Events of Interest January 19, 2022

Dear Acton Conservation Trust Members and Other Friends,

Walden Pond – looking toward bathhouse

The following news and events may be of interest:

Friday, January 21-23 
Reverse Global Warming@The 2022 (Virtual) Drawdown Festival – Tools for Regeneration
Explore the schedule here.

Saturday, January 22
Waltham:  Duck Walk along the Charles River with Waltham Land Trust
10-11:30 AM  130 River Street, Waltham, Meet in the parking lot behind Shaw’s. 
Join  the Waltham Land Trust this January for a duck walk along the Charles River in Waltham. We’ll look for ducks, herons, eagles, and more along the water’s edge. The pathway is not plowed – dress appropriately for standing around in potentially cold temperatures.  If WLT postpones the walk due to weather, the walk will happen Jan. 29..  Check the WLT website or call 781-893-3355 if in doubt.  Registration is appreciated.

Sunday, January 23
Reverse Global Warming  – Drawdown Festival 
10:10-11:10 AM 
Model Towns 
Curated by Karen Root Watkins, Model Towns will discuss possibilities for decarbonization on a municipal level.  Sustainability director Luis Aguirre-Torres, PhD of Ithaca, New York, sustainability director Andrea Becerra of Acton, Mass, and others will offer glimpses of different approaches as we tackle the complicated, yet essential doable, challenge of reducing our carbon footprints on the community level and beyond.  Please register here, or visit

Sunday, January 23 
Winter Island at Heath Hen Meadow 
1-3 PM 
Have you had a chance to explore Winter Island at Heath Hen Meadow?  This area is currently accessible only in winter, when we can take advantage of freezing temperatures to cross the wetlands.  Board Member Jody Harris will lead us 2 miles to trails in neighboring Stow conservation lands.  After our walk we will have hot chocolate to warm us up.  Registration is required.

Tuesday, January 25 
The Plants Henry Never Knew:  The Invasive, Alien Plant “Crisis” with Concord author and naturalist Peter Alden
7 PM 
Free Virtual Event – Register here.
Thoreau was a fine observer and recorder of wildlife and plants in the mid-1800’s. As a botanist, he was both a collector and an early phenologist, noting the times of flowering, leafing, and fruiting over decades. Now, 175 years later, Henry would be fascinated (and shocked) to see what grows in our woods, fields, marshes, rivers and back yards. Sauntering around Concord at growing season he would find a quarter of the species he studied missing. He would note native flowers coming out earlier and breeding summertime birds arriving earlier. What might draw his attention most is the abundance of trees, shrubs, vines, wild flowers, grasses and aquatic plants that he would not recognize.

Wednesday, January 26 
Virtual Event on Electric Vehicles
7 PM 
Interested in buying or leasing an electric vehicle?  The Drive Green Team from the Green Energy Consumers Alliance will cover updates on the increasing options in electric vehicles, the environmental benefits, consumer tips, basic information about batteries and charging and the latest on state and federal incentives.  Please register here.  Visit for more information.

January 29 
Winter Wildlife Tracking Walk 
12-2 PM 
Acton Conservation Trust welcomes members and friends for a winter tracking walk led by Paul Wanta.  We will walk through the trails of North Acton, including Nashoba Brook, Robbins Mill, Spring Hill and Camp Acton Conservation Lands.  This area is the largest contiguous parcel of protected land in Acton, comprising 400+ acres.  This will be a slow walk of 1-2 miles.  As the long range weather forecast predicts only a small chance of snow between now and the event date, there is a good possibility that we will have to move the event to the snow date.  No pets on this walk, thank you! To read more about Paul’s tracking history and education, visit the ACT website.  Registration is required.  For more information or questions, please contact Jody Harris at

Wednesday, February 2 and 9 
The Peopling of the Americas with Greg Paris 
10-11:30 am, on-line course
The American continents have been home to a vast number of Native cultures and civilizations for at least 15,000 years. Their origins have been a continuing puzzle for anthropologists, archaeologists, and geneticists. Questions surrounding the peopling of the Americas include: who were the ancestors of American Indigenous populations, where might they have come from, when, in how many waves, and where did they go? 

In this two-session course, we will first provide an overview of past climatic events, introduce the debate between several past and present proposals for migrations, and discuss the kinds of evidence that bear on these arguments. Then we will review some unusual hypotheses, recent findings, some extremely early dates, and discuss the evidence pro and con.  There is a modest fee and you can register here. A diverse reading list will be distributed in advance, mostly from accessible research reports and reviews.

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 here.
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. 

Saturday, February 5 
Polysterene Collection Day
10 AM-1 PM 
Acton Transfer Station and Recycling Center  – Enter via The Acton Dept of Public Works entrance, 14 Forest Road. 
Bring your clean polystyrene (styrofoam); We can’t accept polystyrene food containers.Questions?  Contact if you have any questions.  Transfer Station sticker required for access. 

Tuesday, February 8 
Mammals of New England  

1 PM 
Zoom – Pre-registration is required. 
There is a wide range of mammals found around New England, from the woods, fields and suburbs to the seashore.  From the shy fisher to the comical chipmunk, rabbits, fox, deer, and more.  Learn about mammal behavior tracks and signs to help figure out who is in your neighborhood – as well  on the shore.  Presenter:  Joy Marzolf of the Joys of Nature, has been offering a variety of animal-related education programs for over 20 years. Most recently, she was a Naturalist and Educator at Mass Audubon’s Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary. Registration here.

Thursday, February 10
How can I reduce my property taxes?
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 

Friday, February 18 – Monday, Feb. 21
The Great Backyard Bird Count    
Birders of all experience are invited to come together to participate in the  Great Backyard Bird Count.  these efforts help scientists understand bird migratory patterns and populations.  organized by the Cornell lab of ornithology, national Audubon Society, and Birds Canada this event brings the joy of bird watching to members of their organizations and beyond.,  If you are interested in participating you can learn more at 

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.


Winter Volunteering with Boston Area Gleaners: 
Wednesdays volunteers are invited to  lend a hand to support the ‘Just Eats’ grocery box program.  Choose either 9-12 PM or 1-4 PM at 91 Martin StreetAs BAG enters their second year of this collaboration with Food for Free, volunteers are helping to fill hundreds of boxes each week with veggies and dry goods for pantries, housing facilities, and other community food distribution sites in eastern Massachusetts. Register here.

BAG is 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

Covid safety:  BAG is now requiring that all volunteers be fully vaccinated against Covid-19.  Volunteers are also required to wear masks on all projects.  The staff members that you will work with are also fully vaccinated and follow the same safety protocols.  Food packs take place in the greenhouse, which is partially open to the air.  Read more about volunteer Covid precautions on the BAG website. 


Acton CAP (Climate Action Plan) Blueprint Here!  Together with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), the Sustainability Office presented the report to the Select Board on December 20.  The Blueprint contains a list of strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our buildings, energy, transportation and through nature-based solutions.

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:

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 2022!!

Susan Mitchell-Hardt 
President, Acton Conservation Trust

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