Spring Stewardship 2021


Our Stewardship Coordinator, Emily Merlino, reports on the latest activity on NCLT land.

Hi All,  We have been very busy as the weather warms up re-engaging with land stewardship projects that had gone dormant over the winter.

  • New Stewardship Intern: Our intern, Jackie Monahan, from Mount Wachusett Community College (MWCC) has been lending a much needed hand for work days and joining in on site visits to help with trail maintenance and other projects. All of this will support her learning in her Natural Resources program at MWCC. Thank you Jackie!
  • Dwelly Farm Pollinator Meadow, Templeton: Continuing our pollinator meadow project at Dwelly Farm, we planted some winter sown native wildflowers grown by me and our board member Carrie Novak. These small seedlings will grow up alongside the wildflower and grass seed mix we planted last fall. While the seeds we spread will take some time to establish, these seedlings will help to establish the meadow more quickly.
  • Keyes Conservation Area, Gardner: We are learning a lot about our new conservation area.  We have met with environmental consultants and walked the property many times as the seasons have changed gathering many sources of data to inform our decisions for how we can best stewards the land and help restore habitats. Signs have been put up and new parking at the trail heads are being designed. Thanks to many volunteers we’re regularly monitoring the land and picking up trash. Special thanks to the Gardner Police Department who have been immensely helpful as we address unauthorized use. We’re looking forward to the Chamber of Commerce of North Central Mass’ Community Leadership Institute Class coming to help us paint over some graffiti this month.
  • Quarry Lane Conservation Area, Fitchburg: The community garden partnership with Growing Places and Busy Bees Preschool has blossomed! We have finally prepped the land for raised garden beds and installed raised planting beds on June 5th.  Thank you to all the neighbors and families who came out to help!  We are thrilled to get the preschool students and neighbors growing food and learning together.

    Kids help shovel dirt for a garden
    Busy Bees Preschool graduates help set up the community garden beds at Quarry Lane Conservation Area
  • Watatic South Slope, Ashburnham/Ashby: An old house site at 102 Rindge Rd has become a parking area for the future MA Fish and Wildlife property and trailhead for the NCLT Watatic farmhouse site.  A group of volunteers cleaned up the parking lot site and clipped back brush at the roadside to make the lot visible.
  • Crocker Conservation Area, Fitchburg: The Rock & Laurel 5K Trail Race route brought a new trail online at Crocker, the portion of Caldwell Street which is no longer used by vehicles.  An all lady crew came out to divert water and ensure a solid foot bed for the race . Our chainsaw operator volunteer, Scott, helped clear branches and downed trees on the route.  Another volunteer, Skip, fixed up our Flat Rock Rd kiosk with some new shingles and cleared away other trees across trails with our resident walk leaders and board members, Betty and Mary.
  • Kirby Conservation Area, Ashburnham: This was our first trail work event in partnership with Appalachian Mountain Club Worcester Chapter. We worked on Kirby trails which had some areas of changed hydrology.  Wet and muddy trails throughout the property were rerouted or water diverted to protect from erosion and to maintain the trail integrity.  Volunteer muscles were flexed using rock bars to move stepping stones installed across a stream on Hidden Pond trail.

Interested in helping out as a new intern or volunteer? Contact Em at emerlino@northcountylandtrust.morg  for more information.