What can towns do to be sure their community's resources are conserved? Learn from energetic and dedicated municipal officials from across the state, like Norton's Jennifer Carlino. In her post as Conservation Agent, Jennifer has the opportunity to do everything from wetland protection to field studies identifying rare species habitat, vernal pool certification, land protection, and community education.
A 12-year veteran to the eastern Massachusetts conservation scene and graduate of the UMass Keystone Project, Jennifer has an impressive catalog of conservation victories which include: the identification of priority parcels for conservation, certification of 85 vernal pools, and the inventory of turtles, dragonflies and damsel flies in areas of critical environmental concern, like the Canoe River Aquifer.
When she's not out in wetlands or on the river, Jennifer is most recently occupied with a sustainable forestry project being developed by Norton's Open Space Committee. The proposal involves sustainable harvesting in two of Norton's town forests, the resulting revenue of which would be placed in a newly established revolving fund. This revolving fund designates and makes the timber harvest revenue available to the town for future conservation efforts. "I consider it a win win situation",explains Jennifer. The revolving fund was passed at town meeting this past spring, thanks to a big public education push lead by Jennifer, the Open Space Committee, Conservation Commission, and Tree Warden, so that the community understands the whys, hows, and potential benefits of a sustainable forestry program. "Norton is a pretty conservation-minded town",says Jennifer, "so I think people understood that we're trying to improve the health of the forest, with the added benefit of raising more money for conservation." See a copy of the town warrant which created the revolving fund.
There are many different and creative ways in which municipal officials are promoting forest conservation all across the state. These folks make excellent resources on how to move conservation forward in your town. To see examples of some of the great things being done in communities across the state and learn how you can contact these great resources, visit the Forest Resources Education for Municipal Officials Network page on MassWoods.