Events of Interest May 5, 2023

Dear Friends and Acton Conservation Trust Members,

Peaceful grazing on Esterbrook Road

Dear Friends and Acton Conservation Trust Members,

Thank you to all those Acton residents who voted unanimously at Town Meeting on Monday  to purchase a permanent conservation restriction from the Acton Water District on the 57 acre 549 Main Street land (aka Conant land.) 

As always it took full participation by our land preservation ecosystem (ACT, SVT, CPC, Selectboard, Open Space Committee, Acton Water District) as well as the generosity of the Conant family and the generosity of ACT members whose donations allowed us to donate toward the cost of the CR. 

The Acton Water District will send their completed application to the State for a Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Grant for $1 million – ACT wrote them a Letter of Support and wishes them luck!

The following news and events may be of interest:  

Friday, May 5
The Flower Moon – from the Old Farmers Almanac
1:36 PM (EDT) on Friday 
May’s full Flower Moon reaches peak illumination at 1:36 P.M. (EDT) It will be below the horizon at this time, so plan to venture outdoors on the nights of the 4th and the 5th to get the best view of the bright full Flower Moon!

May’s Flower Moon name should be no surprise; flowers spring forth across North America in abundance this month!
“Flower Moon” has been attributed to Algonquin peoples, as confirmed by Christina Ruddy of The Algonquin Way Cultural Centre in Pikwakanagan, Ontario.
May’s Moon was also referred to as the “Month of Flowers” by Jonathan Carver in his 1798 publication, Travels Through the Interior Parts of North America, in the years 1766, 1767, 1768 (pp. 250-252), as a likely Dakota name. Carver stayed with the Naudowessie (Dakota) over a period of time; his expedition covered the Great Lakes region, including Wisconsin and Minnesota areas.
Henry David Thoreau sparked the Native American Moon names as well, referencing the Flower Moon and Carver when he wrote about Native Americans.

Saturday, May 6
The Rat Poison Problem: How Rodenticides Harm People, Pets, and the Planet
2:00 – 3:30 p.m.
Waltham Public Library, 735 Main Street
Climate change, a construction boom, and growth in human population density have led to a dramatic rise in rats and mice in and around metro areas like Boston. Rat poison usually is the main method for dealing with the problem. But these poisons are killing local wildlife and pets and endanger our young children, while not actually proving at all effective in reducing rodents. Join us for a program by local wildlife and conservation advocate Laura Kiesel who will review the history of rodenticides, their impact on our health and environment, and solutions for a way forward. Out of consideration for the presenter, masks are required. If you are unable to attend in person register for the event to receive the Zoom link to watch it live streamed.

Saturday, May 6, 2023   (Rain date: May 7, 2023)
Annual Spring Service Day

Time: 1-3 pm
Event Parking: 20 Main Street, Acton MA
If you’ve ever wanted to be involved in cutting a trail through the woods, this service day is for you! Join us as we create the new Stonefield Farm Woodland Trail. Starting with a flagged line, we plan to cut a 0.3 mile long, 4 foot wide trail. Most of the work can be done with pruning shears or clippers, with some small tree removal needed. 
Family groups, scout groups, students and everyone else is welcome. No experience needed – we’ll show you what needs to be done. 
Come dressed in boots or sturdy shoes with long sleeves and pants, sprayed for ticks and mosquitos. Don’t forget your sunscreen! Expect weedy, rocky and uneven terrain. Please bring leather work gloves (best for thorns) and bypass pruning shears or clippers if you have them. A kneeling pad for gardening would be helpful. We will have some extra tools and loaner gloves available. We’ll also have water and refreshments.

Registration closed, event full! For more information or questions, please contact Jody Harris at

GCT Annual Meeting May 8, 2023
Posted on May 1, 2023 by Susan Hughes

The Groton Inn 6:30 PM
The Groton Conservation Trust welcomes you to a special presentation featuring updates from our last year of land conservation and programming, and special guest speaker Sally Naser. Social media followers might know Sally better through CR Wildlife Cams, her Facebook and Instagram accounts that feature fantastic images and footage of Massachusetts wildlife. We’ve been great fans of Sally’s work for years and we are thrilled to welcome Sally to learn more about the use of trail cams and wildlife observation.
This event is free but registration is required. All are welcome!

Thursday, May 11
The History of the Nashobah Praying Indians: Doings, Sufferings, Tragedy, and Triumph by Daniel V. Boudillion
Register HERE. Acton Memorial Library
7:00-8:30 pm
Author Dan Boudillion will discuss his just-published book on the history of the Nashobah Praying Indians from the 1654 establishment of Praying Indian Plantation to their sufferings during King Philip’s War and exile on Deer Island, then to the loss of their lands in 1736. The Nashobah village was one of the 16 “Praying Villages” established in Massachusetts in colonial times and included essentially all of modern Littleton. However, part of Acton was, and still is, on Nashobah Praying Plantation land!  Dan will share how the book came to be, and fascinating stories of the Nashobah Praying Indians who are still alive and a presence more than 350 years later.  Books will be available for purchase and signing at this event, as well as on  In-person only.  

Saturday, May 13 
Mother’s Day Weekend Spring Ephemeral Walk
In-person Hadley, MA – Fort River Trail at the Silvio O Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge
Celebrate Mother’s Day with Women on the Land by learning about spring ephemeral flowers! Families are welcome (including kids, parents, and partners).
Laney Wilder, botanist and Executive Director of Opacum Land Trust, will be leading the walk to help identify different spring ephemeral flowers.
The trail is 1.2 miles long and is accessible to strollers and wheelchairs. 
Pastries and coffee, as well as spring bulbs for you and your family, will be shared following the walk.Please sign up using the link below and check out the Upcoming Events list on the Women on the Land website for more information. Further details will be emailed the week before the event.
Sign Up Here.

Sunday, May 14
Plant ID & Natural History Walk – Horse Meadows Knoll -Sponsored by SVT.
1:00 PM – 3:30 PM
Horse Meadows Knoll, Harvard
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.

Thursday May 18
Foraging at the Acton Arboretum
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Meeting location: Acton Arboretum Parking Lot, 2 Taylor Road, Acton MA
The Acton Arboretum is home to over 80 species of edible wild plants, many of which are more nutritious and/or flavorful than their cultivated counterparts. Join the Early Conservation Career Network and Russ Cohen, author of the book Wild Plants I Have Known…and Eaten, on a two-hour ramble through the Arboretum to encounter to learn about at least 18 species of edible wild plants and how they function in the landscape. If the Arboretum lot is full, there is plenty of parking in the lot next to the Acton Town Hall and Library, which are about a 5 minute walk away.

Saturday, May 20
How do you think an Acton newspaper should cover Nature and the Environment? 
10:30-11:30 AM  
Acton Memorial Library 2nd floor conference room
There is an effort afoot to start a local, weekly, nonpartisan newspaper in Acton.  The newspaper organizing team is holding a series of meet-ups with various constituencies around town to brainstorm about how such a journalism organization could best attend to their interests and concerns.  The conversation will focus on coverage of the nature and the environment.  What kind of ongoing coverage would you like to see?  And what kind of in-depth features? What don’t you want to see?  Might you be interested in getting involved on some aspect of the newspaper effort?   This meetup is being coordinated by Green Acton, the Acton Conservation Trust, Mothers Out Front, and the Acton Climate Coalition.  Questions or comments to 

Saturday, May 20th
Acton Garden Club/Fabulous Plant Sale
9-1 pm , rain or shine
Red House, 468 Main Street across from the Acton common.  Parking is available behind Town Hall or the Acton Center Fire Station. If you are looking to beautify your property, here’s your chance to easily do so. Come and shop.  The sale will include annuals, perennials, pollinators, native plants, a wide variety of locally grown flowers, trees, shrubs, vegetables, herbs, planted hanging baskets as well as a raffle with great prizes.  This year we also offering houseplants.  Credit cards will absolutely be accepted.
Come early for the best selections, pick out those plants you have been wanting, buy something you haven’t grown before and then take them all home and get digging!

Saturday, May 20
Gleaners’ Volunteer Thank-You Potluck!
3:00-6:00 pm
Stonefield Farm in Acton!
Last year, Boston Area Gleaners were able to distribute just over 4 million pounds of produce to our food access partners. This was possible thanks in part to our incredible volunteers who spent hundreds of hours in local farm fields gleaning fresh produce.
To show our deep appreciation and to celebrate the start of the 2023 gleaning season, we will be hosting a volunteer thank-you potluck.
We will provide beverages and yard games, and ask that you bring your favorite dish to share! Be sure to RSVP here.

Wednesday, May 24
Review of Acton Area Archaeology by Kimberley Connors
7:00-8:30 pm
Acton Memorial Library 
Register HERE.
Kimberley Connors, a local archaeologist specializing in public education, will share the fascinating archaeology of our local environment, from the Native American arrival thousands of years ago, through the European contact of the 1600s, and into the Colonial and early industrial periods. This program can help us appreciate our local landscape and what it offered to newcomers thousands of years ago as well as to those arriving in the last few centuries as well.
Kimberley holds a MA from Harvard University and has worked on numerous sites in New England and the Middle East. Her research includes local sites along the Assabet River and Nashoba Brook. Her talk will be followed by a brief review of Acton’s new archeological protection bylaw, which was just enacted last year.
In-person and live streamed on Acton TV at

Tuesday, June 6 
Plant ID & Natural History Walk – Elliott Concord River Preserve
Elliott Concord River Preserve Elliott Concord River Preserve, Carlisle
Join naturalist Roland “Boot” Boutwell for an for an informative nature walk. Focus on plant identification as well as fun and interesting natural history about the plants we see.
All SVT programs require registration.
Please click on the blue program titles to bring you to the registration page.
For information about payment, directions to the program location, or cancelling a registration, see our Program Policies.

Now through May 31
Garlic Mustard Pull Season: 
Venture out and pull Garlic Mustard on your own?  Need some exercise this weekend?  It’s the start of garlic mustard season!  Plants are up and easy to spot right now.  Pull the plant up by the root.  Tear it apart and shake soil out of the roots. 
Remove the plant with its entire root system or new plants may sprout from root fragments. Take care not to spread any plants that have gone to seed. Remove completely from the site and dispose of in garbage bags. Foliar spray is not recommended as it can be harmful to the surrounding flora and fauna. 
Please check with Bettina Abe,, about pulling Garlic Mustard at the Acton Arboretum.

Note from the Boston Area Gleaners April 21 Newsletter
With spring in full swing, we are thrilled to see flowers blooming, seedlings sprouting, and volunteers volunteering with us again! Volunteering opportunities will continue to pop up as the weeks progress, so be sure you are  signed up as a volunteer on our website signed so that you can receive our volunteer trip alert emails. In the meantime, keep an eye on our opportunity list at the start of each week for trips taking place at Stonefield Farm before gleaning ramps up again (re-packing produce, processing banana boxes, etc.).
To learn more visit

A clear-cut case for ‘No Mow May’
(re-circulated from the Boston Globe, 4/9/23, Carol Stocker) 

Q. I love reading your columns, and I’m happy they’re back. Can you tell me about “No Mow May”? I believe it started in England. My husband postponed mowing the lawn until June last year as a way to help support pollinators by allowing clover and other flowering species to blossom in our lawns.
M.C., Wakefield

A. Who ever thought gardeners would miss insects? But as krill and plankton are to the ocean, insects are the foundation of the earth’s terrestrial food chain. But thanks to pesticides, habitat loss, and lawn care companies with their leaf blowers, we have entered an “insect apocalypse.” No more need to wipe insects off your car windshield after a summer’s night drive. The car is clean but the baby birds are starving. What to do?

The easiest first step is to delay mowing lawns as long as possible during early spring, when pollinators awake to find flowers scarce. Untreated lawns have weeds and wild plants that can produce flowers before mowing cuts them back. I have meadow areas adjacent to woodland that I actually cut only once a year, in the fall. But I have also tried to reduce my general lawn mowing from weekly to every two weeks, especially when heat slows the growth rate. Lawn companies may want to charge you for mowing early and often, even when there’s no growth during droughts. But I am embracing No Mow April and will start mowing late in May, up to the point when my little home mower can still handle it without getting clogged.

Lawn care is as passionate a topic as politics for many neatniks and nature lovers. If you worry about the neighbors’ reactions to your taller and more natural lawn grass, keep a tidy mowed edge along sidewalks and paths. Visit for more tips and to download educational signage so your more natural lawn looks intentional rather than neglected.

Best of all, consider replacing some or all of the lawn with native plants. Native groundcovers, once established, form a beautiful and low maintenance lawn alternative. Planted areas that feature flowers that bloom throughout the season are of highest value to pollinators, as this space will provide an uninterrupted nectar supply. So don’t dust off your mower just yet! Let’s let the flowers bloom first!

Learn more about “No Mow May” here


Happy Full Flower Moon tonight!

Susan Mitchell-Hardt 
President, Acton Conservation Trust