The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, July 14, 2000


Ecologist joins ConsCom

The conservation commission has filled one of its two vacant slots with a highly qualified Carlisle newcomer. Christine Gaulden of Timothy Lane received a nod from the commission and the board of selectmen at their respective late June sessions.

The Wisconsin native, who graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor's degree in wildlife ecology, is presently employed full time as a field technician by Oxbow Associates, an environmental consulting firm that specializes in wildlife studies, vernal pool ecology and wetland delineation. Concurrently, Gaulden is finishing up a six-month stint as administrative assistant to the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions director Sally Zielinski and the organization's education and publications coordinators.

Following her college graduation in 1977, Gaulden filled a variety of Environmental Protection Administration field and laboratory posts at her alma mater and at the University of California. Her first job in Massachusetts was with the state's Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program as a field technician in a herpetological conservation project.

Not surprisingly, considering her academic and employment background, Gaulden's major interest in joining the commission is to help assure that the Massachusetts Wetland Protection Act (WPA) is used to its full potential for wildlife habitat protection. Nonetheless, Gaulden made it clear in a telephone interview that she believes the conservation commission's greatest challenge is to find the proper balance between responsible land use and the legitimate rights of landowners.

Gaulden indicated agreement with sentiments expressed by former conservation administrator Katrina Proctor and her successor Sylvia Willard to the effect that Carlisle's Wetland Bylaw represents "a minimum standard" that offers no local perspectives beyond the WPA. Pointing out that the state legislation resulted from many compromises between conflicting interests, Gaulden believes an effective local law should include a realistic "no- build zone" surrounding a wetland. Perhaps more important, she feels, is to afford protection for vernal pools and isolated lands subject to flooding which, together with their upland components, often comprise important wildlife habitat.

In a lighter vein, Gaulden indicates she enjoys spending what free time her present commitments allow in camping, backpacking and mountain biking. She assumes her commission seat at the July 13 meeting and should be well prepared, having attended the board's last three meetings as a spectator.

2000 The Carlisle Mosquito