A donation of land by Karen Faler has added five acres to Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary in Worcester. Karen and her husband Paul, who passed away seven years ago, received the property from his grandparents. They purchased it after emigrating from Finland and used it for a woodlot. Paul and Karen visited the property occasionally and enjoyed the step back in time to a rural community where keeping a woodlot was not uncommon. Karen is now the sole owner. When no family members expressed interest in keeping the land, Karen approached Mass Audubon about donating it. We accepted with enthusiasm!
The Faler land is a wooded lot that has never been developed and directly abuts the Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary. Although small, this 5-acre parcel is ecologically significant. The entire property is designated as important habitat for threatened species by the state’s Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program. In addition, the donation of this parcel to Mass Audubon eliminates the potential for intrusive development that would affect a nearby trail at Broad Meadow Brook.
Karen Faler commented on the successful transaction saying, “It is with great satisfaction that I donate this land to the Mass Audubon preserve at Broad Meadow Brook. It honors both my family’s heritage and Mass Audubon’s efforts to preserve undisturbed elements of nature for all to enjoy.”
We’ve made good progress lately on several projects reported on in recent months:
Western Mass Electric Company. On Monday evening the Agawam City Council voted unanimously to approve these two conservation restrictions, totaling 65 acres at two sites, following Conservation Commission approval in late March. Western Mass. Electric is working to wrap up a few final permitting issues with the Corps of Engineers and the state’s Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program, with hopes of completing the process and conveying the conservation restrictions this summer and initiating construction in the fall. Our crew heads out next Wednesday to gather baseline documentation (pictures, GPS locations of boundary points, etc.) that will help our stewardship staff monitor the property going forward.
Almy Property. This 5.7-acre conservation restriction nestled against Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary in Dartmouth and other protected land will be placed on record any day now. The CR has been approved by the Dartmouth Select Board and by the state’s Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs, and is awaiting the blessing of the Dartmouth Planning Board as part of the Board’s approval of the family’s 3-lot Open Space Residential Design subdivision.
Valencia Property. The gift of this 2/3-acre bit of wetland surrounded on three sides by our Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary in Worcester is a couple of steps closer to completion. Earlier this month I walked the property with Deb Cary and Martha Gach from the sanctuary staff as part of our routine evaluation of any contamination risk from oil or hazardous waste. The property passed with flying colors and we had a nice conversation with one of our prospective neighbors to boot. A draft purchase-and-sale agreement is circulating.
Above: Mass Audubon staff Deb Cary and Martha Gach on the proposed Valencia gift.