Friends of Conservation
A little background on Kurt Buermann and Sharon Friends of Conservation
I lived in South Florida for most of my life until I moved to Massachusetts in 1995. During my last 20 years in Florida. I witnessed rampant, barely controlled development of the area. Natural places I had known growing up disappeared almost overnight. So many wild areas I took for granted were not there anymore. On a return visit to the area in 2000, my wife and I set out to spot a Mangrove Cuckoo. In my teenage days, these birds were a dime a dozen. Now, twenty years later, we had to hunt a whole day and still didn’t see a one. (We did find a note on the path saying one had been spotted earlier.)
So, when I came to live in Sharon, Massachusetts, I found that there remained a good many untouched natural places nearby. I thought-- maybe it isn’t too late to do something here. In 2001 an effort was underway to preserve a 338-acre tract known as Rattlesnake Hill. It was decided to resurrect a dormant organization, Sharon Friends of Conservation ( SFOC ) as an ad hoc group to organize preservation efforts. By a fluke of fate, I was voted President of these happy few. Alas, even with our best efforts, the vote to acquire the land failed.
Even so, I was impressed with the zeal and dedication of our core group. So, I thought, why not keep this going? We planned to create a newsletter and offer opportunities for the public to learn about and explore the Town’s trails and natural spaces. We offered hikes, events, and lectures, often recruiting plant and wildlife experts. We created detailed maps of Sharon’s trails. We initiated an Annual Potluck Supper. We made sure to appeal to a wide audience, young and old. I think our appeal was recreation as well as education. SFOC is closely allied with the Town’s official Conservation Commission, helping with trail maintenance and land acquisition. We work closely with the Boy Scouts on a variety of trail and environmental projects. We try to build relationships with other environmental organizations.
When it comes to acquiring or preserving land, I find that SFOC is a valuable resource. First, it is a gathering place for conservation advocates. Second, introducing residents to and educating them about the natural spaces around them garners support and votes for conservation efforts.
Kurt mapping the King Philips trails wearing GPS on his head
Children of SOFC treasurer that are now grown up
Cub Scouts on SFOC hike some years ago.