90th Anniversary Celebration of the Reading Town Forest

Saturday, September 25, 2021
8:00 am – 12:30 pm Speakers/Guided Forest Walks
8:00 am – 5:00 pm Coordinated Buckthorn pull in the Reading Town Forest

Ninety years ago, the citizens of Reading made “one of the best investments a town can make” by establishing a town forest to be held in public trust for future generations. Originally eighty acres in size, the forest today includes almost three hundred acres of land and is a valued environmental and recreational resource for the community.

This half-day event which had to be rescheduled by a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic will celebrate the 90th anniversary of the establishment of the Reading Town Forest. The festivities will begin at Wood End School and will include outdoor activities that will be held throughout the Town Forest. This event is being sponsored by the Reading Town Forest Committee with support from the Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Recreation, along with a generous grant from the Reading Celebration Committee.

Parking will be available at the Wood End Elementary school (85 Sunset Rock Lane, Reading, MA) where attendees will be able to enter the Town Forest at this location.

Town Forest Committee invited Town guests and the public will gather at the Wood End School entrance to the Reading Town Forest for opening remarks.

8:00 am Opening Remarks
Bill Sullivan, Chair Reading Town Forest Committee
Karen Herrick, Chair Reading Select Board
Jason Lewis, State Senator

Schedule of Events:
8:00am Buckthorn Pulling Orientation
The 90th Anniversary Celebration of the Reading Town Forest will kick off with the orientation for the day-long pull of the invasive buckthorn species in the forest. Teams and individuals will be guided through the removal process by members of the Town Forest Committee. Directions to the location of the buckthorn pull will be posted starting at the Wood End School entrance to the Town Forest.

9:00 am to 10:00 am An Introduction to Nature Journaling
Walter Kittredge, Harvard Botanist and native species expert along with Kaye Kittredge, Innovation Artist and Project Manager for Innovation, will lead an hour-long walk through the Town Forest using simple techniques to get started on nature journaling and drawing with examples to inspire. The use of photography and online guides to facilitate identification of native species will be discussed. This event will start at the Wood End School field and will return to the same location.

9:00 am to 9:30 am Map Reading & Getting to Know a Compass
REI Store Team will lead a 30-min workshop for 20 individuals on the basics of map reading and how to use a compass for hiking and outdoor use. No prior experience is required and this workshop will take place in the Wood End School field.

9:00am to 12:00pm Come Outside and Play
Cate Zannino, Reading Children’s Library and colleagues will conduct hands on nature projects based on popular children’s books throughout the day located on the Wood End School field. This will be a chance to engage in creative focused play for children.

10:00am to 11:00am  Celebrate Reading Town Forest
Join Phil Benjamin and Jeffrey Ritterson as they team up to conduct an hour-long walking tour through the Town Forest highlighting conservation goals for the forest and the natural habitat. This event will start at the Wood End field and return to the same location.

Phil Benjamin, Forester, and President of Benjamin Forestry has managed woodland properties for private, municipal, non-profit, and corporate landowners with a focus on long-term sustainability. Jeffrey Ritterson is a Field Ornithologist with Mass Audubon focusing on working landscapes and the habitat management of forest birds.

10:00am to 10:30am Know Before You Go: How to Recreate Responsibly
REI Store Team will conduct a 30-min workshop for 20 individuals on the basics of outdoor activities with a focus on conservation and preservation. Leave no trace behind tips and practical techniques to do before your next outdoor activity will be discussed. This workshop will be conducted on the Wood End School field.

10:00am to 11:00am New England Raptors
Marla Isaac, from New England Reptile and Raptor, is a naturalist that specializes in teaching the biology and conservation of reptiles and birds using non-releasable animals and animal artifacts as teaching tools. This fabulous hour-long presentation will be located on the Wood End School field.

11:00 am to 11:30 am Map Reading and Getting to Know a Compass
REI StoreTeam will offer another chance to attend the workshop offered earlier at 9:00 am. Limited to 20 individuals.

11:00 am to 12:00 pm Snakes of New England
Rick Roth, Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team – a non-profit volunteer organization dedicated to vernal pond conservation and education, will present “Snakes, Not on a Plane, of New England”. This exciting presentation offers hands-on experiences. The hour-long presentation will be held at Wood End School field.

12:00 pm to 12:30 pm Know Before You Go: How to Recreate Responsibly
REI Store Team will offer another 20 lucky individuals a chance to attend the same 30-min workshop offered previously at 10:00 am.

12:00 pm to 5:00 pm Buckthorn Pulling in Town Forest Continues
Buckthorn pulls will continue in the Town Forest. An orientation video on the identification of buckthorn and removal techniques is available on the Town’s website (readingma.gov), Town Forest Committee page.

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