Lisa Vernegaard, Executive Director of Sudbury Valley Trustees, speaks about conserving land in the Concord, Assabet, and Sudbury river basin
  • Gino Fratellone, Visiting Rotarian
  • Lisa Vernegaard, Speaker
  • The District holiday party will be Sunday in Leominster; see the District newsletter for more information. The next meeting of the Wine Appreciation group will be January 19; details of time and place are also in the District newsletter.
  • Our next meeting, an evening meeting, will be with the Nashoba Regional High School Interact Club. This will be an excellent opportunity to get to meet and know these outstanding young people. The meeting will be at our usual time and place.
  • Our club’s Holiday Party will be on December 17. RSVP to Karin.
  • December birthdays: Mary on the 24th, Nanci Bishop the 31st, and Ray on the 25th.
  • Please be sure your e-mail address on file is current. Dues notices will be coming out soon. Optionally on the invoice will be a contribution to the Rotary Foundation.
  • The Bolton Snow Angels asks that a bucket of sand be made available to senior citizens, to help them during the winter.
  • Repair Cafés will be in Westborough, and Stow, this spring, and in Bolton in January, possibly at the Florence Sawyer School.
  • Recognition awards: Karin, for new member sponsorship; and Chris for Paul Harris +3 donation to the Rotary Foundation;
Happy/sad fines:
  • Bob: daughter had a baby, named Keiko.
  • Bill: wishes us all a safe holiday.
  • Mary Ann: is very sad after the San Bernardino shootings.
  • Chris: is glad for Bob’s good news.
  • Gino: wishes us all a Merry Christmas.
  • Carol: Action Unlimited, instead of collecting hats and mittens for Loaves and Fishes, is now accepting anything.
  • Laura: had a lovely Thanksgiving; and a good visioning session in Dracut.
  • Leigh: couldn’t be here today, but wants us all to know how happy she is that she’s seeing the Pops at the Hanover Theater in Worcester.
  • Ray: is glad that Rich back and doing well.
  • Richard: had a great Thanksgiving with family.
  • Carolyn: Two habitat for humanity families are closing;
  • Karen: is happy for Cyndi King, who has been nominated as president of her new club in Florida; and happy that Bob is a granddad.
  • Jim: received invitations to three separate holiday parties, but he had to turn them all down, for his wife’s birthday.
Our guest speaker was Lisa Vernegaard, Executive Director of Sudbury Valley Trustees, a land trust responsible for the Concord, Assabet, and Sudbury River basin, an area that covers some 36 communities.
As a land trust, SVT conserves land, and actively stewards the land. They do this for ecological and spiritual reasons, and because once the land is developed, the open space simply isn’t open any more. Increasingly, it’s also done for local sources of food.
Several years ago, the Union of Concerned Scientists did a graph, which showed the climate in Massachusetts would be like that of North Carolina by the end of the century if the worst conditions came about. We’re now exceeding those conditions. Protecting the land helps to mitigate those changes.
SVT protects the land, manages the land, and connects people to it. The process of acquiring the land can sometimes be a long process. They’ve worked with one landowner for 20 years. One way is to work with farmers to allow them to continue farming, for tax breaks and to ensure that the land won’t be given to developers. They also have a number of partner organizations—land trusts in the different towns, conservation trusts, conservation commissions, etc. Large tracts aren’t available any longer; so they’ve assembled 500 acres from 27 different properties. 200 volunteers work to take care of the land.
A few years ago, in cooperation with the Department of Wildlife, they constructed a tunnel along the Sudbury River under Route 2. A motion detection camera takes pictures of the wildlife that uses the tunnel. Pictures are posted on their web site:
Sudbury Valley Trust is member supported, and also looks to partner with other organizations. They have lots of volunteer days, especially for area corporations. As a regional land trust, they’re able to coordinate cross-town projects, and are now working with the Nashua River Watershed Association on projects of mutual interest.