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Walk around the Wall

Jason and Tom clearing outside the eastern side of the Coxhall Kitchen Garden wall.

Jason and Tom clearing outside the eastern side of the Coxhall Kitchen Garden wall.

Even though the ground was covered with snow from Friday’s storm, Rod, Linda, Tom, Jason and Cynthia worked at the Coxhall Kitchen Garden clearing the outside of the “Noble Wall” on Saturday morning. The north, east and part of the south side were engulfed in downed trees, young saplings, Japanese barberry and multi-flora rose.

Well, now you can walk around the wall!

Jason, Rod, Linda and Tom at the end of the workday with a cleared wall behind.

Jason, Rod, Linda and Tom at the end of the workday with a cleared wall behind.

When the snow melts, we’ll need to get back out there and clear out the wood that was frozen in and use brush cutters to remove more of the Japanese barberry.

Huge progress was made. Thank you to Rod, Linda, Tom, Jason and Cynthia for their hard work.

After the snow fall, looking into the opening.

After the snow fall, looking into the opening.

Abundant Signs of Wildlife

David Brown, naturalist and tracker, showing the group how to identify what type of squirrel ate which hickory nut.

David Brown, naturalist and tracker, showing the group how to identify what type of squirrel ate which hickory nut.

Today we focused on wildlife. David Brown, renowned naturalist and tracker spent the late morning and afternoon with many eager to learn more about the various animals that also call this area home. First David shared images of tracks and sign from a wide variety of animals. Then we trekked down to Deer Park Preserve on Barre Road and walk the loop trail looking for sign.

Three hickory nuts eaten by three different types of squirrels; grey, flying and red.

Three hickory nuts eaten by three different types of squirrels; grey, flying and red.

David helped us learn how to look for sign, then identify what species left the evidence, and we discussed what that sign means about how the animal was spending its day. Because there was no snow on the ground we didn’t get to go tracking, but we sure saw a lot of animal evidence!

Coyote scat deposited on a stone wall, left there as a sign for other animals to find.

Coyote scat deposited on a stone wall, left there as a sign for other animals to find.

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A bird’s nest that was hidden last summer in thick vegetation.

 

These are castings of animal prints made by David Brown.

These are castings of animal prints made by David Brown.

Two big piles are burned to open up the corner that was planted to Austrian pines. That area will be mowed regularly to encourage grasses and other native plants.

Two big piles are burned to open up the corner that was planted to Austrian pines. That area will be mowed regularly to encourage grasses and other native plants.

Well, it rained during the night and into the morning, even turned to snow for a bit. But there was enough dry brush in the piles to get a hot fire going. The hot dogs and ‘smores were delicious. Overall a very successful day and good cheer all around!

One pile as it gets going from several different spots.

One pile as it gets going from several different spots.

Of course it was critical to have help! Thank you to all who came out to burn brush, Dick, Trish, Becky, Ann, Elisabeth, Darrell, Bob, Rod, Linda, John, Paul, Jerry, Harrison and his handy tractor!

There are still several brush piles to burn before that corner of the field can be reclaimed as grassland. Either we’ll plan another workday or burn those piecemeal during the winter. Be sure to join us next time!

A greatly diminished pile!

A greatly diminished pile!

Part of the area that will be cleared again this winter in an effort to keep the area thick with saplings for animals, birds and insects that need the habitat.

Part of the area that will be cleared again this winter in an effort to keep the area thick with saplings for animals, birds and insects.

We just heard the good news that the East Quabbin Land Trust was awarded two grants through the MassWildlife Habitat Management Grant Program! That’s terrific to receive critical funding to continue the stewardship projects on several Preserves in the area.

Areas with lots of young trees is getting hard to find, and yet there are many animals, birds and insects that need the densely packed places to feed and breed. About five years ago a ten acre area of young forest at the Deer Park Preserve was cleared, creating such an area. Periodically the trees need to be cut to keep them from developing into mature woods. With this grant funding, we’ll be able to “set back the clock” so to speak, by knocking down all that’s growing there now. Plus we’ll be able to take another crack at controlling the invasive plants that survived earlier treatments. In this case, it multiflora rose and bittersweet.

A pitch pine seedling in the area that will be burned at Frohloff Farm.

A pitch pine seedling in the area that will be burned at Frohloff Farm.

The second grant is for completing prescribed burns at two EQLT locations this spring. The Frohloff Farm has pitch pine-scrub  oak habitat along the river front. This area, along with sandplain grasses, should respond favorably when burned. Pitch pine has a thick bark that protects it from fire. Other competing vegetation is more susceptible to fire, leaving pitch pine to grow vigorously. There are many rare moths and butterflies that feed and use pitch pine.

The wet meadow in the center of Wendemuth Meadow will also be burned this spring. The desired plants respond well to burning, leaving the wet meadow healthier. We look forward to seeing the results!

We’re Hiring

The East Quabbin Land Trust is seeking a development professional to join our team. Read on for the full position description and be sure to pass along the information to anyone else who might want to apply.

The East Quabbin Land Trust is currently seeking a part-time, experienced development manager with excellent communication and organizational skills to join our team. Candidates must be personable, out-going, and have the ability to think strategically and creatively to design and implement an effective fundraising strategy for the organization. They must have an enthusiastic and positive attitude, be known as a person of great integrity, and take pride in their work. Please submit a cover letter, resume and writing sample by February 12, 2016 to chenshaw@EQLT.org.

DEVELOPMENT MANAGER

RESPONSIBILITIES

The Development Manager is responsible for the expansion and successful implementation EQLT’s fundraising, marketing and communications efforts targeted at expanding major donor gifts and membership base.

Development and Fundraising

  • Coordinate with the Executive Director to create and administer EQLT’s development plan and annual fundraising goals
  • Evaluate success annually and develop strategies for increasing annual fundraising goals and expand membership base.
  • Bring donations to EQLT either through direct solicitation or by working with the Executive Director, Board members, and volunteers as they reach out to prospective donors.
  • Become familiar with legal and ethical standards for gift accounting.
  • Oversee gift reporting, acknowledgments, accounting, and database management in cooperation with the Bookkeeper and Executive Director.
  • Oversee fundraising events (e.g., receptions, recognition events, and special celebrations) that promote the connection of individuals to EQLT, in cooperation with volunteers and Executive Director.
  • Attend Board meetings and serve on the Advancement Committee. Prepare Board reports.

Communications and Marketing

  • Plan and implement a comprehensive marketing and communications plan, with annual review and evaluation, in cooperation with the Executive Director.
  • Oversee electronic constituent communications and the maintenance of the web and social media presence.
  • Write periodic articles advancing major gifts to EQLT.

QUALIFICATIONS

The ideal candidate will possess the following qualifications:

  • A bachelor’s degree plus some work experience.
  • Can think strategically and creatively, ability to act independently, knowledgeable about data gathering, research and analysis.
  • Facile computer software experience including, but not limited to Microsoft Office.

PERFORMANCE CHARACTERISTICS

The ideal candidate will possess the following characteristics:

  • Professional, mature demeanor with the ability to speak truthfully and candidly.
  • Is a natural “networker’, adept at developing and maintaining relationships with donors, including the ability to exchange information using tact and confidentiality.
  • Has an innate ability to listen to what people are saying “in the margins” and discern their real concerns – and knows how EQLT can effectively address their concerns.
  • Is known as a person of great integrity who can build trust within the team and the donor base.
  • Has a sense of humor, demonstrates a sense of innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • Exhibits excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Has strong interpersonal skills’, knowledge of the East Quabbin region is a plus.

Walking on New Year’s

2016 group photoAfter the snow and freezing rain of the last week, there was concern about the trail condition today. Fortunately, the Mass Central Rail Trail turned out to not be too icy, though you had to be careful crossing the bridges.

Over thirty people came out on New Year’s morning to start out 2016 with a hike at the rail trail. Folks came from all different places, including Barre, Hardwick, New Braintree, Oakham, West Brookfield, East Brookfield, Palmer and West Boylston. For some, it was their first time exploring this section of the rail trail.

At the Creamery Road end of the trail.

At the Creamery Road end of the trail.

Most everyone walked to Creamery Road from the parking area at the former New Braintree train station, nearly 4 miles. A smaller group also walked the mile over to Wheelwright and back. Everyone had a great time outdoors to start the year off, and we all got to meet new people.

If you couldn’t make it today, not to worry. Head on over to the rail trail for a walk whenever you have time!

Congratulations Petersham!

IMG_4267docConservation of the Gross Farm took another significant step forward yesterday. The Baker-Polito Administration announced the FY16 L.A.N.D. grant and Conservation Partnership grant recipients. The Town of Petersham was among the small group of awardees for the purchase of a conservation restriction on the 235 acre Gross Farm. That’s great news!

The East Quabbin Land Trust purchased the Gross Farm in July, giving the Town the opportunity to see this important property remains a working farm. The next step is to raise the matching funds for the Town purchase. The L.A.N.D. grant will reimburse Petersham for 64% of it’s cost in the conservation of the farm. That means that 34%, or a budgeted $135,000 in private dollars needs to be committed to the effort. Please consider making a generous contribution today! Donations made to the East Quabbin Land Trust earmarked for the Gross Farm will be transferred to the Town to ensure the land is conserved.

DSC_0713webThe East Quabbin Land Trust and the Town of Petersham are engaged in conserving the property because the land includes many natural, historic and aesthetic resources, such as:

  • The land sits in the designated agricultural corridor in Petersham and the 30 acres of fields are scattered along East Street creating scenic views for passersby;
  • Portions of Cardinal Brook and Moccasin Brook bisect the land as they flow into the Swift River and Quabbin Reservoir. Further downstream Moccasin Brook supports rare aquatic species, increasing the importance of high-quality water for wildlife and drinking water;
  • The wooded slopes of Chimney Hill and adjoining wetlands are known to be an important wildlife corridor; and
  • The fields include prime agricultural or statewide important soils that are excellent for crops or pasture.

Waiting for Kestrels

20151210_101608webLast week Harrison, Jeff and Jake installed a new kestrel box at Mandell Hill. This one is a prototype for many more to come. With Jeff’s enthusiasm the goal is to get 50 kestrel boxes up around the East Quabbin region in the next three years.

This box, designed by Harrison, should be easier to clean out and inspect because it’s mounted on a telescoping pole. Next spring we’ll see if the kestrels agree!

If you know of any spot with about 20 acres of open fields where a kestrel box can be installed, please get in touch with us at 413-477-8229 or chenshaw@EQLT.org.

‘Tis the season to be thankful – for more land conserved, great opportunities to get outdoors, and friends and family! We thank you, members and supporters of the East Quabbin Land Trust, for being part of our successes in 2015 and for what is to come.

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Clear Viewing

The overcast skies, moderate temperature, and blustery wind came together for terrific conditions to clear the knoll at Mandell Hill today. From this spot along the loop trail you get a clear view across the fields, down the Ware River valley and even Mount Wachusett. Head on out for a hike and enjoy the knoll at Mandell Hill. Start at the parking area off Barre Road in Hardwick.

 

Harrison and Tom weed-whacking around the many rocks on the knoll.

Harrison and Tom weed-whacking around the many rocks on the knoll.

Sam and Reshma doing a final pick up on the knoll.

Sam and Reshma doing a final pick up on the knoll.

Happy workers after clearing the knoll. Thank you Darien, Tom, Reshma, Ani, and Harrison. Sam and Michael helped too.

Happy workers after clearing the knoll. Thank you Darien, Tom, Reshma, Ani, and Harrison. Harry, Sam and Michael helped too!

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