New Year’s Day 2021 Poetry Walk

This year our traditional HCT New Year’s Day Walk will be modified in keeping with best practices for safety during the pandemic. We are hosting a Poetry Walk on the Burgess-Brown land, and participants are advised to walk alone or in small groups that maintain appropriate social distance.  A favorite HCT trail traverses this landscape and scattered along the path you will discover, among the trees, poems about winter and new beginnings. We hope that the self guided and reflective nature of this activity helps us all to confidently step into a bright and hopeful new year, when we can breathe a little easier and look forward to positive changes.

To access this wonderful piece of property for your first steps into the New Year, park at the turnaround at the end of Murray Lane. The poetry walk will be well marked. Happy New Year!

CARES ACT Changes to Charitable Giving

HCT Members & Friends:

The COVID 19 Stimulus Package, also known as the CARES Act contained language that impacts the way your charitable contributions to the organizations you care about are rewarded by the IRS.

To highlight a few of these changes:

The adjusted gross income (AGI) limit for cash donations was increased for individuals. In 2020, cash contributions may be deducted up to 100 percent of your AGI (increased from 60 percent).

If you’re between 59½ years old and 70½ years old, benefits similar to a QCD (Qualified Charitable Distribution) are now available; you can take a cash distribution from your IRA, contribute the cash to charity, and this may completely offset tax attributable to the distribution by taking a charitable deduction in an amount up to 100 percent of their AGI for the tax year.

If you are over 70.5 years, you might also consider the tax benefit of making a donation directly from an IRA or 401(k) account. The IRS allows these direct donations to be tax-free withdrawals from the account. In addition, you can take a deduction up to $300 (if you do not itemize) and up to $100,000 (if you itemize) subject to certain income limits. By using the retirement assets, one gets a double benefit, avoidance of ordinary income tax on the withdrawal, and a tax deduction up to the applicable limits. If it’s not retirement assets, you are donating with post-tax earned dollars.

(Please note this information is not intended as legal or tax advice. Please consult your legal or tax advisor for application to your own situation.)

For further information, please see:

https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/how-the-cares-act-changes-deducting-charitable-contributions

https://www.fidelitycharitable.org/articles/what-the-cares-act-means-for-charitable-giving.html

https://wish.org/stimulus

Photo by Lina Trochez on Unsplash

Review: 2020 Annual Meeting

For those who may have missed it, the 2020 Annual Meeting was one of the best attended anyone can remember. Nearly 70 individuals joined our Zoom meeting, and all learned something new about how mycorrhizal relationships work, how trees share, and how fungal species establish relationships with plants while avoiding other fungus. We also learned how all of the preceding three statements are all referencing the same wood-wide web! Dr. Susan Goldhor, of the Boston Mycological Club has left us all with a better understanding and appreciation of the many ecological processes taking place right under our feet that we cannot see. Dr. Goldhor recommended two books for those who are interested in learning more: The Hidden Forest and Mycorrhizal Planet. For younger audiences, our Executive Director Brian Colleran also recommends the Trees installment of the Science Comics series. In the meantime however, please enjoy a favorite Ted Talk of Dr. Goldhor’s, or Dr. Goldgor herself in the videos below.

Thank you for making the 2020 Annual Meeting a success!

Annual Meeting

The Harvard Conservation Trust’s Annual Meeting will be held on Wednesday, November 18th at 7:00 pm, and we invite you to join us. Our invited speaker this year is President of the Boston Mycological Club, Susan Goldhor. She will speak to us about fungi, conservation, and the ways in which they are related. Ms. Goldhor will begin speaking at about 7:30 pm, following the completion of the required Trust business.

This year’s highlights will include a review of a very busy year in land protection with a video tour of some recent successes, the introduction of HCT’s new Executive Director, Brian Colleran, and a significant change in Board composition. Matt Cronin, David Burney, Shannon Kelley, Lynn Thronton have all agreed to take part in Harvard’s Land Conservation Tradition. We sincerely thank Chris Candon, Tom Cotton, Trish Hurter, & Marc Sevigny who have completed this phase of their contributions to Harvard’s Lands, and we look forward to having them as valuable members of the Trust Community for many years to come.

If you would like to attend this year’s meeting, please register using this link. Once registered, we will send you an agenda for the evening closer to the 18th.