Southboro Open Land Foundation

people looking over meadow at sunset

Work Days at Eastbrook Farmlands and Bigelow Wildlife Refuge

Published on May 27, 2024 by Eileen Samberg

On May 24 and May 25, board members and volunteers had work days at Eastbrook Farmlands, improving the street appearance, and Bigelow Wildlife Refuge, weeding and improving the appearance of the property.

Eastbrook Farmlands

Bigelow Wildlife Refuge – We were happy to see Eagle Scout Robby Stewart home for the weekend from Wentworth Institute and his dad Jim, as well as volunteer coordinator Kathryn Korostoff and SOLF Trustee Debbie Costine. Robby did a fine job doing all wetlands permitting requirements as well as reassuring any concerns of abutters. Now a beautiful trail goes down to his observation platform and there is now a native plant garden at the entrance!

Scout Troop 92 Installs Bluebird Boxes at Beals Preserve

Published on May 23, 2024 by Eileen Samberg

Local Scout Troop 92 has taken on a community service project in collaboration with the Southborough Open Land Foundation. (SOLF) Using a design created specifically for bluebirds, the scouts, under the leadership of Kevin Tyson and George Harris, carefully constructed four nest boxes and installed them at Beals Preserve. These boxes will help support the declining populations of bluebirds. SOLF THANKS THE SCOUTS OF TROOP 92!

Recap of SOLF Annual Meeting on May 8, 2024

Published on May 9, 2024 by Eileen Samberg

The Southborough Open Land Foundation’s held its Annual Meeting on Wednesday, May 8, 2024 at the Community House at 28 Main Street in Southborough. The evening started at 6 pm with light refreshments, followed by Trustee remarks by President Destin Heilman, a presentation on raptor rescue at 7 pm, the presentation of the 2024 Elaine Beals Conservation Award, and a short business meeting.

Destin Heilman talked about Whit Beal’s legacy and the work being done by Kevin and Mike Sanford at Beals Preserve. He also gave an overview of SOLF’s other activities this year, including work at other properties and programming.

Jess Zorge, the founder of Raptor Tales Rescue of Shrewsbury, gave a presentation on her work with raptor rehabilitation. Jess holds both state and federal wildlife rehabilitation and educational permits. Raptor Tales Rescue admits injured and orphaned wildlife from members of the public, as well as State and Federal agencies. RTR has treated over 300 birds of prey since the start of the rescue in 2020. As part of her presentation, she brought Blue, a non-releasable barred owl.

Trustee Debbie Costine presented the 2024 Elaine Beals Conservation Award to Kevin Sanford, a Southborough resident and friend of Whit’s who has transformed Beals Preserve this year – mowing the fields, clearing walls, thinning the woods by the pond, and so much more. Debbie presented the bluebird carved by Ben Keyes, with a plaque reading SOLF 2024 Elaine Beals Conservation Award. Debbie also recognized Mike Sanford, Kevin’s brother, for his work on the pump house and other work at Beals.

Birding walk on April 27 – Beals Preserve

Published on April 28, 2024 by Eileen Samberg

On Saturday, April 27, SOLF hosted a birding walk at Beals Preserve. Eleven people attended the Earth Day Birding Walk at Beals Preserve. Unfortunately the presenter was unable to make it at the last minute, so trustees Sally Watters and Debbie Costine led a walk featuring some property history (like “fox hunts”) as well as some botany and using “Merlin” to identify all the audible birds in the vicinity.

Beals Preserve Maintenance & Restoration

Published on April 4, 2024 by Eileen Samberg

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

Published on March 11, 2024 by Eileen Samberg

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

Published on March 11, 2024 by Eileen Samberg

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

Published on February 4, 2024 by Eileen Samberg

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

SOLF Presents: Nature Columns

Published on January 9, 2024 by Eileen Samberg

SOLF has been publishing a local nature series on Read the columns here.

The Maple Syrup Making Presentation Now Online

Published on January 4, 2024 by Eileen Samberg

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.