Massachusetts Land Conservation Conference

Thanks for another great Conference!

It was great to see nearly 400 colleagues in Worcester on March 25 at our first live conference since 2019. Sessions were well-attended, friends caught up, newcomers were welcomed, and we all came away with new insights and information. Huge thanks to all our sponsors, exhibitors, speakers and volunteers for making it all possible!  

Schedule (PDF)   |   Descriptions (PDF)   |   Exhibitors (PDF)   |   Land Conservation Terms & Acronyms (PDF) 

To view session descriptions, scroll below and click on the green bar of the talk you'd like to view. Pre-conference sponsor talks held via Zoom were recorded, with links to the recordings under each session. In-person sessions on March 25th were not recorded. If presenters made them available to us, presentations and handouts are posted as links under each of the sessions. 

There is still a limited number of spaces available for field trips, to be held around the state on Friday, April 28. Jump to field trips & registration links. Forester credits will be available. Jump to field trips to download the form.

Jump to:   
March 25, 8:45 a.m.  |  March 25, 10:30 - Keynote Panel  |  March 25, 12:45 p.m.  |  March 25, 2:30 p.m.  |  Friday, April 28 - Outdoor Field Trips, various times

Sponsor Talks
Various Dates and Times

Talks will be via Zoom. Registration is required via the registration link above.

Tuesday, March 14  |  2:00 - 3:00 p.m.   |   Wildlands Trust  |  Wildlands Trust's New Stewardship Training Center

Karen Grey, Executive Director, Wildlands Trust
Buzz Constable, Project Advisor

Zoom recording

Wildlands Trust recently purchased the last remaining private inholding within Plymouth's Halfway Pond Preserve, one of the Trust's most expansive and important conservation areas (550 acres). This purchase included a 12k square foot building, the former estate of cranberry baron LBR Barker, where Wildlands plans to host a training center to foster the development of volunteer land stewards and to promote continuing education of professional staff involved in land protection. Learn from project advisor Buzz Constable and Wildlands president Karen Grey about how this initiative seeks to grow stewardship capacity for land trusts and municipalities.

Wednesday, March 15  |  2:00 - 3:00 p.m.  |  The Nature Conservancy (TNC)  |  Family Forest Carbon Program

Laura Marx, Climate Solutions Scientist, TNC

Zoom recording

In 2022, the American Forest Foundation and The Nature Conservancy expanded the Family Forest Carbon Program into western and central Massachusetts (as well as Vermont and 4 counties in eastern New York). This program provides landowners who are interested in managing their forests – when carbon is one of their top values – with management plans, technical assistance, and annual payments if they commit to either delaying harvest, or doing climate-smart forest harvests, for 20 years. Laura will walk through the program and explain how landowners, land trusts, and foresters can be involved. There will be plenty of time for questions, including about landowner eligibility and how this program is different from other carbon market programs.

Sponsored by:
New England Forestry Foundation

Tuesday, March 21  |  4:00 - 5:00 p.m.  |  Mass Audubon  |  Help Design Mass Audubon’s Conservation Assist Program

An open discussion and conversation with David Santomenna, Sr. Director of Land Conservation and Nick Rossi, Land Protection Specialist

Zoom recording

Wednesday, March 22  |  4:00 - 5:00 p.m.  |  The Trustees  |  50 Years of CRs - Lessons Learned

Sally Naser, Conservation Restriction Stewardship Director, The Trustees
Olivia Lukacic, Land Conservation Specialist, The Trustees

Zoom recording (partial)

Recording a Conservation Restriction (CR) marks only the beginning of a lifelong commitment. Join The Trustees CR Program Director Sally Naser and Land Conservation Specialist Olivia Lukacic to learn useful tips and tricks for baseline documentation reports, monitoring, enforcement, and maintaining landowner relationships. Using a case study approach, Trustees will draw upon its 50 years of CRs. Whether your land trust has one CR or 100, whether you are all-volunteer or have a staff, this workshop is for you. Ample time will be available at the end for questions and discussion.

Saturday, March 25
8:45 - 10:10 a.m.           
Concurrent Sessions

Community Conservation and Housing: Creating the Future You Want  |  Conference Room 171

Bob Wilber, Director of Conservation Services, Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Kathy Sferra, Conservation Director, Town of Stow
Janet Milkman, Executive Director, Barnstable Land Trust

Presentation (PDF)

This workshop will describe and share lessons learned from three projects with varying conservation and housing components, interwoven. One involves addressing a longstanding conservation priority by including a relatively modest affordable housing component. The second is a work in progress in a densely settled part of Cape Cod, where competition for land between housing and conservation interests is particularly acute. The third is a story of a very large property where conservation and housing interests came together to work collaboratively to their considerable mutual benefit – perhaps creating some new models in the process. Three different stories, with different issues, outcomes and takeaways. Three co-presenters will strive to highlight challenges and lessons learned to help other conservation practitioners consider some of the complexities, and opportunities, involved with conservation / housing mixed-use outcomes.

Sponsored by:

From Start to Finish - Everything You Need to Know About Land Conservation Transactions  |  Room 165

Reggie Hall, Conservation Finance Director, LegacyWorks Group 

Presentation (PDF)

This introductory overview will explore real estate transactions from the initial conversation with a landowner to the party celebrating the completion of the project. Emphasis will be on exploring best practices in the field while connecting the steps of sound real estate transactions as highlighted by LTA's Standards & Practices.

Sponsored by:
Franklin Land Trust

BioMap: The Future of Conservation in Massachusetts  |  Room 166

Andy Finton, Conservation Ecologist, The Nature Conservancy
Eve Schlüter, Assistant Director, Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program, Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife

The new BioMap builds on BioMap2 with several innovations. Statewide habitat data are now complemented by the addition of local biodiversity components to better support municipal planning and funding. BioMap also incorporates the latest climate resilient habitat and rare species data, as well as resources to support habitat restoration and management efforts. Our session will provide an overview of the new BioMap and its innovations, a live tour through BioMap's online resources and interactive map, and participant input on which resources will serve them best in applying the new BioMap.

Sponsored by:

Invasive Plant Control & Native Habitat Restoration  |  Conference Room 172

Laura Mattei, Director of Land Stewardship, Sudbury Valley Trustees
Joan Deely, Project Manager, Land Stewardship, Inc.

Three case studies will be presented to cover a variety of mechanical and chemical techniques. Case Study One will highlight multiple mechanical control techniques that are being monitored for long-term success. Case Study Two is an intensive field restoration project with successful establishment of native grasses and wildflowers. Case Study Three is a floodplain forest restoration project, converting agricultural land. This last case study will focus on the measures necessary to protect new native plantings from wildlife damage.

Sponsored by:
Land Stewardship, Inc.
Nantucket Conservation Foundation

Restoring Old-Growth Forest Characteristics  |  Room 167

Paul Catanzaro, Professor, Forest Ecology and Conservation program, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Tom Lautzenheiser, Senior Conservation Ecologist, Central/West, Mass Audubon

Old-growth forests were once the predominant natural condition before European settlement. Though new old-growth forests cannot be created, there is an opportunity through both passive and active management to restore old-growth characteristics in our current forests. There is renewed focus on restoring these characteristics given their compatibility with objectives such as biodiversity conservation, forest carbon, and resilience to climate change. This session will focus on the new publication Restoring Old-Growth Characteristics to New England's and New York's Forests, and offer a case study from Mass Audubon's Elm Hill Sanctuary to demonstrate the ways in which these strategies can be implemented.

Sponsored by:

Increasing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Massachusetts' Land and Water Conservation Fund  |  Room 169

Melissa Cryan, Grant Programs Supervisor, Division of Conservation and Stateside Coordinator, Land and Water Conservation Fund
Kristen Sykes, Director of S. New England Conservation Projects and Partnerships, Appalachian Mountain Club
Markelle Smith, Director, Friends of Conte and Conservation Partnerships Director, Mass Audubon

Presentation (PDF)

With the passage of the Great American Outdoors Act in 2020 ensuring that $900 million annually is disbursed nationally through the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the Commonwealth and its partners, AMC, TNC, and Mass Audubon created an outreach program to help take advantage of this increase of funds. These organizations hosted several listening sessions and workshops to hear from a diverse group of stakeholders on how the funds could be used to equitably serve diverse audiences, including Environmental Justice (EJ) communities. This session will present lessons learned on how we can promote inclusion of, and encourage participation by, DEI populations in the grant process. We will also discuss ways land trusts can effectively partner with EJ communities to encourage LWCF-funded projects.

Sponsored by:

Lessons Learned through Partnership Projects with Indigenous Communities  |  Room 164

Colin Novick, Executive Director, Greater Worcester Land Trust, Inc.
Cynthia Henshaw, Executive Director, East Quabbin Land Trust
Diana Ruiz, Executive Director, Native Land Conservancy, Inc.

This workshop begins with a story of a partnership between the College of the Holy Cross, the Quinsigamond Band of Nipmuc, and the Greater Worcester Land Trust, who created a 40 minute documentary on the forgotten history of a Nipmuc village site, and then became the catalyst for that the site's conservation. East Quabbin will bring their experiences and perspectives on engaging indigenous communities in land conservation projects, as well as their part in the Nipmuc village project. The Native Land Conservancy will speak to its work building bridges between Indigenous communities and conservation groups, and will share some specific examples of land conservation work they have recently engaged in.

Sponsored by:
Nantucket Conservation Foundation
Sheriff's Meadow Foundation
UMass Forest Conservation Program

Your Land Trust, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and Universal Access  |  Room 109

Ray Lyons, Conservation Attorney

Though the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law in 1990, its applicability to natural areas and the concept of Universal Design are not universally understood in the land trust community. This session gives an overview of how the ADA applies to nature preserves and conservation easement properties.

Sponsored by:
Sheriff's Meadow Foundation

Saturday, March 25
10:30 - 11:45 a.m.     
Welcome and Keynote Panel

Conference welcome from MLTC Executive Director Robb Johnson and President Cynthia Henshaw.

Keynote Topic: Affordable Housing and Land Conservation – Not an Either/Or  |  Auditorium  

Massachusetts is widely regarded as facing a crisis in home affordability. Given that land is a limited commodity, land conservation interests and housing interests are sometimes perceived to be in competition. Why might it be important for conservation organizations to demonstrate responsiveness to housing concerns? What are some meaningful ways for land conservation organizations to engage? Given their conservation missions, how far should they go in working on housing? For their part, how might housing advocates foster more collaboration with conservation interests?

Sheila Dillon's presentation: Housing and Land Conservation in Boston (PDF)

Building Collaboration among Community Land Trusts Providing Affordable Housing and Conservation Land Trusts Protecting Land for Ecological Value | Lincoln Institute of Land Policy

Hudson Valley Affordable Housing & Conservation Strategy (PDF)

Steven Rosenberg – Co-facilitator, Hudson Valley Affordable Housing & Conservation Strategy; former Executive Director of Scenic Hudson.
Sheila Dillon – Chief of Housing and Director of the Department of Neighborhood Development, City of Boston
Jim Levitt – Director, International Land Conservation Network (ILCN) at the Lincoln Institute [Moderator]

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A huge thanks to our generous conference sponsors!





Berkshire Natural Resources Council
Buzzards Bay Coalition
The Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts
The Conservation Fund
Essex County Greenbelt Association
Franklin Land Trust
Kestrel Land Trust
Land Stewardship Inc.
Land Trust Alliance
Nantucket Conservation Foundation
USDA Natural Resources and Conservation Service
New England Forestry Foundation
Sheriff's Meadow Foundation
Sudbury Valley Trustees
Tighe & Bond
UMass Forest Conservation Program

Community Preservation Coalition at The Trust for Public Land
Durand & Anastas Environmental Strategies
Horsley Witten Group
Landscape Land Conservation Software
Law Office of Stephen J. Small
Maltby and Company
Securing Northeast Forest Carbon Program
SWCA Environmental Consultants
The Trust for Public Land

Saturday, March 25
11:45 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.   
Lunch / Networking / Exhibits Open / New Faces & Development Staff Tables

Saturday, March 25
12:45 - 2:10 p.m.             Concurrent Sessions

Updates & Innovations in Whole Farm Protection Tools  |  Room 109

Jamie Pottern, New England Program Manager, American Farmland Trust
David Viale, Agricultural Lands Programs Supervisor, Division of Agricultural Conservation and Technical Assistance, Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources
Chris LaPointe, Vice President, Conservation Operations, Essex County Greenbelt

This workshop will provide context to the affordability and housing tools used by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resource's Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) program, as well as share newer innovations being employed by land trusts. Tools such as the Private APR, Option to Purchase at Agricultural Value (OPAV), and long-term ground lease models will be explored, and case studies by American Farmland Trust and Essex County Greenbelt will be shared. Recent state policy changes and efforts to increase the range of farms eligible for the APR program and the federal Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) will be discussed.

Research, Data, and other Resources:

Farms Under Threat: The State of the States Agricultural
Land Conversion Highlight Summary for Massachusetts

Farms Under Threat: 2040 Future Scenarios: Choosing an Abundant Future
mapped three scenarios of development in Massachusetts between 2016 and 2040

The Farmland Information Center (FIC)
A clearinghouse for information about farmland protection that serves people working to save farmland and ranch land for agriculture.

Sponsored by:
Essex Country Greenbelt

Win-Win at Assabet River Bluff: Land Conservation and Affordable Housing Working Together  |  Room 110

Polly Reeve, Development Director, Mass Audubon
Delia Kaye, Natural Resources Director, Town of Concord
Christa Collins, Land Protection Strategic Advisor/Consultant (until recently Director of Land Protection, Sudbury Valley Trustees)
Rich Feeley, President, Concord Housing Foundation

When the Assabet River Bluff, a lovely seven-acre riverfront woodland just a short walk along the rail trail from the heart of West Concord, was put on the market for $2.8 million in 2021, neither local land conservationists nor affordable housing proponents thought it would be feasible to preserve the land for community benefit, despite its outstanding qualities. But by joining forces, they managed to accomplish just this: today, thanks to remarkable public and private support from the community, and to a significant grant from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, six of the seven acres are preserved forever as natural land, and one acre has been purchased for affordable housing. Representatives from the local Concord Land Conservation Trust and the regional Sudbury Valley Trustees, the Town of Concord's Natural Resources Division, and the Concord Housing Foundation will discuss how this was accomplished.

Sponsored by:

ABCs of Conservation Restriction Stewardship  |  Room 164

Jen Plowden, New England Program Manager, Land Trust Alliance
Linda Vanderveer, Land Manager, Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust

Presentation (PDF)

Are you new to stewarding conservation restrictions? What does it mean to have a program of responsible stewardship? In this introductory session, Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust and the Land Trust Alliance team up to walk you through the best practices of how to steward your conservation restrictions (CRs), from funding through baseline documentation reports, monitoring, enforcement, and more. This session will cover frequently asked questions related to stewardship funding, baseline documentation reports, organizing stewardship files, and landowner relationships.

Sponsored by:

The Conservation Fund
Franklin Land Trust
Land Stewardship, Inc.

The Relationship of Property Tax and Land Conservation  |  Room 166

Mark Robinson, Executive Director, The Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts
Ray Lyons, Conservation Attorney

Property Tax and Land Conservation in Massachusetts (PDF)
DOR Property Tax Form 1b-3-1 (PDF)
DOR Property Tax Form 3abc-2 (PDF)
GL c.59 sec 5 (PDF)
MGL  c  61A affidavit (PDF)
MGL  c  61B affidavit (PDF)
Municipal Tax Year 4 payments (PDF)

While state and federal tax benefits drive many conservation transactions, local property tax implications bear a good deal of influence too. We will help land trusts and landowners understand how land is assessed in MA and how land conservation strategies can affect valuations. We will also explain the timing and required process for property tax exemption of land trust fee simple holdings. Finally, we will underscore the 2014 landmark case of NEFF v. Town of Hawley in guaranteeing the how and why of property tax exemption.

Sponsored by:

Getting Your Project Funded: Tapping Public and Private Funding Sources for Land Acquisition  |  Conference Room 171

Rachel Horgan, Assistant Director of Development, Essex County Greenbelt
Sarah Wells, Conservation Director, Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust
Stuart Saginor, Executive Director, Community Preservation Coalition
David Santomenna [moderator], Senior Director of Land Conservation, Mass Audubon

Funding Land Conservation with the Community Preservation Act (CPA) (PDF)

You've got a deal, now how to pay for it. The presenters will provide an overview of state, local and private sources of funding for land conservation projects. This is a "nuts and bolts" session and will cover the use of Community Preservation Act funds, state and federal grants, state agency partnerships and private capital campaigns to fund land conservation. Ample time will be allocated for questions and answers and to workshop projects from the audience.

Sponsored by:

The Conservation Fund
Essex County Greenbelt

What Your Counsel Might Tell You  |  Room 167

Buzz Constable, Lincoln Land Conservation Trust, MLTC Board, Attorney
Stephen Small, Law Office of Stephen J. Small, Esq., P.C.
Joel Russell, Land Use Attorney and Planning Consultant

Free "fix" of "defective" proceeds clause and more (PDF)
Perpetuity Ain't What It Used To Be (PDF)

This "legal roundtable" will address a range of issues suggested by those in attendance, as well as an array of new issues of import to land conservation. While the current IRS attacks on deductions will be discussed, so will issues such as access, enforceability, climate, and litigation postures. Questions will be assembled and solicited in a manner not feasible in Zoom conferences.

Principles of Respectful Relationships: Engaging in Land Justice with Northeast Indigenous Tribes  |  Auditorium

Andre Strongbearheart Gaines Jr., citizen of the Nipmuc people, Indigenous rights activist
Sally Loomis, Executive Director, Hilltown Land Trust
Jennifer Albertine, Climate and Land Justice Specialist, Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust

Resources for Respectful Relationships with Indigenous Tribes (PDF)

This workshop will focus on the importance of including land justice in the work of conservation organizations. Two land trust practitioners and a member of the Nipmuc Tribe will share their experiences collaborating, including principles of respectful relationships that allow conservationists to work with Indigenous persons in a way that respects their culture and acknowledges and appropriately compensates them for their time and expertise. They will discuss the importance of centering relationships and reciprocity in this work. Tools such as cultural use and respect agreements, cultural inventories, and co-management plans will be shared. There will also be a discussion of the need and opportunity for land rematriation. 

Sponsored by:

New England Forestry Foundation
UMass Forest Conservation Program

Planning and Incentives for Climate-Smart Forestry  | Conference Room 172

Josh Rapp, Conservation Scientist, Mass Audubon
Jennifer Fish, Service Forestry Program Director, Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation
Jennifer Shakun, Climate-Forest Specialist, New England Forestry Foundation

Presentation (PDF)

Two new efforts will enable Massachusetts landowners to implement climate-smart forestry, a powerful approach to mitigating climate change while increasing forest resilience. DCR provides cost-share for the new Forest Stewardship Climate Plan, enabling landowners to hire a forester to assess a forest’s vulnerability to climate change and select climate-smart management practices. NEFF is launching a USDA-funded $30 million, 5-year pilot forest landowner incentives program to improve forest management, monitor forest carbon, and produce climate-friendly forest products, including affordable, lower- impact housing made with engineered wood. Presenters will describe the Forest Stewardship Climate Plan, review forestry practices, and describe options for Massachusetts landowners to access funding.

Sponsored by:

Franklin Land Trust
New England Forestry Foundation

Why You Should Partner with A University GIS Program  |  Room 165

Abby Hardy-Moss, Director, Conservation Technology and Planning, Essex County Greenbelt
John Rogan, Professor of Geography, Graduate School of Geography, Clark University and Coordinator, Human-Environment Regional Observatory (HERO) program

There are many ways in which geospatial technologies help advance the work of land conservation. However, many land trusts have a limited capacity to undertake GIS projects. By contrast, many university GIS programs have a large pool of talented students and faculty seeking real-world experience. Building partnerships across these lines can be mutually beneficial, and can help land trusts work more creatively and efficiently. Join staff from Essex County Greenbelt and faculty from Clark University to hear both sides of what such partnerships look like; the many different types of GIS projects that can be undertaken; and the benefits of having a reliable stream of interns. Topics will include: climate research, natural resource analysis, data collection, cartography, drone/UAV technology and more.

Sponsored by:
Essex County Greenbelt

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Saturday, March 25
2:30 - 3:55 p.m.             Concurrent Sessions

Conservation and Housing, Together  |  Conference Room 171

Buzz Constable, Lincoln Land Conservation Trust, MLTC Board
Jeff Lacy, Rural Planning Associates
Peter Flinker, Dodson & Flinker

Land trusts have rarely been partners in projects to develop housing or affordable housing. Such partnerships may not only provide substantial advantages to both objectives; they also provide the opportunity to achieve multiple land use goals. While this session will include project examples, this is not a case study. Rather it is a description of the approaches, techniques and challenges in accomplishing such projects. Multi-family and subdivision projects will be addressed.

Sponsored by:

Sheriff's Meadow Foundation

Team Up with Your Municipality: DCS Open Space & Recreation Grant Programs  |  Room 166

Vanessa Farny, Forest & Land Grant Program Manager, MA Division of Conservation Services
Melissa Cryan, Grant Programs Supervisor, Division of Conservation and Stateside Coordinator for the Land and Water Conservation Fund
Vanessa Johnson-Hall, Director, Land Conservation Division, Essex County Greenbelt

EEA Grant Programs (updated March 8, 2023) (PDF)
Conference Presentaiton (PDF)

This session will provide a brief overview of DCS grant programs focused on land protection and/or recreation [Drinking Water Supply Protection, Land and Water Conservation Fund, Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities, Local Acquisitions for Natural Diversity, Conservation Partnership, Landscape Partnership, Assistance for Small Communities] with an emphasis on examples of how land trusts can/have partnered with municipalities in the past to secure grants for their communities to achieve conservation of priority lands.

Sponsored by:

UMass Forest Conservation Program

Community Partnerships: Building Access, Audiences, and Engagement  |  Conference Room 172

Sue Dahling Sullivan, Director of Communications & Programs, Barnstable Land Trust
Mariah Fogg, Community Conservation Manager, Berkshire Natural Resources Council
Mackenzie Greer, Director of Community Programs, Berkshire Natural Resources Council

Presentation by Mariah Fogg & Mackenzie Greer (PDF)
Presentation by Sue Dahling Sullivan (PDF)

This session will highlight different ways land trusts are leveraging the power of community partnerships. Learn how Barnstable Land Trust's community partnerships are connecting people to the land and to each other in new ways through innovative programs like Words in the Wild, the Flowerpot Music Concert, First Day Hikes Cape Cod, and a 2-day readathon. Berkshire Natural Resources Council has increased its efforts to engage with diverse audiences and reduce barriers to getting outdoors, guided by community partners. BNRC's initiatives focus on Spanish language access, reducing physical barriers through accessible trails, and expanding farmland conservation and access programs. Hear about their experience in establishing new partnerships, working at the speed of trust, and learning from others.

Sponsored by:

The Conservation Fund

Terrafirma's First Ten Years  |  Room 167

Tom Kester, Operations Manager, Terrafirma RRG LLC

Terrafirma Risk Retention Group LLC is a unique charitable risk pool for conservation organizations that helps its members uphold the promise of lasting conservation. This presentation will provide a high-level overview of: Terrafirma's history, structure, benefits, costs, and coverage, data and analysis from Terrafirma's 200+ covered claims over the past decade, and selected case studies and practices relevant for MA land trusts. Terrafirma is celebrating its tenth year (2013-2023). This presentation highlights conservation trends. Participants will take away information that they can use to help reduce disputes, know common issues affecting conserved properties, and understand how Terrafirma can benefit their land trust's risk management strategy.

To Litigate or Not To Litigate – When That Is the Question  |  Room 169

Ray Lyons, Conservation Attorney
Elizabeth Wroblicka, Attorney, Conservation Works, LLC

This session will cover what land trusts should think about when considering  litigation, pros and cons, and alternatives to litigation such as mediation. How does Terrafirma factor into your decision? How to minimize the likelihood that you'll need to engage in litigation.

Doo-Doo-able Strategies: Addressing Dog-Related Concerns on Conservation Lands  |  Room 165

Kelly Barber, Director of Land Stewardship, Barnstable Land Trust
Leah McFarland, Land Steward, Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust

Presentation (PDF, combined)

Issues pertaining to dogs and dog-walkers are a frequent discussion topic among land managers. In this presentation, stewardship staff/dog allies from Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust (DNRT) and Barnstable Land Trust (BLT) will share some strategies they have implemented to engage with dog walkers to reduce these issues on Trust trails. Leah McFarland, DNRT Land Steward, will highlight DNRT strategies implemented including staff-led dog walks, educational signs, and a 'Poo-lution App'. Kelly Barber, BLT Director of Land Stewardship, will share findings from the first year of their pilot program 'Learn. Leash. Lead', implemented on BLT's most popular trail network with a long history of off-leash dog and waste issues. Collectively, Leah and Kelly will share success stories, lessons learned, and what's next.

Sponsored by:
Nantucket Conservation Foundation

Applied Urban Forestry and Urban Ecology for Land Conservation  |  Room 164

Erica Holm, Urban Ecologist, Mass Audubon
Nick Long, Urban Wilds Foreperson, City of Boston Parks and Recreation Department, Urban Wilds Program

Applied Urban Forestry and Urban Ecology (PDF)

We will cover lessons learned in applied urban forestry and urban ecology through the lenses of Mass Audubon's applied urban ecology efforts 2022 to present, and the City of Boston Urban Wilds Program's efforts including urban green space protection, stewardship, and programming. Decades of natural area protection have led to 30 permanently-conserved Urban Wilds through an array of community-led efforts and partnerships. Similarly, across the state, Mass Audubon's Nature in the City program addresses inequitable access to nature and impacts of climate change.  

Sponsored by:

Climate Change Challenges: Dual-Use Solar, Food Production and Farmland Protection  |  Auditorium

Heidi Ricci, Director of Policy, Mass Audubon
Grace Fletcher, Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources
Jesse Robertson-DuBois, Director of Sustainable Solar Development, BlueWave Solar and partner in Finicky Farm LLC
Kathy Orlando, Executive Director, Sheffield Land Trust

Presentation (PDF)
Agrivoltaics in the SMART Program (PDF)
Gaining Carbon - A report on reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 while protecting our precious forests, farmlands, and wetlands

Between 2007 and 2017, 8% of Massachusetts' cropland was converted to other uses, most never to return to production. American Farmland Trust ranks Massachusetts ninth in the U.S. for continued threats to farmland. At the same time, Massachusetts has set ambitious solar energy targets. Agrivoltaic projects (where elevated panels allow for some farming under them) have been proposed as a way to address both interests, though there is so far relatively little experience with them in this region. Panelists will describe how agrivoltaics work, where they are currently permitted, and what we know about their impact on farmland productivity. How might agrivoltaics impact economics for farmers, local property taxes, and opportunities to permanently protect farmland? What technical and policy questions remain?

Sponsored by:

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Friday, April 28            Outdoor Field Trips

Space is limited and registration is required. Find a registration link for each available field trip in the list below. 
Meeting place details will be sent to registrants by Friday, April 21. Each field trip host will contact registrants with any weather-related updates. Walks may be postponed or cancelled at discretion of the host. When registering, you will be required to attest that you will take a COVID test within 24 hours of the walk and not attend if you test positive or are experiencing possible symptoms of COVID-19.
Forester credits are available by downloading this form and following the instructions.  FCs April 28

Area / Time / Capacity    Walk Title


Dennis (Cape Cod)

9:00 - 11:00 a.m.

Capacity: 20

Protecting the Cape's Shellfish Hatchery: A Tour of the ARC's Land and Facility -- FULL

David Fryxell, Executive Director & Ecologist, Dennis Conservation Land Trust
Rick Sawyer, President, Aquacultural Research Corporation

The Aquacultural Research Corporation (ARC) on Cape Cod is one of New England's oldest and largest producers of shellfish seed. Located on a barrier beach peninsula between Cape Cod Bay and a tidal creek, it is faced with corrosion, erosion, and a swath of regulatory encumbrances. When the business changed hands in 2014, the Dennis Conservation Land Trust, the Compact, and other nonprofits collaborated with multiple levels of government and the ARC to secure the future of the facility and the land surrounding it. Join the DCLT and ARC for a two-part tour of (1) the barrier beach and saltmarsh surrounding the ARC and (2) the ARC's state-of-the-art hatchery facility. Teaser:

One mile walking distance on soft sand and pavement outdoors (part 1), and a short walk indoors, up and down steps, among the ARC’s facilities (part 2).


Fitchburg & Leominster

9:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

Capacity: 20


Field Tour of the Greening the Gateway Cities Program's Tree Planting Program

Douglas Hutcheson, Program Forester, Greening the Gateway Cities
Rachel DeMatte, Field Operations Forester, Greening the Gateway Cities
Ayn Yeagle, Executive Director, Growing Places

This field tour will provide an overview and on-the-ground examples of the Commonwealth's urban tree planting initiative, the Greening the Gateway Cities Program (GGCP). The GGCP plants trees in Environmental Justice neighborhoods and hires tree planting staff from local and surrounding communities. The program partners with community groups and nonprofits to assist with outreach and education to residents. Translated outreach materials are available based on community demographics. Trees are planted in designated planting zones in each city, determined by overlaying Environmental Justice, Tree Canopy, Population Density, and Impervious Surface layers, and inclusive of K-12 educational facilities and Housing Authority properties. The program strives to address the environmental inequity experienced by residents who live within Urban Heat Islands by planting more trees in affected areas.

Mostly level ground, some mild to moderate inclines of short duration. We will be mindful of organizing the tour to minimize the length of the walks, any inclines, and to provide participants the ability to park near and view some tree plantings from their vehicle.


Hamilton & Topsfield 
(North Shore)

9:30 a.m. - noon

Capacity: 30


From General Patton to Affordable Farmland

Chris LaPointe, Vice President, Conservation Operations, Essex County Greenbelt
Dave Rimmer, Director of Stewardship, Essex County Greenbelt

In the years after his 1980 retirement, Major General George S. Patton IV and his wife, Joanne Holbrook Patton, turned an estate owned by Patton's father, General George S. Patton, Jr., into Green Meadows Farm, once the longest running organic farm in the region. Over several decades, Greenbelt has worked with the Patton family to conserve their land in Hamilton and Topsfield, culminating in the purchase of the former Green Meadows Farm and Vineyard Hill in 2019. After a year-long process, Greenbelt selected Iron Ox Farm as the recipient of a 99-year lease on the farm. Greenbelt staff and farmers Alex Cecchinelli and Stacey Apple will be on hand to describe that process and this model of affordable farmland conservation, and see how it's going in real time. We will also have the opportunity to visit adjacent Vineyard Hill Reservation, and a viewing platform on the Ipswich River. We will round out the day with a special tour of the Patton Archives, housed in the adjacent Patton Homestead, led by staff of the Wenham Museum.

Mostly level ground, some mild to moderate inclines of short duration. Walking on trails for 1 - 1.5 miles. Wide farm and woods roads, some roots and rocks. Bathrooms available.


(Metro West)

10:00 a.m. - noon

Capacity: 20

Adventures in Invasive Plant Control -- FULL

Laura Mattei, Director of Land Stewardship, Sudbury Valley Trustees
Jane Maloney, Land Steward, Sudbury Valley Trustees

Join SVT staff on a tour of the Smith Conservation Land. The property has exceptional habitat values with freshwater marshes, multiple vernal pools, and hemlock and mixed pine-hardwood forest. However, the old field areas became infested with bittersweet and other invasive plants due to decades of neglect. SVT acquired the property in early 2019 and is implementing a variety of mechanical and chemical techniques to control invasives and restore native vegetation. You will be provided with a tour of our various invasive plant control areas and be able to enjoy beautiful scenery and a pleasant walk.

Mostly flat, slightly rolling. A couple areas with uneven footing. We will be doing some bushwhacking.


(CT Valley)

10:00 a.m. - noon

Capacity: 25


Spotted Lanternfly: Egg Mass ID, Scouting, and Scraping

Elizabeth Barnes, Forest Pest Outreach Coordinator, Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources
Astra Perkins, Spotted Lanternfly Survey Lead, Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources

Spotted lanternfly is an invasive insect that is rapidly spreading through the Northeast. It is often moved to new areas through hitchhiking and has been found in isolated populations in Massachusetts. This trip will be to one of the infested sites. We will demonstrate egg mass scouting and scraping. Several types of spotted lanternfly traps will be setup and there will be a discussion of their pros and cons. Finally, we will run an activity that can be used either at outreach events or in trainings.

The site has a moderate slope and dense undergrowth. Participants should come prepared with sturdy hiking clothes and shoes.


North Adams (Berkshires)

11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Capacity: 18

Forest Climate Resilience Program: Engaging Communities in Climate-Smart Forestry -- FULL

Andrew Randazzo, Forest Ecologist, Mass Audubon
Lisa Hayden, Outreach Manager, New England Forestry Foundation
Gary Gouldrup, Merrimac District Manager, New England Forestry Consultants, Inc.

The field tour will explore how North Adams has been engaging with the Forest Climate Resilience Program and highlight climate-smart forestry recommendations that have been developed for the property. In the field, discussion will focus on the what and how of climate-smart forestry practices and discuss strategies for engaging communities in forest management. The program will highlight the stakeholder engagement efforts of Mass Audubon and the Woodlands Partnership of Northwest Massachusetts and discuss strategies for deepening our engagement with landowners.

The trail is relatively even and wide and has only gradual elevation gains. A few sections of the hike will involve a steeper off trail section, but those who don’t feel comfortable may remain on the trail. Off trail portions will be relatively brief.


Lincoln & Concord
(Metro West)

1:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Capacity: 20

Conservation and Housing Projects – Together -- FULL

Buzz Constable, Lincoln Land Conservation Trust, MLTC Board
Jane Gruba-Chevalier, Executive Director, Concord Land Conservation Trust
Christa Collins, Land Protection Strategic Advisor/Consultant (until recently Director of Land Protection, Sudbury Valley Trustees)
Delia Kaye, Natural Resources Director, Town of Concord

Partial site development has long been a tool of conservation acquisition. Coordination among the conservation land trust, the municipality (with its regulatory and funding hats) and the developer (either private or nonprofit community land trust) can provide multiple public values. This field trip will survey a few such projects in Concord and Lincoln, with short walks, short talks and perhaps libation at the end.

Parking for Assabet River Bluff is at the West Concord train station and accessible parking is available. It is a five minute walk to the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail (BFRT). The route to the BFRT and the rail trail itself are flat and paved. The trail up and down to the bluff is pitched for about 20 feet. The trail treadway is otherwise fairly level and free of obstructions. Sneakers are sufficient unless it is wet, then boots are recommended. Other locations may include short walks, but all will be level and most involve improved properties. There are no bathroom facilities at the Assabet River Buff location where we will end, and limited facilities at the Mall at Lincoln Station.


Brockton (Southeast)

2:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Capacity: 30


D.W. Field Park Initiative: Revitalizing the Park for People and Planet

Rachel Bruce, Director of Special Projects, Wildlands Trust

The D.W. Field Park Initiative is a forward-thinking park revitalization project led by Wildlands Trust in partnership with the City of Brockton. We are working collaboratively with community partners and experts to create a new master plan for Brockton's crown jewel, D.W. Field Park. Spanning 700 acres that include 7 water bodies, the park serves as an outdoor oasis for recreation and nature study for 100,000 Brockton residents, 5,000 Avon residents, and visitors from many surrounding towns. The new master plan will include green infrastructure solutions for stormwater management, infrastructure upgrades to better serve recreational activities and improve safety and accessibility, and widespread community engagement and environmental education. Join Wildlands Trust Director of Special Projects Rachel Calderara Bruce for a 2 mile walk at the park to learn all about it.

Paved, mostly flat with one hill.

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