Please feel free to join RLC for any of our wide variety of events as we work towards conserving the center of Massachusetts. All events are open to the public, members and non-members alike.

Previous Events:

Pollinators with Ellen Sousa
Why We Need Them and How to Help Them in our Backyards

Thursday, April 20th, 7:00 pm at the Rutland Public Library

Bees and other pollinators provide us with many benefits, but many of them are suffering steep declines and desperately need our help. With careful plant choices and a few changes to your landscaping practices, learn how your own backyard can support diverse populations that contribute to environmental health and the future of our food supply. Ellen Sousa is a garden designer, writer and runs a native plant nursery from Turkey Hill Brook Farm in Spencer MA. She is author of The Green Garden: A New England Guide to Planning, Planting & Maintaining the Eco-friendly Habitat Garden.

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Rutland Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

June 6, 2015 10 AM to noon

NATIONAL TRAIL’S DAY FAMILY SCAVENGER HUNT The Rutland Land Conservancy will host a Family Scavenger Hunt on National Trail’s Day, June 6th , from 10:00 AM to noon. The event will be held at the Ferrie-Calkins-Deering Woodland on Walnut St. The marked trails on this 24-acre property are easy to moderate. Bring bug repellent, if desired. A scavenger hunt list will be made available on Friday June 5th for download on our website. Please carry-in and carry-out and stay on marked trails.

Scavenger Hunt List

Directions to Ferrie-Calkins-Deering Woodland

Map of Ferrie-Calkins-Deering Woodland

Quabbin: A History and Explorers Guide A Narrated Slide Presentation by Michael Tougias

March 27th, 2015 7:00 PM Rutland Public Library

Michael Tougias, author of Quabbin: A History and Explorers Guide, will present a narrated slide presentation about Quabbin Reservoir on March 27, 2015 7:00 PM at the Rutland Public Library.The program features the demise of the “lost towns” flooded to create the Quabbin, the construction of the massive reservoir, and how the Quabbin works today. In addition Tougias will take the audience on a natural history tour of the Quabbin and surrounding area with suggestions for day trips.
Tougias’ slides include before and after images of the lost towns, workers building the dams and aqueduct, the grand opening of the reservoir, wildlife of the Quabbin, unique natural places, and favorite trails and entrance gates. Tougias also discusses three fascinating events from the region he calls “forgotten history” as well as a couple of surprise findings.
When Quabbin was constructed in the late 1920’s and 1930’s, four towns “drowned”, 2,500 residents displaced, and 7,500 graves were moved. Today Quabbin Reservoir provides water for Boston and 45 other communities, serving over 2.5 million people. Quabbin and the surrounding forest is the largest tract of open space in southern New England, home to nesting loons and bald eagles, coyotes, porcupines, and moose.
Tougias has been hiking and researching the Quabbin for over thirty years. “I first fell in love the solitude and the beauty of this special place,” says Tougias. “Later, the history captured my attention, and I set out to interview all the former residents of the lost towns I could locate. Although many were just children when the state took their towns, they have incredible stories of how this huge project changed so many lives. My book and this presentation is a way for me to share my passion for the area and encourage fellow explorers to visit this region of Massachusetts.”
Tougias is the author and co-author of 19 other books. Tougias presents slide presentations on the topics covered in all his books, and is a dynamic speaker who often attracts large crowds. Visit his website at When not writing or exploring Tougias donates his time to protecting open space.
Please join the Rutland Land Conservancy for what is sure to be an exciting evening!

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Rutland Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

Naturally Curious: A Naturalist’s Journey Through Twelve Months of the Year with Mary Holland

October 4, 2013 6:30 PM Rutland Public Library

This free program is based Mary’s book Naturally Curious: A Photographic Field Guide and Month–by-Month Journey through the Fields, Woods, and Marshes of New England. A visual journey through the 12 months of the year, as seen through a naturalist’s eyes. Beginning in March, when the earth awakens, and ending in February, Mary Holland guides you through a selection of each month’s most memorable natural events. Images and information about amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, insects, spiders, plants and fungi of New England are presented for audiences of all ages. This informative slide program is accompanied by a natural history collection, including, skulls, scat, skins and more.

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Rutland Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

Reading the Forested Landscape by Ecologist and Writer Tom Wessels

March 15th, 2012 7:00 PM Rutland Public Library

This program is based on Tom’s book, “Reading the Forested Landscape, A Natural History of New England”. It introduces people to approaches used to interpret a forest’s history while wandering through it. Using evidence such as the shapes of trees, scars on their trunks, the pattern of decay in stumps, the construction of stone walls, and the lay of the land, it is possible to unravel complex stories etched into our forested landscape. This process could easily be called forest forensics, since it is quite similar to interpreting a crime scene.

Tom Wessels is an ecologist and founding director of the master’s degree program in Conservation Biology at Antioch University New England. He is the current chair of The Center for Whole Communities that fosters inclusive communities that are strongly rooted in place and where all people—regardless of income, race, or background—have access to and a healthy relationship with land. He is former chair of the Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation that fosters environmental leadership through graduate fellowships and organizational grants. He served as an ecological consultant to the Rain Forest Alliance’s SmartWood Green Certification Program. In that capacity Tom helped draft green certification assessment guidelines for forest operations in the northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. Tom has conducted landscape level workshops throughout the United States for over 30 years. His books include: Reading the Forested Landscape, The Granite Landscape, Untamed Vermont, The Myth of Progress, and Forest Forensics: A Field Guide to Reading the Forested Landscape.

“It is wonderful to know nature through one-on-one encounters with other organisms, but it is perhaps more empowering to gain a fuller understanding of the patterns that have shaped its landscapes. Through some knowledge of history and the broader view of seeing a forest and not just its trees, we begin to see the forces that shape a place. This new way of seeing creates reverence, respect, a sense of inclusion and accountability. Reading the landscape is not just about identifying landscape patterns; more importantly, it is an interactive narrative that involves humans and nature. For those interested in enhancing their sense of place, I know of no better way than by becoming intimately acquainted with their local forests and the fascinating stories they tell.” Tom Wessels 1997

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Rutland Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

Birds of Prey with Tom Ricardi

September 24, 2010 6:30 PM
Tom Ricardi, wildlife rehabilitator and former state wildlife biologist, will be on hand to show some of his magnificent hawks, falcons, owls and bald eagles. His talk will focus on their life story, natural history and requirements. Refreshments to follow.

Living with Wildlife--A Wildlife Rehabilitator's Perspective
April 8th, 2010 Rutland Public Library
The Rutland Land Conservancy will offer a presentation on wildlife rehabilitation on Thursday, April 8th at 7 PM at the Rutland Public Library. Fran Feeney, a licensed wildlife rehabilitator for over fifteen years, will talk about her work with the aid of various slides.

Fran is the President of The Wildlife Rehabilitator’s Association of Massachusetts (WRAM) and a Vice President of The National Wildlife Rehabilitator’s Association. Although she rehabilitates some mammals and birds every year, her primary interests are public education, improving the quality of care for injured and orphaned wildlife through rehabilitation education and training, and fostering partnerships throughout New England.

The evening presentation will be followed with light refreshments. The event is co-sponsored with support from the Rutland Cultural Council.

Bulb Planting at the Holbrook House
October 18, 2008 12:30-2:00 PM
The Rutland Land Conservancy and the Trustees of Reservations will have a bulb-planting day at the Holbrook House on Main Street, Rutland. Come on October 18th between 12:30 and 2 PM to help plant bulbs for a beautiful spring display. Put in one or many, bring some of your favorites or help with our supply! No expertise needed, families and children are all welcome at this community event. Additional tools would be helpful. Hot chocolate and cookies will be available.
Pictures of this event

Fourth Annual Meeting
May 28, 2008 7:00 PM

Under the Canopy – Gardening with Native Plants
The Rutland Land Conservancy will hold its fourth annual meeting on May 28th at 7 PM at the Rutland Public Library. The featured speaker will be Scott LaFleur, Horticulture and Botanic Garden Director at the New England Wildflower Society and Garden in the Woods, a 45-acre sight in Framingham. Following a very brief business meeting, the evening will focus on gardening with native plants.

This event is co-sponsored with a grant from the Rutland Cultural Council, a local agency, which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a State Agency. Light refreshments will be served .

Wildlife Photography in Central Massachusetts
January 25th, 7 PM

Noted local photographer Richard Johnson, who has given many workshops and whose digital prints are widely used by MassAudubon, will present slides on wildlife of our area. His talk will focus on techniques he has used for capturing his remarkable images of wildlife. Light refreshments will be served immediately following the presentation.

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Rutland Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

The Rutland Land Conservancy & Trustees of Reservations
Invite you to a Bulb Planting
Saturday, November 17th, 10-Noon
At the Holbrook House (Main St. Across from Rural Cemetery) No expertise needed; bring some or plant ours; One or Many! Families and children are all welcome! Hot chocolate and cookies provided!

Secrets of the Woods Walk with Dick Williams November 10, 2007
Murder, passion, ghosts ... all on a peaceful Rutland back road? Once again, we joined long-time Rutland resident Dick Williams as he shared the secrets of his backyard and beyond. The Rutland Land Conservancy hosted the free walk November 3rd at 1:00 PM, meeting at the end of Overlook Road. An enlightening, mysterious and scenic fall afternoon was had by all - one can never know what secrets the woods may tell...

Work Party at the Holbrook House September 22, 2007
The Rutland Land Conservancy & The Trustees of Reservations sponsored a work party at the Holbrook House on Main Street across from Rural Cemetery September 22nd from 10AM –2 PM. The House and grounds needed some serious help! We cleared brush from around the house, and trails, and worked on getting some invasives under control. Thanks to everyone who helped out!

Third Annual Meeting July 11, 2007
This year's annual meeting featured a brief business meeting followed by a talk and slide presentation given by noted author Michael Tougias. His talk centered on the humorous There's a Porcupine in My Outhouse!, which was awarded “Best Nature Book of 2003” and focuses on Mike’s misadventures as a “mountain man wanna-be”.

Birds of Prey with Tom Ricardi March 23, 2007
Tom Ricardi, wildlife rehabilitator and former state wildlife biologist, provided an up-close look and the life story of his hawks, falcons, owls, and bald eagles. Check out the awesome pictures of this event! This program is supported in part by a grant from the Rutland Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency
Pictures of this event

Chapter 61 Forum January 17, 2007
The Rutland Land Conservancy will hold a Chapter 61 forum on Jan. 17th at 7:00 PM, downstairs in the Rutland Public Library. The forum will address the State’s Chapter 61 Law that allows forested, agricultural, recreational and open space land to be assessed based on its current use rather than at its developmental rate. Landowners that meet the criteria for this law often see significant property tax reductions. Speakers Jay Slattery from the Mass. Farm Bureau, Guy LaChance, State Forster, John Clarke, Forestry Consultant, and Attorney Carrie Dolmat- Connell will focus on the law, eligibility requirements, the application process, and address questions. Refreshments will follow the round-table discussion, which is free and open to the general public.

Escape to the Old Rutland Prison Camp Hike: October 14th, 2006
The Rutland Land Conservancy’s annual fall walk was held at the old Prison Camp, now home to diverse wildlife and outdoor enthusiasts alike. Tom Conlon, who has done extensive research on the Prison Camp and West Rutland, in general, lead a walk on October 14th from 1-2:30 PM.

Vernal Pool Presentation: March 15, 2006 Christy Barnes, an outdoor educator for the Mass Audubon Society, presented a slide presentation on vernal pools and the amphibians (frogs, toads and salamanders), insects and others. There was a follow-up trip to a vernal pool.