TASK LIST for Land Conservation Subcommittee
These are the 8 areas of our work:
- Master plan, finances, infrastucture
- Agricultural fields
- Removal of invasives
- Bushwhacking, mowing
- Herbicides, pesticides
- Planting natives
- Programming and information
The rest of the document gives details about each of the 8 areas. Task List updated 7-27-14, cont.
1. MASTER PLAN, FINANCES, INFRASTRUCTURE. Jim, Chuck, Eleanor, Barbara, Sharon
- FUNDRAISE. Secure the Kendal $5,000, and ask residents’ councils for additional contributions. You will need a proposal for how to spend the money.
- DRAFT A MASTER PLAN FOR THE SUBCOMMITTEE, INCLUDING MISSION, VISION, PRIORITIES, TIMELINE, AND BUDGET. Build on the work we have already done, incorporated in the 8 tasks listed here, and the draft mission statement on the website (lathropland.wordpress.com). Present this to the committee for discussion at September or October meeting.
2. AGRICULTURAL FIELDS: Barbara, Sharon, Chuck, Lyn, Diedrick
DEVELOP POSSIBILITIES FOR OUR AGRICULTURAL FIELDS: Look into three areas: (1) farming/grazing, (2) grasses to support grassland birds, and (3) solar field.
- Develop a description and map of our fields (Barbara has a draft, which she will send soon to everyone).
- Meet with Lilly Lambert of GrowFoodNorthampton. Barbara and Diedrick, in August.
- Get out the word to the CSA/organic/sustainability/permaculture community that we welcome farmers’ inquiries about using our land. Diedrick.
- Meet with Community Solar August 18 about possibility of using 5-8 acres for a solar field
- Meet with NRCS state biologist Marianne Piche and Soil Conservation planner Nikki Thibault on July 31 about possibilities of encouraging/planting some parts of our fields in native grasses for native grassland birds.
- Explore tax implications of various uses of our fields.
- Explore possibility of putting some of our East campus land in agricultural preservation. Talk with Pascommuck Trust and with land planners for Northampton and Easthampton
- Gather information about all these options and present recommendations to the committee.
3. REMOVAL OF INVASIVES: Barbara, Sharon, Diedrick, Jim
- GET RESIDENTS INVOLVED IN INVASIVES REMOVAL. Organize an invasives removal session for residents on the east campus, either to clip off blooms on Purple loosestrife (pending advice from a firm that will be treating the loosestrife) or to use cut-stump treatment on bittersweet vines in the hedges around homes. (Cut-stump involves lopping off the vine near the ground and then putting a drop of Roundup on the stump. Experts advise against trying to pull the vine down from the tree–just leave it. We will meet with north campus folks (Gillian, who is our committee member, plus committee friends Jo Davis, Joan Wofford, Laura Cranshaw, Caroline Arnold, and others).
- HIRE A FIRM TO REMOVE INVASIVES. Develop list of areas for removal of invasives, with priorities (Barbara and Sharon have a draft, which they will share, based on Laurie Sanders’ recommendations). Develop a spec sheet for firms to present their bids, contact firms, guide them when they come to inspect the potential work, get bids on the invasives removal, choose a firm, and engage them.
- WORK WITH MASTER PLAN/FINANCE PEOPLE TO FUND RAISE FOR THIS.
4. BUSHWHACKING, MOWING. Barbara, Sharon
- 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. In July, Harvey Allen recommended bushwhacking the entire field annually and using a mulching mower to avoid build-up of thatch.
- Next steps: Continue to monitor
5. HERBICIDES, PESTICIDES. Barbara, Sharon, Gillian
- Progress: Barbara and Sharon met with Mike S. and the landscaper. Agreed fertilizer will be 50% organic and a biological control milky spore) will be used to control grubs.
- 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.
- Continue resident education and progress
6. PLANTING NATIVES. Jim, Adele, Eleanor, Chuck, Diedrick, Barbara, Sharon
- NATIVE WILDFLOWER GARDEN IN FRONT OF CRANBERRY.
- Julie will meet with committee August 15. Give her direction about developing a plan. Implement her plan and get funding.
- Get residents involved, and use the planting process for publicity and marketing.
- 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.
- Use this same approach in future for strips of land in field next to vegetable garden and perhaps elsewhere (e.g. is swale behind Huckleberry houses)
- DEMONSTRATION NATIVE PLANT GARDEN IN FRONT OF BARBARA AND SHARON’S TOWNHOME
- Progress: Most non-natives have been removed, and many natives planted
- Progress: Adele and Jim Dowell have also incorporated many native plants into the garden at back of their house, and been featured in Lamp Post.
- Next steps: continue to develop information for residents about how to use natives in their gardens
- 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 (New ENgland Wildlife Society outlet for wild flowers) in Whately and will bring us a similar report.
- Progress: trail across meadow #7 is mowed. Barbara and Sharon will continue to monitor the mowing and the trail from the blue garden shed to Bassett Brook.
- Next: At Residents’ Council meeting, ask residents about what they want and need for trails, benches. Use this information to present recommendations about trails, vehicles, access, etc.
- Try out a few possible events such as a guided walk or ride in the electric car to see whether residents want to do this.
8. PROGRAMMING AND INFORMATION. Adele, Chuck, Barbara, Sharon, working with Michael Harvey and Deborah Peavey.
- SCHEDULE LAURIE SANDERS’ PRESENTATION TO RESIDENTS AT EASTHAMPTON. Michael and Deb will schedule and publicize; Chuck will send his photos to Laurie.
- INTERVIEW LONG-TIME RESIDENTS about the development and protection of our land in the past. Anyone willing to do this?
- CONTINUE ARTICLES IN LAMP POST AND NOR’EASTER. Barbara will continue to submit a page each week for “Easy Being Green” in Lamp Post. Others are invited also to submit articles.
- DEVELOP OTHER PROGRAMS AND DISPLAYS. Some ideas include:
- Screen with rolling photos of our land for Inn, similar to Meeting House.
- Displays about our land for the lobby, art displays, etc.
- Place where residents can list birds and wildlife they have sighted
- Place to keep a record of invasives that people have removed
- Bird and butterfly walks (working with trails folks)
- WEBSITE: Sharon and Barbara
- Progress: website is launched (Lathropland.wordpress.com), and the Lathrop general website now links to ours.
- Next steps: continue to develop the website.