News from Across the State

The Trustees Acquires 195-acre Millborn Farm in Sherborn & Millis

The Trustees is excited to announce that it has recently finalized the purchase of Millborn Farm, a beautiful 195-acre property in Sherborn and Millis. Millborn Farm’s landscape of stonewall-lined hay fields is crisscrossed by farm lanes and forested trails, and features more than a mile of waterfront along the Charles River, Bogastow Brook, and South End Pond. 139 species of birds have been documented at the farm, and it is believed that as many as 50 more species frequent the property. Its 75 acres of hayfields and grasslands support native pollinators, plants, and wildlife, and its river floodplain provides critical protection for water quality and flood storage, especially during storm events.

“It is a tremendous honor for The Trustees to protect this property forever and share it with the public,” said Katie Theoharides, President and CEO of The Trustees. “The work now begins to get the property ready for visitors. Thank you to our many partners and donors who have generously given their support to this acquisition, including the MA Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs which provided a $750,000 grant.” Theoharides said The Trustees anticipates the property being open to the public in approximately two years, during which time staff and partners will study the ecological, agricultural, and cultural resources, clear and grade trails, create a parking area, and design and install signage.

“We are very excited to be turning over stewardship of Millborn Farm to the capable and creative team at The Trustees whose mission will allow the public to enjoy the property as much as we have and to protect the resident turkey, deer, and coyote who call it home,” said Isabel Dora Constable, a representative of the family who have owned the property since 1920.

The Trustees’ vision for the property includes opening it to the public for self-guided exploration and passive recreation such as birdwatching, hiking, horseback riding, and snowshoeing. Given the extensive waterfront, Trustees engagement staff will collaborate with staff ecologists to determine how best to provide water access, which could include boardwalks, viewing platforms, a kayak launch, or managed shoreline access. “We hope it can become a launching pad for a ‘blue trail’ along the Charles River to paddle to other Trustees properties,” notes Constable. Seven Trustees reservations can be accessed along this area of the Charles River, with two more connected by hiking trails from those properties.

The Millborn Farm acquisition project has received support from the Sherborn Rural Lands Foundation, Upper Charles Conservation Land Trust, Sherborn Forest and Trail Association, and the Norfolk Hunt Club. Trustees will continue working with and engaging existing and new community partners as it enters this next phase of planning. To support the ongoing fundraising campaign to help activate Millborn Farm as a Trustees reservation, along with establishment of an endowment for long-term care of the property, please visit

5 sculptural branches with copper or other metal, part of the Perch project

Perch Opens on Earth Day (April 22) at Appleton Farms

This Earth Day, Jean Shin’s Perch opens at Appleton Farms in Ipswich, exploring temporality (ecological and agricultural time) and regeneration. Shin created sculpture perches made from fallen trees and salvaged copper in which male bobolinks can perch to search for mates and mark their territory. Sites were selected where the Trustees’ team monitors the bobolink – songbirds who make the long migratory journey from the southern hemisphere and whose populations are in decline – population.

Artist Jean Shin notes, “I am so grateful to curator Jessica Hong and the many passionate individuals working at the Trustees for collaborating with me at this deep level and entrusted me in taking this journey together. Inspired by Bobolinks and their long migration, the project has taught us how we can reciprocate nature’s bountiful gifts by offering a refuge for visitors passing through. Loving a place like Appleton means caring for the land as a habitat for nonhuman species. Making this relationship visible in Perch has brought so much joy to this community—and this impact is made audible through a multitude of bird songs!”

The installation is on view through November with programs, tours, educational events, and more to be announced shortly.

an foggy aerial view of castle hill on the crane estate with construction scaffolding

Great House at Castle Hill Begins Extensive Renovation Project

Visitors to the Crane Estate in Ipswich have been experiencing a different look at Castle Hill’s Great House these days. In recent months, a network of scaffolding has encased the northwest façade of the house as part of much needed restoration of the National Historic Landmark’s stone and brickwork. The work has been necessitated by the impacts of water infiltration over many years that has threatened the integrity of the building’s masonry. This first phase of what will be a 10-year architectural preservation project includes removal and repair of the ceiling above the North Terrace portico and stabilization of the surrounding stonework and is scheduled for completion later this spring.

Partially funded through a $500,000 Save America’s Treasures grant from the National Park Service (NPS), announced last May, this work begins a series of capital improvements on the exterior envelope of the Great House, to preserve and protect its historical integrity, as designed by Chicago architect David Adler in the mid-1920s. The Trustees is grateful for funding of this phase of the project from the NPS, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and a private foundation, which is enabling the organization to launch this mission-critical project.

The NPS, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute for Museum and Library Services, has awarded more than $24 million to fund 80 projects in 32 states and the District of Columbia. The Trustees is honored to have received one of these Save America’s Treasures awards. “We are so grateful for this funding, because without vital federal grants such as this one, the preservation of historic homes like Castle Hill wouldn’t be possible,” said Peter Pinciaro, Regional Vice President, North Shore for The Trustees. “This money will help maintain this treasured property so it can be enjoyed by generations to come.”