Attleboro Land Trust logo

Attleboro Land Trust
Helping to Protect Our Own Backyard
Attleboro, Massachusetts, USA

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The Attleboro Land Trust is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to keeping Attleboro green.

Lands under our protection as of July 24, 2015: 372 acres owned; 198 acres restricted; 570 acres total.

Join us! Support us!

Membership dues of $25 or donations in any amount may be made online to the Attleboro Land Trust at PayPal.


You don't need a PayPal account--
just a credit card.

  Other ways to get involved are by mail or email.  

Site Stewards Wanted

A site steward is a volunteer who "adopts" one of the Attleboro Land Trust nature preserves, individually or with a group, such as a group of neighbors, church group, youth group, or fraternal organization.

Duties of a site steward:

  • Walk the property on a regular basis
  • Pick up litter
  • Report vandalism
  • Help with routine trail maintenance
  • Assist with special projects

If you are interested, contact us.

Help Us Save 63 Acres of Fields, Forest, and Wetlands in Attleboro! Your support is critical!

Lower field on Richardson land

We are now conducting a public fundraising campaign to acquire this beautiful property on Wilmarth Street. For more information, read a Sun Chronicle article from October 18, view a YouTube video, download this flyer, continue reading below, or contact us.


The Land

  • Located on Wilmarth and Smith Streets in the Chartley Brook watershed

  • To be named for Roger and Deborah Richardson, in whose memory a valuable portion of the land will be donated

The Opportunity

  • Thanks to a very generous offer from the Richardson family, the Attleboro Land Trust has an opportunity to acquire this 63-acre tract, worth over one million dollars, for less than half of its market value.

  • In partnership with the City of Attleboro and Mass Audubon, we have applied for a grant from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that would fund a significant portion of the acquisition, start-up, and stewardship costs.

  • We need to raise an additional $133,500 from foundations, private donors, members, and friends by February, 2016, to realize our goal.

How You Can Help

  • Donate to our campaign to raise funds for this acquisition.

Use the Donate button in the upper left corner of this web page.

or, mail a check to:
Attleboro Land Trust
P.O. Box 453
Attleboro, MA 02703

The Richardson land presents a compelling conservation opportunity.

  • It has a diverse mix of habitats, including upland woods, fields, streams, marshes, swamp, and vernal pools, which is excellent for supporting a variety of wildlife.

  • It includes a reach of Chartley Brook with beautiful associated wetlands; this watershed has long been a city priority for protection.

  • It is an ideal outdoor classroom, and we foresee it being used by the Land Trust, schools, and others such as Mass Audubon for environmental education programs.

  • It is adjacent to more undeveloped land, with the potential for protecting additional acreage in the future, thereby increasing the variety of species that can be sustained.

  • The fields and woods will provide hiking trails and other needed passive recreation opportunities for city residents.

  • The 18th century Joseph Barrows house, which may be the oldest home in Attleboro, will be secured for possible future use, and provides a focal point for interpretation of the history of the land and the city.

  • The fields are ranked as prime farmland or farmland of statewide importance, and they offer opportunities for commercial haying and community gardens.



Vernal pool

Joseph Barrows house

Upper field

Reflections On Our First 25 Years

by Charlie Adler

I remember when I first learned about land trusts. It was at a conference held at Wheaton College in Norton on March 3, 1990. The focus of the conference was protecting land in the Canoe River Watershed, but the lessons from the conference could be applied anywhere. With the enthusiastic support of Ted and Debby Leach, I organized a meeting at the Attleboro Public Library on April 11, 1990, to explore the possibility of starting a land trust in Attleboro.

While preservation of the Locust Valley Golf Course, then threatened with a development of 300 homes, was a top priority, the 50 residents at the meeting brought up other areas also worthy of protection, and they expressed a general concern about the rapid pace of residential development and equally rapid loss of open space. There was unanimous agreement to form a local land trust. Larry St. Pierre agreed to head up a charter committee to pursue non-profit status. A hat was passed, and the amount was matched by Locust Street resident Fred Thomson, resulting in a total collection of $251.

Within a few months, the group had incorporated and been recognized as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. In addition to Ted, Debby, Larry, and me, the incorporators were Leslie Leger, Patricia Campbell, Ron Carlson, Howard Bibeault, Carol Haslehurst, Joanne Wright, Eric Brown, and Robert Schoch.

The first two years were focused on attempts to save Locust Valley. At first the land trust tried raising funds to acquire the property, but then decided to support city attempts to purchase all or part of the land. In the spring of 1991, the land trust held a membership outreach event featuring photos of scenic New England by teacher and photographer Bob Thayer. A year later, the land trust received its first gift of land from Adele Colman, a local resident who had attended Bob's presentation.

The 77-acre Colman Reservation was dedicated in 1993 “to all those who set foot here. May they visit this place often, enjoy it, and be its caretakers. And may they pass it on unharmed from one generation to the next.” Those sentiments were soon to motivate other generous donors.

Celebrating Our First Gift of Land in 1993
Board Members and Guests (from left to right): Larry St. Pierre (President), Joanne Wright, George Largess, Carol Haslehurst, Shanthi Raam, Adele B. Colman, Mayor Judith Robbins, Robert Schoch, Ron Carlson, Charlie Adler


There is not space enough here to list all of the donations of land we have received since that first gift, never mind the financial support and thousands of hours of volunteer time that have been contributed in support of our mission.

While land conservation has been and will continue to be at the top of our agenda, the story of our first quarter century includes many other themes:

  • Stewardship: Acquisition of a parcel of land is just the first step. There are species to be identified, boundaries to be monitored, trails to be developed and maintained, invasive species to be controlled, and visitors to be managed.

  • Recreation, Health, and Fitness: Our trails provide passive recreation for many. We are concerned that children in the 21st century are more comfortable surfing the Internet than walking in the woods and are missing the health benefits of being outdoors, in all kinds of weather.

  • Advocacy: Although not our main focus, we occasionally speak out on matters of public policy related to conservation and the environment.

  • Education: Education and advocacy go hand in hand. We can't influence public policy in matters of concern to us unless we educate the public on the importance of protecting the environment. We have stepped up our efforts recently to provide educational resources for the schoolchildren in our community--publishing a brochure inviting them to explore our properties.

  • Partnerships: We often find that we can multiply our effectiveness by partnering with other organizations. Perhaps our longest and most successful partnership has been with the City of Attleboro in creating the Attleboro Area Community Garden in 1998. Another very fruitful partnership has been with Mass Audubon. Over the years we have partnered with many other organizations, including schools, youth groups, fraternal organizations, the Rotary Club, the United Way, and the Attleboro Arts Museum, to name a few.

  • Future Focus: When a generous donor gives us land, we pledge to protect that land in perpetuity. This is an enormous responsibility that our volunteer board takes very seriously, and it requires us to always take the long view when considering the consequences of our policies and actions.

When someone first encounters a land trust, they may be puzzled by the name--it sounds like it has something to do with finance. That's intentional. We think saving land is a good investment from which the public reaps many benefits. To paraphrase advice that may have come from Mark Twain, "Save land, they're not making it anymore!"


The Last Piece of a Beautiful Puzzle

by Ted Leach, ALT president

The exciting news at the Land Trust is that, together with the City of Attleboro and the Massachusetts Audubon Society, we have finalized a Conservation Restriction on 80 superb acres of open land linking the Attleboro Springs 117 acres with city-owned forest land stretching all the way to Locust Street and Oak Hill Avenue. This piece of the puzzle creates one continuous block of wild land close to the heart of downtown Attleboro totaling nearly 500 acres.

Following the very successful collaboration between the Attleboro Land Trust, the Mass Audubon Society, and the City of Attleboro, the Land Trust and the Audubon will jointly own a conservation restoration permanently protecting these 80 acres, while the City will this time own the land itself. A Land Trust capital campaign raised $50,000 in twin grants from the Augat Foundation and the Balfour Foundation to make this possible. Mass Audubon raised another $11,000 as well. Together, we have already been able to contribute a survey of the property and a first rate Environmental Baseline description of the property, including important flora and fauna there.

This is exciting because of the potential for developing a wonderful trail system for hikers, and even for a handicapped accessible trail. It also preserves Attleboro’s largest intact range of wild land so important to many species of animals for their survival. A tributary of the Thacher Brook winds through the property on its way to join the Ten Mile River, and then Narragansett Bay. There is a small but beautiful pond on the property as well as several large specimen white oak trees. While there’s much work yet to be done, this will be an environmental jewel for generations in the Attleboros.

We congratulate Mayor Kevin Dumas and head of Planning and Conservation Gary Ayrassian on their foresight and hard work in making this a reality and putting that finishing piece in a wonderful puzzle.

Mobile Users:

Trail maps for our properties available here.

Recent Events

Fall Clean-up

Thanks to everyone who turned out on October 24 to help pick up trash and clear trails on our properties, including the Colman Reservation, the Vaughan Memorial Forest, Larson Woodland, and the Milton E. Veno Nature Preserve.

2015 Annual Meeting

Our anniversary cake

On Tuesday, October 20, over 60 people attended our annual meeting to celebrate 25 years of land preservation in Attleboro. In the business portion of the meeting, three directors were re-elected to 3-year terms on the board: Ted Leach, Don Ouellette, and Larry St. Pierre.  Newly elected and welcomed to the board was attorney Patrick Sullivan. 

President Ted Leach described some of the highlights of the past year, including the renovation of the Attleboro Community Garden and the partnership with the City of Attleboro and Mass Audubon to preserve 80 acres on Handy Street linking the Attleboro Springs preserve with undeveloped City land.

Mayor Kevin Dumas greeted the audience, spoke about the many ways in which the City and the Land Trust have partnered on conservation projects, and read a proclamation in recognition of our 25-year anniversary.

Charlie Adler gave an illustrated history of our first 25 years. Then Ted Leach announced the launching of the fundraising campaign to acquire the Richardson land on Wilmarth and Smith Streets.

Treasurer Roy Belcher honored three current directors for their continuing service to the Land Trust since its founding: Larry St. Pierre, Ted Leach, and Charlie Adler. Roy then announced that a trail will be named for each and he unveiled signs to be placed at each trail.

The evening concluded with anniversary cake and champagne.

A Hero’s Quest: Geocaching with the Attleboro Land Trust
  On Saturday, October 3rd, 21 hearty souls braved the 44 drizzly degrees to learn the secret behind the Wizard of Earthsea's power in an event sponsored by the Attleboro Land Trust and Attleboro Public Library. This Big Read event held in the Nickerson Walking Woods Preserve involved geocaching along the beautiful trails on site. Many of the participants had never visited any of the land trust sites and were surprised that such an oasis was to be found in our city! Watch for another co-sponsored geocaching event coming in the spring!

2015 Corporate and Foundation Sponsors

Attleboro Arts Museum

Lewis & Sullivan, P.C.

Casey Law Offices

Gilmore Insurance Agency

Plymouth Rock Foundation

Briggs Garden & Home Center

Checon Corporation

Leach & Garner

Precision Engineered Products, Inc.

Colonel Blackington Inn

Rotary Club of Attleboro

Reeves Company

Case Materials

Case Snow Management

Art/Set, LLC

Morin’s Diner

U.S. Solar Works

Local Links

Check out these links for more local green events and activities...

Attleboro Area Community Garden

Oak Knoll Wildlife Sanctuary

Attleboro Springs Wildlife Sanctuary



 © Attleboro Land Trust, Inc.  All Rights Reserved. Page last edited 11 December 2015  
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