Founded in 2001, the mission of the Marblehead Conservancy is to protect, acquire, and enhance Marblehead’s natural resources for the benefit and enjoyment of the public. In keeping with its mission, the Conservancy’s early efforts focused on two primary areas: the restoration of access to and through public natural open spaces and working to secure additional open space through land acquisition and conservation restrictions on private property. The Conservancy works in tandem with various Town departments to maintain and enhance public natural areas such as the trails, ponds, wetlands, and forested areas of the Town. The Board of Trustees comprises five to fifteen area residents of varying backgrounds and is augmented by volunteers with additional backgrounds, skills, and interests.
The Conservancy has three strategic areas of focus: Trails, Land, and Education.
With five miles of trails on 165 acres of land, our focus on trails involves maintenance and improvement of trails as well as the removal of invasives within the open spaces we maintain. Our trails focus often overlaps with our education focus. During events such as a combined Earth/Arbor Day, members and non-members alike – especially families – are invited to participate in activities that improve the land and trails while they learn about (and plant!) native species and the various Marblehead ecosystems.
Our focus on land involves the acquisition of additional open spaces to benefit the quality of life for Marblehead residents. Since 2004 this objective has been realized by the Conservancy’s spearheading the purchase of the remaining 3.2 acres of the Robinson Farm, the conversion of the one-acre Turner Woods site into conservation land, and, most recently, the acquisition of the former Lead Mills site for conservation by the town of Marblehead and the City of Salem. Acquisition of land includes the securing of commitments to conservation by exchanging tax relief for commitments.
Our focus on education involves not only events such as the combined Earth/Arbor Day, mentioned above, but also other events and campaigns to increase public awareness of open space. Some examples include the biennial perambulations of public spaces, sponsoring an education booth at the widely popular local Farmers’ Market, and occasional special events and exhibitions. In addition, through a collaborative project with the Abbot Public Library, the Conservancy provides funding for a books and materials relevant to the appreciation and preservation of open spaces. A collaborative project with the Tower School brings workshops to Tower students in the fall and spring.
Conservancy Trustees were involved in updating Marblehead’s Open Space and Recreation Plan in 2012. This involvement helped to define town-wide interests related to Marblehead’s open spaces. Addressing these interests helps to build resident ownership for the maintenance, preservation and addition to the Town’s conservation lands.
The Conservancy does not work alone. See our Partners page for more information on the organizations with which we collaborate.