Our Farms, Our Future

Despite its long agricultural history, our region is losing farmland at one of the highest rates in the nation. Within Essex County, over 14,000 acres of agricultural lands are unprotected.

Greenbelt has conserved more than 50 farms, protecting over 1,000 acres of working farmland in the county. In addition to conservation of agricultural land, Greenbelt’s farmland program Our Farms, Our Future works with farmers to create secure and affordable access to farmland, offers free educational opportunities with partner organizations, and educates community members of the benefits and impact of supporting local farms. Click below to learn more about our farmland programs.

News and Happenings

Sawmill Brook, West Newbury

West Newbury Voted YES for Sawmill Brook!

On Monday, April 24, West Newbury residents voted “Yes,” authorizing the town to spend up to $350,000 of Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds for the purchase of Sawmill Brook. Protecting these 32 acres of land next to Mill Pond and Pipestave Hill will allow for the protection of core wildlife habitat and wetlands, expansion of area trails, clean water protection, and increased climate resiliency.

With a property purchase price of $705,000, there is still work to be done! Please consider a gift to help Greenbelt fill the gap to forever protect Sawmill Brook.

Leash up, please!

Many grassland birds nest on Greenbelt properties this time of year, including Bobolinks and Eastern Meadowlarks. For the protection of these and other ground-nesting birds, we ask that dogs be leashed at all times from May 1 through July 15 when visiting the following reservations: Cox, Castle Neck River, Hans Morris, and John J. Donovan & Sagamore Hill. Please keep an eye out for signs at all Greenbelt properties as we continue to monitor grassland bird activity.

Brick Ends Farm, South Hamilton

Behind the Scenes at Brick Ends Farm

On April 20, attendees were treated to a behind-the-scenes tour of Brick Ends Farm, a local composting facility based in South Hamilton. The business was founded by Peter Britton in 1975 to restore fertility to local farmland while reducing the massive amount of food waste that goes to landfills each year. Brick Ends Farm connects to the local trail system and a number of conserved properties including Vineyard Hill, Bradley Palmer State Park, and Mass Audubon’s Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary. The event ended with compostable giveaways from Unpacked Living in Beverly. Thank you to the owner of Unpacked Living, Sabrina Auclair, and thank you to Peter Britton and James Gist for hosting Greenbelt!

More Land Conserved near Norwood Pond

Across from Norwood Pond, an additional 23 acres of private land is now permanently protected on Beaver Pond Road in Beverly. By successfully conserving this property, Greenbelt has extended the network of protected lands that include the Norwood Pond watershed and its complex ecosystems, trails, and scenic vistas. This additional 23 acres will add to the natural landscape situated in an otherwise populated area. If you haven’t had a chance to visit Norwood Pond in Beverly, consider a visit!

Family Fun with Greenbelt

At Greenbelt we encourage people of all ages to get outside to enjoy and explore the many beautiful natural lands in our area. Nourishing the next generation of nature lovers is so important—and so fun! This month we hosted Exploring the Salt Marsh as part of the Family Nature Series with North Shore Nature Programs. Greenbelt celebrated Earth Day with fun family activities at the Book Shop of Beverly Farms. On May 20, we’ll learn all about our pollinator friends with hands-on activities and presentations by local beekeepers, native plant gardeners, and environmental educators during the Birds, Bees and Butterflies event at Greenbelt’s Cox Reservation.

Join us for Birds, Bees, and Butterflies or other free Family Nature Series events by registering here.

In the meantime, pack the kids, bring along the grandparents, and pick a hike from Greenbelt’s Family Nature Guide (also available in Spanish). We look forward to seeing the whole family!

Four Frogs - Double Your Impact

Double Your Gift

Did you know you that many employers offer the opportunity to double the impact of your gift to Greenbelt? Having your contribution matched dollar-for-dollar enables Greenbelt to do even more to protect the land, farms, wildlife and ecosystems of Essex County. Please take a moment to see if your employer has a matching gift program by clicking below.

There's always a lot going on at Greenbelt! If you're interested in learning about volunteer opportunities, join our monthly Volunteer E-Newsletter list.

Essex County Greenbelt Association

82 Eastern Avenue, PO Box 1026, Essex, MA 01929
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