poo fairy on site

Help Keep Dog Waste Out of Weston's
Open Space and Trails

Responsible dog walkers pick up and properly dispose of their dog’s waste. Leaving dog feces and filled dog waste bags in Weston’s woods and trails pollutes nearby ponds and streams, is gross to look at, and is against the law! 

Weston's Conservation Commission and Animal Control Officer have initiated a new Dog Poop Campaign along some of our trails. Four different signs have been placed at various trailheads. If you know of a problem area that can use one of these new signs, please contact the Conservation Commission at conservation@westonmass.org.

The campaign aims to remind trail users to pick up their dog’s waste and properly dispose of it, every time. Residents can also help by offering a pet waste bag to someone leaving dog poo behind. Every poop that gets scooped helps - not just the soles of your shoes, but also the health of our trails and woods!

tom turkey

Wildlife Enthusiasts: Annual Wild Turkey Survey

Calling all Weston wildlife enthusiasts! MassWildlife conducts a Brood Survey from June 1 through August 31 each year to estimate the number of turkeys in the state. The brood survey helps state biologists determine productivity and compare long-term reproductive success while providing an estimate of fall harvest potential. Turkey nesting success can vary annually in response to weather conditions, predator populations, and habitat characteristics.

Citizen involvement in this survey is a cost-effective means of gathering useful data and can be a fun way for people to connect with nature. Record sightings of hens, poults (newly-hatched turkeys), and males (both juvenile and adult). For help identifying male and female turkeys and determining if a male is a juvenile (jake) or an adult (tom), please visit the MassWildlife website. Be sure to look carefully when counting turkey broods, the very small poults may be difficult to see in tall grass or brush.

MassWildlife is interested in turkey brood observations from all regions of the state, including rural and developed areas. There are 2 ways to participate:

  • Report individual observations online or
  • Download and print a Turkey Brood Survey form to complete over the course of the summer.

Mail completed forms to Brood Survey, MassWildlife Field Headquarters,1 Rabbit Hill Road, Westborough, MA 01581. (If you’ve submitted your observations online, please do not mail in duplicate observations.)


Trading Lawns for Meadows

Though lawns are the point of pride for some homeowners, others are giving up mowing and increasing biodiversity in their yards. If you want to do a lot for nature, reducing a part of your lawn makes an impact. 

A typical lawn is made up of tough grasses, the majority of which were introduced to the U.S. from Europe long ago for grazing animals. Shorn on a regular basis, these grasses provide zero blossoms for pollinators to feed on and very little habitat. However, seeds are continually mixed into this turf by the wind, ants and birds, introducing other plant species. And when allowed to grow, this diversity becomes more evident. Native plants such as violets, pussytoes and wild strawberries often thrive in unmowed lawn spaces, mixing with common non-native species such as hawkweed and buttercups, all creating blooms that attract a variety of pollinators, from bees to butterflies, which in turn attract songbirds and a whole host of other animals.

Read more about increasing biodiversity in your yard in this article from the Bangor Daily News.

gypsy moth caterpillar
gypsy moth caterpillar
winter moth caterpillar
winter moth caterpillar
tick season
deer tick

Weston's Bad Insects: excerpts from UMass Center for Food, Agriculture, and the Environment

gypsy moth

Gypsy Moth: Lymantria dispar

Host plants include but are certainly not limited to oak (favored), maple, birch, poplar and many others. Gypsy moth caterpillars continue to feed and grow in size. Feeding damage from gypsy moth is becoming more apparent, and dark colored and hairy caterpillars can be seen on leaf undersides as well as leaf surfaces. Despite the fungal outbreak that swept through the 2017 caterpillar population, some lucky caterpillars survived to pupation and emerged as adult moths. (However, adults were present in 2017 in far fewer numbers than would have existed without the fungus.) While it is very difficult to predict how much defoliation Massachusetts will see in 2018 due to gypsy moth caterpillar feeding, we can be certain that in areas where many egg masses were seen overwintering, pockets of defoliation could still occur in certain areas of the state this year. Thanks to the gypsy moth caterpillar-killing fungus, however, the population should be on the decline, but we cannot expect the caterpillars to disappear completely from Massachusetts landscapes this season.

winter moth

Winter Moth: Operophtera brumata

Caterpillars are even more difficult to find at this time than they have been thus far this season in eastern  Massachusetts and it is suspected that in some areas, that pupation may have begun. If they have not already, they will drop from host plant leaves to the ground, where they will pupate. This typically occurs when caterpillars are approximately 1 inch in length and around late-May or early-June. This means winter moth feeding is at or near an end for the 2018 season. 

deer ticks

Deer Tick/Blacklegged Tick: Ixodes scapularis

Adult females, following a blood meal, can lay a single egg mass (up to 1,500 – 2,000 eggs) in mid-late May, then the female deer tick perishes. Larvae emerge from the eggs later in the summer. Larvae are tiny and six-legged. Prior to feeding, they are not known to be able to transmit disease. After feeding, the larvae drop from their host and molt, re-emerging the following spring as nymphs. Nymphs (from last year’s overwintering cohort) are active from May-August. Nymphs are eight-legged and about the size of the head of a pin. These tiny nymphs typically attach to small mammal hosts; however, they will readily feed on people and pets. Nymphs are capable of carrying Lyme disease, human Babesiosis, human Anaplasmosis and deer tick virus. Images of all deer tick life stages, along with an outline of the diseases they carry is available online at TickCounter.org


More on Ticks...

Personal Protective Measures

Anyone working in the yard and garden should be aware that there is the potential to encounter deer ticks. The deer tick or blacklegged tick can transmit Lyme disease, human babesiosis, human anaplasmosis and other diseases. Preventative activities, such as daily tick checks, wearing appropriate clothing, and permethrin treatments for clothing (according to label instructions) can aid in reducing the risk that a tick will become attached to your body. If a tick cannot attach and feed, it will not transmit disease. 

Learn more about personal protective measures online at TickCounter.org

Test a Tick

Have you just removed an attached tick from yourself or a loved one with a pair of tweezers? If so, consider sending the tick to the UMass Laboratory of Medical Zoology to be tested for disease-causing pathogens. Visit TickReport.com and click on the red "Test a Tick" button to learn how. Results are typically available within 3 business days, or less. By the time you make an appointment with your physician following the tick attachment, you may have the results back from TickReport to bring to your physician to aid in a conversation about risk.

The UMass Laboratory of Medical Zoology does not give medical advice nor are the results of their tests diagnostic of human disease. Transmission of a pathogen from the tick to you is dependent upon how long the tick had been feeding and each pathogen has its own transmission time. TickReport is an excellent measure of exposure risk for the tick (or ticks) that you send in to be tested. Feel free to print out and share your TickReport with your healthcare provider.

think blue massachusetts

Stormwater: the fastest growing type of water pollution

Think Blue Massachusetts is run by the Massachusetts Statewide Municipal Stormwater Coalition. It is made up of ten regional stormwater groups, of which Weston belongs to the Charles River Stormwater Collaborative. Its mission is to help residents and businesses take steps to reduce runoff and keep our state’s lakes, rivers, and streams clean and healthy. 

Stormwater is a pollution problem that affects everyone in Massachusetts and is the fastest growing type of water pollution in the state. But if we all do our part to help, we can reach our goal of clean and healthy waterways.  The Think Blue Massachusetts website has a lot of great information for residents from Stormwater 101 to yard maintenance tips (hint: scoop the poop and ease up on the fertilizer).

For a great introduction to stormwater pollution and how it affects us all, check out this clever video.

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