~ January 2020 Newsletter ~
!! Exciting News !!


T he Grafton Land Trust is excited to announce the purchase of 31.7 acres in two contiguous parcels at 34 Brown's Rd and 168 Rear Upton St across Route 140 from Silver Lake near Stowe Rd, to be preserved as open space forever. Generous donations to the Green Grafton Fund over a long period of time along with funds from memberships and other donations made this purchase possible. This wonderful property is situated in the MA State Miscoe Brook Area of Critical Environmental Concern and has been part of the town's "Eastern Corridor Greenway" strategy for nearly two decades. The forestry operation was stopped when we went under contract with the previous owner in early July, saving most of the trees. More information to come, and a dedication ceremony will happen when the property is cleaned up and ready for the public - watch this space!
In the picture below, the blue and orange parcels situated between Brown's Rd and Route 140 are the ones just purchased. See Silver Lake in the lower right.
The GLT sign is up - we'll put up the standard big one once we get our permit and have the trails ready
Board of Directors for 2020:

Rob Aberg ~ President
Pat Haggerty ~ Vice President
Todd Berry ~ Treasurer
Karen Eisenhauer ~ Secretary
Kenneth Holberger
Steven Lemoine
Chris Lemay
Paul Grady
Ann Morgan
Carolyn Weeks
Dawn Geoffroy
Jennifer Davy
Michael O'Farrell

GLT Office Manager: Marie Berardi
?? GLT Fun Fact ??

Do you know how many acres GLT protects ?
**See answer below**
StoryBook Trail 2019
CONGRATULATIONS FORMER BOARD MEMBER George Durfee. George was recently honored with the prestigious 2019 Lifetime Titanium Achievement Award by the International Titanium Association for his achievements in titanium forging and processing - well done, George!
Land Trust volunteers come from all backgrounds - this shows that YOU can volunteer too, all it takes is some interest and a little of your time!
Trail Crew News
Roots in Nature Stewards teamed up with new friends from Grafton Land Trust-Pat and Shelly-to pick up trash, cut back bittersweet and explore the trail in the Gummere Woods, right off of Wheeler Rd. Thanks for making Grafton shine, everyone!
Janet Burgess commanding GLT's mighty D-R Field & Brush Mower on the Webber CR property:
Trail Stewards and Volunteers Brandon Peterson, Janet & Steve Burgess, Mike O'Farrell, Willie Jacobsz, Rob Havasy, Tim Rick, Pat Haggerty, Rob Aberg, Ken Holberger, and Steve Lemoine cleared and cleaned trails all year on Gummere, Anderson-Crosier, Webber, Mazza Farms, Hassanamesit Woods, and other properties during the year - keeping up with Mother Nature!
Sanctuary on North Street continues to get cleanup attention from the Nicholsons, Scott Rossiter, and the rest of the crew - looking great, guys! They even found TWO MORE old wells. And surprise, surprise, the first well is now full of water after all the rain - good spot for a well, right? Learn more about the Forbush Sanctuary trails & history on the GLT web site:

FORBUSH CLEANUP, the North Street Gang kept busy all fall. They cleared invasive bittersweet vines, cleaned up some DUMPING (who does that?!), and found 3 old wells. We put their locations on the Trailforks map if you want to visit them yourself. The full North St Gang consists of at least the following people who love Grafton: Scott Rossiter, Bill Nicholson, Dave Nicholson, Wade Burch, Doreen DeFazio, Paul Opacki, and Bob Feldstein - let them know you appreciate their hard work!
S pecial thanks to our North Street crew for also removing an illegally dumped trampoline in the Forbush Sanctuary!
A BIG THANK YOU to Fitch Proctor and his little helper for clearing out the blockage under the bridge at Gummere Wood!!
~ Kestrels ~
For the 5th year in a row, we have American kestrels nesting in Grafton ....... What a great project! On July 3rd, Massachusetts state Ornithologist Andrew Vitz came out and successfully banded all four of Grafton's 2019 baby kestrels with the help of Troy Gipps, Dean Cerrati, and Nick Aberg. Drew estimated them at 23 days old, three were nearly fledged and ready to fly away. (photos: Troy Gipps and Rob Aberg)
MATCHING NAVIGATION AID: now there are a PAIR of guideposts to connect the trails between the Marsters Preserve and the Williams Preserve - the second aid is up on the Brigham Hill Connector, just 100 yards away (and across the street) from its mate on the Marsters Preserve. As you exit one property, the post guides you to the other one A lot of people didn't know that you can go for miles and miles on Brigham Hill and only cross the road once.

Hopefully this new little sign on the back of the new Marsters Preserve post on Brigham Hill Rd will guide folks up the street 100 yards to the next sign to continue their travels to the Williams, Rita Martin, and Knowlton Preserves, plus Potter Hill Meadows and the Martha Deering trails, all the way to Riverlin St. in Millbury!
** Answer to GLT's fun fact ** Grafton Land Trust protects 908 acres ,
that's 42 more acres
than last year.

Acquisition of the 4 parcels of the Robinson 61B withdrawal by the Town of Grafton was funded by Grafton voters Monday May 13, 2019 at the Special Town Meeting. The Grafton Land Trust met with the town and CPC to support the warrant article and also raised public awareness with numerous postings and submissions to local papers. Now nearly all of the remaining open space around Silver Lake is preserved FOREVER - just 2 parcels remain. The Grafton Land Trust will hold a Conservation Restriction (easement) on the 4 new parcels to ensure they remain wild.
This map shows the 4 new parcels with all of the open space parcels already owned by either the town Conservation Commission, the Grafton Land Trust, or the Grafton Rec Department.
New Town Park for Grafton: GLT has been working with the Engvall Family to preserve their family farm at 93 North St, formerly a Christmas tree farm. It has tremendous promise as a wild park in town with trails, wildlife, community gardening, and potentially a farmer's market area. So the Engvall family has decided to donate the land to the Inhabitants of the Town of Grafton to make such a park, to be named the Ainsworth Memorial Park.
In the great Hall @ 1 Grafton Common, a great time had by everyone in a beautiful room. Our Guest speaker was Madison Berardi, a senior at Grafton High School who showed off her Gold Award project that she is currently working on - a book about GLT for elementary school children to learn about land conservation and prepare to become the next generation that carries our land forward into the future. The Gold Award is the highest level of achievement in Girl Scouts. The kayak raffle drawing closed out the evening, performed by Grafton's own *impartial* George Durfee! (photos by: Ann Morgan and Marie Berardi)
Christopher Blessing with his new GLT kayak - Congratulations, Chris!
Shopping on Amazon ?
AmazonSmile is a website operated by  Amazon  with the same products, prices, and shopping features as  Amazon .com. The difference is that when you shop on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the charitable organization of your choice. 
GLT MAPS for 300+ trails are now on the free TRAILFORKS app and website. Volunteers led by Willie Jacobsz have entered all the Grafton Trails on Trailforks to our website, including dozens of parking locations and points of interest. Install the free Trailforks app on your smart phone to confidently learn Grafton's 300+ public trails, along with trails throughout the world, too. Not only can you see where you are on the trail, you can report blockages just by taking a photo, and even record and share your walk or ride. Try it yourself - it's free! Our printable maps are also available from one combined maps page:
Grafton Girl Scout Troop Visits Potter Hill
Grafton Girl Scout Senior Troop 30162 explored local eating with Paul of Potter Hill Farm! They learned a lot about the challenges of farming in New England, CSAs, rotating fields, chickens(!) and how local restaurants can buy local ingredients. And yes, that's Mt. Wachusett! A huge Thank you to our board member Paul Grady for hosting the troop and giving them such an informative talk.
In March, GLT Director and new VP Pat Haggerty led a group of children and parents on a tour of Potter Hill Meadows to see winter wildlife tracks in the snow. The kids had fun learning how locomotion determines the shapes of tracks for bunnies, foxes, mice, raccoons, birds, and deer - all present and accounted for in the field. A beautiful morning on Potter Hill!
~ Safari Walk ~
[ Narrative by Helen Blazis of the Grafton Garden Club: ]
The Safari into Grafton’s Hennessy I property produced many of the hoped-for birds, butterflies, and creatures, great and small. Co-sponsored by the Grafton Garden Club and the Grafton Land Trust, the walk was led by renowned nature guide and Outdoors writer for the T&G Mark Blazis, Dolores Price of the Mass Butterfly Club, and Rob Aberg, president of the Grafton Land Trust.
Of the eight species of butterflies, the Silvery Blue was rare and thrilling to find. We also saw many Monarchs, Clouded Sulfurs, Pearl Crescents, Common Ringlets, Spring Azurs, Long-dash Skippers, and a surprising Arctic Skipper.
One highlight was sighting a red-tailed hawk being harassed by blackbirds, including one that was actually riding on the hawk’s back! A pair of mating cormorants was unexpected. The beaver dams have produced so many ponds that it’s not surprising we encountered a kingfisher, several great blue herons, and a pair of mallards. Our abundance of gypsy moth caterpillars has lured in the black billed cuckoo, uncommon for Grafton. The songs and sights of other breeding birds delighted the participants: yellow warbler, song sparrow, common yellowthroat, warbling vireo, tree swallow, gray catbird, red-winged blackbird, American robin, and common grackle.
Adorable critters seen were: Eastern cottontail, painted turtle, water snake and numerous frogs.
The fields we explored were filled with hedgerows for the rabbits, ponds for mammals and water fowl, and luscious flowers needed by both birds and butterflies. Of importance were the milkweed, vetch, wild geranium, clover, buttercups, and other species.
Grafton is rich in so many ways. Not least is the abundance of wildlife supported by our protected open space.
Studying how the beak of a falcon differs from the beak of a hawk (picture above). Mark Blazis explains the characteristics of the kestrel, using this antique stuffed kestrel from the late 1800's. It has been illegal to kill raptors and songbirds for any reason since 1914. (picture below)
photo's by Rob Aberg
New Gummere Kiosk

IT'S UP! The Gummere kiosk by the parking area at the bottom of Wheeler Road now has a trail map and local outdoor information for activities with the Grafton Land Trust, Grafton Recreation Dept., and Roots in Nature.
New Property Signs: we've been keeping up with new properties so you can find trailheads and more easily find GLT properties.
Thank you to everyone who visited our Frosty Stop this December 8th !!! What a huge turnout we had. Participants enjoyed making reindeer bags for their reindeer food. Thank you to our fabulous High School volunteers Jamie & Juliana.
~ Grant Updates ~
MSES Butterfly Way Station Expansion
Photo's by: Juanita Roth, 2nd grade teacher at MSES.
Mrs. Roth at Millbury Street Elementary School expanded the butterfly way station behind the school and purchased additional nectar producing plants to attract the monarch butterflies.
NSES Butterfly Garden/Outdoor Classroom
North Street Elementary School's Garden/Outdoor Classroom Team of Principal, Teachers and Parent Volunteer created a living learning space to attract butterflies, raised beds for herbs and vegetables, room to compost, and seating for 25 students with a whiteboard/chalkboard. Classes will be held in this outdoor space and the students will learn about the butterfly life cycle and observe them in the own environment.
Saying Goodbye
Since our last newsletter, we have had to say goodbye to three long-time supporters of Grafton Land Trust:

Dick Harris , pictured left, was one of the founders of the Grafton Land Trust. It was in his living room in 1958 that the articles of incorporation were signed to form the Grafton Forest Association. He and his wife donated the Harris Preserve to the Land Trust.

Philip Platt , center, donated the Platt Preserve in Hassanamesit Woods to the Land Trust, together with his wife.

Jean Anderson , right, was a long-time Land Trust supporter, advocate, and wonderful person. She and her husband donated the Anderson-Crosier Wood property to the Land Trust.

Farewell, you will all be missed.

The Grafton Land Trust is a private, non-profit, member-supported organization that preserves, maintains, and advocates for open space in Grafton.
Company Overview
Founded in 1958, the Grafton Forest Association was established by residents of Grafton, Massachusetts who had the foresight to see the long term benefits of la...nd conservation.
We are now known as the Grafton Land Trust (GLT), and we continue to work closely with landowners, federal, state, and local governments, and other conservation groups to permanently preserve open space and natural ecosystems in Grafton, Mass. Six hundred and twenty acres are now protected. Despite this great accomplishment, we must all continue our work and ensure that precious land is preserved for future generations.

The MISSION of the Grafton Land Trust is to:

ACQUIRE and maintain open space in the town of Grafton....
INFORM landowners of conservation options for their properties.
ADVOCATE for open space in all appropriate forums.
WORK in partnership with town officials and others on conservation projects.
CREATE and maintain trails on select properties for public use.
HOST programs and events for public education and enjoyment.

GRANT funds to local educators to assist in nature education.

PARTICIPATE in local and regional planning efforts for open space.ACCEPT and hold conservation restrictions on private and public properties.


Since 1958 we have worked to conserve our precious ecological inheritance in the face of unbridled development. Please help! Membership dues help to pay for the operating expenses of the Trust. These include the cost of land surveys, environmental assessments, preparation of deeds for transactions and recording of deeds as well as for general office supplies, fund raising and educational events.

If you’d like to join with us to protect and preserve the places that make Grafton, Mass. special, please send in the membership application today. You’ll receive event notices, alerts on town issues relating to open space, and opportunities to help make a difference for Grafton’s future.

Visit http://www.graftonland.org to download our membership application or to join online!
above: the Williams Preserve on a winter afternoon (photo: Marie Berardi)