About the Stewards

The Bedford conservation land stewards are a group of volunteers who care for the conservation areas of Bedford, Massachusetts. Established in 1995, we work closely with the Bedford Conservation Commission and Trails Committee but are an independent organization.

Stewards get to know our conservation areas over time and serve as a voice advocating for them in our town.We present field reports twice a year at our Spring and Fall meetings. Input from land stewards gives the Conservation Commission the information they need to best serve the town and preserve our natural spaces.

We need you! Become a land steward. Contact us at bedfordlandstewards@gmail.com. Come to one of our meetings. Send us an enrollment form.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count

The Concord Christmas Bird Count will be January 2, 2012. This event is a part of the National Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count and its survey area includes parts of southwestern Bedford.

The Concord Christmas Bird Count group is looking for field observers to go out and count birds in some of the Bedford open spaces such as Clark, Little Meadow, and the open space along the bike path between Hartwell Rd and the Concord line. In addition to the field observers, feeder watchers keep an eye on the birds that come to their feeders/yards that day.

The National Audubon Society charges $5 for each field observer. All participants under the age of 18 and feederwatchers are free.

Please contact Frank Gardner by email at
before Christmas (if possible) to participate.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Brown Creeper Sighting

If you see a very small brown bird (white throat, breast) creeping up a tree you are probably looking at a Brown Creeper. Spotted one on Nov 4, 5, 16 & 17 to date creeping up, always up, oak tree trunks near my bird feeders off Dudley Rd.

Yan Thomas

Monday, November 14, 2011

Post Fall Meeting Note - Oct 2011

Here are notes about the Fall 2011 meeting from Yan Thomas, the head steward.

Welcomed attendees to the Fall Meeting of the Land Stewards on October
20th highlighting Phil Friden, the new steward of the Elm Brook
Conservation Area. Elizabeth Bagdonas, the Conservation Commission
Administrator, made copies available of the full roster of land
stewards, their emails and addresses, and conservation areas. If
anyone would like a copy, contact Elizabeth.

Be aware that the Head Steward of the Bedford Land Stewards attends
the regular monthly meeting of the Trails Committee “in order to keep
continuity between the two groups.” The Committee is provided with a
summary of the Field Reports completed by the stewards. After
approval of the Conservation Commission the Trails Committee moves
forward on many fronts to include obtaining funding for such projects
as building and installing bog bridges over wet areas, constructing
kiosks, sign post stanchions, setting out trail markers, brushing
trails, designing trail maps, and much, much more. The Field Reports
are important to the process.

It is hunting season again and the land stewards should be aware that
the National Wildlife Refuge land along the Concord River is the only
area in Bedford open to bow hunting and shooting basically to the end
of December. No hunting before or after sunset or on Sundays. It is
recommended that one wear bright colors when in or near these areas.
Any violations or questions call: 1-978-443-4661, US Fish & Wildlife

Elizabeth gave the history with a map of the new Massport- built
trails in southwest Bedford connecting to Concord’s Virginia Rd..
This involved many meetings with Massport and included their own
properties in Bedford. The results were exciting for both parties
resulting in a 2 mile-long trail system allowing Massport emergency
access to remote areas of the airport and Bedford an extended 42.5
acre area of trails. The Town will soon post a trails map of these
new trails on their website. Parking is next to the child care
center, Concord Rd., at the old RR bed.

Elizabeth is compiling a current list of those downed trees
obstructing trails and especially of those trees and limbs that one
might consider dangerous to the public. For her to hire a professional
to remove these trees it is important for you to determine whether the
problem still exists and to locate it on a map. And a few of you who
have not sent in your fall field reports she especially needs to hear
from you. For a map, please click the link, “Bedford Trail Maps,” on
the steward website: bedfordlandstewards.blogspot.com

Our website manager, steward Peter Desjardins, asked stewards if they
would list some of the special features of their conservation area for
the writing of a Bedford Trails Guide that he and others are working
on. The feeling is the stewards are the ones who best know the
conservation lands and can describe their unique characteristics.
This need not be a polished piece of writing but an opportunity to
point out what attracts you about your area. Try to send “this” on
soon so they can incorporate what you have to say:

You’ve been encouraged to send your seasonal photos and sightings to
Peter of the steward website at bedfordlandstewards@gmail.com. Do see
the recent photos sent in by steward Bob Scoville of Wilderness Park
and Lantern Lane Conservation areas of a mother turtle and later her

Wouldn’t you like to lead a trail walk sometime in your conservation
area, asks the Trails Committee? Walks are held the first Saturday of
the month, meeting behind the Library at 9:45 a.m. and carpooling to
the area. Usually there are only 3 or 4 enthusiastic people
appearing. Open to children. For details, contact Yan, and by the way
Nov. 5th has no one to lead a walk.

Remember to keep your map boxes full of trail maps. We’ve been very
remiss about this. Not everyone knows where they are going! And now
there are excellent individual trail maps available Contact Elizabeth
for map copies and if you need a map box. There will soon be more map
boxes distributed by the Trails Committee.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Fawn Lake Hatchlings

Bob Scoville, steward of the Wilderness Park conservation area, shared these photos of a new generation of snapping turtles between Fawn Lake and Wilderness Park.

The mother turtle laid her eggs in Bob's yard on June 7th. He and his family saw the babies emerge on September 18th.

Thanks for sending these!


Monday, June 6, 2011

Trout Lilies at Altmann Conservation Area

Yan Thomas shared this photo of Trout Lilies blooming on the Altmann conservation area. The picture was taken on April 24, 2011 in deciduous woods. Blooms appear in late April and early May. Leaves are mottled.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Post-Meeting Notes - Spring 2011

These are the notes from the spring 2011 meeting:

We are fortunate to welcome new steward, Bob Scoville who is joining the stewards at “Wilderness Park" and overseeing a new conservation area, “Lantern Lane,” 22 ac, 12A Old Stagecoach Rd.

Discussion of the tenure of the position of Head Steward. We are an independent voluntary group with no set of rules or bylaws except what we want to make them for ourselves. After discussing several options such as a two-year term, having an assistant Head Steward to take over, the group seemed to feel at least for now that the next head steward should be solicited when the current head steward is ready to step down. It was pointed out that this position calls for someone who is interested in and generally familiar with the conservation areas town-wide, and should be available to communicate with the Conservation Commission Administrator during her working hours because of the nature of a close working relationship.

Steward Peter Desjardins, who set up and manages the new steward website explained its facets and asked for input regarding the site. He would welcome working with others. The hope is the site will become more active as people become more aware of the information available, the links to maps, forms, Conservation Commission, Trails Committee, and the ability to add their own material. Stewards are encouraged to use the site for wildlife and conservation area photos of their own as well as specific comments by sending them to:


With photos, give a short description of the whereabouts and date of the photo. Peter will then organize the material to put on the website. To date the site has sent out major communications to you, posted meeting announcements and post-meeting notes, and posted some conservation area photos and seasonal bird observations that have been submitted.

Mark Levine of the Trails Committee talked on the best ways to manage trimming trails and the
techniques in doing so. If you would like a copy of his outline, email Yan: schoolmastery@comcast.net

Waterproof, attractive green Id plastic tags for 15 selected shrubs and trees have been made up by
Elizabeth for Altmann Conservation Area. Information on the specimen is printed on the backs with the common and Latin names on the fronts This is something in the future stewards may be interested in talking to Elizabeth about for your conservation areas.

The entire roster of stewards (2pp) with their contact information as well as the acreage and location of their conservation areas was made available. If any of you would like a copy please email Elizabeth: elizabethb@bedfordma.gov

Several conservation areas are in need of stewards: Elm Brook, 19 ac at 16B Railroad Rd. Ave. and a new area, O’Connor, 19ac at 463 and 469 Old Billerica Rd.

Elizabeth is hoping that the summer work crew will be available at least part-time this summer to help carry out the appropriate “agenda items” in your Field Reports. She will notify us of a work schedule if this happens and your help in at least meeting once with the crew if possible is crucial. Other “agenda items” will be passed on to the Trails Committee where appropriate.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Here is the agenda for the spring meeting on Thursday, April 28th.

Yan Thomas, head steward

    Update on steward roster
    Head steward position

Elizabeth Bagdonas, Conservation Commission administrator

    Update on new conservation lands
    Non-native, invasive species
    Exciting id tagging
    Summer crew

Mark Levine, Trails Committee

    Tools used and techniques for “brushing” or “clearing” of established trails

Update & Discussion of Steward Website: http://bedfordlandstewards.blogspot.com

Trail maps for map boxes (let Yan know)

Spring Field Reports

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring Meeting 2011

The 2011 spring meeting of the Bedford conservation land stewards is scheduled for Thursday, April 28th. We will meet in the upper conference room of the Bedford town hall at
7:30 p.m. sharp. This is the week following school spring vacation.

Please submit a field report for your conservation area before the meeting. Complete the form that is available here and send it by email to both Yan Thomas and Elizabeth Bagdonas. Their email addresses are provided on the field report form.

The stewards are heavily relied upon to update the conditions and needs of our town’s conservation areas. We're looking forward to hearing from you as the ground clears for inspection.

Please send any agenda items for the meeting to Yan Thomas, head land steward. Thank you!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Bird Sightings

Yan Thomas has been kind enough to share the details of some bird sightings here in Bedford. Please send news of any interesting flora or fauna you encounter to bedfordlandstewards@gmail.com. Here are Yan's notes:

January 13, 2011, sighted for the second time this season a Red-bellied woodpecker (male) at a suet feeder on Dudley Rd.

December 15, 2010, sighted a pair of Red-bellied woodpeckers (separately) feeding on mixed seed on the ground under my bird feeder on Dudley Rd. A misnomer, they do not have red bellies; the male has a red crown and nape, the female, only a red nape!

November 12, 2010, A flock of Pine Siskins visited my thistle feeder on Dudley Road. A small finch with dark, heavily –streaked breast
stripes, a touch of yellow in its wings and base of tail. The flock did not remain into the next day.
November 23, 2010, A male Pileated Woodpecker (up to 20” in length) visited the backwoods behind my house. When it flew most striking were the large flashing white patches on the underwings against the black body. When it landed on a dead tree the very red crest was evident and through the binoculars looked like a huge flaming-red helmet. Large oblong holes in the tree’s trunk showed where the bird was feeding (carpenter ants). What caught my attention at first was the LOUD irregular kik-kik call like that of a Flicker.