Shepley Hills/Bates Land Invasive Species Management Project Receives Grant

At the GCT May annual meeting, New England Wildflower Society botanist Ted Elliman gave his talk on invasive species to a packed room. Everyone, it seemed, was eager to understand what can be done to manage this threat. And now, thanks to a $14,000 General Endowment Grant from The Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts and the continuing efforts of volunteers, the GCT will move forward with a management project for two critical properties, Shepley Hills and The Bates Land, with the additional goal of sharing the evaluation of these efforts with other property stewards in the region.

According to Trustee Mark Gerath, The Community Foundation grant supports programs and projects pertaining to community development and the environment and since consideration is given to projects that are “strategic, innovative and sustainable” the GCT project was a good fit.

“The grant committee was impressed with scope and comprehensiveness of the project and the fact that it will be sharing the results of the study with other land trusts,” said Phil Grzewinski, president of the Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts.

Invasive plant species now pose an immediate and significant threat to the ecological integrity of our properties. Among many other conservation organizations, the New England Wildflower Society has recognized the devastating effect of invasive plants on ecosystems:

 “Not just pushy garden thugs, invasive plant species disrupt natural habitats, impacting native plant species and animals, vertebrates and invertebrates. New England Wild Flower Society, in collaboration with towns, state and federal agencies, land trusts, universities, and various conservation organizations throughout the region plus many dedicated field volunteers, is assessing the impacts of invasive exotic species on the New England landscape and engaging in projects to combat the spread of these species.”
                                                                                New England Wildflower Society

While the GCT is an all voluntary organization, trustees include several members with the scientific expertise necessary to recognize the effects on our own properties. Two are educators with extensive backgrounds in field ecology and in the development and execution of ecological studies. Two work in the field of site assessment and remediation and in the transport of materials through soil and water. It is this expertise that enabled the Trust to develop the project.

Read more about the background of this work and the expectations of the project HERE.