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 20, 2012

Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count 2012

It's time once again to start planning for the National Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count!  Frank Gardner will be organizing the count in the Bedford sector of the Concord Christmas Bird Count. The count which will be on Sunday, December 30th.  

The portion of Bedford which falls within the official count circle area is small and limited to the southwest corner of Bedford, but we have done a great job finding lots of good birds in our area in past years.
Please let Frank (frg444@gmail.com) know if you are interested in participating this year, so we can divide up the various areas appropriately to get good coverage and accurate counts of birds.  We will also have a planning meeting at the Bedford Starbucks at 7pm on December 27th.  Please let Frank know if you can attend that as well.

Your response by December 24th is most appreciated.  See you soon!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Post-Meeting Notes - Fall 2012

1. Noted were the conservation areas that are in need of more stewardship. List follows. We were pleased to have the Bedford Citizen, a recent on-line Bedford news reporting organization, cover our meeting. You may have seen Kim Seibert’s article about us (Oct 26) and the list of the underserved conservation areas. Their web address: www.thebedfordcitizen.org.

List of conservation areas in need of coverage: Huckins Farm Trails (Dudley Rd. area); Frost C.A. (between Great Rd. and Pine St.); O’Connor C.A. (off Old Billerica Rd., near Noreen
Dr.); Shawsheen River C.A.(off Middlesex Trnpk, along the river); Webber/Vanderhoof (off Concord Rd., past Hartwell Rd.).

2. Your Fall Field Reports have been summarized by Yan and made available to the Trails Committee for information in their work. It is up to the Conservation Commission to work out the details of the items to be acted upon in these reports. In the light of storm SANDY which did its damage after our Reports were in, some of you may be notified to do a quick evaluation of any storm damage. Remember, automatically report to Elizabeth (or Yan) any important change in your area at any time of the year.

3. Do stay on top of the developments of the Bedford Circuit Trails which is very much in the planning stages. We had an extensive presentation by Ralph Hammond on this subject at the meeting He is one of our stewards (York) and also a member of the Trails Committee. For those of you not at the meeting, there has already been sent out to you a brief explanation of the Circuit Trail concept along with a map of the tentative routes for the two circuit trails. When any of you have questions, concerns, suggestions especially as you see where these trails go through your conservation area, it is asked that you notify Ralph or Elizabeth with your comments. It’s an exciting concept, creating these 2 circular routes for a way to better enjoy our Bedford natural resources - and – coincidentally getting a little exercise. Ralph Hammond’s email: Ralph.Hammond@verizon.net Elizabeth’s email: elizabethb@bedfordma.gov

4. When your map boxes are empty, stewards, please arrange to get copies found on the steward or town website, or from Elizabeth. Being the monitor of your area is one of your responsibilities. Steward Website: bedfordlandstewards.blogspot.com Town Website: bedfordma.gov Link on both: Trail Maps

5. When what we call “hazard” trees (trees hanging over trails endangering walkers, not trees lying down that one can step over), are dutifully reported by you to Elizabeth, she will notify the D.P.W. who will go in and take care of the problem. It is paramount upon your reporting, however, that you locate on a map the position of the hazard tree.

6. A truly comprehensive, professional environmental study of our conservation areas done in 1977 was handed out to show what we might consider doing today in support of our conservation lands. The example study contains information about geological features, plant populations, and management objectives. It appeared that the study was met with great enthusiasm. If any of you would like a copy of this example of an environmental study please let Elizabeth know.

7. Lindau Farmland’s sale agreement with the town established an expiration next year of its tenure as “conservation” land. The feeling by the Lindau stewards present was that there was very little threat in the future of the Town using this piece of land for anything but open space.

8. Copies listing our conservation areas and their current stewards and contact information were made available at the meeting. Please let Elizabeth know if you want a copy.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Help NE Wild Flower Society remove buckthorn in Concord, Oct 3 & 4

Plant conservation volunteers from the New England Wild Flower Society could really use your help removing invasive buckthorn from the Old Calf Pasture in Concord. This area is the site of the world’s largest population of Viola brittoniana – Britton’s coastal violet.

The plant conservation volunteers will be removing the buckthorn on October 3rd and 4th from 9am to 3pm. They have been working on this for a few years and are going to be taking out some of the larger trees around the edge of a field. Staff will be along to squirt some herbicide on the stumps, and there will be a lot of small trees to remove.

Any help you can give would be great. You can show up for just a few hours or any time  The New England Wild Flower Society will provide all the tools.

The Old Calf Pasture is just outside of Concord center on Lowell Road. Here’s a link to the location shown on a Google maps page.

Let John Burns know if you can make it or you can just show up. John is the Plant Conservation Volunteer Administrator for the New England Wild Flower Society. You can contact him at jburns@newenglandWILD.org or 508-877-7630 ext 3204.

Fall Meeting 2012

Dear Stewards,

This is the time with fall upon us to start thinking about reporting on our conservation areas.  Many of the areas were visited by the summer work crew, please comment on their work.   And most important, of course, list what remain as issues.  This is an ongoing, dynamic process and your input is essential. The field report form is available here.

The meeting is planned for MONDAY, Oct. 22nd at 7:30pm, at the Town Hall. Monday is a change from the usual Thursday because Elizabeth cannot meet on any Thursday in October.

Look forward to receiving your reports any time now before the meeting.  Thanks for your ever-going efforts.

Yan Thomas, Head Steward

Monday, May 14, 2012

Post Spring Meeting Notes - 2012

Discussion of the issue of dumping that continues at several conservation areas. Photographs and exact locations are to go to Elizabeth for follow-up of various options.

The interdependent relationship between the Steward Group and the Trails Committee was emphasized by Yan. As head steward she attends the monthly meetings of the Tails Committee and shares the relevant field report items on which you report. Yan provided a copy of the Trails Committee 2011 Annual Report that lists the prior year’s accomplishments (includes installation of bog bridges and posts, brushing trails, and much more) and the present year’s plans, which the Trails Committee is required to publish in advance. You can see by this how important the input of the conservation land stewards plays in caring for Bedford’s 25+ conservation areas.

Please volunteer to lead an informal trail walk in your area on a first Saturday morning of any month. The monthly trail walk is a program run by the Trails Committee who will help you with the details. 

We are missing field reports on Huckins Farm Trails, Shawsheen River, and Webber/Vanderhoof. These are needed to efficiently plan the work of the summer crew this year and for the planning by the Trails Committee. Thank you.

Website manager Peter Desjardins said several of you tried unsuccessfully to send email to the stewards' email list (bedford-land-stewards@googlegroups.com). The stewards' email list is for announcements only; members cannot post messages. The list is configured that way to minimize the number of messages that members receive. All field reports should be sent directly to Elizabeth and Yan. Any photos are very much welcomed on the website. Continually, announcements regarding steward affairs are on the site to view. Send photos or communication to the website to: bedfordlandstewards@gmail.com.

You may be receiving a form requesting your impressions of your area to help with the descriptions in the development of a new Bedford Trails Guide booklet of the conservation areas. This is under the guidance of Peter Desjardins for the Trails Committee. Please help the writers of this guide with your personal highlights. You won’t be quoted!

Elizabeth announced there’s added acreage to the Clark Conservation Area off Davis Rd. This extension will mean a varied habitat of trees and a brook added to that part of the field.

A special event is planned for the Bedford portion of the Concord River for the celebration known as Riverfest on June 23, 24. Stewards Dan Hurwitz will lead the boats paddling from the Town launching area on Rt. 225 to the Two Brothers Rocks and Yan Thomas will lead a trail walk from Old Causeway Rd. off Rt. 225 to the Two Brothers Rocks through the Harvard and Huckins Farm trail system. The Historic Preservation Commission will elaborate on the history of the area at the “rocks.” All sizes welcome.

The plan is to have a summer work crew program, and if secured Elizabeth may need to be in touch with you about your area.

Sign and return a town waiver form to Elizabeth if you plan to do any kind of work in your area. As a land steward you may want to sign this form anyway to be covered.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Riverfest 2012

Elizabeth Bagdonas, the Town of Bedford Conservation Office Administrator, sent us this message about the Sudbury, Assabet, and Concord rivers Riverfest event:

Carla Gomez of the Organization for the Sudbury, Assabet and Concord Rivers is coordinating this year's Riverfest activities throughout the watershed and Bedford is an important part of it.

The event will be held on Saturday and Sunday, June 23rd an 24th and Carla hopes that Bedford will offer an activity to be included in the Riverfest brochure. In the past, Bedford has run a trail walk and coordinated boat trip to Two Brothers Rocks from the Concord River Boat Landing.

Boaters bring their own boats and are led by Bedford boaters. Walkers either meet at the boat landing or on Old Causeway Road and walk with a Bedford guide over the West Bedford Trail to Two Brothers Rocks. We in Bedford could have someone present from the Historic Preservation Committee to give the history, and/or someone to describe Bedford’s contributions to open space preservation in the area.

Please let Elizabeth Bagdonas know if you are interested in this event and can contribute.

Agenda for the Spring 2012 Meeting

Bedford Conservation Land Stewards

Spring Meeting April 26, 2012

Conservation Areas & Stewards Roster Updates (Yan & Elizabeth)

Trails Guide in Progress –Input from Stewards form (steward Peter Desjardins)

Conservation Commission – (Elizabeth)

“Riverfest” Planning – Bedford sector June 23, 24

Downed Tree List

Volunteer Waiver Forms

Trails Committee update – Map boxes + (Yan, steward rep)

Website Update (Peter Desjardins, mgr)

Field Reports – Highlights & Issues

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring 2012 Meeting

The 2012 spring meeting of the Bedford conservation land stewards is scheduled for Thursday, April 26th. We will meet in the upper conference room of the Bedford town hall at 7:30 p.m.

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.

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

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Christmas Bird Count Results

Frank Gardner shared results from the Concord Christmas Bird Count. The area encompassed by the count includes sections of Bedford.

In Frank's words:

We had a good outing for the Concord Christmas Bird Count - Bedford Sector.

Dale & Janice Landis, Barbara Centola, Rob Dobson, Andy Clerkin, and I were all able to participate. We had a total of 29 species and 509 individual birds tallied for the day. Highlights for Bedford included new all-time highs of 30 mallards (thanks to all the open water), 18 downy woodpeckers, 3 northern flickers, and 27 white-breasted nuthatches. We also added one new first-time species for the Bedford Sector - 2 swamp sparrows! The really exciting thing about this species is that it was seen in the restored wetland area behind the Pulte development (Hartwell Farms) off of Hartwell Road. As recently as last year this area was part of an old abandoned parking lot and now it is a nice-looking wetland!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Trail Walks

Stewards Dan Hurwitz and Yan Thomas (taking photo), Paul Marcus (Trails Committee), Arthur Hildreth, Linda Kovitch, and Ron & Carol Reynolds went on a very pleasant Saturday trail walk (Jan 7th) to the Altmann conservation area and the Brothers Rocks (pictured). Every month on the first Saturday meet behind the library at 9:45 am rain or shine to walk one of Bedford's conservation areas. Sponsored by the Trails Committee.