Ok, it is March. But it is also New England so stay tuned...

Despite the latest snow (which is also great to hike in!) we have some fantastic events planned.  The Vernal Pool walk and Owls presentations are back. All upcoming events can be found on our website.  We feature these two in May:

 Annual Meeting May 1, The Groton Inn:  
Stone wall builder Kevin Gardner

We are happy to bring to Groton Kevin Gardner, author and stone wall architect. Kevin will be the featured speaker at the GCT Annual Meeting on May 1 in the Prescott Room at The Groton Inn. Socializing and an open bar at 6:30, the meeting begins at 7:00. 
For more than forty years he has been a stone wall builder in a family business widely known for traditional New England stonework, particularly for historic restoration of antique structures. In 2001 Kevin published The Granite Kiss: Traditions and Techniques of Building New England Stone Walls. His second book, Stone Building: How To Make New England Style Walls and Other Structures the Old Way, was published in May of 2017.   
The Groton Traverse, Sunday May 5: 
GCT will be organizing and guiding what we hope with be the first of many 
annual ambles across Groton. The inaugural event will start somewhere in the northeast of town and ramble across our many publicly-accessible fields, woods, and hills to arrive in the village for a light picnic and libations. The route will be eight to ten miles and will be marked.  
We will try to limit time spent on pavement while 
visiting some of our favorite haunts. Gina Perini and Peter Benedict have been very generous in offering their beautiful yard as our finish location. Our goal is to start at noon and shuttle folks from Groton center to the trail head. The GCT will provide a leader and a sweep but people are encouraged to move at their own pace and bring their packs with the usual hiking essentials. Please expect to guide yourself at times but each intersection will be marked. As we get closer, registrants will get an information package on logistics and a map of the route. If the numbers are too great for Gina and Peter to host, we will divert some finishers to other homes in the village. We will need you to register for the event by contacting   Mark Gerath .  
Groton Conservation Forum: A Recap
 by Rick Muehlke 
15 conservation-minded organizations met for the fifth annual Groton Conservation Forum. This year it was organized by Olin Lathrop of the Groton Conservation Commission. The featured speaker was Paul Catanzaro, professor of Forestry at UMass Amherst.

Professor Catanzaro spoke on "Increasing Forest Resiliency for an Uncertain Future." He gave the audience a science-based review of succession in New England forests, starting from pastures reverting to forests, and ending at forests 1000 years old. Acre for acre, younger forests pull more CO2 from the atmosphere. But older forests retain and hold more CO2 per acre, because of the larger mass of wood that they contain. He also explained how MA forests are a net absorber or "sink" for carbon dioxide, thus helping to mitigate the effects of the rapidly increasing CO2 in the atmosphere. He showed how forests of uneven age and multiple species seem to be more resilient in our new era of climate change. A lively question and answer session ensued.
After Professor Catanzaro's talk, the organizations present gave brief reports on their most important accomplishments in 2018 and their plans for 2019. GCT's Vice President Mark Gerath outlined the goals for GCT in 2019: 
  • Repeat the programs that have been so popular including the Summer Solstice party at The General Field; Vernal Pool exploration on the Throne; Eyes on Owls; others;
  • Better engage our members and volunteers in projects and events;
  • Host at least three new, fun, active, educational events in Groton;
  • Secure a grant to restore native plants at Moors Schoolhouse with the help of Groton School and the Groton History Center;
  • Begin a multi-year restoration of the Bates-Blackman properties including management of the meadows, reconfiguration of the picnic area, rebuilding the bog bridges, and coordination with Indian Hill Music on shared improvements (see David Black's report below);
  • Apply for re-accreditation with the Land Trust Accreditation Commission and continue to adopt best practices for the GCT's management;
  • Act on opportunities to permanently protect ecologically important land;
  • Hire a half-time coordinator to help with our conservation, education, and community programs.
Bates Land Project
by David Black
I will initiate the second phase of the invasive species control project during the last week of May, working with my environmental science students at Groton School to document the patterns of revegetation in the areas cleared of invasive plants. In the fall, we spent six afternoons working in this area and in the area along the path to remove the largest of the buckthorns in an effort to reduce site fruit production. In the actual study area we cleared most of the regrowth in the disastrous cut stump treatment area, and seeded much of the bare soil in the herbicide treatment area with a wetland stabilization mix hoping that the glyphosate had degraded to the point that growth is possible. Rather than trying to reestablish the large plots, I propose shifting to smaller plots (approximately 1m2, using a thrown hula hoop to randomize the location. Please do not be surprised when you see a hoop stuck in a tree above my reach; the wind will eventually solve the problem. Any of you have worked with 16 year olds understand the problem) and recording the abundance of the most common species of native and invasive plant species. We will remove invasive plants from the plots tallied, although I have mixed feelings about this. I think it is important that we continue to work to make this an active conservation area for native plants. 
The Groton Conservation Trust is a private, non-profit land trust in Groton, Massachusetts. It was founded in 1964 to acquire, preserve, and provide public access to lands with significant conservation value. The Trust is governed by a Board of Trustees made up of Groton residents with varied backgrounds, occupations and interests. 

You are receiving this email as an interested member of the GCT.
Renew your membership In March and get a special gift!
Thank you to everyone who renewed your membership (or joined!) at the end of the year.  It is never too late to add your support to the important work we do for Groton with your paid membership. 
A family membership is just $50.  To encourage you to renew in the month of March, we are offering a free copy of Kevin Gardner's book.  These will also be available at the May meeting.    

Moors Schoolhouse
by David Black

The grant application (The Freedom's Way grant) has been submitted, but much work will proceed no matter the outcome of the request. I will have a group of about 15 people on the site the morning of May 18th (I will post the exact time when the schedule for our Community Engagement Day is finalized). All are welcome to join us at this event. I plan to place a biodegradable barrier down in the potential planting areas which will remain in place until the fall, recognizing that this will require repair over the summer. I will also get a preliminary ethnobotanical plant list together by the end of April.
Not sure how to use iNaturalist?
Here are some video tutorials that can help you get started.  Practice makes it second nature!

Quick Links 
(where Amazon donates to the GCT with every purchase!)

Meet GCT's newest trustee: Heather Rielly

Heather became a Trustee in December of 2018 and serves on the Finance Committee.  She and her family moved to Groton in June of 2016 and were largely drawn here due to the abundance of beautiful conserved lands and open spaces. Her favorite is right in her front yard: The General Field. Heather's background is in Finance. She is a Business Banking Relationship Manager with a focus on working with Non-profits. She is also involved locally with helping to lead the Town of Groton Non-Profit Council and sits on the board of the Development Committee for The Price Center in Newton.  Heather's ability to engage others and to form and implement ideas, are an asset to GCT.

Your membership helps us do our work and protect these properties.

Renew Now! Do so in March and we will send you Kevin Gardner's book: The Granite Kiss.