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Fall Conference 2019 - Devens, MA
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Our Conference was a HUGE Success!


See you next October 2020. 



Photo Credit: Nick R. Moccasin Brook, Petersham, MA 

Thank you to all who attended this year’s conference at the Devens Common Center in Devens, MA.

A Success all Around! 

This year, more than 250 people attended MACC’s Fall Conference on October 19, 2019 in Devens, Massachusetts!! At the Opening Session, MACC had an ice breaker by starting the day with a game of MACC Jeopardy. We recognized individuals who travelled the farthest (Maureen Phillips of Nantucket), the commissions who sent the most participants: Marshfield, Townsend and Uxbridge each sent four members from their commissions, and the Palmer Conservation Commission sent six people to the Fall Conference (Donald Blais, Jr., Brenda Cole, Dave Cotter, Sarah Fortune, Dorothy Lawrence, Nicholas Zeo)! Thank you to all of the Fall Conference participants – you are the driving force behind our conferences. The event was a great opportunity for our members to catch up on important educational offerings, as well as to attend new climate change resiliency topics.

Five Fundamentals Units Offered This Year:

  Offerings included:

  • FUNDAMENTALS UNIT 102: Wetlands Protection Act Fundamentals, Process and Procedures.
  • FUNDAMENTALS UNIT 103: Plan Review and Site Visit Procedures. 
  • FUNDAMENTALS UNIT 105: Writing Effective Orders of Conditions.
  • FUNDAMENTALS UNIT 204: Managing Conservation Land: Inventories, Goals and Conflicts.
  • FUNDAMENTALS UNIT 207: Fundamentals of  Wetland Enforcement.

Credits For Mass Licensed Foresters Were Offered: Up to 3.75 CFE Credits Awarded in Category: I and/or II. Details to come. 

Four Workshops Offered: MACC Workshops focusing on climate-change resiliency topics important to conservation commissions, open space experts, and environmental scientists:  

Our offerings will included:

URBAN FORESTS: Improving Our Communities while Building Climate Change Resilience
Urban forests are the trees, plants, and associated ecosystems found wherever people are—country roads in rural towns, new subdivisions in the suburbs, or paved neighborhoods in cities and old mill towns. The health of our urban forests can greatly impact our lives, as they provide measurable economic, social, and environmental benefits, such as: combating the heat island effect, reducing year-round energy consumption, improving mental and physical health, improving stormwater management, and reducing localized flooding. After discussing these benefits and services, presenters will share tools and techniques available for expanding and managing our urban canopies, building stronger communities during this time of changing climate.

CULVERTS: Assessing, Designing, and Funding Culvert Replacements (with Case Studies and Lessons Learned)
Are you wondering how to prioritize your culvert repairs; how to design the culverts for wildlife passage; where to find funding; and as importantly, how to learn from others' cases studies? Wonder no more! MACC’s culvert workshop will provide information from experts at MA Division of Ecological Restoration (DER), MassDOT, and conservation commissioners' case studies from your peers in this not-to-be-missed workshop at Fall Conference 2019!

NATIVE PLANTS and POLLINATORS: Making Connections for Conservation
Wild pollinators have declined in abundance, diversity, and geographic distribution at an alarming rate in recent years. Learn how conserving native plants in the wild and incorporating them in designed spaces helps to protect and enhance the resilience and diversity of our landscapes throughout the state. Case studies from Metro-West Boston and Western Mass will share how land stewards of all strides—gardeners, landscape designers, conservation commissioners and land managers, municipal planners, DPW directors, land trust staff, and others--are creating pollinator networks—making connections for conservation.

BUFFER ZONES: Considering the Science while Applying the Regulations. This workshop provides the latest science on managing activities in the buffer zones of wetlands and other water resources under the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act (WPA). Using hands-on, case studies in the second half of the workshop, small teams of commissioners (and other wetland experts) will be able to review projects in the buffer zone and fine-tune decision making under the WPA regulations, local bylaws, and ordinances.

Thank you to our conference speakers

  •  Kathy Sferra, Stow Conservation Coordinator
  •   Robert O'Connor, Director, Division of Conservation Services, MA Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs 

Mathew Cahill, Program Manager, Greening the Gateway Cities, Urban and Community Forestry Program, MA Department of Conservation and Recreation
Neil Angus, AICP CEP, LEED AP BD&C, ND, Environmental Planner, Devens Enterprise Commission
Tennis Lilly, Project Manager, Groundwork Lawrence; Conservation Commissioner, Lawrence
Gillian Davies, PWS, SSSSNE, NHCWS, CESSWI, Senior Ecological Scientist, Associate, BSC Group
Ingeborg Hegemann, PWS, Senior Consultant, BSC Group; Conservation Commissioner, Stow
Greg Hochmuth, PWS, CWS, RS, Environmental Consultant, Williams & Sparages LLC; MACC Director
Michael Howard, PWS, CWS, Principal, Epsilon Associates, Inc.; MACC President
Jordan McCarron, Conservation Stewardship Coordinator for the Town of Lexington Conservation Division
Uli Lorimer, Director of Horticulture, Native Plant Trust
Freddie Casey Gillespie, Chair, Southborough Open Space and Preservation Commission; Member, Southborough Stewardship Committee
Anna Hanchett, Chair, Plainfield Agricultural Commission; Western Massachusetts Pollinator Networks
Carrie Banks, Stream Continuity Restoration Planner, Mass Division of Ecological Restoration
Angela Panaccione, Conservation Agent and Stormwater Coordinator, Town of Palmer
Jennifer Steel, Chief Environmental Planner, City of Newton; MACC Director
Michele Grzenda, Conservation Administrator, Town of Weston; Vice President, Mass Society of Municipal Conservation Professionals

Rebekah Lacey, Esq., Attorney, Miyares and Harrington LLP; MACC Officer

Courses and workshops received high marks from participants. These are a few of the many positive evaluations:

• Very fun and good spirited! Well done!
• Once again you've outdone yourselves! Thank - you
• I think MACC Academy is great because we can take 2 Fundamentals in the same day, bringing us closer to our certificate :)
• Unit 103 - Very helpful, starting at the basics helped me understand the overall job better. Thankful for the experience.
• Both workshops I attended were very beneficial as someone new to concom. (Unit 102 and Buffer Zones).
• Urban Forests: All presenters were excellent!!!!! Really great workshop for ConCom's!! Provided great resources, too
• Buffer Zones: Exercise was brilliant and very helpful. Great science-based information.
• Native Plants & Pollinators: Loved it! Great info. Great motivational speaker!!
• Culverts: As a Conservation Commission member and a wetlands permmiter I find this information helpful for both! It's exciting to see new studies and regulations play out in case studies. 

 Congratulations Graduates

We had 12 participants who completed their Fundamentals training after taking courses at Fall Conference.  Congratulations to:

• Jared Alves, Lowell
• George Andrews, Templeton
• Devin Batchelder
• Gail Berrigan, Leverett
• Bill Boyer, Great Barrington
• Paul Cunningham, Oxford
• Sarah Fortune, Brimfield and Palmer
• Ann Le Cuyer, Townsend
• Dana MacDonald, Pelham
• Karen Miho Connolly, Leverett
• Ted Pitman, Sheffield
• Thomas Wylie, Haverhill

For those of you unfamiliar with MACC’s Fundamentals Training Program, participants who take eight of MACC’s Fundamentals Units (five required units and three elective units) will receive the Fundamentals Certificate. MACC notifies your Select Board and Conservation Commission as well as issuing a press release about your accomplishments.

Exhibitors & Supporters

A huge “Thank You” is sent to the 13 exhibitors at this year’s Fall Conference. They shared important information on Massachusetts’ forestry programs, native plants, renewable energy, Asian Longhorned Beetles, permeable pavers, environmental consulting, solar power installations, vegetation management, and climate change resiliency. Links to our exhibitors are provided at the end of this summary.

A hearty “Thank You” also goes out to the Supporters of our conference, who helped defray costs for putting on the conference:
• EcoTec
• Epsilon
• Inter-Fluve
• New England Wetland Plants

Resource Links

 2019 Conference Agenda / Speaker Bio's
  Directions to Devens Common Center, 31 Andrews Parkway, Devens, MA

Lunchtime Speaker

At lunchtime, we were treated to a rousing discussion of leadership by Kathy Sferra, Conservation Administrator in Stow, Massachusetts. Kathy gave examples of anything and everything that can (and does) go wrong in a Conservation Commissioner’s world for a hypothetical town of “Hampton”, Massachusetts. Kathy gave examples of how every Conservation Commissioner can provide leadership from the front, from the side, and even from behind.

Great Networking
At the end of the day, we had a networking and social hour that extended to the outside lounge area. It was a beautiful day and at least 20 MACC Fall Conference participants attended the social hour. MACC plans to have additional educational and networking opportunities for Conservation Commission members at upcoming MACC events. Stay tuned for the Young Professionals Committee events, Lunch & Learn Webinars (typically on the second Wednesday of the month during the lunch hour), and lots of Fundamentals Training programs

Conference Agenda

8:00 Registration Opens: Coffee and Refreshments; Visit Exhibit Booths and Publication Table
8:30 Welcoming Remarks: Ballroom
8:50 Proceed to Classrooms
9:05 Morning Session Begins
10:20 Morning Break (20 minutes)
11:55 Morning Session Ends


12:40 Keynote Address Kathy Sferra, Conservation Administrator - Stow
1:10 Proceed to Classrooms
1:30 Afternoon Session Begins
2:45 Afternoon Break (20 minutes)

Afternoon Session Ends

 4:15 Networking and Social Hour (cash bar)
 2019 Conference-at-a-Glance



2019 Exhibitors


2019 Conference Sponsors





 2019 Annual Sponsors    



Networking & Social Hour

Took place from 4:15- 5:15

2018 fall Conference Look Back:

2017 conference photo

Nick Nelson teaching attendees about Rivers Beyond Their Banks: Reviewing and Permitting Projects in Rivers and Floodplains.

2018 Conference Photos

2018 Conference-at-a-Glance

2018 Past Exhibitors




Ecological Land Management


Encyclopedia of Life Learning +



Land Stewardship, Inc.

Massachusetts Asian Longhorn Beetle Eradication Program

Mass Audubon

Massachusetts Department of Conservation Recreation

Ross Solar, A ConEd Solutions


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Featured Members

Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions (MACC)
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Phone: (617) 489 - 3930
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