In the heart of the MetroWest, where Sudbury, Maynard, Marlborough and Stow meet, stands the Assabet River Wildlife Refuge visitor center, open to the public since 2010 and an appropriate site for a recent Sustainable MetroWest gathering.
The event was attended by 32 MetroWest environmental leaders and representatives to initiate, renew and strengthen cross-community relations. After an optional walk to Crystal Lake, presenters from 18 MetroWest communities delivered summaries of successful initiatives, best practices, lessons learned, future plans and cross-community collaboration ideas.
They represented a respectable cross-section of MetroWest communities: Acton, Ashland, Ayer, Bolton, Boxborough, Carlisle, Concord, Framingham, Groton, Harvard, Hudson, Littleton, Marlborough, Maynard, Stow, Sudbury, Wayland and Westford.
Lunch was followed by group discussions centering on energy including incentivized solar projects and other cost saving energy technologies, local land and aquifer protection, local food availability via farmer's markets, community farming, youth programs and future community event.
Jen Boudrie, event organizer, noted that the work of each environmental organization contributes significantly to its community's sustainability. "This event is an opportunity learn from and inspire each other, and collaborate in the MetroWest region."
Carolyn McCreary, from Ayer's Green Community Committee and Energy Committee, shared the success of Ayer's solar net metering contract and overall municipal energy reduction implementations and plans.
"I'm proud of the sustainability work Ayer has done. We have very successful recycling programs, energy reduction activities and plans for continued work in these areas," she said.
For information, visit the ayer.ma.gov link to committees/green community.