Events of Interest March 14, 2024

Dear Friends and Acton Conservation Trust Members,

Skunk Cabbage

Skunk cabbage is a perennial wildflower that grows in swampy, wet areas of forest lands.   It sprouts very early in the spring, and has an odd chemistry that creates its own heat as it first sprouts in the spring.  (From    The flowers appear before the leaves and are characterized by a mottled maroon hoodlike leaf called a spathe, which surrounds a knob-like structure called a spadix. The spadix is actually a fleshy spike of many petal-less flowers. As the flowers mature, the spathe opens more to allow pollinators such as flies and carrion beetles to enter and pollinate the flowers.Most animals avoid skunk cabbage because it causes a burning sensation when eaten, but bears will eat young plants in the spring. Native Americans have used it as a medicinal treatment for coughs and headaches. For a time in the 1800s, it was sold as a drug called dracontium to treat a variety of ailments.  (From

The following events may be of interest:

Saturday, March 16
Solar Eclipses
2:00—3:00 PM
Maynard Library
On Monday, April 8, 2024, the Moon will pass directly between Earth and the Sun, creating a total solar eclipse. The Moon’s shadow, about 115 miles wide, will sweep a narrow path through North America, blocking the Sun in its entirety and turning day into night. In this talk, Dr. Bradford Snios will discuss the scientific background of eclipses, what to expect, and preparations to make the most of this rare event. Learn More here.

Saturday, March 16
PlugIN Tour: March Clean Energy Home of the Month – Solar Panels and Batteries
Two sessions: 10:30am and 2:30pm
West Acton address sent with registration
In March,’s PlugIN campaign focuses on the theory and the practice of solar energy. Home solar panels are a great way to decrease fossil fuel use and save money on electricity. The hosts of this tour go above and beyond with a fascinating solar battery storage system that complements their ground mount solar panels, meaning that they barely draw electricity from the grid. This home is both unique and inspiring. Other homeowners at the tour will share their experiences with more traditional solar systems. The hosts—and their colleagues—are eager to answer your questions. For information and to register, click HERE.

Saturday, March 16 
PlugIN Talk: – Home Solar: The Time is NOW!
7:00-8:00pm, zoom
As part of Energize Acton’s six month “PlugIN ” series on how our energy use matters for the health of our planet, in March we will look at the promise of solar energy. Sam Kooharian, Energy Advisor for EnergySage  will give a quick overview of solar power and discuss why now is a great time for home solar installation, including helpful aspects of the solar market, great financial incentives, and potential future changes that make the present an optimal moment for solar. Also, for renters and condo owners, as well as those with homes not suitable for solar, Sam will touch on community solar efforts and why these developments are essential. Finally, three Acton residents will give brief testimonials about their experiences with solar. Questions welcome! Sponsored by For information and registration, click  HERE.

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
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!

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.

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

Tuesday, March 19 
Spring Equinox 
In 2024, the March equinox happens on March 19 at 11:06 P.M. EDT. This falls on a Tuesday and is the astronomical beginning of the spring season in the Northern Hemisphere and the autumn season in the Southern Hemisphere.  From

Thursday, March 21
Movie Nights Return –  Screening  Bat Man of Mexico, sponsored by Lincoln Land Conservation Trust

In-person at LLCT’s Offices (145 Lincoln Rd, Suite 102A, above the post office)
LLCT is pleased to host a movie night to welcome spring and to continue our focus on both pollinator health and the importance of dark skies for wildlife.
In this 50-minute PBS episode, ecologist Rodrigo Medellin tracks the lesser long-nosed bat’s migration across Mexico. These bats are crucial pollinators of agave plants, which are a critical crop in the tequila industry.
Free, all are welcome. LLCT will provide light refreshments.

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

Sunday, March 24, 2024
The Full Worm Moon 
From Farmers Almanac
The first full moon of the spring season will appear on the nights of Sunday, March 24, and Monday, March 25. Specifically, March’s full Worm Moon reaches peak illumination at 3:00 A.M. ET on Monday, March 25, 2024. 
March’s full Moon goes by the name Worm Moon. For many years, we thought this name referred to the earthworms that appear as the soil warms in spring. This invites robins and other birds to feed—a true sign of spring!
However, more research revealed another explanation. In the 1760s, Captain Jonathan Carver visited the Naudowessie (Dakota) and other Native American tribes and wrote that the name Worm Moon refers to a different sort of “worm”—beetle larvae—which begin to emerge from the thawing bark of trees and other winter hideouts at this time.

Wednesday, March 27
BCTrust’s Annual Meeting: “Beaver Management in the 21st Century: A New Ecological and Economic Paradigm”
7 PM
Sargent Memorial Library, 427 Mass Ave., Boxborough
Keynote speaker, Skip Lisle, President and Founder of Beaver Deceivers, LLC, speaking on “Beaver Management in the 21st Century: A New Ecological and Economic Paradigm”
Skip is traveling from Beaver Deceivers, LLC headquarters in Grafton, Vermont for this very timely and important presentation. Learn more about Skip’s work at
Join us for light refreshments –  socializing will start at 7:00pm. BCTrust will conduct its Annual Meeting at 7:30pm, and the keynote speaker will start at 7:45pm.  Free and open to the public!

Wednesday, March 27 
On Belonging Outdoors Speaker Series:  Doug Sutherland will present
7 PM
Doug is a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Consultant who brings his experience as a Summer Camp professional to his work. Since his first camping trip in 1987, he has introduced countless students to the outdoors. Doug will share his experiences as a Black person in rural New Hampshire, where “belonging” is an assumption for some and unattainable for others.  Learn more about the series and watch recordings of past presentations at

Wednesday, March 27
Middlesex Conservation District Bumblebee Project Presentation
3:00 – 4:30 PM
J. V. Fletcher Library
50 Main St, Westford, MA 01886
Join Giancarla Kalpas, MCA’s Bumblebee Project Steering Committee Member, to hear about conserving native pollination systems by providing the specific habitats required by at-risk pollinators–and to reduce the threats to those pollinators. You will learn about Giancarla’s success stories and leave knowing that what we plant makes a difference in fighting extinction. This work is based on the research and recommendations of Dr. Robert Gegear, Professor at UMass Dartmouth and founder of The Beecology Project. You can find more information about his research on his website: and at the Bumblebee Project webpage.Bumblebee Project webpage.

Tuesday, March 29 
Acton Town Elections 

RJ Grey Jr. High School Gymnasium, 16 Charter Road 
Polls open 7 AM to 8 PM
Additional election information can be found on the Elections & Voting Page

Saturday March 30
Vernal Pool Storytime with Linda Booth Sweeney

10:30-11:30 AM
Co-hosted by the Lincoln Public Library, Lincoln Conservation Department, and LLCT. Join author Linda Booth Sweeney for a reading of “The Noisy Puddle” and some kid-friendly activities at the library.
More details coming soon!

Wednesday, April 17
OARS Wild & Scenic Film Festival
7-9:30 pm
Maynard Fine Arts Theaters


Concord Land Conservation Trust (CLCT) is Hiring!
Attention nature enthusiasts and conservationists! We’re excited to announce that we are hiring for a new permanent, full-time Stewardship Coordinator and a seasonal, part-time Stewardship Intern. If you are passionate about caring for our natural resources and the sustainable management of our protected lands, this could be the opportunity you’ve been looking for!

Stewardship Coordinator
Come be a part of our wonderful Land Trust community as we embark on an exciting time of growth during our 65th year! With more than 1,300 acres of land under our care, we are looking for a passionate individual who shares our commitment to stewarding and managing our land and natural areas for the benefit of current and future generations.For the job description and instructions on how to apply, click here.
Priority applications should be received by April 22, 2024. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis after then.

Seasonal Stewardship Intern
Join us for an unforgettable summer as the CLCT Seasonal Stewardship Intern!
From June to August, you’ll be immersed in nature while assisting in the management of Land Trust properties and engaging with our awesome community of volunteers.
For the job description and instructions on how to apply, click here.
Priority applications should be received by April 8, 2024. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis following then.

The latest policy & advocacy news from Mass Audubon  March 2024

Speak Up in Support of Responsible Solar Siting
The Clean Energy Infrastructure Siting & Permitting Commission is seeking public input as it works to eliminate barriers to siting solar and other renewable energy projects.  We’re pushing for rapid clean energy deployment that will minimize impacts to natural and working lands.  Want to help us push for responsible clean energy siting? Submit a public comment through March 15 to make your voice heard!  Mass Audubon submitted comments as part of the state’s review of its Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) program. With the goal of increasing solar energy without sacrificing forests and other natural and working lands, our recommendations include stronger incentives for canopy systems and low-impact ground-mount systems, along with eliminating eligibility for ground-mount projects on lands with high carbon and biodiversity value.

Strengthening Federal Protections Against Rodenticides
We’ve joined 75 other organizations in supporting stronger federal measures to reduce the environmental and public health threats posed by rodenticides. We urged the EPA to avoid impacts to endangered and threatened species, and encouraged them to take steps to reduce unintended poisonings through changes to pesticide labels. Join Climate and Nature Champions to get involved in local campaigns to reduce the use of rodenticides in your town or city!

Join Central Mass Goat Rental for a Walk with Goats 
Year Round, Week Days and Weekends
48 West Acres Drive, Lunenberg 
Take to the trails with friendly farm animals at your side.   Anywhere from 6 to 16 goats will go on the hikes.  Goats have a natural instinct to follow the leader, which makes them perfect hiking companions.  The hike is relatively easy, lasting about an hour.   Each hike costs $35 per adult, $10 per child (under the age of 15 years old), and children ages 5 years and under are free.  To book a hike, visit:

HIKE WITH THE GOATS and choose the date of your hike.

Watch for amphibians on the road
This spring, be mindful of amphibians as they emerge from their winter retreats and travel to breeding sites. Use caution while driving on rainy spring nights.  For more information visit
Amphibian Crossing Brigade Handbook – February 2023 
To learn more, including “How to organize your own crossing brigade” – click here.  

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



Susan Mitchell-Hardt 
President, Acton Conservation Trust