Events of Interest November 16, 2022

Dear Friends and Acton Conservation Trust Members,

The link to Anna Fialkoff’s talk last 10/13 “Garden as if the Earth Matters”  has been added to our website: If you missed her talk, you can still hear how gardening with native plants helps foster biodiversity and  and creates more resilient landscapes.

Our December 3 member appreciation Evening of Astronomy event is now live on our website as well:  We’re partnering with Amateur Telescope Makers of Boston. The night of December 3 offers a nice selection of objects to observe. The moon will be in the evening skies along with Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars, Uranus, and Neptune. Many deep-sky objects will also be visible. 

Bye bye “Actonius”.  Thanks for representing the Acton Conservation Trust and for supporting NAMI National Alliance on Mental Illness
Frozen cattails, Great Meadows Wildlife Refuge, Concord, MA

The following news and events may be of interest: If you prefer, you may read “Events of Interest” on our website,

Now – December 17 
Experience Destination:  Nature, An Evocative Juried Art Show

Tuesday through Thursday: 12 – 6 pm, Friday, 12-3 pm, Sat & Sun 11-3 PM
Fivesparks, 7 Fairbank Street, Harvard, MA
Featuring works from over 50 regional artists who have been inspired by the thousands of acres of protected land in Harvard, Massachusetts. Sarah Montross, Senior Curator at the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park has juried the show, selecting the exhibited works and awarding top prizes. The exhibit will also feature an immersive video installation created by Bearwalk Cinema. See these natural landscapes and wildlife habitats through the eyes of talented artists.  All art is available for purchase.  Visit

Thursday, November 17
BioMap Launch Event
1–2 p.m.MassWildlife Field Headquarters, 
1 Rabbit Hill Road, Westborough, MA 01581
Please join the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, the Massachusetts Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, and other state officials for a special event to celebrate the launch of BioMap. Join conservation partners from across Massachusetts to learn about the latest iteration of BioMap and watch a live demonstration of the newly launched web portal. Developers from MassWildlife and TNC will be available to answer questions about how to use BioMap to inform your conservation planning. 
Light refreshments will be served. 
Please RSVP by Thursday, November 10. Click here to RSVP
BioMap uses the latest scientific data to deliver an innovative, interactive map that identifies areas that are most critical for conservation across Massachusetts. But, BioMap is more than a map. It is a map, a tool, and a vision for the people of the Commonwealth to come together to strategically protect, manage, and restore lands and waters now and into the future. We hope you’ll join us.

Sunday, November 20 
Acton-Boxborough  Holiday Farmers Market  
10am-1 pm 
Elm Street Playground, West Acton

Tuesday, November 22 
Finding Sanctuary
7:30 PM 
Sargent Library, 427 Mass. Ave,  Boxborough 
Join Boxborough Birders, in conjunction with the Sargent Memorial Board of Library Trustees, for an illustrated talk by wildlife artist Barry W. Van Dusen. an illustrated talk by wildlife artist Barry W. Van Dusen.Barry is an internationally recognized wildlife artist whose articles and paintings have been featured in Bird Watcher’s Digest, Birding and Yankee magazines. He will speak about his experiences at Mass Audubon sanctuaries as an artist-in-residence. From 2015-2019, Barry visited all 61 of Mass Audubon’s wildlife sanctuaries, nature centers and museums, producing drawings and paintings at each location. You’ll hear about his adventures exploring Mass Audubon properties all around Massachusetts, and learn more about the approach Barry uses to meet the demands and challenges of working on location.  He’ll also show how field sketches and studies are used in the studio for larger, more complex works.  Please join us in this celebration of the rich biological diversity in Massachusetts and the Mass Audubon sanctuary system.  

Thursday, November 24
Thanksgiving Holiday
Thanksgiving Day (U.S.) is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November—November 24, 2022. It’s a season for reuniting, sharing a meal, and giving thanks. Do you know the true history of Thanksgiving Day? Who moved the date once and why? Why did the Pilgrims disappear? What did George Washington intend for Thanksgiving to be about?  Visit to find out.

Friday, November 25 
SVT’s Annual “Give Thanks for the Land” Walk
10 AM
Memorial Forest, Sudbury
The tradition continues! Connect with nature during the season of gratitude. Join Executive Director Lisa Vernegaard for a fast-paced walk on “Black Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving.
Register Now

Friday, November 25
Natural History Walk with Groton Conservation Trust trustee for an exploration of  Groton’s natural areas
10 AM
Throne Hill complex at Rockwood Lane trailhead, Groton
Two hour Natural History Walk with Groton Conservation Trust trustee for an exploration of  Groton’s natural areas that takes a deeper dive, where we share insights and knowledge about the changing landscape to help you find an even greater appreciation on your walks on the trails. We will hike in the Throne Hill complex, a matrix of properties owned by several conservation organizations. Discover the foundations of former farm houses, various types of stone walls, and signs of the ecology and biology of a forest in transition. Learn how to use the forest itself to estimate how long ago human activities and disturbances occurred. If you’ve previously enjoyed our Black Friday walks with ecologist Tom Wessels, this is the event for you. This is a great all ages event for the entire family. Registration is required. All are welcome!

Monday, November 28 through 1/30, 2/2, 3/27, 3/30, 5/29, 6/1, 2023 (Total of 4 Discussions Sections)
Women of the Land (WOTL) Book Club Sign Up:  Braiding Sweetgrass
Sitting 1: 11/28 12-1PM, Sitting 2: Thursday, 12/1 7-8 PM  Start through section “Tending 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.

Thursday, December 1  
Shrubs in Winter (AKA Naked Shrubs)
In-Person Field Workshop 
Acton Arboretum and Bog, 2 Taylor Road, Acton
10-12:30 pm 
Join Naturalist, Roland “Boot” Boutwell for our field workshop at the Acton Arboretum and Bog for a close look at 15-20 native New England shrubs, plus a couple of non-native invasive species.
Bring lunch and a hand lens if you have one.  
Fee: $60 MACC members | $ 80 Non-members | $ 45 Full-time students. Limit: 12.
Space is Limited. Register Today.  Contact Michele Girard, 617-489-3930.   
Sponsored by MACC, Mass. Association of Conservation Commissions. 

Saturday, December 3 
Member Appreciation Evening of Astronomy 
5-7 PM  
To show appreciation for our wonderful members, we’re partnering with Amateur Telescope Makers of Boston for an Evening of Astronomy! The night of December 3 offers a nice selection of objects to observe. The moon will be in the evening skies along with Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars, Uranus, and Neptune. Many deep-sky objects will also be visible. 
This is an in-person event for Acton Conservation Trust members only. Please register below.  Not a member yet and want to attend? 
Visit to join before registering.
This event is perfect for families! Dress warmly… wear several layers and bring a hat and gloves. We will be outdoors with plenty of hot beverages and other refreshments for you to enjoy. 
Clouds or extreme low temperatures will cancel observing. We will consult the local weather forecast and contact you by 2:00 p.m. that day (December 3) with a GO/NO GO decision. 
For more information or questions, please contact Jody Harris at

December 8
Doug Tallamy presents Nature’s Best Hope  – Lincoln Land Conservation Trust
7 PM 
Virtual program
Recent headlines about global insect declines, the impending extinction of one million species worldwide, and three billion fewer birds in North America are a bleak reality check about how ineffective our current landscape designs have been at sustaining the plants and animals that sustain us. Such losses are not an option if we wish to continue our current standard of living on Planet Earth. The good news is that none of this is inevitable. Tallamy will discuss simple steps that each of us can- and must- take to reverse declining biodiversity and will explain why we, ourselves, are nature’s best hope.
The night’s focus will be on how to create backyard biodiversity in Lincoln, connect habitats throughout Town, and increase resilience against climate change. All are welcome at this free, virtual program. Register here.

BAG November Newsletter 
Excerpts from the Newsletter:
• We’ve partnered with 54 farms and 48 hunger relief agencies
• 684 volunteers contributed over 5,300 hours of work
• We’ve delivered 2.8 million pounds of food for hunger relief, and 700,000 pounds to Boston Food Hub customers
• $425,000 in revenue made for Boston Food Hub farm partners
• 88,000 miles driven for food distributionWith year end giving upon us, you can help us continue this work by making a donation. Your financial support will help us build a local food system that supports local farms and makes food more affordable and accessible for all communities.
Lastly, we want to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to our 2022 apprentices, Lydia and Sarah, who will be completing their time with us this week. They have been stellar additions to the Gleaner team and we will miss working with them!
 To subscribe to the Newsletter, visit

CPA News: 

A Big Week for CPA: $20M for CPA Trust Fund & Big Wins for the newest CPA communities on Election Day 

It’s been a long and winding road navigating the state budget surplus process this year, but CPA communities can now safely celebrate – Governor Baker has signed off on $20 million in state budget surplus funds for the CPA Trust Fund.

As we reported last week, the State Legislature finally passed the long awaited $3.8 billion economic development bill (H.5374) and sent it to Governor Baker’s desk for approval — Section 258 of this bill allocates $20M in FY22 state budget surplus funds for the CPA Trust Fund (as well as $10M for the Massachusetts Life Science Investment Fund, which was the original point of contention in Governor Baker’s veto of this language in the FY23 state budget). The Governor’s signature on the bill means that this year’s CPA Trust Fund distribution is on track to receive a much-needed boost. However, it’s still unclear when exactly communities can expect to receive this funding.

Read the Full Article on the Coalition Website

Boylston, Natick, Shelburne, and Westborough as well as the city of Worcester, passed CPA!.  

This brings the total number of CPA municipalities up to 194, representing over 70% of the state population.

11/11/22 Westford Conservation Trust tries managing invasive plants with a herd of goats! The Westford Conservation Trust learned that in some cases, it makes more sense to consider a middle-ground solution…goats! The process works like this:
1.  A natural area is temporarily encircled by an electric fence.
2.  A team of goats is brought to the site and put within the fenced area.
3.  The goats eat the weeds and invasive species that are up to six feet off the ground.
4.  The goats remain overnight and continue for several days until the site is clear of plants.

If goats clear a site of all plants, why are they better than the other treatment options? First, unlike machine options, goats don’t consume fossil fuels or emit significant greenhouse gasses. Second, unlike both machine and chemical options, goats are more gentle on the ecosystem than large-scale landscaping equipment and chemicals. Third, unlike manual pulling, goats sterilize the majority of seeds that they digest, which reduces the likelihood of invasive plants re-emerging.

Regardless whether broad treatment, targeted treatment, or goat treatment is applied to a site, the area will need to be re-seeded with native plants to further help prevent the re-emergence of new invasives.

This past summer, the Trust kicked off a trial using goats to manage invasives at a Westford Conservation Commission property off Grey Fox Lane. Want to see the goats in action? The team at WestfordCAT filmed a segment on our initiative that you can view by clicking here.  Read more in WCT’s Fall 2022 Newsletter

Leave the Leaves!   From MCA-CISMA Newsletter, November 2022
Autumn is when many of us think to put our gardens to bed by removing leaves and cutting back perennials. Yet to truly support living creatures year round, it’s much better to leave fallen leaves, branches, stems, and seed heads where they are rather than raking, blowing, shredding, or cutting them away. Leaves and other organic matter insulate plant roots through the cold winter months and then decompose to build up living soil critical to healthy vegetation. This organic matter also stores large amounts of carbon, which is crucial to supporting a climate-resilient planet.  Read the full article here.

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.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!


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”!