Live Virtual Author Series Features Outstanding New Publications by  Plant, Garden, and Landscape Specialists 

FRAMINGHAM: Native Plant Trust, the nation’s first plant conservation organization and the  only one solely focused on New England’s native plants, announces a live virtual Author Book  Talk Series featuring top plant scientists and landscape designers discussing their newest  publications. The series will run August through October 2021 and feature renowned experts  Darrel Morrison, Jonathan Drori, Ellen Sousa, Lauren Brown and Ted Elliman. Tickets available  at  

“This series creates a forum for outstanding leaders in plant-related fields to share new ideas  and perspectives with audiences around the world,” shares Courtney Allen, Director of Public  Programs at Native Plant Trust. “Research, innovation, and publication are organizational  priorities for Native Plant Trust, and we look forward to highlighting the work of our local,  national and international colleagues.”

Authors include: 
  • August 6, 2021: Darrel Morrison 
Distinguished professor and landscape architect Darrel Morrison will discuss his new book,  Beauty of the Wild: A Life Designing Landscapes Inspired by Nature, published by the Library of  American Landscape History. Morrison is a renowned landscape architect, professor, and  leader in promoting ecological diversity and restoration in landscape design. Beauty of the Wild highlights Morrison’s approaches to native plant communities and natural processes in his  landscapes at the New York Botanical Garden, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and Storm King Art  Center. Morrison is co-founder of Landscape Journal and a Fellow of the American Society of  Landscape Architects. He is one of the most revered educators in landscape architecture today,  whose ecology-based approach has influenced a generation of practitioners.
  • September 10, 2021: Jonathan Drori 
Jonathan Drori will discuss his new book, Around the World in 80 Plants. Drori is a plant  scientist, professor, and science communications expert and author of the acclaimed book  Around the World in 80 Trees. He has led and served in such roles as BBC Executive Producer  and founding Director of Culture Online at the UK Government’s Department for Culture and  Media. In Around the World in 80 Plants, Drori brings plant science to life by revealing how plant  worlds are intricately entwined with human history, culture, and folklore. Some plants have a  troubling past, while others have ignited human creativity or enabled whole civilizations to  flourish. Drori is a former Trustee of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and was awarded the  Commander of the Order of the British Empire.  
  • October 1, 2021: Ellen Sousa  
Ellen Sousa will discuss her upcoming book, Native Green Garden (an updated edition of her  previous publication, The Green Garden), and will share how to create ecologically sound New  England habitats with horticulture. She is a garden expert, nursery owner, teacher naturalist,  and speaker. Native Green Garden is an illustrated guide to native plantings for the region’s  microclimates that will increase ecosystem health and attract native pollinators.  

Native Plant Trust’s Author Book Talk Series also recently featured Lauren Brown and Ted Elliman discussing their book Grasses, Sedges and Rushes: An Identification Guide. The 2020  publication is an updated edition of Brown’s definitive guide from the 1970s. Lauren Brown and  Ted Elliman are both highly regarded botanists with several landmark publications in the field,  including Brown’s Grasses: An Identification Guide, Weeds in Winter, and Grasslands and  Elliman’s Wildflowers of New England
To reserve your spot for virtual author book talks, please visit
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AVM Announces Summer Sing of Mozart’s Requiem

WESTBOROUGH:  The Assabet Valley Mastersingers will host a Summer Sing of Mozart’s Requiem in d minor on August 17, 7:30pm at Congregation B’nai Shalom. Sing the choruses with members of the AVM chorus while professional soloists sing the solos.  All are welcome!  Bring your music score or borrow one at the door.  Suggested donation is $10 per person.

Artistic Director Dr. Robert Eaton will briefly rehearse the audience/chorus in the choral sections of the Requiem prior to directing a complete performance of the work including professional soloists; Andrea Ehrenreich, soprano, Jessica Tasucu, alto, Killian Mooney, tenor, John Salvi, bass; and accompanist Mark Bartlett.  For more information, visit

The Assabet Valley Mastersingers (AVM) is a community chorus of about 65 SATB
vocalists in Northborough.  Choir members are experienced singers,
ranging from 16 – 75+ years of age, hail from 20+ area towns, and represent a diverse community joined together by the vision of Artistic Director, Dr. Robert Eaton; the love of choral music and the challenge of performance. AVM performs in the Shrewsbury, Northborough, Westborough, Southborough and  Marlborough area, presenting three
major concerts annually plus a Messiah Sing. The choir has been performing since 1978 and enjoys a reputation for excellence in choral performance.
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The Northborough Free Summer Concerts are Back! 

NORTHBOROUGH: The Northborough Community Affairs Committee is thrilled to announce the return of our free Summer Concert Series for 2021!.  All concerts will be held on Sundays at Ellsworth-McAfee Park (Rt. 135) from 5-7pm. These events are fun for the whole family! Food trucks will be back again this year as well!. In the Summer line-up will be Playing Dead, Way Up South, Cold Spring Harbor & Crocodile River Music. The food vendors will include Northborough House of Pizza, Fork N' Delicious Food Truck, Uhlman's Ice Cream and Yummy Mummy Bakery. For more information about the Northborough Community Affairs Committee, visit or find them on Facebook.

Callahan State Park Expands Thanks to Collaborative Effort

MARLBOROUGH: Callahan State Park gained 33 additional acres on June 28, after the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) purchased the O’Donnell Property in Marlborough. This purchase was the culmination of a long-term, collaborative effort to protect the property, which shares a ½-mile boundary with the state park.

DCR identified the property as a priority for protection nearly 20 years ago due to its critical location within an actively used portion of the park. In addition to the $1.25 million that DCR contributed to the acquisition price, the City of Marlborough contributed $150,000 and Sudbury Valley Trustees (SVT) raised $100,000 from foundations and local individuals. 

“By protecting this important property, DCR is able to expand the Callahan State Park trail network and secure this pristine natural resource for future generations to enjoy,” said DCR Commissioner Jim Montgomery. “Callahan State Park provides essential outdoor recreation opportunities to people seeking respite in our state parks, and DCR is grateful for the ongoing partnership and collaboration with the City of Marlborough and Sudbury Valley Trustees, which were critical to the successful completion of this acquisition.”

Marlborough Mayor Arthur Vigeant commented, “The City has been interested in this land for quite some time and we are appreciative that the O’Donnell family decided to allow us to purchase it to preserve it as conservation and recreational space for the public to enjoy. I’d like to thank the Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Sudbury Valley Trustees staff, and all who worked with us to secure this asset.”  Visitors to Callahan State Park have likely crossed the O’Donnell Property without realizing that it was privately owned. Nearly ¼ mile of the Beebe Pond Loop Trail cuts through the property, so by conserving this land, the project partners have protected a popular recreational resource.

Priscilla Ryder, Marlborough Conservation Officer, added, “We are thrilled to have this property protected to enlarge Callahan State Park. Any time we can enlarge existing open spaces, it helps the environment and wildlife habitat. Many people from Marlborough and the region use this park, so it is wonderful to have the land and trail system protected for future generations.” 

Left unprotected, the property could have been carved up into 20 or more house lots, which would have fragmented the forest habitat, harmed wildlife, and increased runoff and erosion into Angelica Brook.  In fact, Colie and Nora O’Donnell acquired the property several years ago to protect it from a proposed development project. But they always intended to sell the land for permanent conservation once an agreement could be reached with an appropriate organization. Discussions with DCR picked up over the past year, with the City of Marlborough and SVT stepping in to raise public awareness of the project and to provide supplemental funding.

Trail maps for Callahan State Park are available on the DCR website at
Photo by Dany Pelletier

AARP Massachusetts Fraud Watch Update: July 2021

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Did you know that someone’s identity gets stolen every two seconds?  The AARP Fraud Watch Network provides you with tips and resources to help you spot and avoid identity theft and fraud so you can protect yourself and your family.  Our watchdog alerts will keep you up to date on con artists’ latest tricks.  It’s free of charge for everyone:  AARP members, non-members, and people of all ages.  Be a fraud fighter!  If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam. Report scams to local law enforcement. Contact the AARP Fraud Watch Network at for more information on fraud prevention.

Warm weather is here which means door-to-door sales crews are here, too. But what they’re selling isn’t always legit. Be cautious anytime a stranger comes knocking, especially if the visitor is trying to sell you goods or services. Be wary of contractors who say they stopped by because they just happened to be in the neighborhood. The good ones are usually too busy to roam around in search of work. Also be on guard for high pressure tactics to make a quick decision for a steep discount, and requests for payment upfront. Your best bet is to proactively seek out services if you need them, versus reacting to an unexpected sales pitch. It’s always okay to explain you don’t do business at your front door (or to not answer when strangers knock).

Many scams originate right at your fingertips through your computer or smartphone. The good news is the way to block them is also within your grasp. Here are three tips to keep your devices safe from criminals. Make sure your devices’ operating systems are up to date; you should be able to set an auto-update feature that downloads the latest software when available. Next, make sure to change the password on your Wi-Fi router so it’s different from the password it came with. If you have a lot of devices connected to it, they could be vulnerable if the router is compromised. Lastly, a password manager is a great way to create unique and hard-to-guess passwords for all of your online accounts and apps.

America is open for business again and millions of people are traveling, or planning to. One thing you may run into is sticker shock – especially with rental cars. The lack of travel in 2020 led rental companies to sell a lot of their inventory of cars. Now that demand has spiked, supply is tight and prices are high.
Unfortunately, criminals are paying attention and posting fake rental car deals at rock bottom prices online. While everyone loves a good deal, doing business with an entity you aren’t familiar with could be risky. Whatever your travel needs, stick to reputable websites with proven track records. If you do find a deal with an unfamiliar provider, do your research: look up the company name with “scam” or “complaint” and see what appears, and check out reviews.

Who doesn’t love something for free? But beware, that “free trial offer” might mean months of payments that you didn’t know you signed up for and will have a hard time canceling. These types of sales tactics are called negative options – a customer signs up for a free trial and unwittingly accepts a subscription – sometimes for a questionable product – often by not seeing a pre-checked box in the very tiny print. When it comes to free trials, research before you enroll. Fully understand the terms and conditions by reading the fine print. Keep a close eye on your credit and debit card statements so you spot unexpected charges right away. Contact your bank or credit card company to address the issue; calling the company you inadvertently signed up for a subscription with will likely get you nowhere.

Be a fraud fighter!  If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam. Report scams to local law enforcement. For help from AARP, call 1-877-908-3360 or visit the AARP Fraud Watch Network at
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Peppercorn Hill Conservation Area Gains 67 Acres

UPTON: A year-long effort to conserve the 67-acre Kelly Property in the eastern part of Upton concluded in June, when the Town of Upton purchased three parcels of the property and Metacomet Land Trust (MLT) purchased the fourth. The property will now become part of the adjacent Peppercorn Hill Conservation Area.
The Kelly Property hosts mature forests, wetlands, streams, a vernal pool, and rocky outcrops. In addition, about 1 mile of the popular Peppercorn Hill trails crosses the property and offers a stunning view to the west from a scenic overlook. 

“People who have visited the trails at the Peppercorn Hill Conservation Area in the past have likely walked across the Kelly Property without realizing that it wasn’t public land,” said Lisa Mosczynski, President of MLT. “By protecting the property, the project partners have ensured that the public will always have full access to the entire trail network and can enjoy the view from atop Peppercorn Hill.”

MLT purchased its 25-acre parcel on June 15 with assistance from Sudbury Valley Trustees (SVT), a regional land trust that works in 36 communities. MLT received a $56,500 Conservation Partnership grant for the purchase from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. To close the gap in the purchase price and to cover costs such as legal fees, SVT secured additional grants from anonymous foundations, and the two member-supported land trusts worked together to solicit donations from private individuals. 

 “We are grateful to SVT for supporting this project and helping it to succeed,” said Mosczynski. “MLT is also proud to have worked with the Town to expand the Peppercorn Hill Conservation Area, protect important wildlife habitat, and provide recreational opportunities for the public far into the future.”

The Town of Upton used $156,908 of Community Preservation Funds to purchase its 42 acres on June 30. Town voters approved the use of these funds during a Special Town Meeting in November 2020.  SVT will hold conservation restrictions on all 67 acres and will annually monitor the land to ensure its critical ecological properties are protected.

 “The Town is excited to partner with Sudbury Valley Trustees and the Metacomet Land Trust to continue to provide recreational opportunities to our residents as we add to the town’s treasured Peppercorn Hill Conservation Area.” said Maureen Dwinnell, Board of Selectmen Chair. “On behalf of the Board of Selectmen, I want to thank the members of the Conservation Commission for their leadership in preserving this land for future generations to enjoy.”

After both deals closed, Meredith Houghton, SVT Land Protection Specialist, commented, “SVT believes it is important to act now in order to conserve precious open spaces such as the Kelly Property. We were delighted to collaborate with MLT and the Town to protect this land for the surrounding communities.” 
Houghton continued, “We also thank everyone, including over 70 area residents, who donated to the fundraising campaign to save this land. Your support was essential to the project’s success.”
A trail map for the Peppercorn Hill Conservation Area is available on the Town of Upton website.

DONORS URGENTLY NEEDED: Red Cross Still Facing Severe Blood Shortage

The American Red Cross continues to experience a severe blood shortage that is negatively affecting blood product availability across the country. Donors of all blood types – especially type O and those giving platelets – are urged to make an appointment to give now and help ensure hospital shelves are stocked with blood products over the Fourth of July holiday and beyond.

Right now, the Red Cross is working around the clock to provide blood products to hospitals responding to an unusually high number of traumas and emergency room visits, as well as overdoses and resulting transplants. As a result of the blood shortage, some hospitals are being forced to slow the pace of elective surgeries until the blood supply stabilizes, delaying crucial patient care. 

In addition, while summer is traditionally a time when blood donations decline, this year is particularly challenging as many Americans receive their vaccinations and resume summer activities after more than a year of limited interactions and travel, leading to lower donor turnout. The need for blood doesn’t take a holiday break − patients still depend on lifesaving transfusions.

Donors are needed now to prevent further delays to patient care. Schedule an appointment to give blood now by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.

As a thank-you, all those who come to give July 1-6 will receive a Red Cross embroidered hat by mail,* while supplies last. And, donors who come to give July 7-31 will receive a $10 Gift Card by email, plus a chance to win gas for a year (a $5,000 value). (Terms and conditions apply; visit 
In most cases, those who have received a COVID-19 vaccine can donate. However, knowing the name of the manufacturer of the vaccine they received is important in determining donation eligibility.

Diaper Collection to Benefit The Diaper Project at A Place to Turn, Natick

FRAMINGHAM: Lutheran Church of Framingham and St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, partners in mission and ministry, will hold a month-long virtual and a one-day in-person diaper collection to benefit The Diaper Project at A Place to Turn. Diapers and baby wipes are not covered by SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) or any other federal or state programs. This collection will provide diapers and baby wipes to families in our MetroWest community who are in financial distress.

At this time, the Diaper Project is looking for: 1) Diapers in sizes 5 & 6; 2) Diaper wipes; and 3) Monetary donations.  You can donate three ways:

Virtual Collection, July 1-31. Shop online at your favorite retailer and have the diapers and wipes shipped directly to: The Diaper Project, 99 Hartford St., Natick, MA 01760.

One-day, In-Person Collection, Sunday, July 25, 11:30am to 12:30pm. Hand-deliver your donations to volunteers in the parking lot of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 3 Maple St., Framingham. Volunteers will be there to collect your donations. Please do not leave donations outside the church at any other time.

Monetary Donations: Visit the A Place to Turn website: Click the “Make a Donation” button at the top right section of their home page. If you’d like, you can type St. A/LCF Diaper Collection in the comment section. You may also send a check made payable to A Place to Turn to 99 Hartford St., Natick, MA 01760 and write St. A/LCF Diaper Collection on the memo line.
There is a constant need for these items. If you are unable to help now, you may donate directly to A Place to Turn at any time. Please join us in helping our neighbors in need.

St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church and The Lutheran Church of Framingham are co-located at 3 Maple Street in Framingham, MA. For more information, please call the church office at 508.875.5095.
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Spellman Stamp Museum Re-Opens July 8

WESTON: The Spellman Museum of Stamps & Postal History, located on the campus of Regis College in Weston, will re-open on Thursday, July 8. Summer hours will be Thursday, Friday and Saturday from noon to 5pm. It will also be open on Sunday, July 12 from noon to 5pm.

While closed, the Museum completed major improvements including repainting the main gallery and adjacent spaces, installing new LED lighting throughout the building, rebranding and updating signage, refreshing the Museum store, adding library services and preparing many new activities and books for children while expanding materials in the Museum’s Youth Club.

The two major exhibits now on display feature a history of the 19th Amendment and Women’s suffrage using stamps, and a celebration with stamps of the 400th anniversary of the landing of the Pilgrims. Other exhibits include medicine on stamps (which is also on display at New England Baptist Hospital), owls on U.S. and world-wide postage, the history of rural free delivery, children’s stamp games, antique stamp cases, Civil War letters and envelopes, zeppelin mail, the very first stamp (the One Penny Black of 1840) and the first US stamps. And the Special Exhibits Room features a women’s jacket
and skirt hand made in 1935 using more than 2000 stamps.

Admission to the Museum is $8 for adults, $5 for seniors and $3 for children. Some area public libraries have free passes available. All children receive a free packet of stamps and can participate in a stamp hunt for prizes. The Museum offers an evaluation service of collections, by appointment, for a $50 fee. More information is available at or

Wayside Inn Foundation Hosts New Summer Programs

SUDBURY: The Wayside Inn is announcing new drop-off summer programs for children ages 6 and up. Programs are scheduled throughout the summer in June, July, and August. “Over the last year and a half, we have experimented with family programs that require children to participate with an accompanying caregiver,” said Katina Fontes, TWIF Education Coordinator. “However, our goal has always been a menu of drop-off programs for youth. With COVID restrictions easing and vaccination rates rising, this summer felt like the perfect time to begin!”

The “Time Travelers Summer Programs” will kick off with a June 5th preview of the new Three Sisters Garden behind the Old Barn and a self-guided story walk (families can stop by any time between 10:00 a.m. and noon). The garden will be used for educational programming later in the summer. “It will also be an opportunity for visitors to talk with staff and learn more about The Wayside Inn Foundation and our new drop-off summer programs,” noted Fontes.

The first drop-off program is on Saturday, June 19th, 10:30-noon. The theme is Juneteenth, and participants will enjoy a picnic lunch in addition to some journaling and craft activities. The week of July 19-23, a program series focused on gardening, sustainability, and Native American traditions is offered. There will be another series on American cooking through time the week of August 16-20. All programs will take place from 9:00 a.m. to noon, with an option to add an extra hour for lunch until 1:00. “We administered a survey back in March, and the results suggested that families want flexibility and choice. So we are allowing them to pick and choose the dates and themes that work best for them,” added Fontes. Registration is limited to 10 kids per session.

“We are excited and can’t wait to share some of our site’s history with families and kids,” said Fontes. “Thanks to a generous donation of loam and compost from Cavicchio Greenhouses, Inc., garden preparations are already underway! We encourage our guests to swing by from time to time to see the progress of our garden the next time they have dinner at The Inn or visit our site.”

A brochure with details about the programs, costs, and the registration process is available at
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June is PTSD Awareness Month

June is PTSD Awareness Month. Though most often associated with veterans who experienced atrocities of war, anyone, including children and teens, can suffer with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Children typically recover quickly from stressful events, but when it comes to severe stress, especially serious injuries, the death of a close family member or friend, sexual assault, living through a disaster, or witnessing a violent act such as a school shooting, children can often suffer the long-term effects of PTSD.
The National Center for PTSD estimates that 7-8% of people will experience PTSD during their lives. Worse yet, over 65% of children who are exposed to a traumatic event will, at some point, attempt to take their own lives.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the symptoms of PTSD are different for young children than those of older teens and adults. Children younger than 6 will often wet the bed, forget how or refuse to talk, act out the traumatic event during routine play, or become unusually clingy with a parent or other adult.

Research shows that depression rates increase after a trauma and tend to be especially high among children with PTSD. If your child or someone you love is struggling with depression or thinking about suicide, get help now. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), is a free resource, available 24 hours a day for anyone who is in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. The Crisis Text Line is a free 24/7 text line where trained crisis counselors support individuals in crisis. Text “Jason” to 741741 to speak with a compassionate, trained Crisis Counselor. Confidential support 24/7, for free.

The Jason Foundation is another available resource.  The Jason Foundation is dedicated to the awareness and prevention of youth suicide through educational programs that equip youth, parents, educators, and the community with the tools and resources to identify and assist at-risk youth. Many times, a young person will exhibit clear warnings signs prior to an attempt. By knowing the warning signs, and knowing how to help, you could save a life.  Visit The Jason Foundation’s website to learn more about youth suicide, the warning signs, and how you can help make a difference.  The Jason Foundation has never charged a school, community, or individual for the use of their programs or resources.
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Emerson Hospital & IMPACT Melanoma Team Up to Protect the Public

CONCORD: Emerson Hospital and IMPACT Melanoma, a national non-profit organization dedicated to reducing the incidence of melanoma, have teamed for the third consecutive year to protect residents from skin cancer. The organizations have deployed touchless, automatic sunscreen dispensers at 16 high-traffic locations, including parks and recreation facilities, beaches, rail trails, and athletic fields throughout Concord and the greater area. The dispensers provide complementary sunscreen throughout Acton (at The Discovery Museum), Bedford, Chelmsford, Concord, Harvard, Hudson, Maynard and Westford.
Jen Melanson, Community Service Coordinator for the town of Chelmsford, reported after the 2020 season, “The program was so well received, we had positive feedback on social media and from citizens who were very excited and appreciative. We are grateful to Emerson Hospital for providing the dispensers and are excited to support the program again this year.”
“We are pleased to work with Emerson Hospital on this invaluable initiative for the third year,” said Deb Girard, IMPACT’s Executive Director. “It is imperative to educate communities at all levels – residents, government, employees, and visitors – to create a broad sense of sun-safe practices aimed at healthier lifestyle choices for our skin. With this initiative in motion, we can achieve exactly that with the fleet of free sunscreen dispensers, and educational messaging. We are excited and hope that neighboring towns take notice. Together we can make a great IMPACT and practice of safe skin.”
Emerson Hospital is sponsoring bright yellow sunscreen dispensers that are filled with SPF 30 sunscreen. The dispensers are monitored regularly and replenished as needed, ensuring that everyone in the area who needs sunscreen has easy access to it. SPF 30 or higher sunscreen is rated and recommended for use by children ages six-months and up, and adults. All sunscreen ingredients are safe and approved by the FDA.
“Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in our service area, according to our latest Community Health Assessment,” notes Christine Gallery, Senior Vice President, Planning and Chief Strategy Officer, Emerson Hospital. “We are proud to support IMPACT Melanoma again this year, so that people throughout our towns can have fun this summer, while easily protecting themselves from skin cancer. We anticipate the community will use the sunscreen often and it will become a routine part of their summer safety regimen. We encourage the community to be in touch with a physician with any questions or concerns about their skin.”
To learn more about the importance of sunscreen and where the complimentary sunscreen dispensers are located, please visit