Princeton Artist Barry Van Dusen Donates Prints to Help Save Fieldstone Farm!

Princeton artist Barry Van Dusen is so enthusiastic about protecting the 270-acre Fieldstone Farm property, he is donating limited-edition prints to encourage leadership gifts to the initiative. These prints will only be available to supporters of the Fieldstone Farm project.

  • Donors of $2,500 may choose a 9” x 12” print from two images selected by the artist – Wood Duck Drake or Bluebird in Arrowwood
  • Donors of $10,000 or more may choose a 13” x 17” print from two images selected by the artist – Robins and Bittersweet or Female Bobolink
  • Donors of $25,000 or more will be invited to the artist’s studio where they can choose from a larger selection of offerings.

Get more information about Fieldstone Farm or make a gift.

Barry-vandusen-bluebird

Bluebird in Arrowwood

Barry-vandusen-female-bobolink

Female Bobolink

Barry-vandusen-robins

Robins in Bittersweet

Barry-vandusen-woodduck

Wood Duck Drake

Town Approves Acquisition, Progress on Other Fronts

On December 15, 2015, Princeton Town Meeting approved their part of the Fieldstone Farm protection effort, voting 241-94 to acquire 132 acres of the farm and a conservation restriction on another 32 acres. Two days later, the voters of Princeton approved exclusion of the necessary short-term loan from the limits of Proposition 2½ by a vote of 347-267. These votes are a tremendous step forward, and evidence of the value Princeton residents place in this farm. The votes also provide important momentum for the rest of the protection effort.

Also on December 15, the town received the great news that the state’s Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs approved the town’s application for a $400,000 LAND grant to assist in the purchase. It was a very competitive year and many good applications were turned down, and the award is validation of the importance of the farm’s conservation.

Since the holidays, the project team has been making progress on other fronts. We advertised sale of the farmland that will be sold to a private farmer subject to permanent restrictions to be acquired by the state, and negotiations are underway with the top bidder. Discussions continue with other public agency partners. At this writing we are preparing to list the farmhouse and seek a buyer who will love this gem of a place in the midst of a beautiful conserved landscape. Three other lots identified for limited development are still under investigation, and one or more will be listed soon.

Fundraising is in full swing. We have raised $340,000, and need your support to help us reach our $750,000 fundraising goal. To make a gift, please go to our website (www.savefieldstonefarm.org) and click on one of the “Donate” buttons, or mail a check to either the Princeton Land Trust (Box 271, Princeton, MA 01541) or Mass Audubon at Wachusett Meadow (113 Goodnow Rd., Princeton, MA 01541). Thank you!

Town Meeting and Town-wide Vote Fast Approaching

The Selectmen have scheduled a Princeton Special Town Meeting to consider the town’s role in the Fieldstone Farm Protection Project on Tuesday, December 15, at 7 pm in the Thomas Prince School. The warrant for the meeting will be finalized at the Selectmen’s meeting on November 30; we’ll post a link to it as soon as it’s available.

If Town Meeting approves the purchase, two days later on Thursday, December 17, voters will be asked to exclude the borrowing from the limits of Proposition 2½. This debt-exclusion vote applies only to this appropriation, and does not allow the town to raise taxes above Prop 2½ limits for other purposes.

The project needs affirmative votes from both the Special Town Meeting and the special town election to pass. Please mark your calendars for both days!

If you haven’t yet seen the property, come for a walk either of the two remaining Saturdays before Town Meeting, December 5 and December 12. Meet at 10 am at the farmstead at 110 Hubbardston Road, and wear sturdy boots. We will not go into the woods (it’s hunting season!) but we’ll walk through the fields and talk about the details of the protection effort. Questions? Call Deb Cary at 508-450-5590, or e-mail her at dcary@massaudubon.org.

In addition, an Open House for anyone who wants to learn more about the project will be held on Thursday, December 10, from 5-8 pm in the Town Hall Annex. Bring your questions, come study the maps, and find out more about what a positive town meeting vote will mean for the town and for you.

Princeton Town Meeting Date Set for December 15, 2015

The Princeton Board of Selectmen has set a date of Tuesday, December 15, 2015 for the Special Town Meeting that will decide whether the town will help to save Fieldstone Farm. Town residents will be asked to approve the purchase of more than 130 acres of land for conservation, as well as a conservation restriction on another 35 acres, as part of the partnership working to save the farm.

The price for the town’s purchase is $650,000, of which $400,000 will be provided by a state grant we hope to hear about this month. This grant, known as a LAND (Local Acquisitions for Natural Diversity) grant, is given to towns to help them purchase conservation land.

We’ll need the support of every Princeton resident who cares about the future of this wonderful property to come out that evening and vote in support. Mark your calendars now, and watch for more information.

First hurdle passed for APR

If we’re to save Fieldstone Farm, we need many partners to help us. One of the partners we’re working with is the state’s Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) Program, which purchases development rights on farmland to keep it permanently open and available for farming.

We hope to sell an APR to the state on the core of the active farm, about 60 acres of fields and woodland on both sides of Route 62. We’ll then sell the farmland to a private farmer.

Recently we passed the first hurdle when the APR Program board, known as the Agricultural Lands Preservation Committee, “nominated” the project for appraisal. The nomination represents the program’s conclusion that the land is worthy of protection. Once an appraisal is complete it will be reviewed by the program’s federal partners, details will be worked out, and eventually the Committee will be asked to “final vote” the project, approving the APR for acquisition.

This is an exciting step that brings one of our partners closer to a firm commitment. It’s one piece in this complicated jigsaw puzzle we’re working hard to solve.

Come For a Walk!

Join us for a walk at Fieldstone Farm this fall. Come to the farmstead (110 Hubbardston Road) any Saturday morning in November. Walks will go from 10:00-11:00 am.

Wear sturdy boots. We’ll walk through the fields, take in the views, enjoy the crisp fall air, and talk about what we’re hoping to accomplish.

We welcome your thoughts and ideas. Questions? Call Deb Cary, 508-450-5590, or email dcary@massaudubon.org.