Trust has been selected for the  Not Your Average Cause program sponsored by Not Your Average Joe’s restaurant. Every Tuesday in February 2024 (the 6th, 13th, 20th, 27th) NYAJ’s will donate an amount equal to 15% of all purchases made by ACT supporters at Not Your Average Joe’s in Acton.  Lunch, dinner and purchases in the restaurant are all equally eligible (*excludes alcohol and tip).
There are three ways to participate:
 – Mention ACT Cause Night to your server.
 – Show your server the certificate below on your phone.
 – Print out the certificate below and show to your server.
Click here to view or print the NYAJ’s Cause Certificate.  Feel free to share this certificate and thank you! 
978-635-0101 or for reservations

Thursdays, February 22 to April 25
Tribal Forestry: Understanding Current Issues and Challenges
Noon – 12:55 pm (not March 14 and 21)
This series will focus on the current state of tribal forest management and Indigenous stewardship, with speakers from different tribes, universities, non-profits, and agencies. Topics will include: the history of forest stewardship on tribal lands in North America, federal laws and tribal forestry, contemporary uses of plants and wildlife stewardship, fire, conclusions from the Indian Forest Management Assessment (IFMAT), tribal co-management, and the future of tribal forestry in the face of climate change. Free. CEUs available for attending foresters. Co-developed and co-hosted by The Forest School and the Yale Center for Environmental Justice at Yale School of the Environment, and Salish Kootenai College. Learn more and register.

Thursday, February 22
Wild Stories from the History of Bird Migration Research
7pm – Online
$5 to attend virtually Register.  Rebecca Heisman shares her book Flight Paths, creative techniques used to study bird migration, and why understanding migration is so crucial for bird conservation. Presented by The Write Connection at Thoreau Farm, a program in partnership with The Thoreau Society.

Thursdays, Feb. 22 and 29 
Making Land Available for Farming
Noon – 1:30 p.m.
These two webinars are intended to help farmland owners and their representatives explore motivations, strategies, and mechanics for making any amount of land available to a farmer Learn more and register.

Saturday, February 24 
Styrofoam Collection at the Transfer Station
Acton Transfer Station, 193 Massachusetts Ave. Acton
An additional date has been added to the 2024 Styrofoam Collection Days at the Acton Transfer Station. If you have a Transfer Station sticker, stop by to recycle your clean Styrofoam.  Recycle bulky Styrofoam. Visit for the entire 2024 Styrofoam recycling schedule and for a guide on which products are accepted.

Saturday, February 24
Middlesex Conservation District:  Backyard Invasives Identification and Removal

2:00 – 3:30 PM
Maynard Public Library
77 Nason St, Maynard, MA 01754
Join SVT Land Steward, Jane Maloney, for a program covering common invasive plant and insect species in Massachusetts. Attendants will learn what defines a species as “invasive”, how to identify them, and how to manage them in their backyards or wherever they’re stewarding the land. There will be time for questions at the end of the presentation. Register here.

Saturday, February 24
PlugIN Tour: Clean Energy Home of the Month – Focus on Heat Pumps
Two sessions: 11am and 1pm
South Acton address sent with registration
How we use energy matters for the natural world and for future generations. Each month through July,’s PlugIN campaign will feature a home with a different technology or theme. This month visit a home where the owners have switched to a heat pump hydronic system and other clean technologies. Feel the comfort level for yourself! The homeowner is one of Acton’s Clean Energy Coaches and he looks forward to your questions about transitioning off fossil fuels. There will be two free sessions, one at 11am and one at 1pm. The address will be sent upon registration. For info and registration, click HERE.

Tuesday, February 24 
Full Snow Moon
February’s full Moon is a “Micromoon” this year. Think of this term as the opposite of a “Supermoon.” It simply means that the full Moon is at its farthest point from Earth (not the nearest point). In astronomical terms, we call this “apogee.” Specifically, February’s Micro full Moon is about 252,225 miles from Earth.
The explanation behind February’s full Moon name is a fairly straightforward one: it’s known as the Snow Moon due to the typically heavy snowfall that occurs in February. On average, February is the United States’ snowiest month, according to data from the National Weather Service. In the 1760s, Captain Jonathan Carver, who had visited with the Naudowessie (Dakota), wrote that the name used for this period was the Snow Moon, “because more snow commonly falls during this month than any other in the winter.”  From the The Old Farmer’s Almanac,’s%20full%20Snow%20Moon%20reaches,Saturday%2C%20February%2024%2C%202024!

Tuesday, February 27
PlugIN Talk: Heat Pumps for Home Heating and Cooling
7:00-8:00pm zoom
In this virtual talk, Bob Zogg (a founding member of the HeatSmart Alliance) will introduce homeowners to modern heat pumps and their advantages, including types of heat pumps, their role reducing greenhouse gas emissions, examples of energy costs and emissions comparisons, available incentives, and the role of clean energy coaches. Bob retired from a long career in energy consulting and his presentations are as clear as they are passionate! There will be lots of time for questions and answers. Sponsored by and the HeatSmart Alliance. For info and registration, click HERE.

Wednesday, Feb. 28
MCA Metrowest Conservation Alliance –  Land Protection Workshop
2:00 – 4:00 PM
Pompositticut Community Center
509 Great Rd, Stow, MA 01775
Join us for this interactive, in-person workshop highlighting the new land priority maps! We will present an overview of the land protection priority mapping tool and data viewers.
We will be breaking into small groups to identify land protection priorities in your community and discuss regional protection strategies. There will also be time for networking and idea sharing.
Please bring your Open Space Plan to compare the town-identified priorities with the results of the mapping tool. 
Register here

Friday, March 1
Silver Unicorn Bookstore to host Ellen Clegg and Dan Kennedy, giants in the field of community news for a discussion of their new book
7:00 pm, at the Silver Unicorn Bookstore, 12 Spruce Street, West Acton
Come learn from giants in the field of community news:  The Acton Exchange is collaborating with the Silver Unicorn Bookstore to host Ellen Clegg and Dan Kennedy for a discussion of their new book, “What works in Community News:  Media Startups, News Deserts and the Future of the Fourth Estate.”  In the words of Gregory L. Moore, former editor of The Denver Post, this book “pulls together in one place innovative approaches from across the country to stave off growing ‘news deserts.’ You can’t help but find this book nourishing if you care about preserving local news—and our democracy.”  The discussion will be on Friday, March 1, 7:00 pm, at the Silver Unicorn Bookstore, 12 Spruce Street, West Acton. 

Sunday, March 3 
Join AB PIP STEM for the 25th Annual Skate FUNdraiser 
2:30-4:30 PM 
Nashoba Valley Olympia Rink #3, Route 111 in Boxborough 
Ice skating, refreshments, music, fun at the Nashoba Valley Olympia Rink (rink #3).  Suggested donation $20/family, $5/pp. Skating, Music, Refreshments. Learn about AB PIP STEM & community happenings too! 
The NEW Acton Nature Guide with updated map of Acton Conservation lands, depicts local wildlife including birds, butterflies, insects, wildflowers, pond life, mammals, trees and invasive plants. It’s a perfect companion to PIP Nature Walks or your own self guided hikes.
ALL proceeds benefit AB PIP STEM, local food pantries, AB energy initiatives, non-profits and charities. All are welcome! Skaters & non-skating supporters!  Skate rentals available. 

Sunday, March 10 
Blight: Author Emily Monosson in Conversation with Brent Ranalli
2 PM
$10 to attend at Thoreau Farm  Register 
$5 to attend online Register 
A prescient warning about the mysterious and deadly world of fungi—and how to avert further loss across species, including our own. Presented by The Write Connection at Thoreau Farm. On-site book sales support The Shop at Walden Pond.
Learn more about our Programs

Sunday, March 17 
Acton Conservation Trust Annual Meeting:  Snakes of New England and the World  – Live Animal Presentation
1:00-3:00 pm
Acton Town Hall, Faulkner Room 204, 472 Main St., Acton
1:00 PM Business Meeting
1:20 PM Presentation of Carol Holley Conservation Award to John Watlington, Land Steward Committee member
1:30-2:30 pm Guest Speaker: Rick Roth, Rick the Snakeman of Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team

Do you wonder what kind of snakes might be living in the woods near your house? Have you ever caught a glimpse of a snake just as it disappeared into some shrubs and wished for a closer look? Here is your chance to see native and exotic snakes close up. Rick Roth, local snake expert and Director of Cape Ann. Vernal Pond Team, will share some of his favorite snakes and talk about their lives and habits in this live animal presentation. (From CAVPT website) Fourteen species of snake are native to New England, and Rick will speak to preserving habitat and land and the important role snakes play in our ecosystem.

John Watlington has been the land steward for the 180 acre Great Hill Conservation Land since 2014. He kept the several miles of trails there maintained and clean. Currently, he is Steward at Large, working where needed in all Acton conservation lands. As a member of the Land Steward Committee, he gives monthly talks about invasive plant species, sharing his experiences with keeping invasive plant growth under control. He is also a sawyer, keeping the trails cleared of downed trees following storms. That’s been a lot of work this year!

This program is free for all and perfect for families with children aged 5 and older.  Please register here.

Saturday, March 23 
Massachusetts Land Conservation Conference
8:15-4:30 PM
UMass Amherst, Campus Center, 1 Campus Center 
Featuring a keynote address by Dr. Darren Ranco, citizen of the Penobscot Nation, Professor of Anthropology, Chair of Native American Programs, and Faculty Fellow at the Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions at the University of Maine. His talk will reflect perspectives from his work with the Wabanaki Commission on Land and Stewardship, which you can learn more about here.
Register   |   Schedule   |   Descriptions   |   Conference Portal



OARS Welcomes New Executive Director 
The OARS Board of Directors is thrilled to introduce Matthew Brown as their new Executive Director, starting last February 7.  Matt will be joining OARS from the non-profit Lowell House, where he has been serving as Chief Operating Officer. He is a great fit as he is a lifelong outdoors person with a strong interest in nature and ecology, and has deep leadership and non-profit experience that will serve OARS well and take them forward into their next exciting phase.

Walk Around the Pond with Thoreau
This scenic route meanders past glacially formed coves with views of the clear water. The walk starts at the Thoreau House replica and continues past the original site of his modest dwelling. This walk has two options, with both starting at the Thoreau House replica (#1) by the main parking lot. The dirt path is relatively easy hiking with gradual inclines on slightly uneven terrain. Great for families!

Walden Pond:  
StoryWalk® Adventures – Enjoy a Story, Fresh Air and Exercise! Just follow the trail and visit the laminated pages of the book posted along the route. A wonderful story is just ahead waiting for you

Click on this YouTube video to see wildlife in Acton caught on wildlife cams by ACT Member Rebecca Harvey




Susan Mitchell-Hardt 
President, Acton Conservation Trust