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Habitat Restoration of the Desert Natural Area: Strategies and Results - Presentation by Laura Mattei and Priscilla Ryder

  • Wednesday, September 12, 2018
    PM – 8 PM

Monthly PresentationVideo Archive

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Laura Mattei and Priscilla Ryder present on the long term habitat restoration work at Memorial Forest and the Desert Natural Area, a unique habitat that is home to several rare and endangered species. The pitch pine-scrub oak barrens habitat has been dwindling in the northeast, which threatens the plants and wildlife that depend on it. SVT has led the effort which has included a prescribed burn and selective cutting of the forest to rejuvenate the native plant species and restore balance to the conditions found here.

The Desert Natural Area includes 900 acres south of Hudson Road, 300 of which belongs to the ARNWR. The other lands are owned by DCR, City of Marlborough, SVT, General Federation of Women's Clubs of Massachusetts and Town of Sudbury. In May 2014, Sudbury Valley Trustees conducted a prescribed burn on 14 acres, which straddles City of Marlborough and SVT land. SVT implemented phase two on 50 additional acres two years ago (tree clearing). The City of Marlborough is currently focused on removing invasive plant species.

Laura Mattei has worked in conservation for over 30 years. She has been the Director of Land Stewardship for Sudbury Valley Trustees (SVT) for the last 17 years. Laura oversees the management of over 5,000 acres of protected lands including 90 SVT reservations and 79 conservation restrictions. She specializes in biological assessments and habitat management projects for the protection of declining habitats and species. Prior to her work with SVT, she coordinated stream monitoring with the Merrimack River Watershed Council, worked on environmental education and planning in Chile, S.A., and prepared conservation plans for the Michigan Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. Laura has a BS in natural resources management from Cornell University and an MS in natural resources planning from the University of Vermont.

Priscilla Ryder is the Conservation Officer for the City of Marlborough. Priscilla has worked for the city of Marlborough for 25 years and manages over 400+ acres of conservation land for the City along with her duties at wetlands protection. She has a Masters’ degree from Tufts University in Environmental Policy and a BA from University of New Hampshire in Environmental Conservation.