Events of Interest March 16, 2023

Dear Friends and Acton Conservation Trust Members,

We have a lot to report on this week…our most successful ACT Annual Meeting ever, thanks to “Eyes on Owls” and the presentation of our Carol Holley Conservation Volunteer Award to Tom Tidman, who served as Town Natural Resources Director for nearly 30 years!

If you want to feel like you were there, check out our write up on our ACT website.

As if that weren’t enough, at last night’s Acton Water District (AWD) Annual Meeting, Acton residents voted unanimously for the AWD to buy 549 Main Street (bordered by Main  and Brook Streets and the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail)! 
SAVE THE DATE:  Monday, May 1.   Town Meeting will vote on paying the AWD for a perpetual Conservation Restriction to complete the deal.  

Screech owl not happy to wake up
Marcia and snowy owl
This is a male…few black feathers
President Susan M-H gives opening remarks

Friday, March 17 
Saint Patrick’s Day

Friday, March 17
Birding, BLM and one professor’s COVID adventure
7:00 PM
Lawrence Academy Media Center
Harvard Professor and curator Dr. Scott Edwards talks about biking and birding across America in 2020. He started the journey to learn about the birds of America, but after George Floyd’s murder, the trip evolved as he learned about our humanity. This is a free event, but  registration  is required. This talk is made possible through a generous grant from The Groton Commissioners of Trust Funds. All are welcome!
Click here to register.

Saturday, March 18
Polystyrene Collection 
10 AM-1 PM
Enter via the Acton Department of Public Works entrance, 14 Forest Rd. and access will not be permitted through the Transfer Station.The Department of Public Works (DPW) is hosting a polystyrene (AKA styrofoam) collection day  (weather permitting).  We will notify leading up to the event if a cancellation is required due to inclement weather. Please contact if you have any questions. A Transfer Station sticker is also required for access.

Monday, March 20
Operation Pollination: Lincoln’s Pollinator Pathway
7 PM
Join Lincoln Land Conservation Trust as we celebrate the return of Connecting Communities: Walks & Talks after a two-year hiatus! This year’s series titled “Operation Pollination” focuses on native pollination systems specific to the Heritage Area, highlighting the work of our partners while exploring how you can help these systems thrive. Learn about the creation of a pollinator pathway in Lincoln, Massachusetts. Hear from Lincoln Land Conservation Trust Staff as they share successes and challenges from three years of implementing a comprehensive plan to restore pollination systems in Lincoln.
Sara Lupkas is the Stewardship Director for Lincoln Land Conservation Trust. Bryn Gingrich is the Outreach Director for LLCT. Since 2020 they have been implementing the Lincoln Pollinator Action Plan.
Learn more at

Monday, March 20 
Amphibian Rescue and Vernal Pool Ecology Talk 
7-8 PM 
Reuben Hoar Library, Sturtz Meeting Room A+B
Are you curious about vernal pools, their importance in the landscape and the animals that rely on them?  Come hear about local effort rescuing and studying frogs and salamanders as they cross busy roads to complete their breeding cycles.  Learn about these ancient and incredible animals and their life cycles and what you can do to help their survival.  This talk will be given by Amy Green, Littleton Conservation Agent, and Scott Smyers, Vice President and Senior Scientist of Oxbow associates, Inc.   Space is limited so please RSVP or 978-524-2840

Tuesday, March 21 
Boxborough Conservation Trust Annual Meeting:  David Barnett on “Conservation and Stewardship at Mt. Auburn Cemetery 
7 PM 
Sargent Memorial Library
David Barnett led a transition to more ecologically friendly landscape design and maintenance practices on this 175-acre site in Cambridge/Watertown. Founded in 1831, Mt Auburn Cemetery is the country’s oldest garden cemetery, and is well-known for its ecological complexity, attractiveness to migratory birds, and beautiful gardens. A primary focus of Dr. Barnett’s presentation will be the restoration of a four-acre portion of the cemetery to New England woodland, much as it was described at its founding. Phased over 25 years, this project included removal of Norway maples and other invasive species, and the planting of several thousand plants native to New England, comprising 120 species of trees, shrubs, and woodland groundcovers. With a vernal pool in the center of this woodland, preserving the habitat for the significant population of spotted salamanders was a key focus. The project also included the successful reintroduction of American toads, gray tree frogs, and spring peppers – all of which had disappeared from the cemetery due to past cemetery maintenance practices. Visit for more information.

Wednesdays, March 22 & March 29
Protecting Your Legacy: Moving from Planning to Action
 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
The broad topic for these last two sessions of a 5-part series will be Choosing a Conservation Tool. The webinars will help landowners decide the future of their land and take steps to formalize a plan to achieve their personal and financial goals. Sign up for one or both.
Learn more, view past recordings, and register.

Wednesday, March 22
Creating Beautiful, Sustainable Lawns: A Webinar with Chip Osborne
7:00-8:30 pm. 
Pre-Registration link,   
Co-Sponsors: Green Acton, Green, Energize Acton, Mothers Out Front, Acton Conservation Trust
Even though we often encourage replacing a monocultural lawn with native shrubs and trees there will always be places where we want and need grass; Playing fields, backyards, playgrounds, places to picnic…. etc. 
Chip Osborne, a nationally recognized expert on creating and sustaining organic lawns, will discuss: 
·       the harmful impacts of conventional chemicals used in lawn care on human health, and soil, water, wildlife, and ecosystems 
·       how to transition to a beautiful, sustainable, organic lawn
·       which questions to ask a lawn care company to ensure that it’s using safe products and practices

Saturday, March 25,
Massachusetts Land Conservation Conference
8 AM-4 PM 
8:45 AM-10:10 Concurrent Sessions
10:30 AM-11:45 AM Welcome Topic: Affordable Housing and Land Conservation – Not an Either/Or   
Worcester Technical High School, 1 Officer Manny Familia Way, Worcester, MA 01605  (some online sessions)
The annual conference of the Massachusetts Land Trust Coalition, which advances land conservation across Massachusetts by providing education, tools, networking, and advocacy for land trusts and their partners. Mass Audubon Policy & Advocacy staff will be speaking at a workshop on dual-use solar, food production and farmland protection. 
ScheduleDescriptionsRegisterLand Conservation Terms & Acronyms

Thursday, March 27, 3/30, 5/29, 6/1, 2023 (Total of 4 Discussions Sections)
Women of the Land (WOTL) Book Club Sign Up:  Braiding Sweetgrass
This year’s Women on the Land book club. We will be reading “Braiding Sweetgrass” by Robin Wall Kimmerer in ~100-page segments. For any questions, please email Lina Clifford at
There will be four Zoom book discussions and two dates/times for each discussion to help accommodate for everyone’s schedules. Discussions will occur every other month and each discussion will have a Monday afternoon 12-1PM sitting and a Thursday evening 7-8PM sitting.

March 29
Wayfinding and Belonging in the Outdoors
7 PM 
We move as stories through narratives spaces as much as physical and cultural spaces. The outdoors, as a construct grounded on the land, is one we co-create, and as the nation’s demographics continue to be more diverse, we have the opportunity, and responsibility, to co-create an outdoors reflective of 2050, rather than preserve one from 1950. And we can take learnings from nature to help us on this path.
José G. González is the Founder of Latino Outdoors and Co-Founder of the Outdoorist Oath. He is a professional educator with training in the fields of education and conservation while engaging in different artistic endeavors with art and messaging—often exploring the intersection of the environment and culture. As a Partner in the Avarna Group and through his own consulting, his work focuses on Equity & Inclusion frameworks and practices in the environmental, outdoor, and conservation fields. He is also an illustrator and science communicator. He received his B.A at the University of California, Davis, and his M.S at the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources & Camp; Environment.
Click Here to Register

Tuesday, April 4
Woodcock Watch 
7-8 PM 
Join us for an early spring evening, relaxing on a chair in a field!  Al Sgroi, Acton Conservation Trust member and local birder, will be prepared with pictures and other information to guide us through the courtship ritual of the American Woodcock. The males display a series of peents, twitters, and chirps as they prance on the ground, then spiral rapidly upward, circle and drift down, whistling as they go.  Since this is a “crepuscular” or twilight-active bird, we will meet at sunset to watch and listen for the incredible sky dance. No pets are allowed at this event, thank you!
Please register here and the meeting location will be sent to you a few days before the event. The location will be in Acton or Boxborough, depending upon where woodcocks are active this year.

What to expect: Bring a flashlight or headlamp, a chair for sitting and your binoculars, if you have them. Come dressed for ticks and sprayed for mosquitos.  Warm layers with sturdy shoes are advised, as we will be walking through a meadow with uneven ground. We will only be walking a short distance, then sitting while the sun sets and dusk falls. For more information or questions, please contact Jody Harris at

Recent Recordings – from Lincoln Land Conservation Trust

On March 1st, Dr. Rob Gegear gave a presentation about plant-pollinator systems. He spoke about the expansion of his “Beecology” community data collection efforts which now includes butterflies. This presentation was a Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area program and kicked off a series of programs about pollination. Watch the recording here.

Mike Callahan gave a great Conservation Coffee on March 2nd all about beaver ecology. He shared a great overview of the important role beavers play in creating and maintaining wetland habitat for many other wildlife species. Mike then shared some of the challenges posed by beaver habitat in close proximity to human infrastructure and how “beaver deceivers” can help prevent flooding without impacting the beavers. Watch the recording here.

Sudbury Valley Trustees held a program in early March on climate change and how it is affecting New England. SVT’s Executive Director Lisa Vernegaard talked about decreasing snow pack, impacts to wildlife, and more. She also offered solutions that land trusts are engaging with to help ecosystems adapt to warmer temperatures and changing vegetation. Watch the recording here.

The Xerces Society hosted a webinar on mosquito management at home. Speaker Aaron Anderson spoke about the toxic impact pesticides have on other insects and discussed practical, alternative methods of mosquito control. Watch the recording here.

In Case You Missed It
View Recordings of the 2023 Open Space Conference Sessions Here:

View  Open Space and Recreation Plans, from Writing to Action
View Tips and Tools for Landowner Outreach
View  Land Conservation & Restoration Initiatives for Climate Resiliency: An Exploration of Case Studies and Funding Sources


Susan Mitchell-Hardt 
President, Acton Conservation Trust

P.S.  Welcome  new “Events of Interest” subscribers!  As a nonprofit organization focused on conserving land in Acton, we rely upon the support of our members.  Visit our ACT website, and click on “Join Us”!