Middlesex Conservation District

Middlesex Conservation District

Welcome to the Middlesex Conservation District Website!

MCD is always looking for opportunities to collaborate with the landowners of Middlesex County.  The next Board of Supervisors Meeting is January 24th at 7:00 PM on Zoom. Please join us to learn more about our work this year, and our partnerships with state and federal agencies. Come help shape the natural resource decisions on your private and public lands.  Contact Susan.thomas3@usda.gov for more information and a zoom link.

The Spring Plant Sale is coming April 15th and 16th! In this special Foraging and Home Food Production Edition we have taken special care to provide access to native plants that will shelter and feed a wide variety of life in your landscape, including you!  Please mark your calendars and look for more information in all of your mailboxes soon.  We can’t wait to serve you!

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Please join us as we recap the year and elect new Supervisors at the Middlesex Conservation District Annual Meeting, Monday December 13, 2021 on Zoom.  Our Guest Speaker is Dr. William Moomaw, Emeritus Professor of International Environmental Policy, Center for International Environment and Resource Policy, and Co-Director Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University who will speak about the importance of Forest Conservation in combatting climate change.

MCD is always looking for opportunities to collaborate with the landowners of Middlesex County.  Please join us to learn more about our work, and our partnerships with state and federal agencies. Come help shape the natural resource decisions on your private and public lands.  Contact Susan.thomas3@usda.gov for more information and a zoom link.

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Thank you, Russ, for an inspiring, informational evening at Good Pickin’ Farm!  It was tough to say goodnight with so much more to see, taste and learn. We hope to see you again in the spring for another sensational experience.

Native Edibles Plant Walk with Russ Cohen at Good Pickin’ Farm Monday, RESCHEDULED to

October 11th from 4-6 PM

lease join the Middlesex Conservation District and Good Pickin’ Farm on  a socially distanced walk with Russ Cohen, Massachusetts author, horticulturist and native edible plant expert, to learn about, sample and perhaps even take home some seeds of native edibles.  Pack your curiosity, dress for the weather, and carry a mask and any other items you might need for a two hour ramble. $25 Per Person. Register here

 Russ Cohen’s bio may be found here

 

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Native Edibles Plant Walk with Russ Cohen at Good Pickin’ Farm Monday, October 4th from 4-6 PM

Please join the Middlesex Conservation District and Good Pickin’ Farm on  a socially distanced walk with Russ Cohen, Massachusetts author, horticulturist and native edible plant expert, to learn about, sample and perhaps even take home some seeds of native edibles.  Pack your curiosity, dress for the weather, and carry a mask and any other items you might need for a two hour ramble. $25 Per Person. Register here

 Russ Cohen’s bio may be found here

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THE SPOTTED LANTERNFLY FOUND IN FITCHBERG

Report sightings of these invasive and destructive pests

Adult SLF (photo credit: Lawrence Barringer, PDA)

 

Nymphs of SLF, from left to right, youngest to oldest (photo credit: Teá Kesting-Handly)

 

 

 

 

 

 

State Agricultural Officials Discover Invasive Spotted Lanternfly Population in Worcester County

Satellite Population in Fitchburg Represents Easternmost Spread of Pest

FITCHBURG – The Massachusetts Department of A Resources (MDAR) announced today that a small population of the invasive spotted lanternfly has been found in the City of Fitchburg, close to where a lanternfly nymph was reported earlier this summer. Agricultural inspectors are in the middle of performing extensive surveys in the area, but currently the infestation is limited to a single cluster of three trees. While MDAR has not been able to determine the origin of the infestation, spotted lanternflies have been known to travel out of infested states on cars, trucks, and trains, during shipments of produce, sheds, and gazebos, trees and shrubs for landscaping, and many other items that are regularly sent from states with known infestations.

 

As a result of this new find, MDAR is urging the public to be on the lookout for the pest, especially residents that live or work in the Fitchburg area. Spotted lanternflies may be found on sides of buildings, in or on vehicles, and on their preferred host plants: tree of heaven, grape vines, and maple and walnut trees. Anyone who has recently received goods or materials from states where SLF is known to have been introduced (including Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia) should also be on the lookout.

 

“The spotted lanternfly can have devastating impacts on Massachusetts’ agricultural industry, including on a number of farms and orchards in this part of the state that we want to protect from this pest,” said MDAR Commissioner John Lebeaux. “Early detection and reporting is the best way to slow the spread of spotted lanternfly. Members of the public, particularly those in the Fitchburg area, have seen this pest, they are asked to report it as soon as possible.”

 

If residents find anything suspicious, they are asked to take a photo or collect the specimen, and report the sighting using MDAR’s online reporting form. Residents should look for both adult insects (large, gray bugs, about one inch long, with black spots and red underwings) and egg masses (inch-long, rectangular masses, yellowish-brown, and covered with a gray waxy coating). The egg masses may be found on any flat surface.

 

Spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula, “SLF”) is an invasive sap-feeding insect from Asia that was first found in the United States in 2014 in Pennsylvania. While the main host plant of this pest is tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima), spotted lanternfly attacks many different trees, shrubs, and vines, and has the potential to impact a broad range of agricultural commodities, including apples, peaches, grapes/wine, hops/beer, maple syrup, and ornamental plants. While individual spotted lanternflies have been found in several different parts of the state over the past several years, this is the first evidence that Massachusetts has a breeding population. A current map showing towns and cities where SLF has been found can be downloaded from https://massnrc.org/pests/slf.

 

 

 

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Seeking a Plant Sale Coordinator

MCD is looking for a new Plant Sale Coordinator.  If you love plants, are interested in native plants, and are looking for a flexible part time opportunity that supports conservation, please check us out. 

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2021 Local Working Group – YOUR opportunity to impact Conservation Priorities in the County (rescheduled due to Hurricane Henri)

MCD works in partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, a division of USDA, to support conservation practices in Middlesex County.  YOU can make a difference in how Federal dollars are allocated to address conservation practices in Middlesex County by participating in the Local Working Group on August 30th, 2021 at 7:00 PM on Zoom and/or by filling out and returning the 2021 survey.  See the Local Working Group under the About Us Tab for more Information.

Seeking a Plant Sale Coordinator

MCD is looking for a new Plant Sale Coordinator.  If you love plants, are interested in native plants, and are looking for a flexible part time opportunity that supports conservation, please check us out. 

Fall Bulb Sale Cancelled – We look forward to serving you in 2022

Due to a confluence of unexpected circumstances, the Middlesex Conservation District has reluctantly decided to skip the Fall Bulb Sale this year.  We will be back with both the Spring and Fall Sales next year and look forward to serving you.

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The Middlesex Conservation District invites you to a workshop in Invasive Species Management in Middlesex County, to be held Tuesday, March 16, 2021 from 7-9pm. Register early as space is limited!

To register click HERE

(While we are offering these workshops for free, if you are able to make a donation to offset our workshop costs, we would appreciate it):

 

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The Middlesex Conservation District invites you a workshop on creating pollinator habitat: Learn pollinator habitat requirements, how to create and protect habitat, and understand additional benefits gained from pollinator habitat.

To Register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/creating-and-managing-pollinator-habitat-on-your-land-tickets-139699758739

(While we are offering these workshops for free, if you are able to make a donation to offset our workshop costs, we would appreciate it):

About this Event

Whether you farm 80 acres or have a small backyard, you can support pollinators. In this webinar, Hannah Mullally, Xerces Society Partner Biologist – Maine, will share approaches to building and maintaining pollinator habitat on working lands, small gardens, and in urban settings. Participants will learn key pollinator habitat requirements, how to create and protect habitat, and understand additional benefits gained from integrating pollinator habitat.

Hannah Mullally is a Pollinator Conservation Planner and Partner Biologist with the Xerces Society and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. Hannah provides technical assistance on pollinator and beneficial insect conservation in New England for small growers, large scale farmers, and homeowners. This work includes planning, designing, installing, and managing habitat for pollinators. Hannah also provides conservation planning support for the New England Pollinator Partnership in collaboration with NRCS, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and other partners.

(Recordings of past workshops offered by the MCD are located under Resources Available —>Workshops)

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Kiss the Ground (film)

The documentary film Kiss the Ground is now available for viewing on Netflix or by streaming from kisstheground.com. Kiss the Ground is a full-length documentary narrated by Woody Harrelson that sheds light on an new, old approach to farming called “regenerative agriculture” that has the potential to balance our climate, replenish our vast water supplies, and feed the world. 

Flower Use Survey for Stakeholders

To Farmers, gardeners, landowners, landscapers, horticulture professionals, and other agricultural stakeholders – Dr. Lynn Adler at the University of MA is proposing new research to assess whether pollen from certain flowers can reduce bee disease. This builds on her lab’s discovery that sunflower pollen dramatically reduces a common disease of bumble bees, both in the lab and on farms. This new research would expand these results by testing pollen from sunflower relatives, such as zinnias, dahlias, cosmos, black-eyed Susan and Echinacea, that are grown as cut flowers and used in the landscaping/horticulture industry. Extension is collaborating with Dr. Adler to disseminate information as this project evolves. Demonstrating stakeholder interest in using cut flowers to improve bee health will be an important part of the proposal. Dr. Adler would be grateful for your input on a brief survey.

Survey link:https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfU1ycueI_UQ-f4oS9G4Kdpvmb1soVxQ4p3kGDwOjNq167zew/viewform. Questions, contact Dr. Lynn Adler: lsadler@umass.edu.

Our Spring Plant Sale tent with volunteers busy at work!

Sign up for our mailing list to receive our twice a year plant sale catalogs (we will never sell, rent, or provide your information to anyone else):

Mailing List Signup

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Unsolicited Seeds from China

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is aware that people across the country have received unsolicited packages of seed from China in recent days. APHIS is working closely with the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection and State departments of agriculture to prevent the unlawful entry of prohibited seeds and protect U.S. agriculture from invasive pests and noxious weeds.

Anyone who receives an unsolicited package of seeds from China should immediately contact their State plant regulatory official or APHIS State plant health director. Please hold onto the seeds and packaging, including the mailing label, until someone from your State department of agriculture or APHIS contacts you with further instructions. Do not plant seeds from unknown origins.

People with questions can also call:

844-820-2234
Monday-Friday – 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET

CustomerServiceCallCenter@aphis.usda.gov

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Are you interested in purchasing food for delivery or pickup from local farms or producers? The links below allow you to search for sources near you:

https://farmstanding.com/ 

https://www.theorganicfoodguide.org/

Southeastern Massachusetts Agricultural Partnership

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Got chickens? Beware of bears

The Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) is alerting poultry owners and related groups about the need to protect their birds and coops from hungry bears. Black bears killing chickens and damaging chicken coops is becoming one of the most frequently reported human-bear conflicts in the state. Common in central and western Massachusetts, black bears are expanding their range east to Route 495. Poultry loss, coop damage, and other bear conflicts have been reported in all of these regions and calls have increased lately as bears fatten up before winter hibernation. Many poultry owners have no idea their birds and coops could be at risk.

Please visit this link  for information on protecting poultry from black bears. And for more information on black bears in Massachusetts click here.

 

 

 

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The Middlesex Conservation District is a not for profit environmental agency dedicated to protecting soils and waters in Middlesex County. We hold plant sales twice a year, in April and September, to fund our conservation programs.  You are welcome to simply come and shop, but we encourage advance ordering as we frequently sell out of our more popular items. Orders are accepted in February and March for our spring sale; and in July and August for our fall sale. For any questions about our sales please send an email here.

To contact the District:

Middlesex Conservation District
319 Littleton Rd, Suite 205
Westford, MA 01886
Phone  (978 303 8272)