An Owl Challenge: National Land Trust Day Cometh…and We Have One to Celebrate

Katie Puppy, WFTA K9 Ranger in Highland Forest

Saturday, June 4, 2022 is National Land Trust Day! No, the Owl did not just make this up–though she definitely would if she had to. Weston is fortunate to have an open space guardian/land trust named Weston Forest & Trail Association, which got its start in 1955. You can read all about that in Pamela Fox’s From Farm Town to Suburb. Full disclosure before I go on and on and on about Weston’s 2000 acres of protected land…the Owl is a trustee and vice president of stewardship for WFTA but receives no financial compensation from the organization. You can learn more about the composition of the board here.

Other things to know: WFTA is a 501c3 and has no paid staff. There is one part-time forester/trail manager, the incomparable Lynn Atkins, and two part-time office and website helpers. As you know, the Owl should never be put in charge of technology. Or reversing down her driveway, or anyone else’s. The Executive Board, which numbers six, puts in a huge number of hours caring for trails, protecting easements and trail rights, building bog bridges as well as managing the finances and education outreach for this amazing organization (oops, bias again). The Owl personally spends at least 20 unpaid hours on the trail each week–no, not unpaid, since the song of red-winged blackbirds, the peepers and the crunch of leaves are salary beyond measure.

Zoom in for the redwinged blackbird at College Pond

On the other hand…

Did you know that your Weston taxes do not support Weston Forest & Trail? And that the organization is responsible for keeping clear more than 90 miles of trails, some of them muck-filled and others requiring constant mowing (think about the field trails of Coburn Meadows or the rail trail to transfer station link). WFTA also maintains the Bay Circuit Trail as it winds its way through the west side of Weston. WFTA also built the nature classroom at Case Estates (with help from many volunteers) and created a Junior Ranger program to involve kids in getting to know the natural world.

Which all leads me to this since I know you all are mathy. We have 436 members of Weston Forest & Trail Association as of the end of June (see report on the WFTA page). Not all of them are Weston residents. And yet Weston has 3,700 households (more or less) in Weston. Does anyone see where I am going? Bueller? Bueller? Everyone loves Conservation land, no? Public lands need maintenance though and that is where you and Weston Forest & Trail Association come in.

Katie Puppy (again!) on the Bay Circuit Trail through Jericho Forest

The Owl Challenge: Let’s raise $4K for WFTA by the 4th (June 4 – Land Trust Day). If every household gave just a $1, we would be almost there–you do the math …let’s see…4,000-3,700… where’s my danged calculator? You can donate online here. You can also send a check but why would you? Yes, tax-deductible.

Invest in the Open Space you cherish. And thank you to all who have already given–WFTA appreciates all the supporters and volunteers and those who care for the easements and trails that cross Weston. If you use any of Weston’s trails, please consider supporting WFTA–whose executive board was even today talking with Weston Conservation about opening a new trail to link Wellesley Street and Winter Street, crossing Bogle Brook.

Learn more about Weston Forest and Trail Association here.

And then get outside.

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