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Awards Presented at 2011 Annual Meeting

Environmentalists of the Year: Newton Conservators Trail Guide Committee

Charles Johnson Maynard Award: Suziette Barbier and Duane Hillis

Directors' Award: Deborah and Frank Howard


Cover of Newton Conservators trail guideEnvironmentalists of the Year:
Newton Conservators Trail Guide Committee

The Newton Conservators' Environmentalist of the Year Award for 2011 was given to the Trail Guide Committee, made up of Pat Robinson, Dan Brody, Lucy Caldwell-Stair and Judy Hepburn. The Trail Guide, Walking Trails in Newton's Park & Conservation Lands, is the Conservators' "signature item." It was first published in 2003 and was updated in 2010. The Trail Guide maps the locations of trails for walking, hiking, and cross-country skiing at all of Newton's major open spaces. For many Newton residents, it is the introduction to how to access the open spaces that are available to us all.

Pat Robinson provided design work. This year Pat also designed banners, business cards, and our new brochure, created our new 50th anniversary logo and stationery, designed our beautiful invitation and program for the annual dinner, and, with Lucy Caldwell-Stair, designed our historical display.

Lucy Caldwell-Stair served as the keeper of years of corrections to the old guide. Beyond that, she was "on the look out" for hidden areas to be included in the new one. With Pat, Lucy produced the historical display on exhibit at the annual dinner. The Conservators intend that the display will move to the Newton History Museum for people to enjoy.

Judy Hepburn is a long-time member of the Newton Conservators and also serves the City as a member of the Conservation Commission. Judy is a geologist. As President Sender said, Judy "knows how to draw maps, and she made all of them for this guide." The maps provide the important references for anyone using the Trail Guide to reach and navigate the parks.

Dan Brody worked on the new maps and background information for the guide. Dan works at keeping the Conservators' website updated. Dan also monitors Cold Spring Park. This year, with the help of Newton's Parks and Recreation Department and NewtonSERVES, Dan led an effort to get the mounds of trash out the pond at Cold Spring Park.

President Jane Sender presented the award to the four recipients at the Annual Dinner. She thanked them for their talent, hard work, and dedication to the Conservators. In her words, "It is truly amazing how much talent this group has and that we could create something this good from an all-volunteer effort."

This was the 30th Environmentalist of the Year Award presented by the Newton Conservators to an individual or group who has made a distinguished environmental contribution to our community.

Award winners Lucy Caldwell-Stair, Patricia Robinson, and Judy Hepburn. (Dan Brody was unable to attend the dinner.)

photos by Henry Finch


Charles Johnson Maynard Award: Suziette Barbier and Duane Hillis

The Charles Johnson Maynard Award is given each year to recognize efforts "to improve biodiversity, habitat reclamation, and natural resource protection."

In 2011, the award went to Duane Hillis and Suzette Barbier for their work with the Friends of Nahanton Park.

The Friends of Nahanton Park was re-energized in the past year. The first issue that arose was with unruly dogs and the possibility of an off leash dog park. Then came expansion plans for Angino Farm into Nahanton Park. In the winter came mounds of filthy snow, excessive City of Newton vehicular presence, discarded Christmas trees, discarded tree limbs, and dumped mattresses.

Duane "led the charge" to pull the Friends of Nahanton Park together, to create a more powerful voice. He sets the bar high for what it means to care about the city we live in and for how, as private citizens coming together with City officials, we can make sure a park as special as Nahanton Park is protected.

Suzette Barbier is frequently found birding in the early morning at Nahanton Park. She is often the first to see problems. She is passionate about that beautiful park. Suzette is also a talented artist and graphic designer. She designed the Friends of Nahanton Park brochure and its website, and she maintains a wonderful nature blog on the website.



Directors' Award: Deborah and Frank Howard

The Conservators gave Frank and Deborah Howard a Directors' Award for their lifetime of service to the Conservators, to conservation, and to Newton.

Deborah Howard served effectively on the Conservators' board for many years. In addition, she was Assistant Secretary of Environmental Affairs for Massachusetts and a member of the Newton Conservation Commission, the Urban Tree Commission, and the Board of the Massachusetts Audubon Society. Deborah also earned the Massachusetts Horticultural Society's Gold Medal "for eminent horticultural accomplishments."

Frank Howard has been the "heart and soul" of the Newton Conservators board. Since Frank's retirement from the Board, meetings are not the same without him. Always the first to offer praise for others' accomplishments, Frank was tireless on our Board, representing us on the High Performance Building Coalition and on bicycling, transportation and safety committees. He produced environmental programs for New TV and articles and photographs for the newsletter. Frank has also been central to the Board of the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation's restoration of the native chestnut.


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