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Busy future for Rauscher Farm.

COLUMN: Look 'n' See

Update: The Rauscher Farm Management Subcommittee (RFMSC), a subcommittee of the Clinton Conservation Commission, is currently working on a draft of a Rauscher Farm land management plan on behalf of the Clinton Conservation Commission. After the town completed wetland and boundary surveys of the farm in late 2009, in 2010, the RFMSC began the research phase of this plan by inviting experts to advise on the management of Rauscher Farm's varied habitats (Massachusetts Audubon Society), invasive species control (Commonwealth of MA's Department of Conservation and Recreation and Troop 4 Eagle Scout candidate William Schofield), and mowing schedules (Mass Audubon land managers and local farmers).

A number of knowledgeable individuals also offered advice on aspects of Rauscher Farm's habitats and wildlife management. On the technical side, The Trustees of Reservations advised on the organization of a written land management plan and directed the RFMSC to model land management plans for guidance. This broad-based information gathering is ongoing.

Meanwhile, Rauscher Farm is waiting for you and your family and friends to visit.

Upcoming events on Rauscher Farm

Feb. 19 or 26 (depending on snow forecast.): SnowFest on Rauscher Farm, a free, family event sponsored by the Clinton Greenway Conservation Trust and Friends of Rauscher Farm. Come build snow creatures, go snowshoeing, cross country skiing, sledding, and other fun snow activities (not snowmobiling). Hot chocolate provided.

February is a great month for checking out animal tracks in the snow. And we've certainly had a lot of snow for tracking.

March: Spring is not far off. Migrating birds are on the wing. Visit Clamshell Pond in your own time and spot the early visitors. Bring your binoculars. Become a part of Rauscher Farm's year-round Bird `n Butterfly-a-Thon. We need your help documenting spring visitors to Clamshell Pond and the farm. Tell us what you see. Email your sightings to contact@rauscherfarm.org.

Early in March, once the ground begins to thaw, Eagle Scout badge candidate Joseph Gorham of Troop 10 will oversee an installation of Eastern Bluebird nesting boxes in the lower grassland. Mr. Gorham's project includes overseeing the building of a number of nesting boxes, monitoring them once they are in place, and reporting back to the RFMSC on the occupants of the boxes (hopefully bluebirds). This is an exciting first-time nesting box project on Rauscher Farm.

April/May: As well as more visitors from the air, ground life will begin to stir on Rauscher Farm. Starting in May look for pink Lady Slippers along the Clamshell Pond shoreline trail. You'll see orange flags pinpointing their location. Be sure to tread carefully.

May/June: Possible implementation of phase 1 of a purple loosestrife eradication program. The RFMSC thanks Eagle Scout William Schofield for designing and executing an Eagle Scout project that located a number of areas of purple loosestrife growing in Clamshell Pond. Purple loosestrife is a very aggressive invasive plant so we should deal with it promptly. A successful eradication program will need to be a cooperative effort of Rauscher Farm's private property neighbors who border Clamshell Pond. The RFMSC thanks William Schofield for his important contribution to invasive species control on Clamshell Pond and Rauscher Farm.

June: Rauscher Farm field trips for Clinton Middle School students.

July: Sometime this month, the Clinton Greenway Conservation Trust, a non-profit organization, should hear back from the Commonwealth's Department of Conservation and Recreation regarding a handicapped accessible trail grant application submitted on Nov. 1, 2010. Since there was overwhelming community support for this project - A Path to Clamshell Pond - we're hoping for the best.

As you can see, exciting things are happening on our farm. Enjoy your visit.

Rauscher Farm is a beautiful and serene place. To keep it that way for us today and our children tomorrow, please be a friend to Rauscher Farm. Stay on the trails where indicated. Remember to take out of Rauscher Farm everything you bring in. Respect other visitors while you are there. Respect the privacy of surrounding private property owners. Please, no motorized vehicles. (They tear up the ground habitat.) For ideas, questions or concerns, contact the Rauscher Farm Management Subcommittee, Clinton Conservation Commission, Town Hall, 242 Church St., Clinton, MA 01510l, (978) 365-4127. Thank you for taking care of Rauscher Farm during your visit.

The column was written and submitted by the Rauscher Farm Management Subcommittee, a selectmen-appointed subcommittee of the Clinton Conservation Commission.

ART: PHOTO

PHOTOG: Photo for The Item/JIM WEBSTER

CUTLINE: Winter at Rauscher Farm
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Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Feb 11, 2011
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