Baxendale Woods

Baxendale Woods

Commentary by Gordon Schimmel

Cataumet, Massachusetts

"As you breath in, cherish yourself. As you breathe out, cherish all Beings."
~ Dalai Lama

Forests are the breath of life. The canopy and surrounding understory provide us with the oxygen we need to survive. Without them we cannot live, they are essential to life on earth. Trees are the lungs of the earth and, in turn, they provide our lungs with fresh air to breathe.

As the naturalist Margaret Bates noted, "Between a human and a tree is the breath. We are each other's air."
We exist in a shared relationship because trees need the carbon dioxide we breathe out to help trees and plants make the sugar needed for their nourishment and survival. However, our reliance on the deciduous forests of our area is not solely limited to the air we breathe: trees protect our watersheds, provide habitat for thousands of large and small creatures, create rich soil for agriculture, as well as provide cooling shade in summer and shelter from winter's wind.

The Baxendale Woods 18-acre parcel is located at 55 Megansett Road, abutting more than 5 acres of existing BCT and Town of Bourne conservation land to the north. The conservation history of this land began in 1927 when Esther and Thomas Baxendale generously bequeathed Amrita Island, the buildings and the surrounding property to Harvard University and later to the Boston-based Animal Rescue League as a "perpetual memorial… to provide education on the care of wildlife."

This important conservation mission was fulfilled by the ARL's Animal Friends Summer Camp that, over the years, was enjoyed by as many as three generations of families. Protection of this parcel is an example of the Bourne Conservation Trust's commitment to forest preservation, including many animal species that commonly reside in dense habitat, continuing the legacy and stewardship that the Baxendales intended.

These woods are a fine example of the interdependence of humans and our forests. Vernal pools and freshwater springs that flow into a stream crossing the land are one of the last vestiges of natural habitat in Cataumet. From canopy to floor, a typical New England forest supports hundreds of animal species that breathe life into a healthy planet. Crickets and dragonflies, crows and salamanders, hawks and homo sapiens, all are bound together in the Baxendale Woods, a property that soon will become another important addition to the BCT's mission to safeguard and celebrate the diversity of life on planet Earth, the only home we know.

"Tug on anything at all in the universe and you'll find it connected to everything in the universe" - John Muir.

Time to Celebrate!

The BCT now OWNS Baxendale Woods!!

We did it, thanks to everyone's generous support!

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We are pleased to report, with the help of over 400 donors and 2 matching grants, the goal of raising $3,000,000 to purchase Baxendale Woods has been reached! The BCT now OWNS Baxendale Woods!

The BCT will continue to accept donations for the Baxendale Woods fund through the end of October for anyone who has not yet donated but would like to be a part of this project. These funds will be used for expenses related to this project, including but not limited to legal fees, closing costs, and trail construction. These expenses could be sizable.

THANK YOU EVERYONE for your amazing, generous, and rapid response making it possible to preserve this sensitive and special parcel. See you on the trails before the snow flies (hopefully)!

Baxendale Woods

Baxendale Woods

Read the article, "Promises to Keep" written by Chris White; photographer Tyler Fields; published in CAPE COD LIFE.

"Promises to Keep" is a great back story about the history of the Baxendale property, and why it makes sense for the Bourne Conservation Trust to be its next—and hopefully permanent—steward.

Baxendale Woods Slideshow
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Baxendale Woods Map

Baxendale Woods Map - aerial view

BCT logo

The Bourne Conservation Trust is a private nonprofit land trust with a primary objective of acquiring land and leaving it in its natural state to: protect habitats, provide groundwater recharge, preserve rural ambiance, and make it available for recreational and educational purposes. The BCT owns and maintains over 300 acres of open space. Miles of walking trails thread their way through these protected woods and waterfront areas. The BCT is always looking for volunteers and donors to help achieve its mission and both maintain and enhance its properties.

Copyright © 2013-2024 Bourne Conservation Trust
All copyrightable rights reserved

Bourne Conservation Trust

PO Box 203 ~ Cataumet, MA 02534-0203
Phone: (508) 563-2884
Fax: 508-564-5412
Email us for information!
Alternate email:

Note: The BCT is tax exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Within IRS guidelines, contributions may be tax deductible from your taxable income. Please consult your tax advisor for more information. The BCT Tax ID Number (TIN) is: 04-2767827.

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