Bringing the Community Together in Nature
CCF was busy this year as we continued to engage with all corners of the community — supporting our conservation goals and encouraging residents and others to get outside and explore. With the help of the Trails Committee, a nascent idea from CCF Board member Wayne Davis grew into the first ever Carlisle Community Trails Day Challenge. Mother Nature assisted in making the event a success, serving up the first warm and dry weekend of the spring.
CCF provided a full schedule of free and beginner-friendly Nature Walks & Talks that educated participants about dragonflies, birds, vernal pools, and bugs as they explored Carlisle’s protected open spaces. Two of the walks taught participants how to use the iNaturalist smartphone app, and were part of the Boston Area City Nature Challenge, a fun competition with cities across the world to document and identify the most species.
Above left, The Trails Day party started at dawn with a Moonset & Sunrise walk at Foss Farm. A hardy group of 10 walkers led by Jen Bush and Kelly Guarino started out under a full moon along the open fields of Foss at first light (4:50 a.m.!), saw the sunrise at 5:22 a.m., and the setting of the moon a few minutes later. The group included a family from Carlisle and one from Harvard, Mass. A great start to a great day! Under blue skies and temperatures reaching into the low 70s, dozens of groups of walkers who had signed up in advance on the CCF website met at starting locations all over town to walk their designated trails. CCF and the Trails Committee collaborated to divide the trails system into 26 manageble walks ranging from a little over half a mile at Greystone Crossing to several of 3-5 miles within Great Meadows, Greenough, and Great Brook Farm State Park.
The youngest of the 275 particpants was under a year and the oldest almost 90. Many had never before been on Carlisle trails. Collectively they walked over 700 miles. In addition to the preservation of open space in Carlisle, CCF has an educational mission, to foster an appreciation of the open space and trails that make Carlisle so special. As CCF Board member Steve Hinton said at the end of the day: “You can’t protect land until you value the land. People don’t value the land until they have gotten to know it.”
CCF is planning a second annual event for next spring. We look forward to another town-wide party and bringing even more people out to enjoy the natural wonders of Carlisle from its trails.
Above right, CCF has ventured into the social media age with an Instagram page (you can find us at “@ccf.nature”), where you will discover delightful, interesting and artsy photos of nature in Carlisle. We like getting “likes” and comments, and if you tag CCF on your own Instagram posts of nature in Carlisle, CCF can re-post. And if you see something on a trail walk and need help identifying it, one of our 275 (and counting!) followers may be able to help you identify it.
Above, left: CCF Board member John Lee shows Carlisle Recreation Program campers the skull of a fox amidst a table of diverse animal skulls, turtle shells, and snake skins as part of a "nature day." At another station, the campers explored the feel of many different animal skins and saw what some had been made into in days gone by—hats, mittens & stoles. For most of the children, this was their first opportunity to touch and feel what they had only glimpsed in the wild. Next it was on to the Conant woods for an exploration of glacial geology, erratics, and stone walls from when the original forest was cleared by our forebears for pasturage. The children’s level of knowledge and curiosity was impressive. All were engaged by the eclectic collection of natural specimens which they touched or held in their hands in wonder and appreciation.
Above, right: Ready for release though just 9 months old, this Blanding’s turtle has a much better chance of surviving to adulthood thanks to the efforts of Carlisle fifth graders who nurtured it throughout the school year. Thanks to generous CCF support, Carlisle Public Schools fifth graders have been “headstarting” Blanding’s turtles for more than ten years. Each fall the Grade 5 science class receives baby turtles. Throughout the school year,
students care for the turtles by feeding them and cleaning their tank. They develop their math skills by weighing and measuring the turtles weekly and graphing their growth. During the year, Grassroots Wildlife Conservation biologists make classroom presentations and lead students on field trips to view turtle habitat and learn about wetland ecology and landscape history.
The turtles are released at Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in Concord in the spring. Students are so excited each year when the turtles arrive,” says Fifth Grade Science Teacher Jason Naroff. The kids “truly love that they have a genuine hands-on opportunity to help a threatened species.” His students learn that even though they’re only in the fifth grade, they can make a difference.
Your support of CCF will help us
continue our educational mission: helping Carlisle school children connect with the natural wonders just down the road or trail from their own yards.
In addition to all of this public activity, CCF Board members continue to work diligently behind the scenes to support CCF’s principal mission of preserving the natural beauty and rural character of Carlisle. We visit all properties for which CCF holds a conservation restriction to ensure that the terms of each CR are being upheld and, when needed, organize volunteer work parties on properties that CCF owns outright. We also identify and prioritize properties for possible protection, working with landowners to find conservation
solutions that are beneficial to both the land and the landowner.
A special thank you to retiring Board member Wayne Davis, a critical part of CCF success for 20 (!) years. We will miss his enthusiasm and legal expertise. And welcome to new Board members Marty Blue, Rebecca Bromark, Amanda Hickman, and Meridith Peirce. We welcome their energy and ideas.
We hope that you give generously to CCF this year. Your contribution supports the all-volunteer efforts of CCF and land conservation in our community.
Kelly Guarino, President
We appreciate your support.
Carlisle Conservation Foundation and Land Trust
P.O. Box 300, Carlisle, MA 01741
Board members: Alan Ankers, Marty Blue, Rebecca Bromark, Alex Chen, Lauree Eckler, David Freedman, Peg Gladstone, Kelly Guarino, Heidi Harring, Amanda Hickman, Steve Hinton, John Keating, Drew Kissinger, John Lee, Meridith Peirce, Dale Ryder, Steve Spang, Steve Tobin
We invite you to join CCF with your tax-deductible donation. You may now make your donation to CCF on the HOME page