Sudbury Valley Trustees Finalize Three Conservation Efforts
the Sudbury Valley Trustees, a regional land trust, is often busy doing conservation work and managing volunteers, but they’ve been working hard this summer to finalize collaborative deals to conserve even more land, protecting more than 100 acres in MetroWest.
Some of the conservation efforts had been underway for decades.
“It’s always a little disappointing in the end because a mark of success for any conservation project is the status quo. Nothing changes, ”said Christa Collins, SVT’s director of land protection, who said three conservation efforts in late June were a coincidence.
“They all closed the same week,” she said. “It was a little crazy here.”
The Trustees of Sudbury Valley, a private, non-profit organization, protect and manage over 5,000 acres of land in 36 communities with over 60 miles of trails between Boston and Worcester. Collins said it wouldn’t have been possible without donor help, and people said they were especially motivated to donate after a year spent closer to home.
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“Nature is a place of comfort,” she said. “I think it really meant a lot to people, especially this year. “
SVT and the City of Framingham have worked together to maintain the Chickatawbut Wood in late June, a nearly 20-acre property that will now officially connect the trails across the property to other city-owned conservation lands.
“We will be working together to develop management plans and public access this summer,” said Dan Stimson, deputy director of stewardship who met with city officials earlier this week to discuss plans to maintain the area. and maybe even expand access points. “The city now has the conservation restriction on the property and SVT owns it, so we will be partners in the management of the land. “
Stimson said the trails, which are in fairly good condition, could be added to trail maps as early as this summer, and the most convenient way to access them right now is to hike the adjacent trails.
“For someone who just walks around, it’s good that they don’t really care about property lines when walking down a trail,” Stimson said. “They can have a more consistent experience when they are out in the wild.”
There are also benefits to local wildlife that will be able to migrate through the region without having to cross roads or backyards.
“Projects like the Chickatawbut Woods are also very important in connecting wildlife habitat,” Stimson said. “It also creates a nice placeholder link for wildlife connectivity.”
Another conservation effort stretched Callahan State Park over 30 acres with the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s purchase of the O’Donnell property in Marlborough.
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“I remember meeting the former landowner probably 15 years ago,” Collins said. “We were thrilled when the O’Donnells stepped in and bought the property and were willing to hold it until we, the state and the city could find the funds to buy it back from them.”
SVT raised $ 100,000, the City of Marlborough gave $ 150,000, and DCR covered the rest.
The third conservation effort in June was the Kelly property in Upton, nearly 70 acres that will be part of the Peppercorn Hill Conservation Area, a particularly complex transaction as the acreage was spread over three plots.
The Metacomet Land Trust with financial assistance from the SVT bought a piece of land and the town of Upton bought the rest with Community Preservation Act funds.
Other work of SVT
“We have a lot of programs to offer to teach people more about the world around them and the opportunities for them to volunteer and help with things,” Collins said. “We are always looking for ways to involve more people in conservation work.
Stimson said people who enjoy walking the trails can integrate volunteer and stewardship work with their time spent outdoors, and they’re always looking for more. volunteers.
SVT also raises funds for conservation Stone fields farm in Acton, which the Boston Area Gleaners are considering buying. The BAG is a non-profit organization committed to the fight against hunger.
While there is always more work to be done, Collins said he is often reminded of all the work SVT has already done while driving.
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“If I drove back to Sudbury, I could drive past all these places that SVT has helped protect over the years, and what really strikes me is that they are dark at night,” he said. she declared. “You notice them almost more in the dark because there isn’t a lot of street or house lighting, so I’ve grown to appreciate these achievements at night.”
While some of the conservation efforts may take years to materialize, Collins said conservation can benefit both wildlife and local communities.
“All of these wild creatures need places to live and we need places to recreate and restore ourselves in the wild,” Collins said. “One of our conservation goals is to try to be strategic in protecting the lands that have the best habitat value and the best recreational value, so it’s very important to be able to build on those great blocks of conservation land. “
Lillian Eden can be reached at 617-459-6409 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @LillianWEden.