Events of Interest March 31, 2023

Dear Friends and Acton Conservation Trust Members,

Interesting habitat on the 11 acre Donald Conservation Restriction that connects to the Acton Arboretum.

Sudbury Valley Trustees Spring Program Calendar now available online at

Saturday, April 1
Plant ID and Natural History Walk
Nobscot Scout Reservation and Tippling Rock
Join Boot Boutwell for an informative nature walk in search of early spring wildflowers and other cool plants focused on plant ID as well as fun and interesting natural history about the plants we see.

Sunday, April 2
Bill McKibben:   Climate Change, Migration, and Racism
7 pm
Concord-Carlisle High School, 500 Walden St.,  Concord 
Bill McKibben, well known climate activist, will speak –  sponsored by the Immigration Justice Task Force, the Environmental Leadership Team, and the Racial Justice Action Group, plus many area sponsors. His three topics intersect now, and will do so even more in the future: Climate Change, Migration, and Racism. To sign up, use this this link to access the invitation to the FREE event.  All welcome!  In-person or via Zoom

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

Saturday, April 8
A Walk on the Sassafras Trail, Westford
9-10:30 AM
End of Sawmill Road, Westford
This walk will be led by Bill Harman, and will run rain or shine. This area is unusual for its many large boulders and beautiful glacial erratics. The trail is hilly and moderately strenuous. Hiking boots are recommended. Meet Bill at the parking area at the end of Sawmill Rd. Bill’s cell phone: 603–533–0325. No registration is required for any of the hikes. Sponsored by Westford Conservation Trust.

Monday, April 10
Gardening for Wildlife
7 PM
Westford Climate Action is presenting a webinar, Gardening for Wildlife. Trevor Smith, Design and Education Manager at Weston Nurseries, will discuss how our plant choices and property maintenance practices can make a huge difference in our local ecology. Register for the webinar here...

Saturday, April 15
A Walk on Burns Hill, Westford, MA
9–10:30 a.m. 
Trail Head on Rome Drive, Westford
This walk will be led by Lenny Palmer, and will run rain or shine. The trail runs over three hills, is steep in places and moderately strenuous. The trail overlooks Vine Brook, and a large marsh which features an impressive heron rookery. Meet Len at the trailhead on Rome Drive. Len’s phone: 978-392-9876.  No registration is required. Sponsored by Westford Conservation Trust.

Thursday, April 20 
A Changing Climate: Growing Resilience Right Where You Are
7:00 PM – 08:00 PM
Online – Your Home over Zoom
Sponsored by SVT: Our backyards matter for climate change resilience. Learn how gardens offer an incredible opportunity to make a difference starting right where you are. Presented by Allison Houghton, a regenerative growing consultant, author, and educator. Our backyards matter for climate change resilience. There is enormous untapped potential in a garden: from growing food to building and remediating degraded soils to filtering and capturing water to creating habitat for pollinators and beneficial insects or adding resilience to your watershed, neighborhood and region. Learn how gardens offer an incredible opportunity to make a difference starting right where you are. Allison Houghton, of The Sparrow Underground, is a regenerative growing consultant, author, and educator on a variety of organic gardening topics, ecological design, and climate resiliency.

Saturday, April 22 
A Walk along Beaver Brook
9-10:30 AM
End of Buckingham Drive, Westford
This walk will be led by Rich Strazdas, and will run rain or shine. The trail offers a lovely and easy walk along Beaver Brook and around Round Island. The Beaver Brook area provides a great variety of wildlife to enjoy. You might want to bring binoculars! Meet Rich at the end of Buckingham Drive. Rich’s cell phone: 508-340-8775.
No registration is required. Sponsored by Westford Conservation Trust.

Saturday, April 29
A Walk on the Peace Trail
9-10:30 AM 
Cul-de-sac at the end of Drew Crossing. Westford, 
Gerry’s phone: 978-692-9137.
This walk will be led by Gerry DiBello, and will run rain or shine. The trail offers a lovely and easy walk close to the center of town. The trail runs along the top of glacial eskers through wetlands that are abundant with wildlife in spring. Meet Gerry at the cul-de-sac at the end of Drew Crossing. Gerry’s phone: 978-692-9137.

Sunday, May 14
Plant ID & Natural History Walk – Horse Meadows Knoll
1:00 PM – 3:30 PM
Horse Meadows Knoll, Harvard
Sponsored by SVT. Horse Meadows Knoll rises above Horse Meadows Reservoir, which is now a beautiful, naturalized pond. Beavers are active at the pond and great blue herons nest in the treetops above the pond. 
Join naturalist Roland “Boot” Boutwell for an informative nature walk as we search for mid-spring wildflowers and other cool plants. The walk will focus on plant identification as well as fun and interesting natural history about the plants we see.
This walk is free for current SVT members, otherwise there is a $10 fee per person to help support our land conservation efforts. Registration required, click here.

Recent Recordings

On March 22,  Chip Osborne. gave a great webinar on “Creating Sustainable Lawns”.  Here are some resources from Co-Sponsor, Green Acton to help you on your journey to a healthier, safer lawn:
• a link to Chip Osborne’s presentation, and a place ask him questions
• article with principles of organic lawn care and management, and a checklist of organic lawn tips
• to test your soil, contact the UMass soil testing lab (or seek out other resources online)
Co-Sponsors: Green Acton, Green, Energize Acton, Mothers Out Front, Acton Conservation Trust

On March 8th Leah Penniman gave a wonderful presentation about her most recent book, Black Earth Wisdom: Afro-Ecological Survival Strategies
Sharing wisdom and insight gathered from interviews from today’s most respected Black environmentalist, Leah weaved a inspirational picture of the importance of connection to the Earth.
Enjoyed the program and want to further support Leah’s work? Please consider making a donation to Soul Fire Farm.
Watch the Recording Here

From the Mass Division of Fisheries and Wildlife: Amphibian Crossing Brigade Handbook 2022
How you can help amphibians on the road –

  • Please drive cautiously and carefully.
  • Whenever possible over the next 2 months, please consider not driving on rainy nights when air temperatures are 40°F or higher. If you must travel during such conditions, delaying beyond the first 2 hours after sunset is recommended.
  • Travel on larger highways rather than small, wooded roads if possible. Plan routes that minimize the number of wetlands or vernal pools passed.
  • If observing amphibian migrations, consider arriving at your destination prior to sunset, and then conduct your monitoring on foot.
  • If assisting amphibians across roadways or handling them for other reasons, be sure your hands are free of lotions, bug repellent, or other chemicals.
  • Report high levels of amphibian activity or mortality to the Linking Landscapes for Massachusetts Wildlife initiative, which compiles data to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions on problem roadways.
  • If you encounter any of our state-listed rare amphibian species (eastern spadefoot, blue-spotted salamander, Jefferson salamander, and marbled salamander), please take a clear photograph of the animal, carefully record the location, and submit an observation report to MassWildlife’s Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program.
  • Go the extra mile to help preserve amphibian habitat by certifying vernal pools on your property. The data you collect is used to help MassWildlife and local conservation organizations better understand habitat resources for our native amphibians.


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”!