Land Conservation Subcommittee of the Green Committee
Minutes of Meeting, May 16, 2014, 2-3 p.m., Inn dining room at Easthampton campus
Submitted by Barbara Walvoord
Attending: Adele Dowell, Jim Dowell, Sharon Grace, Lyn Howe, Eleanor Johnson, Gillian Morbey, Diedrick Snoek, Barbara Walvoord (chair). Absent: Chuck Gillies
Book Discussion: First ten minutes were spend discussing our reactions to the first two chapters of Douglas Tallamy’s Bringing Nature Home.
Holly Nelson Visit June 11. Barbara reminded the members about the agenda, which they had received via e-mail. The most important items for the committee are the 11 a.m. presentation and the 1 p.m. meeting of our visitors with the committee, both in the Mt. Tom room.
Tentative agenda for visit by Holly Nelson, Annette Lieberson, and Kay Brush
June 11, 2014
10:00 am-11:00am Introductions & tour Dining Room
11:00am-12:00pm Presentation/Panel Discussion Mt. Tom Room
12:00pm-1:00pm Lunch Main Dining Room
1:00pm-2:00pm Green Committee Meeting Mt. Tom Room
2:00pm-3:30pm Walking tour of Easthampton property?
Task List Reports: Most of the remainder of our time was spent going through the task list, with reports on each task from the person in charge of that task. The task list is attached, with amendments and additions arising from the reports and our discussion at the meeting.
Brainstorm of Ideas, Draft of 4/29/14
In the last five minutes, Barbara called the group’s attention to the brainstormed list’s discussion, on p. 2, of the corn field. Consultant Tom Sullivan’s visit to Easthampton campus to give us advice on the corn field and the 25-acre field that lies within Northampton showed us how complex the issues were, especially concerning pesticides and herbicides that may have been used on the corn field. As a result of that visit and the ensuing discussion, the farmer will be allowed to use the fields for crops for the coming summer, and we will then have time to construct a master plan that will include those fields. Other items on the brainstorm list are incorporated into the task list. Further discussion will take place.
The meeting adjourned at 3:05 p.m.
Attached: Task List
TASK LIST for Land Conservation Subcommittee
The list contains updates that were presented and discussed at our meeting. Each item includes both progress so far and next steps.
MASTER PLAN, FUNDING, INFRASTRUCTURE
- CONSULTANT TOM SULLIVAN FOR CORN FIELD AND NOHO FIELD
- Progress: Consultant Tom Sullivan led a walk to the corn field and the large Northampton field. He verbally made some recommendations and tossed out ideas. We took notes to contribute to our planning.
- Next steps: Visit by Holly and group from Thom’s former retirement community. Visit by Laurie Sanders who will walk all our land and help us draft a plan.
- JUNE 11 VISIT OF HOLLY NELSON and two residents. BARBARA, THOM, MICHAEL HARVEY.
- Progress: agenda and “to do” list generated by Thom. His staff is taking care of the details. Barbara will continue to coordinate. Most important for the committee are the public presentation at 11 a.m. and the committee meeting with the visitors at 1 p.m.
- Next steps: Complete the details, advertise the event, etc.
- JUNE 30-JULY 3 VISIT OF LAURIE SANDERS, consultant, to help us with a land plan. BARBARA, THOM, MICHAEL HARVEY, MIKE STRYCHARZ
- Progress: Barbara has a verbal agreement and confirming-mail with Laurie about the terms of her visit. She will spend 8-10 hours walking our land on both campuses, and 2-4 hours helping us shape a plan. At a later time, she will give a one-hour presentation for residents of both campuses, about the natural history and future conservation of our land.
- Next steps: Specific contract to Laurie. Plan details of her visit.
- AGRICULTURAL POSSIBILITIES FOR OUR LAND: DIETRICK SNOEK AND BARBARA WALVOORD: Look into the “permaculture” folks in this area that Tom Sullivan mentioned. Also contact GrowFoodNorthampton (Lilly Lombard) to find out possibilities for farmers that may be interested in using our land for organic farming, grazing, and the like. Our aim here would be to support local agriculture in an organic way, while making our land a model of sustainable use of the land for both wildlife and farming.
- On hold because Lilly had asked us to wait until late May, to fit better into her work schedule. Barbara will contact her and arrange a meeting for the three of us.
- GRANT FUNDING: BARBARA, JIM DOWELL
o Progress: The Lathrop sustainability fund has about $44,000, donated by residents when Liz Weissbach left. Some was used to purchase the Northampton Campus land. The rest might be used for our projects. We would need a specific plan and budget, and would need to be sure the original donors and the parameters of the fund were consonant with our plans. Kendal will soon be awarding sustainability grants to its members, including us. Jim will know more after their June/July meeting.
o Next steps: Explore other possibilities. Can we leverage the Lathrop money to get additional money?
- LEGAL AND TAX STATUS. LYN HOWE: Work with Thom to help the committee understand our Noho and Easthampton Plat maps and the conservation agreements that were made at the time when the communities were built. Find out the definitions and regulations governing the various kinds of conserved land we have.
- Progress 5/18/14: Lyn talked with Easthampton assistant town planner Jamie Web and Jessica Allen head planner. Nothing formal was done about our Easthampton land when the land was permitted. Info is online in registry of deed for Hampshire County. Suggest we contact Pascommuck Trust about conservation restriction. Barbara said the Northampton planner, on the phone with her a few weeks ago, had said she could find no record of the status of our land, except that we were receiving a tax consideration.
- Next: Wait to Thom to report what the attorneys have found.
- Get Plat map: Sharon will work with Lyn on this
- FUND FOR CONTRIBUTIONS: JIM DOWELL Work with Thom and Debra Perry to set up a special fund for the land conservation, so we can receive donations and cover expenses and reimbursements for our project. Sharon and I can’t give a lot, but we will start the foundation fund with a small donation.
- Progress: DONE! Anyone who wishes to contribute should write a check to the Lathrop REtirement Community with “land conservation/preservation” (not sure which) in the payee line or on the memo line at the bottom.
BUSHWHACKING, MOWING, PESTICIDES, HERBICIDES
- BUSHWHACK SCHEDULE, AND MOWING OF TRAILS. BARBARA, SHARON, MIKE STRYCHARZ
o Progress: Barbara and SHaron met with Mike Strycharz and the landscaper (Spring Valley), and agreed that a path would be mowed across the meadow (#7), fields would be bushwhacked 1/3 at a time, annually, only in late Oct. or November. At our meeting, residents reported getting ticks just by walking to the vegetable garden. Some thought that the path to the garden had not been mowed this last time. The path from the woodland across Meadow (area #7) has not been mowed. Grass clippings were to be dumped by the garden for use by gardeners as mulch, but this was not done. Were any grass clippings collected? If so, what happened to them?
o Next steps: Barbara and Sharon will check with Mike Strycharz, who works with the landscaper.
- LAWN PESTICIDES, HERBICIDES, AND MOWING: NORTH CAMPUS, GILLIAN MORBEY. EAST CAMPUS, BARBARA
o Progress: Barbara and Sharon met with Mike S. and the landscaper. Agreed fertilizer will be 50% organic and a biological control (leafy spurge) will be used to control grubs.
o Next steps: Gillian will check with Mike whether the same 50-50 mix of fertilizer applies also to the North campus. She will work toward increasingly “green” practices there.
- NATIVE WILDFLOWER GARDEN IN FRONT OF CRANBERRY? JIM DOWELL, DIEDRICK SNOEK
- Progress: Jim Dowell proposed the idea; Diedrick offered to make a gift.
- Next steps: Jim talks with Michael Harvey to explore whether he would like to do this.
- NATIVE WILDFLOWER GARDEN IN MEADOW IN WOODS AT END OF WOOD PATH. SHARON and Barbara
- Progress: Sharon and Barbara have covered a 20′ x 20′ square with black Lumite, to smother all current plants on that plot. After two seasons, the black plastic will be removed, and native grasses and wildflowers will be planted. These will eventually spread out into the meadow.
- Next steps: wait two seasons.
- DEMONSTRATION NATIVE PLANT GARDEN IN FRONT OF BARBARA AND SHARON’S TOWNHOME
- Progress: Most non-natives have been removed, and many natives planted
- Next steps: complete planting of natives and tend the garden
- WHERE TO GET NATIVE PLANTS: Adele and Jim Dowell reported enthusiastically on their visit to Project Native in Housatonic, MA, and showed us materials on the native plants that Project Native sells, and on their butterfly garden. They will soon visit Nasami (National Wildlife Federation outlet for wild flowers) in Whately and will bring us a similar report.
PROGRAMS AND INFORMATION FOR RESIDENTS
- BOOK REVIEW: ELEANOR JOHNSON: Read (or skim) the entire book Bringing Nature Home by Douglas Tallamy (you have the first two chapters as a handout to be discussed at our next meeting). Sharon and I have purchased a copy of it that eventually we will donate to the Lathrop Easthampton library: see us to borrow that copy. Write a paragraph announcing and describing the book for the Lathrop LampPost, and submit it.
- Progress: Barbara today gave the book to Eleanor. She will check with Deb Peavey to find out what is needed for a Lamp Post article.
- Next steps: read and write the review
- BOOK REVIEW: ADELE DOWELL: Order the book Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants, by the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, a short book that does what its title suggests. Write an announcement and a one-paragraph review of it for the Lathrop Lamp Post, and submit it. Include information about where to buy native garden plants in this area. See Sharon and me for ideas.
- Adele has the book and will write a short review for the Lamp Post (Check with Deb Peavey)
- Next steps: read and write the review
- INTERVIEW ADDISON CATE: CHUCK GILLIES: Interview Addison Cate about his work on this land and his knowledge of it, and write up the interview for our records, and perhaps for the Nor’Easter.
- Chuck was unable to attend, but sent an e-mail saying he had had an initial conversation with Addison and would talk to him again. Addison would look through his records for relevant documents. Barbara will share a planning document that comes from Jack Cooper via Jack Simpkin (who is on the property committee).
- Next steps: further interview with Addison, and article about his recollections for our own records, our blog, and perhaps the Nor’Easter
- WORK WITH DEBORAH PEAVEY ON DISPLAYS AND EVENTS: STILL LOOKING FOR A VOLUNTEER: Work with Deborah Peavey to arrange a display about our land for the lobby: pictures of the land, a place where residents can list birds and wildlife they have sighted, a place to keep a record of invasives that people have removed, etc.–your and Deborah’s ideas.
- Progress: Barbara and Sharon will meet with Deb soon.
- Next steps: Hold the meeting with Deb and work toward a plan.
- BLOG: SHARON GRACE:Launch a blog for our project.
- Sharon is exploring software and design for our blog. We intend it for internal Lathrop use, at least initially. Michael Harvey has asked to be kept in the loop, so we can coordinate with other Lathrop websites.
Next steps: continue to explore and develop the blog.