Events of Interest January 1, 2022

Dear Acton Conservation Trust Members and Other Friends,

A beautiful early winter morning

The following news and events may be of interest:

Mourning the loss of Edward O. Wilson and Thomas Lovejoy, two champions of conservation who recognized humanity’s vital role in securing an ecologically stable future for our planet.   (From  Paul Salaman, President, Galapagos Conservancy,

Dr. Lovejoy – a leading conservation biologist and extinction researcher – is credited with popularizing the term “biodiversity” and vastly increasing our understanding of the impacts of habitat fragmentation through his work in the Amazon Rainforest.  A staunch advocate for the natural world, he was one of the first to widely speak on the threats of deforestation and climate change, taking his concerns to the highest levels of scientific and political discourse. 

Dr. Wilson, (resident of Lexington, MA) – a world-renowned naturalists and pioneering entomologist – was called “Darwin’s Natural Heir” due to his groundbreaking work in the field of evolutionary biology.  By studying the evolution of behavior, he helped us to better understand the power of natural selection as it affects all living organisms on this planet, including humans. Additionally, his landmark publication “The Theory of Island Biogeography” is arguably one of the most influential in the history of ecology, and fueled our understanding of the complexities of island ecosystems like those found in Galápagos.

These two venerated members of the conservation and scientific communities will be sorely missed for their leadership and expertise. Still, their legacies live on through the many people around the world who continue to fight every day to protect and restore this planet for which they cared so deeply.

Sunday, January 2 
Groton Conservation Trust First Day Hike at Throne Hill
2 PM 
The Throne Hill, Parking available along the Castle Road cul de sac, Groton, MA
GCT trustees Susan and Chuck hope to start the year off right with a First Day hike to ring in the New Year at The Throne Hill.  This is a free event, but let us know you are coming!  All are welcome!    Visit one of Groton’s largest tracts of conservation land collectively known as “The Throne”. Dress carefully for the weather, and bring a snack and water.  Plan to walk for about 4 miles  Please register here.

Now through January 2, 2022 
Groton Winter Tree Stroll Continues 
All Day 
We are thrilled to invite you back to see the decorations for the second annual Groton Winter Tree Stroll. This year, we welcome you to visit us at The General Field, Bates Land, and Shepley Hill to see decorations installed by many local non-profit organizations.Check out all the trees by following the Winter Tree Stroll Facebook page for more details, photos, and directions. 

Thursday, January 2, 2022
Audubon’s 122nd Christmas Bird Count
The Christmas Bird Count for Acton, Boxborough, Concord, Littleton, Harvard, Westford and others is January 2.
Midnight to midnight
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 and sign up to participate.  Please visit for more information.  For more information re: Acton area (Acton, Littleton, Harvard, and Westford), contact Andy Magee, 978-263-0683,

Saturday, January 8 
Emmet Land January Hike
10-11:30 AM Emmet Conservation Land – meet at Trailside Way, off Powers Road in the town parking area of the cul-de-sac, Westford
With over 500 acres of protected open space, the Emmet Conservation Land and Mass Audubon’s Nashoba Brook Sanctuary provide miles of trails to enjoy.  Join Trust member Kate Hollister as we explore some of them in the quiet winter season.  Snowshoes or traction cleats are recommended depending on conditions.  Sociable dogs on leash are welcome.   Walks are free of charge, no sign up required.  For further information, call Kate at 978-392-6802.  

Thursday, January 13
Like Moths to a Flame:  Pollinators Need Dark Nights 
7 PM-8 PM 
Virtual Program sponsored by Lincoln Land Conservation Trust 
When was the last time you looked up at the stars on a clear, dark night, far away from streetlights? Artificial light at night has become ubiquitous and the negative effects on wildlife and human health are well documented. Feeding, mating, and migration behaviors of insects and other wildlife evolved with the complete darkness of night. As light pollution erodes this darkness, the survival of many of these species is at risk. What is the scope of the problem and what can we collectively do to help? Join LLCT for a Fireside Chat with James Lowenthal, Professor of Astronomy at Smith College to learn about light pollution and how we can minimize its negative effects.  Register  For more information visit

January 13 Who will own my land next?
2nd Thursday of each month, December 9 – April 2022
6:30 – 8:30 p.m. 
Hosted by UMass MassWoods
This six-part webinar series for landowners will feature relevant professionals to provide information and help answer questions. Sign up for individual webinars or the entire series. Learn more and register.

  • February 10 – How can I reduce my property taxes?
  • March 10 – How can I conserve my land? 
  • April 14 – What are the financial benefits of land 

Monday, January 17 
January’s full Wolf Moon reaches peak illumination 
6:51 PM EST
Look for the Moon to rise from the northeastern horizon around sunset. It’s thought that January’s full Moon came to be known as the Wolf Moon because wolves were more likely to be heard howling at this time.  It was traditionally believed that wolves howled due to hunger during winter, but we know today that wolves howl for different reasons.  Howling and other wolf vocalizations are generally used to define territory, locate pack members, reinforce social bonds and coordinate hunting.

Thursday, February 3, 10, 17, and 24 7th
Annual Mass Open Space Conference; Webinar 1:  The Ecological Context of Your Community
12-1:30 PM Webinars; 1:35-2:20 PM Networking 
Information and registration are available on
This event is being collaboratively organized by the North Quabbin Regional Landscape Partnership, Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust, Emerald Necklace Conservancy, and Green Cambridge.  Funding for this event is provided by the MA Working Forest Initiative,  in partnership with UMass-Amherst and MA Department of Conservation and Recreation.  

Sunday, March 13 
Preview of ACT Annual Meeting:  New Conservation Strategies for the 21st Century – presented by Claudia Thompson
6:15PM Business Meeting; 7 PM – Presentation
Acton Town Hall, 472 Main Street, Room 204,  and/or Virtual 
Fight Climate Change with a Nature Based Solution: Climate change and loss of biodiversity are the critical ecological challenges of our time.  To address these crises, conservation efforts must become much broader and more inclusive than has been the norm, so that they engage virtually all citizens throughout our communities.  The extent of our current human impact, and the fragmentation of our landscapes over the past one hundred years, clarify the need – every piece of land, large or small, public or private, deserves careful stewardship so that it becomes part of the solution instead of contributing to the problem.  Using her garden as a case study, Claudia will discuss valuable lessons learned over several decades as she transformed her small urban property into a landscape rich with habitat for birds, pollinators, and other wildlife.  Much can be achieved.  Indeed, the significant challenges before us are motivating many people to action.  The growing native plant movement, with its focus on landscapes as ecological systems, instead of gardens as adornments, is an essential component of 21st century conservation strategies.


From Friends of the Assabet River Wildlife Refuge:
Are you looking for a volunteer opportunity in the New Year?
Friends Board Clerk Needed~ Starting January 19, 2022
The Clerk role is a great opportunity to learn more about our Friends programs and board activity in support of the Refuge as well as U.S Fish and Wildlife Service refuge updates.Training and ongoing support is provided and approximate time requirement is 4 hours per month.
Clerk role description:
•Take minutes during board meetings on the 3d Wednesdays of each month, 6:30pm-8pm, via Zoom
•Email DRAFT minutes to board one week before the following meeting, and upload minutes after they are approved.
For more information, please send an email to the Friends at:
Looking forward to hearing from you!

From Boston Area Gleaners:  The farming seasons is ending, but our volunteer projects will continue, and we could use your help!  While there may be fewer harvesting opportunities at this time of year, we plan on continuing to sort and pack food at Stonefield Farm every week.  This includes our ‘Just Eats’ grocery box packs every Wednesday and  Thursday, where we work together to fill family-sized boxes with produce and grocer staples.  Volunteer with the Gleaners!  Register here. We are also always looking for more ways to connect with more communities and new volunteers.  If you are part of a community that may be interested in working with the Gleaners, or have suggestions for volunteer outreach, please email us at

Support Acton Conservation Trust while you make purchases on AmazonSmile!  ACT will receive a small payment, and these add up! From your desktop or laptop computer, AmazonSmile is available at at on your Web browser. Bookmark it for easy use! AmazonSmile is available from your mobile phone as well. To activate AmazonSmile in the Amazon Shopping app, simply tap on “AmazonSmile” within the Programs & Features menu or Settings and follow the on-screen instructions.  


Walden Pond in Concord 7 am-4 pm 915 Walden;   978-369-3254, bridal paths, and farm roads.  Boat ramp Sunday – Saturday: 5 AM – 5:30 PM.Parking:  MA resident $8; Non-MA resident:  $30  Annual and senior passes NOT sold in park, use link to purchase a pass:

Emerson-Thoreau Amble, Concord, MA This Winter Hike is available for groups of 4 or more by reservation only.  Call 978-318-3061 or email to request your date and time.  Tours leave the Concord Visitor Center located at 58 Main Street Concord, MA, rain or shine.Adults (13+)  $20Youth (12 and under) $15Senior Citizens (65+) $15

Camp Acton is Open! Pope Road, Acton Fee is $25 per site reserved through he Recreation Department. Limited to 10 people per site.  Visit to learn more about Camp Acton. Please complete the registration form 48 business hours prior to desired reservation date. Payments are due upon reservation confirmation. Portable toilet on site. All users must follow social distancing, regulations and posted guidelines.  Please complete and send camp Acton Permit application via email to or fax to 978-929-6333. Please allow up to two business days to process.

Boxborough Birders is a local, all-volunteer group of bird watchers with varying levels of experience. Local walks in Boxborough, Acton, Harvard, Stow, Bolton, Littleton, are organized during spring and fall migration and occasionally beyond.   Our walks are free of charge and most are scheduled on weekends. (Due to Covid-19 pandemic, all scheduled walks for 2021 will be limited in size, masks will be worn, no shared equipment and social distancing required). Visit their website: for links to local birding spots, photos, and more.   You can sign up there to be on our mailing list and get all the information you need. We hope you will join us out on the trail soon.

Birding Kits available for curbside pick up
Acton Memorial Library, Main Street, Acton
The library has two Birding Kits available for loan to Acton residents. Each kit includes a canvas field bag with Eagle Optics 8 by 42 binoculars with case, Peterson Field Guide to Birds of Eastern and Central North America, Birding for the Curious, Town of Acton Guide to Conservation Lands and a laminated copy of Sibley’s Backyard Birds of the Northeast, a quick reference card. The kits circulate for two weeks. Acton residents may place a hold on a Birding Kit by contacting the Reference Desk, 978-929-6543 or email  Give your card number and phone number and the Circulation Department will call you when it is ready for curbside pickup.

Best Wishes for the New Year!!

Susan Mitchell-Hardt President, Acton Conservation Trust

P.S.  Welcome to new “Events of Interest” subscribers!  As a nonprofit organization, we rely upon the support of our members.  Visit our ACT website, and click on “Join Us”!
Be sure to tell your friends that “Events of Interest” is also available on our ACT website.