Category Archives: Beals Preserve Blog

History Walk by Whit Beals on October 16, 2022

Whitney Beals, president of the Southborough Open Land Foundation (SOLF), led a group of about sixteen on a history walk at the Elaine and Philip Beals Preserve on Sunday, October 16 , 2022.

In the 1950s, Whit’s family purchased land on both Chestnut Hill north of route 30 and what is now the Beals Preserve south of route 30. You can read his entertaining and educational talk, describing the land purchase, the conservation restrictions to save the land from development, the history of the ice pond, and plans to maintain the trails, the forest, and the meadows.

You can read a transcript of his talk here.

Beals Preserve Main Street Field Parking Area

We are happy to announce that there is now a small parking area at the Beals Preserve Main Street Field on Route 30. The entrance to the parking area is on the south side of Main Street, between two stone pillars, east of Northborough Road and west of Chestnut Hill Road. Pull into the fenced area (it is currently grass, but will likely be layered with wood chips), and park perpendicular to the road at the stone wall, to the right of the sign post. Walk down the field through the opening in the fence to the lane and then across the bridge over the Wachusett channel.

Beals Preserve Clean-up on September 11, 2022

SOLF trustees and volunteers worked for a few hours Saturday morning September 11 to spruce up the primary entrance of the Beals Preserve: around the kiosk and bridge on the old farm lane that goes down from Main Street. We did this to properly welcome and accommodate the visitors attending the closing and poetry reading of the annual Art on the Trails on September 12.

Pollination Preservation Garden Planting at Beals Preserve – September 2022

Freddie Gillespie, chair of the Southborough Open Space Preservation Commission, has been recruiting volunteers to install a Pollination Preservation Garden at SOLF’s Beals Preserve. Preliminary work was done last summer and fall. After poison ivy control work and garden prep in June, volunteers did a major planting on July 16–17.

Volunteers did another major planting on Saturday, July 23, in spite of the heat wave. Volunteers, including SOLF Board Members Sally Watters, Debbie Costine, Larry Samberg, Eileen Samberg, and SOLF volunteers Brett Peters and Kathryn Korostoff, started early at 8 am and worked to almost 12 noon. Great job, everyone!

Volunteers worked again on Saturday, July 30, taking the project close to completion. And more work was done on Saturday, August 6.

The Pollination Preservation Garden is getting a lot of love from Freddie Gillespie and her volunteers. Here is how it looks on September 14, 2022.

Clean-up at Beals Preserve Is Ongoing

Board members and volunteers have been meeting at the Beals Preserve kiosk on Saturdays at 10 am to do invasive clean-up, remove overgrowth from valuable trees and shrubs, and reveal the stone wall along the lane. Please join us! Follow us on Facebook for the next dates or email us at Bring sturdy gloves, loppers, etc.

Debbie Costine, on Saturday, May 14, once again rounded up volunteers to work at Beals Preserve, continuing cleanup around the kiosk area and under the large juniper. Volunteers were Erin Flowers, Lawrence Spezzano, and Eileen Samberg. Debbie pointed out horsetail (equisetum) “spreading its wings”. About to move some brush, we discovered a bird’s nest with eggs, likely song sparrow, so we left the brush until the brood hatches and flies away.

Another successful cleanup day on Saturday, May 7. Whitney Beals, on his tractor, worked on the area by the kiosk and the old horse fence, removing a number of invasive honeysuckle shrubs and buckthorn saplings, and along with Eileen Samberg, freed the fence. Meanwhile Kathryn Korostoff and Debbie Costine pruned a silky dogwood, removing the overgrowth encroaching on the lane, and revealing more of the wall.

On April 30, Debbie Costine and Brett Peters cleared some of the wall, removing multiflora rose and bittersweet.

On April 16, Debbie Costine and Kathryn Korostoff (Native Plant Gardens of Southborough) were able to spend a couple of hours clearing invasives from one of the posts and gates near the kiosk.

Ongoing Saturday morning trail-work continues at Beals Preserve. On April 9, SOLF Trustees Debbie Costine and Eileen Samberg, and volunteer Brett Peters cleared out around an impressive High Bush Blueberry along the Old Farm Lane to feature its beautiful colors and structure. See the “before” (with Eileen and Brett) and after. Looking forward to seeing it bloom and berry. Next work day, April 16.

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.

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 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