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Easter Egg-stravaganza set to roll out at Doyle Community Park and Center.

Byline: Eric Stanway

LEOMINSTER -- With the huge snowbanks finally melting, thoughts of spring are tantamount in our minds. Heralding that season, of course, is Easter, with its rabbits and chicks and a general feeling of fertility and renewal. In accordance with this vernal celebration, The Trustees of Reservations in Leominster plans to hold its first Easter Egg-stravaganza on April 4, starting at 10 a.m. The festivities will take place at Doyle Community Park and Center, 464 Abbott Ave.

"This is our first year hosting this event,'' said Winslow Dresser, park and conservation technician for the trustees. "We're excited to have this spring celebration here at the Doyle Park and Conservation Center. It's a good opportunity to get the kids out, enjoying the warmer weather. We'll have a bunch of egg-themed activities for kids and families, including egg painting, an Easter egg hunt, an egg toss and an egg race.''

Mr. Dresser said admission for the event is $5 per person for nonmembers and free to members of The Trustees of Reservations. Membership to the group is $57 a year for families and $47 for individuals.

Even though an Easter celebration is, in retrospect, a fairly obvious concept, it took the rigors of this past winter to really push the trustees to do something special to celebrate the season.

"We were looking for something that would be fun and family-friendly,'' Mr. Dresser said. "We wanted to address the change of seasons, which is something that I think we're all excited about this year. Spring is, at least for me, a very special time of year, so I think that this is a really good way of celebrating the property we have at the Doyle Conservation Center. It's really beautiful this time of year, and it's a really good way to get people out, helping to remind that the outdoors is a very nice place to be.''

"Across our organization, there are a number of Easter-themed events,'' said Brian Westrick, assistant superintendent for the trustees. "There have probably even been some events of that nature here at the Doyle Conservation Center. This, however, is the first Easter Egg-stravaganza that we have actually hosted.''

Mr. Westrick pointed out that the Doyle Conservation Center is but one of a larger network of properties managed by the organization across the Commonwealth.

"We are basically a conservation organization, with over 100 properties under our supervision across the state,'' he said. "All of these areas are open for public use. We speak out and protect areas that have historical, cultural or ecological value. Our interests range from the islands and shorelines along Cape Cod to historic homes and larger woodland areas that have trails that are open to the public. Farther west, we protect and maintain cross-country ski trails. So, we have a really varied portfolio of properties.''

The Doyle Community Park is made up of two distinct land parcels: The Doyle Estate and Pierce Meadow. The former was the property of Louise Doyle, who lived there for 95 years. Mrs. Doyle, a practicing Buddhist who remained single all her life, was an extraordinary philanthropist who supported causes ranging from the Little League to the Museum of Fine Arts. Upon her death in 2007, she willed the entire estate -- including 120 acres of gardens, meadows and forests, along with several structures as well as the main house -- to the trustees.

Pierce Meadow, which makes up the rest of the park, was formerly part of the estate of Harry L. Pierce, a prominent Leominster businessman. These were the grounds of Grayling Hall, a 21/2-story, 21-room mansion constructed in the Mission Revival style. The estate contained a greenhouse, dairy barn, cow barn, wagon shed, stables, farmer's cottage and a hennery. Many of the original plantings have been retained, providing the simple elegance of the park. The Pierce estate extended to what is now the Doyle Center, and the original stable is part of the Boys and Girls Club facility.

Completed in June 2004, the Doyle Center is a "green'' building built by the trustees. The project was made possible by an anonymous $5 million donation, and is home to the trustees' staff, working in the areas of ecology, land conservation, resource protection and planning, environmental protection and programming, and mapping. The Doyle Center has been registered for gold certification with the U.S. Green Building Council through its Leadership in Education and Environmental Design program.

"The whole area is open to the people of Leominster and surrounding communities,'' Mr. Westrick said. "We have a number of universally accessible trails, where the public can walk their dogs or use strollers.''

Mr. Westrick said becoming a member is easy. "You can register for membership on our website, which is,'' he said. "We're also more than happy to sell memberships or provide information either here at Doyle or any of our other properties across the state. The website has a lot of great information on all of our facilities.''

So, it's time to shake off those winter doldrums and get into the swing of spring. And what better way to do it than in the middle of nature's burgeoning glory, while tossing around a few eggs?

For more information, call Winslow Dresser at (978) 840-4446, ext. 1913, or email
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Title Annotation:Weeklies
Author:Stanway, Eric
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Mar 20, 2015
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