Massachusetts Land Conservation Conference

Saturday, March 23, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. (jump to schedule then click on green bars to view details.) 
in-person at UMass Amherst Campus Center, 1 Campus Center Way, Amherst (note new venue)  

Complementary field trips around Massachusetts (jump to field trips) - Fridays, April 26 and May 17. Included with registration.

Schedule (PDF)   |   Descriptions (PDF)   |   Land Conservation Terms & Acronyms (PDF)
Forester Continuing Ed Units form

The conference will feature a keynote address by Dr. Darren Ranco speaking on "Centering Indigenous Peoples and Nations in Land Protection and Conservation: Wabanaki Possibilities". Dr. Ranco is a citizen of the Penobscot Nation, is a Professor of Anthropology, Chair of Native American Programs, and Faculty Fellow at the Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions at the University of Maine. His talk will reflect perspectives from his work with the Wabanaki Commission on Land and Stewardship, which you can learn more about here.  

Sponsorship & Exhibitor Opportunities are still available!

Details here. Promote your business to a live audience of over 400 members of the Massachusetts conservation community, plus thousands more through Conference publicity.

Sponsor Talks
Various Dates and Times

Talks will be via Zoom. Select your talk choice during conference registration, and the Zoom registration link will be sent to you.

Wednesday, March 13  |  noon - 1 p.m.  |  UMass Extension  |  Managing New England Forests Threatened By Emerald Ash Borer

Paul Catanzaro, Professor, UMass Amherst & State Extension Forester

Free registration here

Thursday, March 14  |  noon - 1 p.m.  |  The Trustees  |  Stewardship Strategies – How We Prioritize, Plan For, and Resource Our Property Care

Fran Blanchard, Vice President, Stewardship, The Trustees
Ross Moran, Executive Director, Westport Land Conservation Trust

Free registration here

Questions around how we identify, and resource stewardship needs are a common challenge. There is always an unlimited amount of stewardship work that could be done on any given day or property. And with new weather patterns, more severe storms, we are constantly responding to changing needs on our properties. 

For this session, we will talk about common themes in our approach to property care including: developing standards for resource care, making data driven decisions about priorities, and creative solutions for resourcing this work.

Sponsored by:

MA 401(k) CORE Plan for small nonprofits

Tuesday, March 19  |  4 - 5 p.m.  |  EOEEA  |  An Integrated Approach to Land Use, Conservation & Climate

Stephanie Cooper.  EEA Under Secretary, Executive Branch
Amy Sheldon, Vermont State Representative, Legislative Branch
Mark Wamsley, Conservation Director, Kestrel Land Trust
David Foster, Co-coordinator, Wildlands and Woodlands / Director Emeritus.  Harvard Forest, Harvard University
Moderator: Liz Thompson, Wildlands, Woodlands, Farmlands & Communities

Free registration here

During this panel discussion, scientists, conservationists, and policymakers will discuss the need for an integrated approach to conservation that connects working and wild forests, farmlands, and seacoasts with the future for the benefit of all communities — urban to rural, human, and wild. Land regulation, land conservation and land development are all vital for climate, habitat and social resilience.

Wednesday, March 20  |  4 - 5 p.m.  |  The Nature Conservancy  |  Conserving Healthy Rivers & Lands in Massachusetts: TNC Goals for 2030

Barbara Charry, Director of Rivers and Lands, TNC in Massachusetts
Rich Cavanaugh, Land Protection Manager, TNC in Massachusetts

Free registration here

In the face of the dual climate and biodiversity crises, The Nature Conservancy has established its 2030 Goals for people and nature, recognizing that freshwater is central to achieving a livable climate, healthy communities, and a thriving natural world.  Learn how TNC’s 2030 Goals are guiding its work in Massachusetts integrating its freshwater and land protection efforts and prompting other initiatives such as the newly launched Resilient and Connected Appalachians Grant Program.

Saturday, March 23
8:00 - 9:00 a.m.
Registration / Light Breakfast / Visit Exhibits

9:00 - 10:15 a.m.
Concurrent Sessions

Stewardship Tips and Trends from Terrafirma

Brendan Annett, Gabriel Martinez

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 220+ covered claims, and • selected cases and data trends relevant for MA land trusts. It will highlight stewardship tips and 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. 

Sponsored by:

Land Trust Alliance

Diversify Your Data – New Perspectives in Conservation Planning

Abby Hardy-Moss and Rebecca Smalley

Massachusetts communities are facing a host of issues that land conservation practitioners should be considering in their projects. Climate impacts, environmental justice concerns, and drinking water protection all have a relationship to land use that conservation can impact. There are publicly available GIS datasets related to all of these topics. In this workshop we will demonstrate how to utilize these data in project review, prioritization, and fundraising. We will include case studies, which will include project details and fundraising examples.

Terrestrial and Marine Cultural Resource Management for Land Managers

Jonathan Patton, David Robinson

This workshop is for property managers interested in navigating the multiple flows of cultural resource identification and management, including applicable laws, regulations, and best management practices in Massachusetts archaeology and historic preservation. Land and water intersections will be mobilized to inform on basic archaeological and historic preservation theory and method, including brief discussions of relevant federal, tribal, state, and local environmental review processes. The workshop is intended to answer basic cultural resource questions: Who, What, When, Where & Why.

Planned Giving 101: Strategies for All Land Trusts

Jennifer Dubois, Julie Lazarus, Kelly Guarino

Planned giving is an important tool in a land trust’s toolbox. It can help land trusts conserve more land and support your organization’s financial sustainability. This workshop will provide strategies, information, and tips for land trusts of all sizes to start or grow your planned giving program. Participants will learn about planned giving success stories, land conservation achieved through planned gifts, and the donor's perspective and considerations. There will be ample opportunity for discussion and questions. 

Recalibrating Forest Stewardship with Climate & Justice Priorities

Andre StrongBearHeart Gaines Jr., Andrew Randazzo, and Jeffrey Thomas with Lisa Hayden, moderator

As we tackle the climate crisis through our conservation work, how can we make progress towards building justice and equity within the human communities we serve? This session will share examples of what we’re learning from the Woodlands Partnership of Northwest Massachusetts, a fledgling collaboration with a big vision, that has set out on this path. Multiple partners are collaborating in this landscape to build vital ingredients into our work implementing natural climate solutions – among them benefits to the atmosphere, inclusion of people who haven’t been at the table in the past, and the building of lasting relationships to expand work at multiple scales. Discussion will focus on efforts to invite Indigenous participation and perspectives, supporting Indigenous-led land stewardship as part of our work in climate-smart forestry, and strengthening local wood markets to sustain rural livelihoods and work toward an equitable future.

Sponsored by:

New England Forestry Foundation

Hosting a TerraCorps Member at Small Land Trusts

Elise Leduc-Fleming, Sally Loomis, Sean Pollock

This workshop will delve into how all-volunteer land trusts and land trusts with very few staff can effectively participate in, and benefit from, the TerraCorps program. From the program side, TerraCorps Chief Operating Officer Sean Pollock will demystify the application process, explain the responsibilities of host sites, and share program considerations for onboarding a smaller organization. From the land trust side, Executive Directors from two small land trusts, Elise Leduc-Fleming from the Wareham Land Trust and Sally Loomis from Hilltown Land Trust, will share their experiences hosting TerraCorps service members, highlight the capacity building achieved by participating in the program, and list some of the pros and cons of serving as a TerraCorps host site.

Case Studies on Improving Land Access for Underserved Communities

Kari Blood, Kevin Essington, Mark Wamsley

Land trusts want to do better at connecting underserved communities with the outdoors, but how can your land trust make these connections? The climate crisis and an increasingly diverse and urbanized populace mean that connecting people to nature and sustainability practices has never been more important. Research of successful people and nature initiatives from around the country reveal some best practices: humility, side-to-side power relationships, the power of small, and more. This workshop will explore examples of how conservation groups from around the country have reached underserved and BIPOC groups through both land conservation projects and community engagement programs. Kevin Essington of City Greener Strategies will share his research of initiatives nationally, and Kestrel Land Trust will present some examples of their own work. Kestrel’s efforts include partnering with a city to restore an urban park, helping immigrant farmers find land, and leading nature programs with youth-serving non-profits. Together they will lead a discussion with participants about their experiences.

Sponsored by:

MA 401(k) CORE Plan for small nonprofits

Working with AllTrails to Improve Public Use of Conserved Properties

Ian Bergemann, John Ribes, Colleen Andrews

With the rising number of visitors to conservation land and increase in online trail information, land managers cite third party apps as a growing concern due to: overuse and overcrowding of popular trails; misuse that compromises resource protection (e.g., dogs and bikes where not allowed); unsafe use of trails that are unmanaged or "dangerous for the average hiker"; and conflicts with visitors relying on inaccurate app information. Third party apps have a responsibility to support the safety, preservation, and improvement of the visitor experience. Speakers will discuss how AllTrails is working with conservation land managers in Massachusetts to mitigate these issues and improve relationships with on-the-ground staff through its Public Lands program


Thank you to our generous sponsors!





Berkshire Natural Resources Council
BSC Group, Inc.
Buzzards Bay Coalition
Franklin Land Trust
Essex County Greenbelt
Kestrel Land Trust
Land Trust Alliance
MA 401(k) CORE Plan for small nonprofits
New England Forestry Foundation
Norcross Wildlife Foundation
Sheriff's Meadow Foundation
Sudbury Valley Trustees
SWCA Environmental Consultants
Tighe & Bond

Community Preservation Coalition
The Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts
Horsley Witten Group
Law Office of Stephen J. Small
The Trust for Public Land

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Saturday, March 23
10:35 – 11:50 a.m.                       
Concurrent Sessions

Funders Panel: Perspectives on Successfully Applying for Grants

Kathy McGrath, Laurel Plotzke Callahan, Steve Sloan

The foundation representatives will discuss their organization's application, evaluation, and selection process. Each will provide their perspective on what's important in the various aspects of the application or proposal. Then the panel will answer questions from the audience.

Sponsored by:

SWCA Environmental Consultants

Getting to Yes with Private Landowners

Mark Robinson, Brendan Annett

An old saying in our business is "If you aren't speaking with landowners, what are you doing?". Land trusts are the only non-profit environmental groups that know how to make a deal for land acquisition. Working with private landowners can be a delicate and patience dance, and may not bear fruit for many years. Trust and presence are key. The presenters have worked with hundreds of landowning families for many decades and grasp what works and what doesn't. We will explore outreach techniques, discuss the land conservation process and general tax benefits, and the importance of follow-up. Who might introduce you? What research should you do before meeting? How do you keep the conversation going until fruition? Finally, the importance of face time, not FaceTime.

Sponsored by:

New England Forestry Foundation

Experiences and Resources from a Recent Land Trust Merger

Anna Wilkins, Ray Lyons

After a high-level overview of non-profit mergers, you'll hear about how one all-volunteer land trust worked through their succession plan to arrive at the decision to merge with an overlapping regional land trust. With conservation law experts to help answer questions on technical aspects and other models for shared responsibilities, our panelists will give insights and share resources that can start your organizational succession plan off on the right foot.

Land Trusts & Long-Term Partnering to Build a Greenway

Colin Novick, Scott Morrison

The White Oak Land Conservation Society, a local unstaffed land trust, and The Greater Worcester Land Trust, a small staffed land trust, have partnered on the Four Town Greenway along their shared border for over 15 years to jointly build a +1000-acre greenway that neither could have done alone. With strategic planning, joint negotiations, joint acquisitions, joint fundraising, and joint management, the Four Town Greenway is not only a major wildlife habitat and recreation achievement, but is a testament to the power of small groups banding together to do big things. Scott and Colin will walk participants through the creative partnerships and the shared trust that have made this work a potential model for smaller groups.

CR Stewardship: What Can and Will Go Wrong

Sally Naser, Olivia Lukacic

This session dives into conservation restriction stewardship from the standpoint of preventing issues and violations and what happens when they come up. With a history of 50 years of CRs at The Trustees of Reservations, Trustees staff will provide examples and case studies for building landowner relationships, due diligence work during the drafting and CR process, and when to get Terrafirma or other experts involved.

Aboriginal Rights and Land Conservation

Pam Ellis, Andre StrongBearHeart Gaines Jr.

This workshop will provide an introduction to the legal basis and scope of aboriginal rights in what is now called Massachusetts through a presentation and discussion of treaties, statutes, executive orders, and federal and state case law. The workshop will further examine the intersection of aboriginal rights and land conservation.

Sponsored by:

Buzzards Bay Coalition

Passive Forest Management

Paul Catanzaro, Lina Clifford

Rather than viewing them as opposite, passive and active forest management are complimentary approaches to reach our overall forest conservation goals. There is increased interest from conservation organizations and the Healey administration in expanding the passive approach to forest management. While the greatest opportunities to increase passive forest management are on public and NGO land, family forests can play an important role since they own the majority of forests. This presentation will outline approaches to passive forest management and the important ways passive and active forest management complement one another at the property, landscape, and statewide level. We will describe family forest owner attitudes towards this approach based on the findings of a new regional landowner survey. Finally, strategies land trusts can use to implement passive forest management on fee land and on CRs will be discussed, including the use of forever wild easements.

Increasing the Pace of Farmland Protection: Funding Opportunities & Strategies

Jamie Pottern, Rita Thibodeau, David Viale

Nearly 75,000 acres of Massachusetts farmland are projected to be converted to non-farm uses by 2040. At the same time, a massive, historic increase in federal funding for farmland protection will become available starting in 2024 and is projected to increase significantly over the next five years. This workshop will provide an overview of the farm protection funding tools, timelines, and new strategies being envisioned by the MLTC Ag Conservation Working Group, in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resource (MDAR), the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and American Farmland Trust (AFT). We will share practical tools and guidance for the Massachusetts conservation community and examples of how land trusts, towns, and landowners can contribute towards accelerating the pace of farm protection in their communities.

Sponsored by:

Buzzards Bay Coalition

Land Trusts as Partners in Ecological Restoration

Jason Clermont, Cynthia Henshaw, Mike Huguenin

Land trusts serve an increasingly important role in the ecological restoration space, both as landowner and as a pivotal entity in the community. Partnerships are a path for land trusts to elevate their role in advancing ecological restoration. However, balancing the changes to a landscape necessary to enact ecological restoration and the strategic vision of land trusts and their members are not always aligned. We will present the importance of land trusts as partners to ecological restoration, discuss the obvious and less obvious roles that land trusts may play in advancing ecological restoration efforts, how leaders and members of land trusts can become more informed about ecological restoration, and ask those in attendance to weigh in on the discussion, including how to align ecological restoration priorities and land conservation visions.

Sponsored by:

SWCA Environmental Consultants

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Saturday, March 23
11:50 a.m. – 1:55 p.m.                
Lunch / Exhibits / Networking / Keynote

11:50 – 12:45 p.m.

Visit exhibitors, lunch (55 minutes). Optional lunch networking by interest group in side rooms: Development staff, Small-Staffed Land Trusts, All Volunteer Land Trusts, Stewardship, and Early Conservation Career Network.

12:45 – 1:55 p.m. in the Auditorium

Conference Welcome from MLTC Executive Director Robb Johnson

Remarks by Rebecca Tepper, Massachusetts Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs 

Keynote address by Darren Ranco, PhD, a citizen of the Penobscot Nation, Professor of Anthropology, Chair of Native American Programs, and Faculty Fellow at the Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions at the University of Maine. He has a Master of Studies in Environmental Law from Vermont Law School and a PhD in Social Anthropology from Harvard University. 

Topic: Centering Indigenous Peoples and Nations in Land Protection and Conservation: Wabanaki Possibilities

Dr. Ranco's address will reflect perspectives from his work with the Wabanaki Commission on Land and Stewardship, which you can learn more about here.

Saturday, March 23
2:15 – 3:30 p.m.              
Concurrent Sessions

Let’s Talk Legal Topics

Buzz Constable, Elizabeth Wroblicka, Susan Crane

Land transactions, stewardship, regulation, partnering, administration, and financing all have current legal issues. We will discuss several of these as well as respond to any questions which may be submitted before are at the session. The discussion attempts to speak to experienced laypersons and attorneys who attend as well as those who present.

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

Melissa Cryan, Vanessa Farny, Allen Decker

This workshop 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.

Watershed-Scale Collaboration: Advancing Climate Resilience

Melissa Ocana, Carolyn Norkiewicz, Julie Wood

In this workshop, we will explore why climate adaptation at the watershed-scale is critical to effectively respond to flooding and drought, and can result in more impactful and equitable benefits for people and nature. We'll share work from collaboratives on-the-ground and how we brought them together to amplify their stories through an outreach toolkit. We'll hear how the state’s Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Grant Program encourages regional approaches to adaptation, including watershed collaboration, and how collaboratives are exploring land conservation as a climate resilience action. We will also facilitate small group discussion about the opportunities for greater collaboration between land trust and watershed scale collaboratives.

Sponsored by:

Buzzards Bay Coalition
SWCA Environmental Consultants

Give Back to the Land Day: A Case Study in Collaborative Fundraising

Mary Lynn Sabourin, Sebastian LaMontagne, Katie Carr, Jessica Bryant

This workshop explores how collaborative fundraising days can enhance the fundraising efforts of individual organizations. In 2020, four regional land trusts in Western MA joined together for Give Back to the Land Day, a 24-hour online giving day scheduled around Earth Day. Since then, they have raised over $250,000 for land conservation through this annual event. Learn from fundraisers at Franklin Land Trust, Hilltown Land Trust, Kestrel Land Trust, and Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust about the origins of this fundraising day, what has worked well, and what hasn’t worked so well.

Forest Vulnerability to Climate Change and Opportunities for Stewardship

Josh Rapp, Christian Marks, Alison Wright-Hunter

Forests cover 60% of Massachusetts, providing important wildlife habitat, clean air and water, benefits to human health and local economies, and climate regulation through the sequestration and storage of carbon. Mass Audubon and MA DCR will lead a workshop that examines how forests are vulnerable to climate change, approaches for assessing these vulnerabilities, and opportunities for increasing forest resilience through stewardship. Mass Audubon will describe the approach they’ve taken to assess vulnerabilities at wildlife sanctuaries across 18,000 acres. DCR will describe efforts that are part of the Forests as Climate Solutions Initiative to support landowners in assessing climate vulnerabilities and stewardship planning and implementation.

Sponsored by:

New England Forestry Foundation

Using Community Science Programing to Support Your Conservation Efforts

Isabel Bronson, Julie Richburg

Interested in learning about the development, implementation, and impacts of community science programs? Join TerraCorps Land Stewardship Coordinator Isabel Bronson and Lead Inland Ecologist Julie Richburg in exploring how they have been using this participatory science approach to support the work and goals of The Trustees. During this presentation, they will discuss the development of their long-term grassland bird monitoring community science program and how the data collected by volunteers is aiding in the conservation of grassland obligate bird species, such as the charismatic bobolink, and the adaptation of bird-friendly grassland habitat management on their properties across the state. Additionally, they will touch upon the ongoing development of a biodiversity monitoring initiative and bird box monitoring program.

Creative Approaches to Hiring and Retaining Staff

Jen Plowden, Kate Bowditch, Emma Ellsworth

Land trusts provide opportunities for individuals to work, day-in and day-out, toward a great mission. Who doesn’t want to help save planet earth and connect people to nature? And while that alone may have been enough to recruit and retain star employees in the past, trends indicate it may not be enough today – particularly if our organizations want to become more reflective of the communities in which we work, which are typically younger and more diverse. In this session, presenters will share statistics about today’s workers and an overview of strategies that organizations across the country are deploying to hire talented staff and retain them. This session will highlight case studies from two land trusts in Massachusetts that are working to address pay equity as well as staff contentment and retention. Come prepared to learn about innovative approaches, including some low-cost ideas you can take back to your organization.

Sponsored by:

Land Trust Alliance

Striving to Create an Anti-Racist Land Trust

Michelle Chalmers, Christina Horner 

Join an interracial team of anti-racist facilitators to explore opportunities to create/advance an anti-racist land trust. Whether you have begun the work or have been wanting to engage your team, come and explore an opportunity to put a plan into action. Let's examine shared anti-racist language/definitions, why is it important to center anti-racism in your land trust, and how to examine your policies, procedures, website and literature with an anti-racist lens. Come with questions and let's engage.

3:30 - 4:30 p.m.
Closing Reception

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Friday, April 26            Outdoor Field Trips

Field trips are included with your conference registration. This chart is for informational purposes only. An invitation to register for field trips will be sent in mid-March.
Meeting place / parking details will be sent to registrants by the host. Each field trip host will contact registrants with any weather-related updates. Walks may be postponed or canceled at discretion of the host. When registering, you will be required to attest that you will not attend if you test positive, or are experiencing possible symptoms of, COVID-19.

Area / Time / Capacity    Trip Details

(Berkshires / West)
11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Capacity: 20

Floodplain Forest Restoration

Julie Richburg, Lead Ecologist, Inland Natural Resources, The Trustees

Bartholomew’s Cobble lies along the Housatonic River in southern Berkshire County. In 2013, The Trustees with support for the Natural Resources Damages Fund planted 1,700 trees across 10 acres to restore floodplain forest. The three hay fields that were planted have responded differently to the plantings. This walk will visit previously existing floodplain forest as well as the restored areas, comparing differences in overstory and understory composition, use by local wildlife, and the future for the project.

Approximately 1.6 miles along a narrow path. Generally flat but with a few sections of steep grade. Anticipate muddy conditions and wear appropriate footwear to walk through mud or water several inches deep (depending on flood conditions).

Rain date: Saturday, April 27

(CT River Valley)
10 a.m. - noon
Capacity: 20

River to Mountain: Bridging Landscapes, Bridging Partnerships (Mt. Tom Trailhead Park and the Old Pascommuck historical trail)

Marty Klein, artist/naturalist/forager and past Board member of Pascommuck Conservation Trust, will lead the Old Pascommuck portion
Mark Wamsley, Conservation Director, Kestrel Land Trust, will lead the Mt. Tom portion

The Old Pascommuck Conservation area is Pascommuck Conservation Trust's oldest property, acquired 40 years ago. This property is a prime example of a floodplain forest, with trails along the Manhan River and the oxbow of the Connecticut River. In spring, it is filled with many varieties of wildflowers and bird life is abundant. To reach the trail, there is a slight incline down from a parking area, with several steps to access the lower riverbed trail.

Across a street and several hundred yards to the east, is the recently created Mt Tom North accessible trail. This trail was made possible by a coalition of the Commonwealth, the City of Easthampton, and our two land trusts. It is a gently climbing switchback trail through a forest, with benches along the way. The trail is navigable for power wheelchairs or chairs with human assist. At the top are wide sloping fields and several picnic tables where visitors can stop and enjoy the view of the Oxbow and the hills beyond.

Worcester area
1 - 3 p.m.
Capacity: 25

Revitalizing Wetlands in an Urban Watershed: Broad Meadow Brook Restoration

Tom Lautzenheiser, Senior Conservation Ecologist, Mass Audubon
Kate Bentsen, Ecological Restoration Specialist, Mass DER (Division of Ecological Restoration)
Martha Gach, Education Manager, Mass Audubon

The Broad Meadow Brook Restoration Project is a partnership between the City of Worcester, the Division of Ecological Restoration, the Blackstone Watershed Collaborative, and Mass Audubon. The project focuses on an approximately 40-acre, highly degraded wetland system within an urban watershed, embedded within environmental justice communities. The project's goal is to achieve a dynamic, diverse, and self-sustaining stream and wetland ecosystem that provides a full suite of ecosystem services, accessible for the benefit and enjoyment of neighbors, residents, and visitors. Currently in an assessment and design phase, the project includes many challenges and complexities typical of urban watersheds. In this field trip, we will explore sections of the project site to demonstrate important project components and constraints.

The planned walk route is almost entirely level and even, on a gravel surface, for an approximately 1.5-mile out-and-back hike. The majority of this route is wheelchair accessible. Bathrooms are not available in the project area.

10 a.m. - noon
Capacity: 25

Wheelwright Dam Removal Project

Cynthia Henshaw, Executive Director, East Quabbin Land Trust
Chris Hirsch, Dam Removal Manager, Mass DER (Division of Ecological Restoration)
Joseph Gould, Restoration Specialist, Mass DER (Division of Ecological Restoration)

Join the East Quabbin Land Trust and the Massachusetts Division of Ecological Restoration for a tour and discussion of the Wheelwright dam removal project. The project partners have been working since 2018 to remove the Wheelwright dam and create a critical connection point for the Mass Central Rail Trail. Removal of this 500 foot long, 17 foot tall dam will reconnect approximately 130 river miles in the Ware River watershed and provide wonderful benefits for local fauna and flora.

There will be some moderate uneven terrain and off trail hiking. The walk is approximately 10 minutes from the parking area to the dam. There are no bathrooms available.

Mattapoisett area
10 a.m.
Capacity: 20

Mattapoisett River Valley Partnership: Coordinated Watershed Scale Land Conservation and Habitat Restoration on the South Coast

Brendan Annett, Vice President, Watershed Protection, Buzzards Bay Coalition

Come see and learn about how land trusts are working together with towns in the region on coordinated watershed land conservation efforts that have protected thousands of acres in the Mattapoisett River Valley. We’ll also visit and learn about a related partnership that is advancing large scale wetland/stream ecological restoration. These coordinated  projects benefit water quality, buffer flooding and drought and enhance the resilience of a regionally important drinking water supply, fish/wildlife resources, outdoor recreation opportunities and local agriculture.

More info available at:

The tour will include 2-3 miles of walking on trails.

Sponsored by:

MA 401(k) CORE Plan for small nonprofits

(North Shore)
10 a.m. - noon
Capacity: 30

Landscape Scale Restoration in the Great Marsh

Russ Hopping, Lead Ecologist, Coastal Ecology, The Trustees

This trip will visit the Great Marsh on the North Shore of Massachusetts, where participants will learn firsthand about The Trustees and its partners' efforts to restore salt marsh to better withstand climate change, specifically sea level rise. The trip will look at three nature-based restoration techniques in the marshes at the Crane Estate (i.e., Crane Beach) and how, together with our partners, we are scaling up restoration efforts to more than 8,000 acres.  

Approximately 1 mile on flat terrain. Marsh can be soggy and slightly unstable. Please wear boots or shoes you do not mind getting wet and dirty. Participants should expect getting their feet wet and mucky. Bug spray and sunscreen is up to the participant, but bugs are unlikely during April. There is no wheelchair access and walking can be unstable in the marsh. Drinking water is advisable. No rain date. Field trip will only be canceled if steady and/or heavy rain is forecast. Parking instructions will be sent to registrants.

Friday, May 17            Outdoor Field Trip

Ipswich & Hamilton
(North Shore)
9 - 11 a.m.
Capacity: 20

Community Science Helping Grassland Birds

Julie Richburg, Lead Ecologist, Inland Natural Resources, The Trustees

Join the Trustees to learn how community members are supporting our grassland bird habitat management at Appleton Farms. The farm uses an agroecological management approach to support biodiversity and farm production. Also, come explore the art installation PERCH by Jean Shin which encourages visitors to engage with the sculpture as they participate in bobolink monitoring.

We will be walking along dirt farm roads and trails through fields. Terrain is gently sloping and uneven, sometimes muddy, and fully exposed (limited to no shade).


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