SFTA revelers enjoy ‘Conservation Connections’

Dixieland music entertained the crowd throughout the Sherborn Forest and Trail Association’s ‘Conservation Connections’ party.

By James Kinneen
Hometown Weekly Reporter

The Sherborn Forest and Trail Association (SFTA) held its biannual cocktail party, “Conservation Connections: a Conscientious Cocktail Party,” on Friday night. Featuring the Dixieland music of John Clark, Jimmy Mazzy and Rick McWilliams, the night was a chance for the local hiking crowd to spend some time indoors while increasing its knowledge of forest conservation.

The event is held every two years, according to Jean Bednor, so as not to oversaturate people.

Considering the event has sold out every year, that strategy must be working.

But while the SFTA does make money off of the silent auction and the cash bar, according to President Laura Van Blarcom, making money isn’t the point of the function. The point is to bring people together at a time when they’re unlikely to encounter each other while hiking along the trails.

“We don’t consider it a fundraiser,” Van Blarcom explained. “The point of the event isn’t to make money so much as to bring people together, to gain knowledge, and to learn about the natural world. So to do that, we try to keep ticket prices down.”

While there were event tickets and landscaping duties up for grabs at the silent auction, the marquee item for sale was Art Schnure’s trail book, “Sherborn Walks,” the second edition of his book outlining the free town walking trails. Schnure’s first edition was published seventeen years ago, a pace that makes George RR Martin seem speedy. Schnure was quick to point out that he couldn’t have written the book without the help of his two co-writers, Seth Molloy and John Clark, and noted that while the original (which sold 2,000 copies) featured 22 walking trails, the new edition features 25.

Both Schnure and featured speaker David Wallace, head of the Harvard Forest, emphasized the idea that having interconnected walking trails is not just an environmental boost for the town, but an economic one; the two were quick to point out how much property values go up in towns with more public forests.

While Wallace was convincing, he lacked the sizzle of Schnure, who declared that “every realtor in town should have a copy” of his book of trails. He then put on a jacket and demonstrated how the book conveniently fits into a coat pocket by pulling out two separate copies.

Wallace’s PowerPoint addressed climate change, increasing development, and invasive species (during which time Jean Bednor noted how destructive gypsy moths have been to the Sherborn forests). He also noted that the Quabbin Reservoir has saved huge amounts of money by having a forest that naturally cleans the water source, rather than needing more staff and chemicals to clean the water.

While you will have to wait two years to go to the next SFTA cocktail party, the trails of Sherborn are always available.

There may not be drinks or music, but there is nature.

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