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What a Year!

2020 was a painful year and for many of us, unimaginably hard. One thing was clear, we relied on the kindness of others to get us through this year.

For many of us, that meant taking advantage of our great open spaces. Trails and parks were more crowded than ever as we all sought to find ways to be together and be safe. And we have heard from many of you who have taken advantage of our trails to enjoy physically distanced time with friends and family, and how the walks and hikes have become part of your daily routine.

The year was also tough for many non-profits like the Groton Conservation Trust.

We were challenged to scrap all of our plans for walks, talks, and parties and reinvent how we present programming to you, our community. We were lucky to be able to keep our properties open and accessible, and to create new ways to connect with you: online through our many webinars, and offline through virtual walks and independent exploration.

Meanwhile, the seasons unfold and our work behind the scenes continues as well. Early in the year, working with the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife, we completed the purchase of a critical 50-acre parcel abutting The Throne. In May, we welcomed a new trustee to our board, Brian Bettencourt, Ph.D., whose name you may recognize from the Groton Invasive Species Committee or his other volunteer work in town.

The May 19 microburst led to dramatic changes across the forested landscape of Groton and an incredible outpouring of volunteer support from so many of you. Working with the Trails Committee, we were able to clear most of the trails on Gamlin Crystal Spring, Mason Back 100, and Red Line Path for the benefit of all the residents in town.

Work on our properties has also moved forward. We continue to make significant access and land improvements at the Bates Land as part of our long-term management plan there, and we’ve kicked off cleanup and invasive plant removal at our newest property, June’s Wood. Our work has refocused to include climate action as a key priority in our land management efforts, and we continue to work strategically to manage all of our properties with an eye toward habitat preservation and ecological restoration.

We continue to pay our lease on our empty office at the Prescott Community Center, and pay our Outreach Coordinator, Katy Coburn, to continue our programming and organize our volunteers. Managing our lands for your enjoyment and continuing to work to preserve critical properties remains important to us. So we count on your support more than ever. If you can, please include Groton Conservation Trust in your end-of-year giving.

Throughout the shutdown, we have endeavored to stay in touch with all of you, and what we hear back is how grateful you are for events like the 2020 Virtual Traverse and the open space in Groton and how much you appreciate having a chance to take a break, get outside, recharge, and refresh amidst much stress and uncertainty.

You can donate safely and simply online. If online giving is not your thing, please feel free to drop your donation in the mail to Groton Conservation Trust, PO Box 395, Groton, MA 01450. There are important tax incentives for charitable contributions with the 2020 CARES Act, see the info below.

Thank you for your support, especially in this year. We can get through this together.

Your neighbors and friends:

Ted Lapres, President
Mark Gerath, Vice President
John Llodra, Treasurer
Holly Estes, Secretary
Brian Bettencourt, Trustee
David Black, Trustee
Wendy Good, Trustee
Susan Hughes, Trustee
Ed McNierney, Trustee
Rick Muehlke, Trustee
Bob Pine, Trustee
David Pitkin, Trustee
Heather Rielly, Trustee
Michelle Ruby, Trustee
Chuck Vander Linden, Trustee

New tax incentives through Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act

The following favorable rules apply to cash contributions made during 2020 to certain charities:

Individuals who do not itemize can claim an above-the-line deduction of up to $300 for such contributions;

Individuals who itemize can deduct such contributions up to 100% of adjusted gross income.

Contributions made to donor-advised funds are not eligible for the incentives, so please check with your financial advisor for details.