Conservation of native tree habitat officially approved

Jun 5, 2018

A 78.6-acre parcel of land off of Walnut Plain Road will officially become conservation land later this month, after Rochester's Board of Selectmen approved the deal on June 4.

Rochester's Conservation Agent Laurell Farinon presented legal documents to the board that would transfer the property, located on Estabrook Way, to the Rochester Land Trust and the Buzzards Bay Coalition—the nonprofits will steward the property in a partnership.

Farinon and Rochester Land Trust president Bob Lawrence were particularly happy because the plot of land is home to a native tree species, the Atlantic white cedar.

"There's more of it in town," Farinon said, "but this is the first and only piece where white cedar grows in town that has been protected."

The Atlantic white cedar is the only type of cedar tree native to North America that grows on the east coast.

In honor of the white cedar swamps on the property, Lawrence said that the property would be titled "White Cedar." He added that in time, he expected the property to be used for walking trails and possibly bird-watching, similar to the Shoolman Preserve in Rochester,

"We're just getting started," he noted. "It will take awhile."

The Rochester Land Trust was awarded $85,000 in grant money from the state's Executive Office of Environmental Affairs' Conservation Partnership Grant to help purchase the property.