Make Arbor Day Last All Year Long!

Please note there will be a 1 hour delay in the start of this event. 

The Attleboro Land Trust is excited to once again distribute free trees in honor of Arbor Day. Our goal is to empower individuals to contribute to a healthier environment for generations to come.

The trees will be distributed, while supplies last, at the Attleboro Land Trust table at the Spring Fling, which is being held at Balfour Riverwalk Park in downtown Attleboro on Saturday, April 20.  Originally scheduled to run from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm, it will now start at 12:00 noon and end at 3:00 pm.

Both trees selected this year are native species that contribute significantly to our local wildlife habitat. When these trees flower in the spring, they attract pollinating insects, birds, and even bats.  By planting one of these beautiful trees in your yard, you will be supporting the survival of its pollinators, many of which are facing the peril of habitat loss.

Downy Serviceberry (photo credit: Arbor Day Foundation)

The Downy Serviceberry is a fine naturalizing species that is very adaptive to our local soils–on the edges of woodlands, the moist low areas, and the rocky slopes that are found in our area. The tree bears flowers in white drooping clusters at the beginning of spring in late April. Late summer finds small maroon fruit that birds are particularly fond of.  The tree’s fall color is pleasing though it does not last a long time. Arbor Day.org Downy Serviceberry Care Instructions

White/Bur Oak (photo credit: Arbor Day Foundation)

The White Oak/Bur Oak is a stalwart in woodlands as it supports many forms of life, from the soil to the top of the tree, including over 520 different pollinators.  Beginning in May, the flowers attract both nocturnal and diurnal insects, bats, butterflies, and birds, all of which help to produce acorns that are key to the survival of a number of birds and mammals.  Arbor Day.org White/Bur Oak Care Instructions

A huge thank you to the Arbor Day Foundation for providing affordable trees for our Arbor Day handout!

See their bare root planting instructions here:  https://www.arborday.org/trees/planting/bare-root.cfm 

Full Moon Hike

Join us on Thursday January 25th for a full moon hike at the Deborah and Roger Richardson Nature Preserve. Beginning at 8 pm, ALT board members will lead a moonlit walk through the preserve. Dress warmly, including shoes that are waterproof, and bring a flashlight or headlamp. Walk is a little less than a mile! Short and sweet, but a great opportunity to see the full moon and its beauty!

Meet at parking lot at 577B Wilmarth Street.

Any cancellations due to weather conditions or overcast skies will be posted on our Facebook page.

Dogs not permitted at this event.

ALT Members Celebrate Achievements at Annual Meeting

On November 16, 2023, we held our Annual Meeting. The event was a great success, with a fantastic turnout and a lot of positive feedback from attendees. The event featured a keynote speaker, updates on land acquisition, financials, and election of directors new to the board or continuing for another three-year term.

The event started with a warm welcome from our president Jay Burby. Our keynote speaker, Eva Vaughan, an environmental analyst for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, then took the stage and delivered an engaging talk on backyard green infrastructure.  Eva explained how simple landscaping modifications can turn a backyard or home garden into a rain garden, thus helping to control and purify stormwater runoff.  A few native plantings can then attract pollinating insects, helping to preserve biodiversity.

After Eva’s talk, ALT President Jay Burby reviewed highlights from 2023, including the most recent donation of land from the Charron family, that put us above 500 acres owned by the ALT with an additional 236 acres protected for a total of 740 acres. The 12-acre Charron Farm Preserve will continue to be used for the production of hay, but will also be used to complete a trail that will connect to the adjacent Shaw-Denham Memorial Forest.  The trail will open to the public once completed.

Ted Leach nominates new and returning board members while President Jay Burby looks on.    Image credit: Erin Connell

Veteran board member Ted Leach nominated members Brian Hatch, Roy Belcher, Paula Murphy, and Dawn Bender, whose terms expire in 2023, to serve for another 3-year term.  Tarah Kinniburgh was nominated to her first term.  Members present voted unanimously to elect all the nominees.

Juliet Teixeira, who is stepping down as ALT Vice President and Community Garden Lead, was thanked for her service and dedication to the work of the land trust, and the community garden, over the past ten years.

The ALT hopes to give renewed emphasis to education and outreach in 2024.  Erin Connell, who joined the board last year, has agreed to chair the Education and Outreach Committee.  Membership in this committee is open to any ALT member.  You don’t have to be on the board.  The same is true for most of the ALT standing committees.

Overall, the ALT Annual Meeting was a great success, and we are grateful to everyone who attended and made it such a memorable event. Thank you for your continued support of the Attleboro Land Trust!

Many Hands Make Light Work at Fall Clean-Up

Every year the edges of Larson Woodland are piled high with the leaves dropped from the trees along Riverbank Road and Watson Avenue.  It takes a lot of effort to rake them up and move them away from the old stone curb, so that pedestrians can walk along the edge of the woodland.

On Saturday, Nov. 25, we had an outstanding crew of site stewards and other volunteers helping with this effort, including seven members of the Ezekiel Bates Lodge of Attleboro.  The Lodge has been partnering with the Attleboro Land Trust as a site steward of Larson Woodland since 2014.

Charron Family Land to be Preserved

Attorney George Spatcher, Attorney and ALT Board Member Patrick Sullivan, Land Donor Ted Charron, ALT President Jay Burby, and ALT Board Member Charlie Adler, at the closing for the donation of the Charron Farm Preserve.

The Attleboro Land Trust has received a gift of 12 acres of land on Morse Avenue in Attleboro.  The land was donated by Morse Avenue resident Ted Charron and other members of the Charron family.  It was farmed by Ted’s parents and grandparents, and it is still used for the production of hay.

The donated land will be permanently conserved as the Charron Farm Preserve.  The land trust plans to complete a trail beginning at Morse Avenue, crossing some wetlands, going around the hayfields, and connecting to an adjacent preserve, the 28-acre Shaw-Denham Memorial Forest.  The Charron Farm Preserve will not be open to the public until this trail is finished, which may take a year, as boardwalks will be required.  Completion of the new trail will also mean that the Shaw-Denham Memorial Forest will for the first time be open to the public, as it has been landlocked from the time it was donated to the land trust by the Denham family in 2013 until now.

Ted Charron, an artist, has had a long association with the Attleboro Land Trust, having served on its board from 1997 to 1999, edited its newsletter, and designed its logo.  Ted knows every inch of the donated land and has observed how it serves as habitat for a variety of wild animals.  Guaranteeing that the land will be forever protected has long been his goal.

This acquisition brings the total number of acres owned by the Attleboro Land Trust to 504.  Conservation restrictions are held on an additional 236 acres.

Pileated Woodpecker

This photo was taken at the Vaughan Memorial Forest on April 21, 2023, by ALT board member and devoted birder Bob McKetchnie.

For much more about this amazing bird, check out this YouTube video:

Only “YOU” Can Prevent Forest Fires

Last week brush fires occurred at Larson Woodland and at the Colman Reservation.  We thank the Attleboro Fire Department, as well as the City’s Department of Public Works and the Department of Parks and Forestry for helping to put out these fires.

Signs like the one shown above have been posted at all the entrances to Attleboro Land Trust nature preserves.  Although there has been some rain since last week’s dry spell, we expect that the fire risk is going to continue for some time, and we ask everyone to follow our request to refrain from smoking and other activities that may cause fires to start in fields, forests, and other open spaces.

A New Partnership in Plainville

The Attleboro Land Trust has partnered with Wildlands Trust, a regional land trust based in Plymouth, Massachusetts, to ensure the continued preservation of land that has been under the stewardship of Crystal Spring, a spiritually-oriented ecology center in Plainville, since 1991.  Until recently, Crystal Spring was a vital center for learning and practicing ecological pursuits such as organic gardening.  Sadly, the center is now closed and a 6-acre portion of the land containing residential buildings and meeting spaces has been sold.

While Crystal Spring has closed its doors, the vision of the Dominican Sisters who founded the center was that most of the land would remain in its natural state as forested upland, and they made sure that the necessary protections would be in place before they left.  In 2008 Wildlands Trust agreed to play a role in this plan by holding a legally-enforceable conservation restriction on the vacant portion of the property.  Last year, Wildlands Trust transferred the responsibility for that conservation restriction, which protects 36 acres, to the Attleboro Land Trust.  Soon, the Dominican Sisters will convey ownership of the 36 acres to Wildlands Trust.

Once that final step is completed, Wildlands Trust will assume an expanded role as as owner and manager of the property and its hiking trails, which will be open to the public.  The ALT will carry the ongoing responsibility for monitoring the condition of the property on an annual basis, and making sure that the terms of the conservation restriction are observed.

The completion of this agreement with Wildlands Trust brings the total area of conservation land protected by the Attleboro Land Trust up to 728 acres.

Grant Announcement

ExtremeTerrain.com recently awarded a grant to the Attleboro Land Trust in the amount of $250.  We thank ExtremeTerrain for its support of our trail work.

This Clean Trail Grant will help to fund expenses for an upcoming trail project.  Stay tuned for more details as this project moves forward.