We are saddened to share the news of the passing of HCT’s first Executive Director, Marylynn Gentry (read obituary). Marylynn was a leader, a passionate naturalist, and a committed champion of land conservation in Harvard and beyond. She will be greatly missed and the example she set will continue to inspire our work for years to come.
The Harvard Conservation Trust (HCT) manages over 325 acres of land in the Town of Harvard. As stewards of this land, we have a responsibility to take a holistic and long-term view in caring for our natural heritage. While passive land management has often been the default approach, it is not always sufficient or responsible. Managing land well is an adaptive endeavor that requires careful consideration of complex and dynamic natural systems. For this reason, we endorse maintaining all of the options and tools available, for the long-term. At the October meeting of HCT’s Stewardship Committee, a recommendation was made to oppose the Citizen’s Petition to ban hunting on Town Conservation land in Harvard as it removes a potentially important management tool from the Conservation Commission’s land management tool box. The Board of Trustees voted on October 16th to support a recommendation to oppose Article 18 at the October 28th Special Town Meeting. While the Citizen’s Petition to ban hunting on Town conservation land does not apply to HCT’s land, natural systems function across property boundaries, and limiting the Conservation Commission’s options for managing Town land could result in negative consequences for HCT conservation lands by extension.
The Harvard Conservation Trust (HCT) was glad to have representation on the Town Conservation Commission’s Deer Management Subcommittee (DMS). We are a non-profit organization with a charitable mission to preserve the rural character and natural resources of Harvard. It is in HCT’s interest to keep abreast of important ecological and land management issues in the Town and region. Deer are a common species in our landscape and trying to better understand their potential impacts on forest ecology as well as other social and environmental issues is prudent.
The DMS included one HCT Trustee as a representative on the committee. Two other members of the committee are currently HCT Trustees, but they were not representing HCT on the DMS and their membership on this municipal committee pre-dated their election to HCT’s Board. The recommendation of the DMS (a subcommittee of Town government) does not reflect any position or policy of HCT (an independent non-profit organization). We will continue to keep abreast of this and other conservation-land stewardship matters taken up by the Town. Currently, there is no change in HCT’s hunting policy, which remains, hunting is prohibited on HCT lands.
We wish to thank our board members, and all those who generously volunteer their time on civic boards and committees in Harvard.
Thursday, November 1st, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m., at the Harvard Historical Society (PLEASE NOTE THE LOCATION OF THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CHANGED TO THE HARVARD HISTORICAL SOCIETY, 215 STILL RIVER ROAD)
Celebrity chef and raconteur Paul Correnty, author of The Art of Cider Making and founder of the largest hard cider festival in North America will be the guest speaker at the Harvard Conservation Trust’s annual meeting on November 1, 2018. In his talk, Chef Paul will examine the history, the science, and the pleasures of hard cider, a beverage with deep roots in New England’s heritage. Along with enthusiasm, Chef Paul will bring an assortment of hard ciders for the audience to taste. The meeting will be held at the Harvard Historical Society on Still River Road. From 7 -7:30 pm, HCT business portion of the annual meeting with election of new trustees and at 7:30 pm Mr. Correnty will take the floor.
Saturday, October 20th at 1:00 pm (Burgess-Brown Farm at the end of Murray Lane, Harvard)
Experience the peace and tranquility of Harvard’s woodlands in a new way. Certified guide Pam Frederick leads this one hour introduction to Forest Bathing or “Shinrin Yoku.” The walk includes slow, mindful walking which helps us become present to the wonders of the natural world. Contact Pam Frederick for more information and to register. firstname.lastname@example.org or 978-460-0781 or 978-456-3312.
Please join us for the 9th annual Run for the Hills 5K trail race! Sunday October 21st; registration opens at 9:00 a.m. with 10:00 start.
New Location! Run starts and ends at Community Harvest Project orchard (115 Prospect Hill Rd) and traverses the scenic and challenging Prospect Hill Conservation area. As a less strenuous alternative, participants can register for a 2K “Orchard Walk” featuring some of the best views in Harvard.
Easy online registration at: https://www.lightboxreg.com/2018-run-for-the-hills-5k_2018. 5K registration fee is $30, with special rates for HCT members and early bird registration before 9/8, and youth ($20), orchard walk only ($20), and families ($60). Free T-shirt to all runners and walkers registered by Friday October 5th.
All proceeds from the 5K trail race and orchard benefit the Harvard Conservation Trust!
Saturday, September 29th, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. at Horse Meadows on Sherry Road in Harvard.
Come celebrate and explore the opening of Harvard’s newest conservation area. Staff and Board members of the Harvard Conservation Trust and Sudbury Valley Trustees will be on hand to share the story behind their partnership to protect this ecological gem, as well as provide guided walks of the land with its rocky outcrops, varied terrain and natural communities, and active wildlife.
Pre-registration is requested but not required at: https://www.svtweb.org/calendar/grand-opening-horse-meadows-knoll-trails
Monday, Sept. 24, at 7 p.m. in Volunteers Hall, the Garden Club of Harvard and the Harvard Conservation Trust will co-host author and landscape designer Kathryn Aalto. Aalto will discuss her book, “The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh,” exploring the real landscapes of Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood and the influence of landscape in shaping the classic tales of Winnie the Pooh. Aalto was related to the late Erhart Muller, a long-time Shaker Road resident and Harvard Conservation Trust co-founder. The presentation is free and open to the public; donations to HCT’s Muller Conservation Collaborative are encouraged; copies of The Natural World of Winnie the Pooh available for purchase.
Guided Mushroom Walk
Saturday Sept 22, 2018 10:30
Amateur mycologists Al Ferry, George Davis and Joan Finger are leading the walk. This time of year can be ideal for the growth of mushrooms, and the recent damp weather may help push them into view. This (mostly!) annual event is always a fun and interesting walk. Join a group of enthusiasts who head into the woods to discover, identify and learn about the mushrooms and fungi found in our woodlands.
We will gather in the driveway of 56 Stow Road in Harvard. This event is open to all (no dogs, please), and will take place (light) rain or shine. Severe weather cancels. If in doubt call Abbe Alpert 508-479-3182
HCT has been working behind the scenes for the past two years on a project that would permanently protect a significant 10-acre parcel of land on Slough Road, known as John‘s Field. This project is an outstanding conservation opportunity, and here’s why:
- Connectivity! Protecting land that links to other conserved land is critical for both wildlife habitat and outdoor recreation. John’s Field is our best chance to create a greenway from Town center to the network of conservation lands around Great Elms.
- Farmland and local food! John’s Field contains “prime” farmland soils and is cultivated by a local farmer. Protecting land with prime agricultural soils is a goal of the Massachusetts’ Local Food Action Plan, and supports Harvard’s agricultural economy.
- Iconic landscape! John’s Field is about a mile from Town center at the highpoint of Slough Road. All those who drive, bike, or walk this stretch of Slough Road experience its scenic beauty and openness. It is places like this that define Harvard and the Nashoba region.
The cost of the John’s Field project is $350,000. Thanks to funds available from HCT’s Muller Conservation Collaborative we needed to raise only half this amount; and thanks to several generous donations from neighbors, friends, and a Fields Pond Foundation grant we currently have $38,000 left to raise, and a September 21st deadline! Please help us successfully complete this project by making your contribution today. Give online through the Donation Page on this website, or by mailing a check to: Harvard Conservation Trust | P.O. Box 31 | Harvard, MA 01451. Please write “Muller Conservation Collaborative” on your check or online gift so we can match your donation dollar-for-dollar.