With increased stress associated with the COVID crisis, natural lands have never been more important – to all of us. They provide essential places of peace, solitude, and healing as we all attempt to navigate a world that became so much more complex, seemingly overnight. Our protected lands are a great place to appreciate the small things in life that bring us joy.
A good example of such a place is in Stow, where I live with my family.
The Stow Conservation Trust – an all-volunteer local land trust started in 1977 – protected a special place there, now called the Leggett Woodlands. I have been a trustee/director of the Trust for some time, and serve as the organization’s current president.
In 2004, I had the pleasure to work with Dorothy Leggett to protect this 23-acre forested property through her generous donation of the land. Charlie Leggett, her late husband, developed a new variety of squash in the mid-1940s, later named the Waltham Butternut Squash, in a field across Gleasondale Road from the Leggett Woodlands. The squash he developed has since become world famous.
A loop trail was constructed on the property in 2008, and the Leggett Woodlands are now home to two stations on the Trust’s Nature Discovery Trail. The first is a woodland Music Station with an amandinda (a log xylophone) and chime wall. The second station is “Forest Tales” which is home to whimsical forest fairy statues created by artist Linda Hoffman of Frog Pond Orchard in Harvard. The Trust commissioned them with a grant from the Alice Eaton Foundation. There are a series of small statues on rocks along a path; people are encouraged to play with the statues and add to the sculptures – as Ann Carley’s photo shows.
This serves as an important reminder that the natural world can bring us joy, even in stressful times.
-Bob Wilber, Director of Land Conservation