Announcing our new citizen science tool, Chronolog, a photo stand for our visitors to take pictures from the Upper Meadow (near the Lone Wolf trail) looking north towards Main Street (Route 30). The stand is right by our new beautiful bench built and installed by Cassie Melo for her Eagle Scout project. You, the visitor, take a picture and email it to the Chronolog site, helping to produce a time lapse set of photos all taken from the same spot over time and seasons. Let the fun begin! You will receive a confirmation with a Chronolog link for the Beals Preserve time lapse photos. Learn more at https://solf.org/beals-preserve-chronolog-project/.
The Chronolog project is co-sponsored by SOLF and SWCA Environmental Consultants.
Southborough Open Land Foundation had its Annual Meeting on Wednesday, May 10 at the Community House at 28 Main Street in Southborough. The evening started at 6 pm with light refreshments, followed at 7 pm with Trustee introductions and remarks, the presentation of the 2023 Elaine Beals Conservation Award to Al Bezanson, and a program by Trustee Debbie Costine entitled, “A Virtual Walk in the Woods.”
Allan Bezanson, long-time Southborough resident, and native of Northborough, has, since his retirement, had a big impact on preservation; first in devoting hundreds of hours to saving the historic Burnett property and since then sharing his stunning photos of beautiful natural sights from Great Blue Herons, to goldfinches to ponds with amazing reflections. It is when we love and appreciate something that we will work to preserve it. [Presentation by Debbie Costine]
Thanks to Cassie Melo and her Eagle Scout project, visitors to The Elaine and Philip Beals Preserve can now take advantage of two beautiful oak benches on which they can relax and enjoy the scenery. Cassie, a member of Troop #823, along with some help from her father, John Melo, built and then on April 9 transported the two benches to the Beals Preserve Main Street parking lot. Trustee Whit Beals and his gator transported the benches to the placement sites. One of the benches is across from the Lone Wolf Trail entrance in the Upper Meadow. The second is along the Riding Ring Trail, on the right, under some pine trees. Congratulations to Cassie on a job well done!
The first set of pictures was a walk with Cassie to determine placement in the Upper Meadow.
Light pollution is an ever growing problem as land is continuously developed. Without an eye towards the future, open land conservation, and responsible lighting choices, we’ll lose what little we have left on the planet for truly dark skies.
Visit our page under Resources to learn about the Dark Skies initiative in Southborough.
Recently Daisy Scout Troop #64042 did some trail work at SOLF’s little “Clark Grove” property on Highland St. They even cleaned our sign! We love that we’ve been able to create a small trail for a neighborhood to enjoy. Thank you troop #64042 and leader Phaea Crede !
On Monday, November 28, eight employees from the SWCA Environmental Consultants office in Southborough volunteered at Bigelow Wildlife Refuge, spreading wood chips and pulling invasive honeysuckle. Thank you, Ariel and group for thinking of us!
On Sunday, November 20, Cub Scout Pack 1 learned about and practiced trail maintenance at two of our properties, Beals Preserve and Templeman Woods.
The older Cub Scouts and their parents worked with Board members Brett Peters and Larry Samberg at Templeman Woods-Watkins Woods off Rt. 85 by the Mass Pike overpass. With some hard work, they improved trail conditions through addition of new trail markers, clearing limbs and other trail blockages, enhancing trail sight lines, and cleaning up trash and litter from the area. Big thanks to the Scouts and parents who stepped up to help out!
The younger Cub Scouts and their parents worked with Board members Whit Beals, Debbie Costine, Lawrence Spezzano, and Eileen Samberg at Beals Preserve, starting at the Red Gate entrance. The Scouts learned about the importance of water bars to channel water off the trail, and helped clear them. Then the group walked down the trail to the Riding Ring junction, where they learned about invasives, pulled bittersweet and small buckthorn and burning bush saplings, watched and helped Whit Beals use a “puller bear” to pull larger buckthorn and burning bush saplings out by their roots. Big thanks to the Scouts and parents!
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.
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.
As of August 2022, there is now just off-road parallel parking available for one or two cars on a cleared wood-chip area. Please do not park on Bigelow Road as it has no shoulder and parking is not allowed in the turn-around at the end of Bigelow Road. (Alternatively, visitors can drive to Walker Street in Westborough and park at the SVT Sawink Farm parking lot. From the lot, it’s a 1400-foot walk along the old farm road to Bigelow Road and the entrance to Bigelow Wildlife Refuge.)
One of the challenges at Bigelow Wildlife Refuge is control of knotweed, primarily at the front of the property. Another is maintaining the trail to the viewing platform. Trustee Lawrence Spezzano has been instrumental in overseeing and organizing work projects. In the spring of 2022, Lawrence laid down wire mesh to slow the growth of knotweed and over time may stop the growth. In July 2022, a work party — Lawrence Spezzano, Whit Beals, Larry Samberg, Eileen Samberg, Kathryn Korostoff — weeded the front and the path, and spread a thick layer of wood chips.
Southborough Open Land Foundation PO Box 345 Southborough, MA 01772
A Special Thanks
SOLF extends a special thank you to Jack Downs of Elder, Gaffey & Paine, PC, Marlborough, MA, for his pro bono tax preparation services.