Annual Meeting: May 1. Join us.

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Our Annual Members Meeting will be May 1, 2014 in MacNeil Lounge at Lawrence Academy.  The social gathering begins at 6:30 with music, refreshments and a pictorial review of our 50 years of land management.  The business meeting is at 7 PM.  Ted Elliman

The public is invited to join us as we present Ted Elliman, Sr. botanist for the New England Wild Flower Society, where for the past 8 years, he has worked as a botanist and invasive species program manager.  Before that he worked as a contract ecologist for the National Park Service, creating plant and forest community surveys as well as invasive species mapping and control on the Appalachian Trail and the Boston Harbor Islands.

Mr. Elliman will be speaking on invasive plants in our landscape, what we can do to manage them and what has been done successfully.

The Groton Conservation Trust is a private land management organization with a mission to protect properties with significant conservation value. Your support helps us manage these properties for your enjoyment.

Spring is our annual membership drive and you can easily and securely renew your membership to the GCT online. Thank you for your support!
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How do you put a value on conservation land?

When you think about conservation and protection of public land, you probably don’t think of boosting the economy. In fact there is a major court case in front of the MA Supreme Court right now discussing the taxable reality of keeping conservation lands protected. And it seems every week there is a new town in MA questioning the economic value of their protected land.

So it is encouraging to see John Judge, president of the AMC, make the case that there are very real economic benefits of protected land.  In the latest issue of AMC Outdoors he quotes an Outdoor Industry Association report that says outdoor recreation is responsible for $646 billion in direct spending annually nationwide, and supports over 6 million American jobs. In MA, the The Trust for Public Land “conducted an economic analysis of the return on the Commonwealth’s investment in land conservation through a variety of state funding programs and found that every $1 invested in land conservation returned $4 in natural goods and services to the MA economy”.

The term “public benefit” keeps popping up in these discussions asking whether conservation organizations can provide sufficient benefit to warrant protection from taxes or development. We feel you don’t have to look too far to find public benefit at work here in Groton.  We have consumer enterprises like the Nashoba Paddler operating on a clean river, a farmers’ market located on a former barn site giving small farmers and artisans new commerce, even movie producers taking interest in our cinematic-worthy views along The General Field. And because we had protected over 500 acres of Town Forest, we were able to provide a new well for the West Groton Water District a few years ago.

We like thinking of our open spaces as contributing to our overall economy. It’s a new way to appreciate the good work of the state and national conservation groups and our own local groups including Conservation Commission, The Groton Trails Network, the NRWA and the GCT. Reports like these help put a dollar figure on benefits once enjoyed as a quality of life and land.

Celebrate 50 Years With Us

As we begin our 50th year of conservation and land
management we want to highlight 50th bannersome of the outstanding properties we are honored to hold in conservation for all to enjoy. And what better place to begin than with our first property, Bates Land.
The Bates Land, 40 acres of fields and woods off Old Ayer Road and along James Brook was given to the GCT by Natica Bates in 1968. A trail up Indian Hill affords excellent views towards the west and connects to the Blackman Land. A picnic grove called “The Roadside Piece” was developed with R. Harvey Whitehill Memorial Funds. A conservation restriction has been held by The Trustees of Reservation since 1997. Mrs. Bates daughter, Natica, wrote a history of the property for the 35th anniversary of the GCT. You can read a portion of it HERE and get an idea of what life — and the land — was like when Mr. and Mrs. Bates first found it.

Please take notice!

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Our properties are wonderful places to explore and discover nature. We have very few rules and the ones we have in place are for your protection and the protection of the area and animals that live there. We have seen motorized vehicle activity on many of our properties. This endangers not only the habitat, but also the enjoyment of all who walk the properties.  Enjoy your visit and thank you for your care!

A Message from Dan, President of the GCT

For the past 50 years the GCT has worked hard to fulfill our mission to the Town of Groton “… to acquire, preserve and provide public access to lands with significant conservation value.” To date, the GCT’s accomplishments are impressive: GCT currently maintains 36 preserves protecting agricultural lands, forests, wetlands, and water sources, including the 160-acre General Field and the 138-acre Skinner Forest. Its five currently held Conservation Restrictions will permanently keep open another 64.2 acres of developable land, helping to maintain Groton’s rural character. Just this year, we spent time and money on two large invasive projects. On Shepley Hills, we created an innovative Barberry removal method, cutting and applying herbicide to control this invasive.

On the Bates property, invasives and brush removal work was done in all three former meadows, along the entry way, and at the stone bench. We have many properties where mowing and brush clearing not only project the area from invasives, but encourage the nesting of wildlife. Speaking of wildlife, property management would not be complete without our constant “debate” with beavers over who owns which property. And if you are like me, just looking out your window gives you an idea of the incredible bittersweet problem our area suffers. Tireless teams of trustees and volunteers take to the woods to clear patches of overgrown bittersweet, free long-standing trees, and re-open trails. So you get an idea of the work involved with maintaining these beautiful pieces of land we have been so diligently preserving.

At this time of year, we invite members to join in for a donation of time or money – there is no minimum. We depend on our members’ financial support to provide funds to operate and fulfill our mission. I am mindful of the need to spend our money effectively – to get results. Your membership dollars have enabled the GCT to do that for more than five decades. The victories are sometimes small, such as the mowing of Still Meadow.

Sometimes they are large, such as enabling us to hire interns during the summer to work with trustees to catalog and identify all the species we protect. Cumulatively, it is a record of accomplishment we can all be very proud of. And, 100% of dues and donations stay right here in Groton, working directly to help preserve our environment, our quality of life.
Use a donation of time to become an active land steward, or joining in on one of our work teams. All of our volunteers have a special talent that can help the GCT!

For 50 years, the Groton Conservation Trust has provided landowners an economically viable alternative to selling land for development. The GCT has conserved over 1,500 acres of land through acquisition of fee title and conservation restrictions. This is land that will never be developed and will forever provide habitat for wildlife, protection for water
supplies, and quiet places for people to get out and enjoy spectacular woodlands, wetlands and headlands that make our community such a beautiful place to live.

The GCT is run entirely by the hard work and dedication of volunteers. The lean operating budget is raised, in part, through annual donations from members, and we hope we can continue to count you among our supporters!

GCT land trust accreditation application accepted for review

Groton Conservation Trust is pleased to announce that the GCT application for land trust accreditation has been accepted for review. Gaining accreditation recognizes land conservation organizations that meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever.

A public comment period is still open.

The Land Trust Accreditation Commission is continuing to invite public input and accepts signed, written comments on pending applications. Comments must relate to how GCT complies with national quality standards. These standards address the ethical and technical operation of a land trust. For more information, read the full list of standards.

Comments on GCT’s application will be most useful by October 25, 2013 and can be sent via:

  • email: info@landtrustaccreditation.org
  • fax: 518-587-3183, Land Trust Accreditation Commission, Attn: Public Comments
  • post: Land Trust Accreditation Commission, Attn: Public Comments, 36 Phila Street, Suite 2, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

To learn more about the accreditation program, visitwww.landtrustaccreditation.org.

 

Land Trust Accreditation

Groton Conservation Trust is pleased to announce that it is applying for land trust accreditation. This program recognizes land conservation organizations that meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever.

A public comment period is now open.

The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, conducts an extensive review of each applicant’s policies and programs.  The Commission invites public input and accepts signed, written comments on pending applications. Comments must relate to how GCT complies with national quality standards. These standards address the ethical and technical operation of a land trust. For more information, read the full list of standards.

Comments on GCT’s application will be most useful by June 28, 2013 and can be sent via:

  • email: info@landtrustaccreditation.org
  • fax: 518-587-3183, Land Trust Accreditation Commission, Attn: Public Comments
  • post: Land Trust Accreditation Commission, Attn: Public Comments, 36 Phila Street, Suite 2, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

To learn more about the accreditation program, visit www.landtrustaccreditation.org.