Citizens for Lexington Conservation is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the natural environment in the town of Lexington, Massachusetts.
>> Read more about CLC
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CLC is sponsoring a new program for children - the Junior Ranger Program - aimed at getting kids out into Lexington's Conservation properties with games and activities. In conjunction with Cary Memorial Library we have a booklet to guide children and their parents. The kids will visit several different Conservation areas, fill out some activity sheets that will guide nature observation, and can, upon completion, receive a Junior Ranger Certificate from the Library.
You can find the Junior Ranger booklet here.
Citizens for Lexington Conservation and Grassroots Wildlife Conservation
New England Blazing Star Reintroduction Project
Update on New England Blazing Star project - There will be a meeting at 7pm on Monday, June 2, at a location yet to be determined. Please email (below) if you are interested in attending. At the meeting seeds and seedlings will be distributed and further information/instructions given.
Thank you to those who have already volunteered!
New England Blazing Star (Liatris scariosa var. novae-angliae) is a native New England plant that is no longer extant in Lexington, though it has been found here historically. It is listed as a species of Special Concern in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. There are a few remaining areas in the state where it is found, primarily on the Cape and Islands with a smattering of spots in the central part of the state and toward the North Shore. It likes dry, sandy soil and plenty of sun. It blooms from August to October.
Bryan Windmiller, the Executive Director of Grassroots Wildlife Conservation (and the speaker at the 2013 CLC annual meeting), is heading up a project that aims to reintroduce this plant to locations where it used to be found, but is no longer. All that is needed are a few willing volunteers with likely growing spots in their yards and a desire to spend some time helping this plant return to Lexington.
There are two possible options for participating. You could monitor test plots on your own property or on property where you have received permission (with support from CLC and GWC), or you could help manage test plots on conservation land (assuming permission is granted).
Are you interested in helping out? Here is what you would need to do:
>> Identify a sunny patch of sandy, dry soil in which to plant.
>> Get necessary permissions to plant in that location. If this is your yard, that should be easy! For Town-owned or Conservation land, we can help with permissions.
>> Sow some seeds. Bryan will help with sourcing them for this year. We’d like to begin planting before the end of May if possible.
>> Do some weeding, to give the Blazing Stars an advantage.
>> Count the plants that sprout and record the information.
>> Gather seeds from any that flower this year so we can plant again next spring.
So, who are we looking for? People who like to work with plants and who are willing to stick with this project for a few years. The hope is to begin propagating plants from seeds grown locally and increase the number of patches in town as time goes on. (This year’s seeds would come from Woburn or Ayer, where Blazing Star is still found.)
This is an opportunity to work with Citizens for Lexington Conservation and Grassroots Wildlife Conservation to keep Lexington green and to reactivate some of our floral history.
If you are interested in participating, please email Citizens4LexingtonConservation@gmail.com,
with Blazing Star in the subject line and your contact information in the body of the message.
CITIZENS FOR LEXINGTON CONSERVATION
2014 SPRING WALKS
Saturday, April 19, 10 – 11 AM Butterfly Walk at Arlington’s Great Meadow
Participants will meet in the parking lot at Golden Living Center – Lexington, at 840 Emerson Gardens Rd. (off Maple Street) in East Lexington. The parking lot is on the right side of the facility, and drivers should park at the far end. This walk will be co-sponsored by Citizens for Lexington Conservation and the Massachusetts Butterfly Club. Butterfly enthusiast Tom Whelan will lead a walk to see two species of spring butterflies, Brown and Henry’s Elfins. These small, easily overlooked butterflies are found in many parts of the United States and Canada. Since these species overwinter in the chrysalis stage, their lives as adults begin early in the spring. We also may see Mourning Cloak and Spring Azure butterflies. If time permits, additional insects will be sought at adjacent Infinity Pond, a certified vernal pool. People of all ages are welcome; children must be with an adult. Please sign up for the walk in advance, preferably by email (email@example.com) or phone (781-915-9988). Walk Leader: Tom Whelan, will notify those who sign up if the weather requires cancelling the event.
Saturday, May 3, 3 – 4:30 PM Enjoy Spring at Hennessey Field and Paint Mine
Meet at the power line parking area on Turning Mill Road. Let's look around and see what's happening in the field, forest and wetland of Hennessey Field and the Paint Mine as spring moves toward summer. We'll stroll through these areas for about an hour and a half—maybe more if we find really interesting things to look at. Wear good walking shoes. Severe inclement weather will cancel the walk—drizzle will not. Walk Leader, Alex Dohan (firstname.lastname@example.org; 781-863-5882)
Sunday, May 4, 1:30 – 3:00 PM Chiesa Farm
Join us for a walk over the rolling hills of the Chiesa Farm. We’ll look for spring ferns and flowers, check out the blue bird boxes to see if there are any resident blue birds, walk through a grove of hemlocks, and enjoy the view from a set of three stone benches.
Location: Meet at the parking lot for Diamond Middle School at the end of Sedge Road off of Hathaway St.
Wednesday, May 7, 8 -10 AM Bird Walk at Dunback Meadow
Meet at the Allen Street entrance to Dunback Meadow. In early May we are in the midst of several weeks of migration as many species of birds quickly head north to their breeding grounds as well as the many birds who come to this area to spend the summer. In addition, we may find some of our residential birds, such as woodpeckers and hawks. Although the ground is slightly rough, the pace is slow so the walk is accessible to most. Children with adults and beginners are welcome. We will enjoy a varied habitat, including mixed woods, open fields, and a stream. Bring binoculars if you have them. Boots are recommended if there has been rain recently. Rain or lightning will cancel the walk.
Walk leader: Bobbie Hodson ( email@example.com; 781-861-9421)
Saturday, May 10, 8 – 10 AM Warbler Walk in Lower Vine Brook
Meet at 116 Vine Street; call if you are lost. Check out the spring warbler migration in the Lower Vine Brook conservation area. Warblers are small, beautiful tropical birds that come north to breed. Many different species of warbler stop off in this sheltered area on their way to the forests in northern New England and Canada. Some stay, but as trees leaf they are more difficult to see. In the spring, depending on the weather and the foliage, you can sometimes find a dozen species in a morning. Children with adults are welcome. Bring warm clothes, boots if it’s wet, binoculars, and a bird book. No dogs. More than light rain or lightning will cancel the event. If the weather is uncertain call the leader. Walk Leader: Harry West (firstname.lastname@example.org;617-461-9500 mobile)
Saturday, May 17, 8 – 10 AM Birds of Willard's Woods
Meet at Willard's Woods parking lot off North Street. We will hope to catch the peak of the spring migration with opportunities for warblers and flycatchers. We'll also look for nesting residents such as Indigo Bunting, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and Pine Warbler. Willard's Woods has good trails on level ground. We will stop early if we encounter heavy rain. Walk Leader: John Andrews (email@example.com; 781-862-6498)
Saturday, May 17, 1:30–3:00 PM Whipple Hill
Visit Lexington's highest peak, where clues to the town's geologic history can be seen. Investigate a vernal pool and follow a small stream to Locke Pond. Admire unusual plants and take a "scratch and sniff" tour of some fragrant greenery. The trail is uneven, so wear good walking shoes.
Location: Meet at the Whipple Hill parking lot on Winchester Dr. (additional parking across the street).
Leader: Fran Ludwig (781-861-7231) or
Sunday, May 18, 1:30-3:00 PM Hayden Woods
Look for glacial erratics, stone walls, tall oak and pine trees, and perhaps spy some frogs or other pond critters.
Meet at the entrance at the end of Valleyfield Road
Sunday, June 8, 2 – 3:30 PM Walk at Cotton Farm - Upper Vine Brook
Meet at the parking area at Cotton Farm (entrance at 121 Marrett Road). Parking is limited, but you can park along Marrett Road.Kids old enough to enjoy the walk are welcome. We will walk through the apple orchard, along the pond, through the gladed area and up through the Upper Vine Brook woods to Highland Avenue. After returning to the parking area, for those who have additional time, we will cross over Marrett Road to Dunback Meadow and walk up to "four corners" and back. At Cotton Farm, the shed by the pond has a new roof and the apple orchard rehabilitation is well underway. Full sized apples were picked by visitors this past fall. For the longer-term direction of Cotton Farm, Mass Audubon has been engaged to develop a design plan to assist with the management of the property.This walk will be an opportunity to share your thoughts. Rain or lightning will cancel the walk.
Walk Leader: Bob Hausslein (firstname.lastname@example.org; 781-862-9102)
Maps of conservation lands can be found at http://www.lexingtonma.gov/conservation/conland.cfm
Let us know if there is an upcoming event that should be listed here.
New Trail Guide to Lexington’s Conservation Land Now Available
The Lexington Conservation Stewards have created a new Trail Guide to Lexington’s Conservation Land, which includes color trail maps along with descriptions and historical information for Lexington’s 25 walk-able conservation areas. Covering nearly 30 miles of trails, it is an essential book for both veteran trail users and new explorers who’d like to discover the forests, fields, and wetlands in Lexington.
The Trail Guide to Lexington’s Conservation Land is available, for a minimum donation of $10, at the Town of Lexington Community Development Office located in the Town Offices Building at 1625 Massachusetts Avenue. Proceeds benefit the Lexington Nature Trust Fund, which helps to care for our 1300 acres of public conservation land.
More information about the Conservation Department
CLC is looking for a volunteer with a technical aptitude who enjoys organizing and paying attention to details. This person would manage the CLC database, using our Access 2007 data.
Duties would involve keeping track of names, addresses, dues status and email addresses of members, Town Meeting Members, Town Committee members, and candidates.
In addition, he or she would send emails about significant issues and events when requested by one of the co-chairmen of CLC, send out both the email and snail mail versions of our newsletter, and send out the questions we ask town candidates before elections.
The present holder of the position would be happy to provide any support needed.
If interested, please contact Eileen Entin (email@example.com)
For further details about what the job entails, contact Kate Fricker (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Save the Eastern Hemlocks!!
By Jane Warren
Eastern hemlocks (Tsuga canadensis), sometimes called the redwoods of the east, are majestic trees that may grow to a height of 150 feet or more with a trunk up to 6 feet in diameter. They grow slowly, but may live as long as 900 years. They start producing cones at about 15 years of age and some may produce them when they are as old as 450 years. The leaves are flat evergreen needles and the cones hanging from the tips of branches look like tiny footballs. In the northern hardwood forests, hemlocks are found on rolling hills and glacial ridges, often with white pine, northern red oak, sugar maple, American beech, yellow birch and white ash. Around Lexington you can see these glorious trees, often in clusters or long rows, in conservation lands, along roads and in many yards. Eastern hemlocks are important to the environment as well as beautiful. They provide habitats for birds, fish, invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals. About 90 bird species and more than 40 mammals use hemlocks for cover or food (seeds or needles) in the northeastern US. Hemlocks provide deep shade along creeks that supports trout and other cold-water wildlife.
Hemlocks are one of the most shade tolerant trees, but they do not do well in soil that is wet or has poor nutrition, nor do they tolerate prolonged heat, windy exposed sites, or air pollution. Drought is harmful to hemlocks, especially younger trees, but now their worst enemy is the hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae) (HWA), a tiny insect from East Asia that is almost invisible (about 1/32 inch long). In the US this insect was first found in the Pacific Northwest in the 1920s and in the Washington DC and Richmond VA areas in the 1950s. By 2005, it was established in 16 states from Georgia to Maine. The HWAs, which lack natural enemies in North America, have spread by wind, birds, mammals and infected hemlocks from nurseries.
HWAs are parthenogenetic—all are female and reproduce asexually. Their life cycle has two generations each year. The overwintering generation starts to lay eggs in spring; each adult lays 100 to 300 eggs. The minute eggs are covered with fluffy white material secreted by the adult insects to protect them. When the eggs mature, the nymphs begin to feed and increase in size and become mature adults by mid-summer. Adults in the spring generation lay up to 75 eggs per insect. The resulting nymphs survive over the winter and mature to adults in spring. Thus the population can grow quickly.
The HWAs suck fluid from the base of the hemlock needles and may inject toxins while feeding, weakening the tree. Other insects, fungi and drought can all exacerbate the impact of the HWAs. Some trees die within 4 years, but others may linger several years in a weakened state.
If you have hemlocks in your yard, keep an eye on their health. The first sign of infestation by HWAs is the appearance of fluffy white globs on the twigs. Signs that a tree is deteriorating are previously shiny green needles turning grayish or dropping off and branches falling. If you notice signs of infestation, contact a tree expert right away to assess the health of the tree and provide appropriate treatment. If a HWA infestation is noticed early, the tree is more likely to be saved. Sprays such as horticultural oils or insecticidal soaps are effective if the tree is saturated with them. Systemic treatments have had some results that may be effective up to 5 years. Looking ahead, several beetle species introduced from Asia that appear to feed only on HWAs may prove to be a longer-term solution. Researchers are also attempting to identify strains of eastern hemlocks that seem to be tolerant to the feeding of the HWAs.
Because the eastern hemlocks provide such a uniquely beneficial habitat for wildlife, some experts believe that the HWA infestation could be a worse ecological disaster than that caused by the chestnut blight that was first seen in the US in the early 1900s. If we are not able to successfully thwart the HWAs in time, the widespread losses of eastern hemlocks will be devastating. Hopefully, the various treatments will save many of these glorious trees from the alien invaders. Be vigilant in checking for the white globs on your hemlocks!
Are you looking for a new route to walk, run or bike?
ACROSS Lexington is ready for use - try it!
Here's a map for Route A - a new map, including Route B, will be available in the near future.
ACROSS Lexington stands for Accessing Conservation land, Recreation areas, Open space, Schools and Streets in Lexington.
Lexington now has its very own field guide! Lexington Alive is available at the town Community Development Office (in the Town Offices Building, 1625 Mass Ave) for $6.00 cash or check. All proceeds go to the Lexington Nature Trust, which helps to care for Lexington's 1400 acres of conservation land.
A special Lexington Tercentennial tree medallion is now being sold by the Lexington Tree Committee to help celebrate our special year, according to Chairman John Frey, and to support our drive to plant 300 trees for the 300 years.
The medallion can be purchased and hung outdoors on a tree planted especially for 2013, or on a recently planted tree. It also can be hung on a fancy ribbon and used to decorate a Christmas tree.
No more room for trees on your property? Your purchase will nevertheless help plant street and park trees in other parts of the Town. It will be a unique souvenir of Lexington’s 300th birthday, even for out-of-towners, and will still contribute to Lexington’s tree canopy.
Environmentalists will appreciate the fact that this drive encourages the planting of trees, with all the known benefits to the climate, such as carbon sequestration, temperature reduction, rain runoff reduction, etc.
A limited run of only 300 medallions, sequentially numbered, have been produced. The first medallion, #001, hangs on the Tricentennial Oak planted on the Green this spring, located roughly opposite the Buckman Tavern entrance.
You can purchase medallions at the DPW front desk, 201 Bedford Street, or at the Visitors’ Center, 1875 Massachusetts Avenue. The price is $15.00, which is tax-deductible to the extent provided by law.
Any profits from this sale will be used to underwrite street tree planting in Lexington.
The Tree Committee has been working since its inception in 2001 to promote and protect the public and private trees of the Town.
For further information contact:
Phone #: 781 862 4094