Trustee David Black and his Groton School crew working on Moors.

As we move into the winter months, we are happy to report on the very productive summer and fall months on GCT property. With the completion of the Moors Schoolhouse project, Groton has a bit of history restored (see the article below). The work continues on our first property, The Bates Land, to reclaim the land from invasive species. The effort has brought together a wonderful group of volunteers who are working hard to rescue this gem. We had a fantastic turn out for first Groton Traverse, and as you will read, there is a thirst for more!

Our year would it be complete without an walk and talk with Tom Wessels as part of our contribution to REI's Optoutside on Black Friday. This is always a special treat, made possible through a grant from the Commissioners of Trust Funds.  
Also, remember we share the outside with hunters during these chilly months. We have complete information on MA hunting and our properties, so please check it out before heading out.  And there is no hunting on Sundays in MA! 

Finally, your membership is more important that ever to us as we work to secure critical properties, manage the beauties we have and create opportunities for everyone to enjoy the outdoors. Please join us with your support! 
Conservation, Education and History

Groton Conservation Trust has a legacy of interweaving education with conservation. We are pleased to announce the completion of a project that integrates conservation, education, and Groton history at the site of the former Moors School on Moors Road, just off Farmers Row by the General  Field. 
With the generous support of the Groton School and a 2019 Partnership Grant from Freedom's Way National Heritage Area, Groton Conservation Trust Trustee and Groton School teacher David Black recently led the final push of a multi-year effort to transform the Moors Schoolhouse land into an educational garden filled with native medicinal plants. The purpose of the garden is to teach visitors about the native fauna used by indigenous peoples of this area for food, medicine, and religious purposes, and carried by early settlers to this area for their medicine cabinets. 
Moors School was one of many early district schoolhouses in Groton charged with teaching students ages 5-15. Established in the early 1800s, Moors School taught generations of Groton students, and was one of the last of the fourteen Groton district schools to remain before Groton centralized its education in the early 20th century. After closing in 1911, the building stood for many years before falling into disrepair and eventually being destroyed.
The footprint of the school's physical foundation remains, along with a beautiful kiosk placed by local Scouts. Through the Groton School Community Engagement Program, student volunteers began removing overgrowth in 2016, clearing vegetation from within and around the foundation, eventually revealing the outline of the original building foundation. This year, the final leg of this project was completed: the students spread new topsoil to form planting beds, and working with the horticulturalists at Nasami Farm (part of the Native Plant Trust), a list of appropriate native plants was developed and planted within the foundation, shrubs with medicinal value were planted around the entry path, and the perimeter of the foundation was seeded with a native wildflower mix. 
Groton Conservation Trust has also partnered with the Groton Historical Society to enhance signage at the site to include more information about the history of the school. The Groton Historical Society has preserved documents with first hand accounts of the school, and will be able to share facts and photos about this important part of Groton's educational history.
Groton Conservation Trust is committed to maintaining the property through a dedicated endowment, and thanks the critical contributions of the Native Plant Trust for its guidance and plants; the Groton School and its students for the contribution of supplies and many hours of hard physical work required to restore this unique property; and critical financial support from Freedom's Way. This project is funded in part by a grant from the Freedom's Way National Heritage Area .
Bates Land Transformation
GCT volunteers have spent many weekends in 2019 working to restore and clear fallen trees and invasives at Bates. When you next visit, you'll notice most of the meadows have been mowed and many fallen trees have been removed. The picnic area has been cleared on both sides, pushing back on many aggressive invasives and freeing the rhododendrons to bloom expansively next spring. Our wood and brush piles are impressive, a reflection of many hours with chainsaws and weed wrenches. The volunteer work days require plenty of elbow grease and muscle power, but the great camaraderie and conversations, along with much joking and storytelling, make the work enjoyable.   
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 and get a special gift!

It's membership renewal time and we have a special incentive for you: the GCT patch (pictured above). These iron-on patches can go on backpacks, clothing, anywhere you want to show your support of Groton's open spaces. A family membership is $50, or donate whatever is comfortable for you.   We also have the GCT car decals, just ask for yours! 

A Walk and Talk with Tom: Nov 29 10 AM, SKITAPET
Optoutside on Black Friday with us as we enjoy the Skitapet Woods and learning the history of the Lost Lake area with noted environmentalist   Tom Wessels. This is a very popular event and a special thank you to all of you for your support all year long.

Parking is available at the Lost Lake Fire Department lot. Please carpool if possible. Afterwards, join us at the Groton Inn to warm up and get signed copies of Tom's wonderful books. Please contact Katy
if you want to join us.
Tom's visit is made possible with a grant from the Groton Commissioners of Trust Funds.

A Traverse Through Groton Conservation 

On a bright September 29, over 20 hearty hikers took off to walk across about 10 miles of Groton. The trek started at the Gamlin Crystal Springs east ridge and ended with a lively and celebratory gathering in the center of Groton at the home of members Gina Perini and Peter Benedict.  The route represented much of the terrain found in Groton, woods, fields, marshes, drumlins, and introduced new conservation places to may of our trekkers.
The good news if you missed it, everyone wants to do it again! So plans are in the works for another traverse following another area in Groton. Stay tuned for details for next year.  And do you have an idea for a long, 10 mile or so walk? Contact trustee Mark Gerath.

Quick Links
Not sure how to use iNaturalist?

Here are some video tutorials that can help you get started.  Practice makes it second nature!

Our citizen scientists have been capturing some outstanding images these last few months. Visit our FaceBook page and follow the GCT on Instagram to make sure you see it all.