Category Archives: What’s New

Beals Preserve Maintenance & Restoration

SOLF is undergoing some significant property restoration at the Beals Preserve. This includes the creation of a comprehensive management plan by “Conservation Works” that will include ecological resiliency. Our visitors have already noticed the beginning that has also created some pretty muddy areas in the process! We appreciate your patience!

Recently, Pete Westover from Conservation Works toured the property with Trustees Sally Watters, Debbie Costine, and Eileen Samberg. Also present were Freddie Gillespie Chair of the town’s Open Space Preservation Commission and SOLF Supporter and volunteer Kevin Sanford.

Left to right: Pete, Sally, Eileen, Freddie and Kevin.
Photo by Debbie Costine

Work at Bigelow Wildlife Refuge

This past Saturday, March 9, 2024, SOLF volunteers Kathryn Korostoff and Laurie Guertin joined trustees Lawrence Spezzano and Debbie Costine with some maintenance work at the Bigelow Preserve at the end of Bigelow Road. A large part of the work involved removing quite an excess of bittersweet vines and fallen branches.

On Saturday, March 16, SOLF Volunteers Kathryn Korostoff and Hannah Hayes joined trustee Debbie Costine to continue invasive vine removal at the property.

Upper left: Laurie and Lawrence return from assessing the necessary work. The viewing platform built by Eagle Scout Robby Stewart is in the background. Upper right: Lawrence pulling vines from a tree. Laurie working in the background. Lower left: Long time volunteer, Kathryn Korostoff cuts and tugs. Lower right: Trustee, Debbie Costine wallowed in the leaves and broken branches toward her goal of revealing beautiful moss on old logs.

Riding Ring Circle Reclaimed at Beals Preserve

In the early 1900s, Margaret Leland, daughter of Bostonian Samuel Carr, and her husband Charles Leland owned Chestnut Hill Farm and what is now known as Beals Preserve. The preserve was almost devoid of trees and was pasture land. A riding ring was built for the Leland family for horse riding practice.

The riding ring circle has now been brushed and is walk-able, with the old riding ring fencing and logs to mark the way.

Riding Ring then and now.

Winter 2024 Work at Beals Preserve

SOLF’s Beals Preserve is getting some valuable maintenance done thanks to the generosity of SOLF supporter Kevin Sanford and his brother Mike. Kevin has a long-time love of both the Beals Preserve and the Beals family. He promised his friend Whitney Beals, who died this past September 14 that he would take care of the fall mowing, but his enthusiasm is now providing so much more! Thank you Kevin, so much!

Work has continued all through January and into February, with assistance from some SOLF trustees and Scott Mooney Tree Service. In addition to fields being mowed, some damaged trees were removed, and a significant amount of unsightly brush was removed to reveal the the beautiful stone walls.

Maintenance can take its temporary toll, and there are some sections of the trails with tractor treads and mud. This spring, when the ground has dried out, those areas will be smoothed out and repaired. We realize it can be an inconvenience for now, but please bear with us.

We are working with a view towards positive conservation and land management, and preserving a mix of habitat and levels of growth is best for the area, compared to a single wooded forest.

Rock wall along Old Farm Lane

Old Farm Lane, looking north

Path between the two meadows, looking towards Old Farm Lane

View from Upper Meadow, looking north

The Maple Syrup Making Presentation Now Online

Have maple trees? Want to learn how to tap trees and make maple syrup?

On October 25, 2023, Tony Willoughby, an experienced maple syrup maker, gave a presentation on how you can make your own. You can now view the presentation!

The talk was courtesy of the Southborough Open Land Foundation in partnership with the Southborough Library. But it will be held in Cordaville Hall (aka the Senior Center).

Obviously, to actually take advantage of the tips, you have to have a maple tree on your property (or permission from someone who does). But even those who don’t are welcome to learn more about what goes into making syrup.

Tony Willoughby’s talk covered how to identify different maple trees, when and how to tap, boiling techniques, and filtering & bottling.

Beals Preserve Chronolog Project

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

The Chronolog project is co-sponsored by SOLF and SWCA Environmental Consultants.

SOLF Maintenance at Eastbrook Farmlands

On Saturday, November 4, SOLF Trustees Eileen Samberg, Larry Samberg, Brett Peters, and volunteer Kathryn Korostoff worked near the entrance of SOLF’s Eastbrook Farmlands. SOLF does periodic maintenance of properties even when there are no trails. To improve appearance at the street, the group cleared around the sign, pulled invasive buckthorn, removed entangling grape vines, and cut back a fallen maple. The previous weekend, Trustee Debbie Costine made a good start on the grape vines, which encouraged the group to head back the following weekend.

SWCA Environmental Consultants Volunteer at Bigelow Wildlife Refuge

On October 12, 2023, employees from the SWCA Environmental Consultants office in Southborough volunteered at Bigelow Wildlife Refuge, spreading gravel along the path to the viewing platform. This is the second year that SWCA has volunteered its time! SWCA also sponsors our Chronolog project at Beals Preserve. Thank you, Ariel and group for thinking of us!

Bancroft Children Donate to SOLF

The Bancroft family of Southborough recently showed their support for local causes!

Paxton, Asher, and sister Flora held a sale of gourds, donuts, and cider and decided to give half their profits to SOLF! We were so touched by their interest and generosity that we, the board of trustees invited them to hand over the generous donation of $100.00 in person! Thanks to these thoughtful young people for helping our mission of preserving and protecting open space in town for the benefit of all! [Text from SOLF trustee Deborah Costine.]

Lower left are: Paxton, Asher and a helpful friend, plus little Flora (peeking) – and lower right, at the meeting: SOLF treasurer, Larry Samberg; Paxton with sister Flora, helpful neighbor Maya Nikhil and Asher. On the right is SOLF President, Destin Heilman.