Author Archives: Eileen Samberg

Bigelow Wildlife Refuge Update: Knotweed Control

Although best known for the rustic landscapes and hiking trails of our Beals Preserve, did you know SOLF also maintains about 20 properties and community spaces in town? SOLF trustee Lawrence Spezzano and volunteers having been working to remove invasives and beautify our newest property trail at our Bigelow Wildlife Refuge near the end of Bigelow Road in Southborough. If interested in helping, please contact SOLF at info@solf.org. When you come to work, bring gloves, firm rake or pruners, if you have them!

Lawrence has been laying down a wire mesh to slow the growth of knotweed. As the stems continue to grow, they will expand in diameter. At a certain point, the stems will push against the steel mesh and girdle themselves. The surface growth (stems and leaves) of the plant wilts and will eventually die, but the rhizome will continue to push new stems up through the ground (and wire mesh). This will continually kill the stems and will lead to the depletion of rhizome carbohydrate stores, which are required by the stems for growth.

Earth Day Walk at Beals Preserve on April 22

As part of the town-wide Planet Palooza Earth Celebration, SOLF sponsored “A Walk Back in Time” on April 22 at 11am at Beals Preserve – a review of the history of the Beals Preserve use since 1900. Participants met at the Pollinator Preservation Garden in the Main Street Field at Beals Preserve for a brief overview of the new pollinator garden before heading out for the history & nature walk. Kathryn Korostoff and Freddie Gillespie gave the garden presentation, and Whitney Beals gave a engrossing talk about the agricultural use and acquisition of the fields that became Beals Preserve.

Donate to the Linda Hubley Fund via SOLF and SOLF Will Match

What?: The Trustees of SOLF are issuing a challenge. We will match donations to the newly established Linda Hubley Scholarship Fund up to a total of $1000. Make this donation as part of the town-wide Planet Palooza Earth Day Celebration.

Why?: Linda was one of Southborough’s champions of the environment. .SOLF recognized Linda’s lifelong devotion to environmental protection by awarding her the Elaine Beals Conservation Award in 2010. We want to continue honoring her legacy by supporting the newly established Linda Hubley Scholarship Fund. You can read about the scholarship and Linda at https://www.mysouthborough.com/2022/03/04/town-announces-linda-hubley-memorial-scholarship/.

How?: Send a check payable to the Linda Hubley Scholarship Fund and mail it to:
SOLF, PO Box 345, Southborough, MA 01772, or donate online on our Support SOLF Today page (details on that page). We will see that it gets to the town scholarship committee, but need to have it mailed to our address for the match.


Beals Preserve Clean-up: Most Saturdays – Volunteers welcome

Since April 2, Board members and volunteers have been meeting most Saturdays (weather permitting) around 9 or 10 am to continue invasive removal and clean-up, starting at the kiosk at Beals Preserve and working up the lane. Follow us on Facebook for the next dates. We welcome help! Please comment on the Facebook post announcing the clean-up or email us at info@solf.org if you are interested in helping to maintain our signature property for everyone’s enjoyment. Bring sturdy gloves, loppers etc. View our efforts on the Beals Preserve blog.

SOLF Spring Clean-up Has Begun

On Saturday, April 2, trustees Eileen Samberg, Lawrence Spezzano, and I met up with SOLF volunteer Brett Peters to begin what we plan to be weekly sessions of trail work and invasive plant clean-up at our properties, starting at The Elaine and Philip Beals Preserve. SOLF president Whitney Beals came by to give his thoughts on possible priority areas, like the old farm lane through the middle of the preserve for starters. There are some native shrubs we will save and feature: especially high bush blueberry, elderberry and silky dogwood.

We accomplished an impressive amount of clearing in the vicinity of the kiosk. (see before and after photos) Once we started, it was hard to stop — digging in to the oriental bittersweet, japanese honeysuckle, and very thorny Multiflora rose. Eileen had appeared first thing with new information beautifully designed and laminated to put in the kiosk. She had replaced the plexiglass in the doors previously after discovering some “projectile” holes of some sort.

We found our new volunteer Brett to be enthusiastic energetic and amiable, ready to dive into physical work as a break from sitting long hours at his desk.

The prior Saturday, new volunteer Meghan Ackley, (also energetic and enthusiastic), Eileen, and I tackled some of the nasty and highly invasive Japanese barberry encroaching the trail further up on the old farm lane.

It is truly heart-warming to see this progress! We are looking forward to continued productive Saturday mornings!

Next session: Saturday, April 9, 10:00 am meeting at the kiosk. We welcome help! Please email us at info@solf.org if you are interested in helping to maintain our signature property for everyone’s enjoyment. Bring sturdy gloves, loppers etc. (cancelled in the event of rain).

Debbie Costine SOLF Vice President

Native Pollinator Garden at Beals

SOLF is working in conjunction with the Southborough Open Space Preservation Commission to build a native plant pollinator garden in The Main Street Field section of Beals Preserve. Preliminary work was done last summer and fall to prepare an area for the garden. This spring and summer, additional preparation will be done and plants planted. We will be looking for volunteers to help with this project.

Stewardship & STC “Scoop the Poop” Education Campaign

SOLF supports the Stewardship and Trails Committees’ Scoop the Poop campaign to protect our conservation lands, our trails, our wildlife habitat, our water, and to keep Southborough clean and beautiful. Over the coming weeks they will be posting information to promote awareness about the importance of picking up dog waste and where dog walking is not permitted. Please watch the link below to learn about the best practices for managing dog waste and the danger of improper disposal: https://bit.ly/3IM5CqX This initiative is funded by a 2021 Choate Fund Grant. #Soboscoopsthepoop

Art on the Trails 2022: June 13 to September 11

The Southborough Open Land Foundation, in collaboration with Southborough Artist Catherine Weber, is pleased to present the 2022 Art On the Trails, with the theme: EXPOSURE. The exhibition will be installed from June 13 to September 11, 2022 at Beals Preserve. With the generous support again this year from Southborough Community Fund and the Southborough Cultural Arts Council, all accepted artists will again receive $100 stipends.

Platform at Bigelow Wildlife Refuge

SOLF was the beneficiary of Robby Stewart’s hard work and skills as he finished his Eagle Scout project in the spring of 2021. After presenting his project several times to the Southborough Conservation Commission to get approval, he organized his troop to build a viewing platform at SOLF’s Bigelow Wildlife Refuge. The troop also removed many invasive plants to clear the way for the path to the platform. Viewers can now look out over a large wetland area to watch birds and other wildlife. Many thanks to Robby and Boy Scout Troop 1 for their hard work.

Platform at Bigelow Wildlife Refuge