Newton Conservators logo fall photo of Sawmill Brook
 
 

Nature Notes

Newton Conservators Nature Notes - Friday, October 17, 2003

* Welcome

This email newsletter provides information on upcoming nature and environmental related events, exhibits, and information in and around the Newton, Massachusetts area and is sponsored by the Newton Conservators, the local open space organization in Newton. Please visit our website at http://www.newtonconservators.org <http://www.newtonconservators.org/> . If you wish to be removed from this email list, simply reply with "remove" in the message or subject.

This particular issue is full of news and events so take a look to make sure you don't miss something of interest to you. Alas, there's no joy in Beantown this morning and no World Series involving the Red Sox to distract you. Why not console yourself with getting out and about in Newton and environs. This newsletter has lots of ideas to inspire you. For you stargazers, don't miss the notice about the giant stargazing party in neighboring Weston this evening.

Here's an outline of the contents of this issue:

* Newly Redesigned Newton Conservators Website
* New Book - Walking Trails in Newton’s Park and Conservation Lands


* Newton Conservators Fall Walk Series - 2003

** Saturday, October 18 2:00 pm
CPA Forte Property and Dolan Pond Conservation Area
** Sunday October 26, 2003 2:00 pm
Newton Cemetery
** Sunday -November 2, 2:00 pm
Kesseler Woods- Impact of New CPA funding (Walk #20 Conservator Guide)

* Newton Conservators Fall Lecture 2003 - November 17, 2003, 7 pm
Land Protection: Now or Never…..Forever

Mass Audubon's New Land Protection Strategy
Lecture by Bob Wilber, Mass Audubon Director of Land Protection
* Other Events

** Stargazing at Weston Middle School - Friday, October 17, 7-9:30 pm

** Skateboarding Awareness Day - Saturday, October 18, Noon-4 pm at NCSC

** Newton Harvest Fair - Sunday, October 19, Noon to 6 pm
** Walking Tour of Nonantum - Sunday, October 19, 1 pm

** Ordway Park Meeting - Thursday, October 23, 7:30 pm

** Saint Mary's Cemetery Walking Tour - Saturday, October 25, 10:30 am
** East Parish Burying Ground Cleanup - Saturday, November 8, 9 am

** Urban Ark -- Seminar and Tour - Saturday, November 8

* Habitat Improvement at Flowed Meadow

* Falling leaves...and trees – an EcoAlert from American P.I.E.

* Editor Notes: Leaf Guide, Migration, Dogs, and a Convenient Place to Stay in Newton

* Governor Romney Fails to Commit to Open Space Protection

* Community Preservation Act Report - November 1 Deadline for Next Round

* Newton Conservators Grants Program - October 31 Deadline

* Massachusetts Environmental Trust Grants - Deadline November 1

* About the Newton Conservators

* About Newton Conservators Nature Notes

* Newly Redesigned Newton Conservators Website

You are invited to check out the newly redesigned Newton Conservators website at http://www.newtonconservators.org <http://www.newtonconservators.org/> . Thanks to the hard work of member Dan Brody, the website has a whole new look and organization. The content had been previously spread across two separate servers. Now it contains many new features including much easier access to current and archived news and newsletters, photos, maps, walk and lecture schedules, grants program, membership and publication information.

* New Book - Walking Trails in Newton’s Park and Conservation Lands

Walking Trails in Newton’s Park and Conservation Lands, a handy trail guide to the conservation and open space recreation opportunities in Newton is now available. This book is a 56-page guide containing detailed trail maps of 27 conservation areas in Newton, featuring parks, ponds, gardens, trails, canoe launches, nature guides, rock climbing, scenic views, handicapped access, geological features, and bird watching areas. The guide also contains photos, driving directions, interesting historical details, and an overall map of showing the locations of the
27 natural areas. This outstanding new publication replaces our
previous paper map guides and was put together with the tremendous effort of Judy Hepburn, Pat Robinson, and Lucy Caldwell-Stair. It is priced at $7.95 (free with membership) and is available directly from the Newton Conservators ( <http://www.newtonconservators.org/buyaguide.htm>
http://www.newtonconservators.org/buyaguide.htm) and at New England Mobile Book Fair. It fits nicely in your back pocket and will be a terrific companion to introducing you to places in Newton you never knew
existed. <http://www.newtonconservators.org/newconmapguidecov.jpg> It
would make a great holiday gift for your Newton friends and neighbors.


* Newton Conservators Fall Walk Series - 2003

The Newton Conservators have scheduled a series of weekend walks this fall to introduce residents to the city's rich natural inheritance. There is no cost for these guided walks and all are welcome. Each trip lasts 1 1/2 to two hours. Cameras, binoculars and comfortable walking shoes are recommended. In the event of inclement weather, call the trip leaders listed to confirm whether walks will be held. Below are the remaining walks in the Fall Walk Series of the Newton Conservators. The Walk Series is organized by Peter Kastner. The current walk schedule can be found online at <http://www.newtonconservators.org/walks.htm>
http://www.newtonconservators.org/walks.htm. If you would like to explore more walks in Newton's open space, the Newton Conservators have published a guide to Newton Parks which is available at New England Mobile Book Fair or by directly from the Conservators at http://www.newtonconservators.org/books.htm.


** Saturday October 18 2:00 pm
CPA Forte Property and Dolan Pond Conservation Area
(Walk #4 Conservators Guide)

The Dolan Pond Conservation Area will be improved due to additional CPA funds that have secured the adjacent Forte property. This area has just been renovated under a federally funded Community Development Block Grant with new nature overlooks, steps, information kiosks, handicapped parking, accessible stabilized soil pathways and even a boardwalk through this wetland habitat. While only eight acres in size, it contains four vernal pools and a great diversity of plant, animal, and bird life. Join Ted Kuklinski to see this wonderful area and how the recent CPA funding will be used to improve this conservation area and add needed housing. The walk starts at the Webster Park entrance. The street called Webster Park is off Webster Street, three blocks west of Cherry Street in West Newton. Wheelchairs are welcome! Contact Ted Kuklinski (dolanpond@aol.com, http://www.dolanpond.org) <http://www.dolanpond.org)/> .


** Sunday October 26, 2003 2:00 pm
Newton Cemetery
(Walk #8 Conservators Guide)

Created in the 19th-century naturalistic style pioneered at Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Newton Cemetery is beautifully landscaped and is a wonderful open space treasure. View the variety of specimen trees and plantings. Meet by the administrative building just inside the main entrance on Walnut Street. Leader: Peter Kastner


** Sunday -November 2, 2:00 pm
Kesseler Woods- Impact of New CPA funding (Walk #20 Conservator Guide)

Explore the impact that recent CPA funding to acquire the NSTAR land for open space and housing will have upon the Kesseler trail and Saw Brook area. Explore how this new plan will be integrated into the existing trails, wooded upland and wetland areas. The woods are an excellent area for bird watching, nature studies and has dramatic puddingstone and rock out cropping. Call John Regosin, 244-0736, for information. He led a similar walk last spring when plans were being developed to save the NSTAR area. This time he will review with you the impact the city's successful bid will have upon this area. He will bring maps and aerial photographs and would discuss Kesseler NSTAR acquisition. Meet at the Sawmill Brook parking area at the corner of Vine.

* Newton Conservators Fall Lecture 2003 - November 17, 2003, 7 pm
Land Protection: Now or Never…..Forever
Mass Audubon's New Land Protection Strategy
Lecture by Bob Wilber, Mass Audubon Director of Land Protection

Across the Commonwealth, unprecedented rates of development are resulting in accelerated habitat loss and fragmentation. In much of the state, the "window of opportunity" to make a meaningful difference in the conserved landscape is only 10 -15 years. In order to meet this challenge and effectively advance its mission of Protecting the Nature of Massachusetts, Mass Audubon has recently completed a new Land Protection Strategy to guide its future land protection efforts. The foundation of this plan is a new Geographic Information System data layer that will allow Mass Audubon to be focused, selective and proactive in its land protection work.

Bob Wilber, the Director of Land Protection for Mass Audubon (will present a lecture at 7 pm on Monday evening, November 17 at the Druker Auditorium of the Newton Free Library (330 Homer Street). Come learn more about how Mass Audubon (http://www.massaudubon.org <http://www.massaudubon.org/> ) , the largest conservation organization in New England, is working to Protect the Nature of Massachusetts and
how you can help. Bob began his career in 1983 with the Massachusetts
Department of Environmental Management's Land Acquisition & Protection Program, where he worked until 1996, serving as director for the last seven years with that state agency. He served for three years in a similar capacity with the Massachusetts Chapter of the Nature Conservancy, prior to joining the Audubon staff in July of 2000. Bob is a lifelong Massachusetts resident, and resides in Stow with his family, where he is a current member of the town's Conservation Trust and Open Space and Community Preservation Committees. During his 20 year career in land conservation, Bob has been directly involved in the permanent
protection of more that 25,000 acres in Massachusetts.

This free lecture is co-sponsored by the Newton Free Library, http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net/, 617-796-1360) and the Newton Conservators, Newton's own organization that promotes the protection
and preservation of open space. Bob Wilber's lecture is the sixth in
our twice yearly, Newton Conservators Lecture Series (http://www.newtonconservators.org/lectures.htm), which features renowned experts in areas related to the open space mission of the Conservators. As part of their educational outreach, the programs are free and open to the public. Many thanks are due to Beth Purcell, Publicity Director of the Newton Free Library, for her assistance in cosponsoring and promoting the lecture series over the past three years. Membership information for Mass Audubon and the Newton Conservators will be available at the lecture. Copies of our new Walking Trails in Newton's Park and Conservation Lands will be available for purchase as
well, a great holiday gift for your conservation minded friends!

* Other Events

Below are other events that may be of interest to our readers. Please send your listings for future editions to dolanpond@aol.com.

** Stargazing at Weston Middle School - Friday, October 17, 7-9:30 pm

Did you miss Mars? Have you ever seen the Andromeda Galaxy? Here’s your chance to come celebrate the nighttime sky with your family and neighbors. Come set up your telescopes, beach chairs and blankets at 7pm and enjoy toasting marshmallows and s’mores before you settle in to discover the October sky. Dr. Charles Whitney, world-renowned astronomer, author, Harvard University Professor emeritus will guide you in your discovery of the numerous constellations, star clusters, planets and outer galaxies. Don’t forget to bring your telescopes, binoculars and small flashlights!

The Weston Trail and Forest Association has created an evening of stargazing that is designed to appeal to young and old. The event is scheduled from 7-9:30 pm on Friday, October 17 (with a rain date of Friday, October 24), both very good nights for stargazing. From 7-8 pm people will be invited to come to the field to set up their blankets, beach chairs, telescopes and binoculars and enjoy toasting marshmallows and making s’mores assisted by Forest & Trail volunteers. During this time Chuck Whitney and some assistants will work one-on-one with people assisting them in setting up their telescopes and binoculars and make sure they know how to use them properly. He and his assistants will organize the crowd into “teams” where families or groups of friends can work together to view the nighttime sky. During the first hour we will project lively music over a PA system to get people in the spirit of the event.

The 8-9:30 pm portion of the event will be centered on Chuck Whitney who will be miked so he can be heard in the large field. This portion of the event will be structured as a sky treasure hunt. Marked constellation star charts will be passed out. After a brief explanation discussing how to read a chart, Chuck will give people challenges such as “Find Mars” or “Find the North Star.” Once it has been determined that everyone knows how to work their telescope, he will pass out a list of challenges. Working independently, each team will identify as many constellations and stars possible including star clusters, double stars, the Andromeda galaxy, etc. Call Charles Whitney for questions
(781-893-3383)


The event takes place on the Weston Middle School Field, behind the Bus Barn. Weston Middle School is on Wellesely Street. From Newton, take Commonwealth Avenue (Route 30) west and make a left onto Wellesley Street. Pass the entrance to Weston High School on your left and continue to the entrance for Weston Middle School (just before you pass under the Mass Pike).


The Weston Forest and Trail Association, Inc., ( <http://www.westonforesttrail.org/> http://www.westonforesttrail.org) is a non-profit organization founded to maintain open space and promote the development of all of Weston's conservation land with trails for walking, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing. They are dedicated to promoting the enjoyment and appreciation of the land by the residents
of Weston. Check out their walk schedule on their website. On Nov. 2,
there is a walk at a new trail near Fields Pond Road led by Lee Cohen (781-899-8048). Meet at at the end of Fields Pond road.

** Skateboarding Awareness Day - Saturday, October 18, Noon-4 pm at NCSC

As part of another scout Eagle Project, that of Alex Tun, Skateboarding Awareness Day will be held on October 18 from Noon to 4 pm. Skaters are invited to come to compete against kids in their own age group, win prizes, get free stuff, tips from pros, contribute ideas for a Newton skatepark and listen to live bands. There will be five bands from Newton North and South High Schools, drinks and snacks for sale, Prizes and Sk8 giveaways, and competitions for different age groups! Bumper stickers, T-shirts, Tips from the Pros, and more! Local celebrities Charlie Wilkins, Jimmy Day, and Officer George Claflin will be present as well as representatives of the Newton Sk8Park Committee. The event starts at noon at the Teen Reach Youth Center, 492 Waltham St., in West Newton (behind CVS). The rain date is Sunday, October 19. Bring your own board and helmet!

The Parks and Recreation Commission (and a special city committee) last year considered sites around Newton for a possible skatepark and narrowed the choice to three possible suitable locations. The Newton Skatepark Committee http://www.newtonsk8park.org/ will have a silent auction for two VIP tickets to the Sun. afternoon, Oct. 26 performance of Tony Hawk's Boom Boom Huck Jam skate extravaganza http://www.boomboomhuckjam.com/ at the Fleet Center, incuding admission to the exclusive afterparty event to meet the stars of the show including X Games stars Tony Hawk, Bucky Lasek, Bob Burnquist, and Andy Mac. Tickets are courtesy of world champion skateboarder and Newton North High School graduate, Andy Macdonald, to help raise funds towards building a Newton Skatepark. Bids may be submitted by email in reply to this newsletter.


** Newton Harvest Fair - Sunday, October 19, Noon to 6 pm

Celebrate the advent of fall at Harvest Fair on Sunday, Oct. 19, (rain
date: Oct. 26) on the Newton Centre Green. The Mayor's Office for Cultural Affairs and The Newton Pride Committee sponsor an event for the community and its surrounding neighbors. Newton's performing arts organizations will be showcased from noon to 6 p.m. on the Newton Centre Green. Featured organizations will be: Suzuki School of Newton, Newton Country Players, American Chinese Arts Society Dancers, Showtime Singers and many more local performers. Handmade crafts include furniture and other wood objects, leather products, jewelry, clothing, knitted and crocheted items, photography and tapestry. International crafters will have a large variety of items from around the world. Harvest Fair offers children's activities, such as sand art, pumpkin decorating, face painting and sidewalk art. Mt. Ida College and the Masons will sponsor the free Masonic Child Identification Program to "Help Protect Your Kids." Amusement rides will also be available Saturday, Oct. 18, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and during the fair.

Come visit the Newton Conservators booth at the Harvest Fair - join or purchase copies of the new trail guide for Newton. Conservator volunteers are welcome. Please reply to this email if you would like to help.

** Walking Tour of Nonantum - Sunday, October 19, 1 pm

Walking Tour of Nonantum will be held Sunday, Oct. 19, at 1 p.m. Participants should meet at 342 Watertown St. Learn about the development of this community, from the riverside mills to a prosperous industrial center. The program will conclude with an interior tour of the Adams Street Synagogue. Walking tours of Newton are held this fall and the public is invited to learn the history of Newton's Neighborhoods while walking for Health and Fitness. This free program is sponsored by the Mayor's Office for cultural Affairs and the Newton Pride Committee and underwritten by New Balance Athletic Shoe Inc. Research and presentation is by the Newton History Museum at The Jackson Homestead. For further information, call 617-796-1540.


** Ordway Park Meeting - Thursday, October 23, 7:30 pm

Neighbors of Ordway Park in Newton Centre and members of the Newton Conservators are invited to discuss the renewal of Ordway Park at the home of Joan and David Rosenberg, 77 Montvale Rd. on Thursday, Oct.23, 7:30-9 p.m. Ordway Park (Walk #12 in the Trail Guide) is a small 0.5 acre natural woodland garden. It has an extensive array of tree and shrub species. The land was willed to the Newton Conservators by Priscilla Ordway in 1971. It is located in Newton Center and has entrance on Grant Acenue or Everett Street. A fund is being established for maintenance of this wonder green space.


** Saint Mary's Cemetery Walking Tour - Saturday, October 25, 10:30 am

The historic St. Mary's Cemetery in Newton Lower Falls has burial dating from 1812 and is listed on the National Register o Historic Landmarks. The walking tour is led by Beverly Hurney, who will highlight important people, families, and monuments. Park along Concord Street. Admission is free. This walk is sponsored by the Newton History Museum.

** East Parish Burying Ground Cleanup - Saturday, November 8, 9 am

Help maintain one of the city's historic burying grounds. Volunteers are needed at the East Parish Burying Grounds to undertake fall leaf raking and dead branch removal. Bring gloves and a rake to assist in this project. Meet at the burying ground at the corner of Center and Cotton Streets. Raindate, Sunday, November 9, at 9 am. By the way, soon to be completed is a new exhibit on the city's three historic burying grounds at the Newton History Museum at the Jackson Homestead.

** Urban Ark -- Seminar and Tour - Saturday, November 8


The Green Decade Coalition in Newton is sponsoring a tour of a private home that uses environmentally sustainable design and building practices such as solar heating, green house living, washwater gardens, sewage avoidance and energy and water conservation measures. Cost is $20/person and space is limited.


* Habitat Improvementat Flowed Meadow

Last Spring, new bridges, signs, and bluebird houses were installed at the Flowed Meadow Conservation Area in Auburndale as part of an Eagle Project of Matthew Gray of Boy Scout Troop 355, West Newton. The objective of the project was to make Flowed Meadow a better place for the visitors and the inhabitants. That objective was accomplished in the following ways:

Two foot bridges, one 15 feet and the other 12 feet, weredesigned and installed to span two small streams. Before the bridges were built, foot traffic had to cross the streams using an unstable hodgepodge of boards and logs. The new bridges are not only stable, but maintain a sleek, but low visual impact to their surroundings. These bridges are sure to last for decades to come and are truly the highlight of the project. Six trail signs weredesigned and crafted. Previously, Flowed Meadow was a veritable forest maze. With the new trail signs, Flowed Meadow is no longer such a mystery to navigate. The signs have a rustic look and don’t feel like a manmade burden imposed upon the forest. In one Boy Scout Troop meetings, the scouts built 6 bluebird houses (Petersen
Model) and installed them during the on-site work day. The bluebird houses will be an ongoing project because the houses require cleaning and maintenance to keep them suitable for bluebird life.

Matt was wondering if there were any regular visitors to the Flowed Meadow area (bird enthusiast or otherwise) who would be willing to clean
out, on a regular basis, the 6 bluebird houses. Other species often
take advantage of the houses and prevent the bluebirds from nesting. Please respond to this newsletter email if you might be interested and we will put you in contact.


* Falling leaves...and trees – an EcoAlert from American P.I.E. (8 October, 2003)

In much of the country, nature¹s autumn palette is now painted in brilliant colors. Soon, in response to shortening days and declining intensity of sunlight, leaves begin the processes leading up to their fall. The veins that carry fluids into and out of the leaf gradually close off as a layer of cells forms at the base of each leaf. Once connecting tissues are sealed off, leaves begin to fall.

As urban populations continue to grow, and new residential subdivisions and commercial centers expand, trees, too, begin to fall. The removal of trees is one of the most significant ways in which we have altered the landscape of the United States. In the past, forests were cleared to allow for agriculture, to provide fuel for domestic purposes, to provide charcoal or wood for construction; sometimes to fuel locomotives, and sometimes to smelt metals. More recently, forests are simply taken down under the banner of 'development.'

The losses nationwide have been significant. Precious little remains of old growth forests in the northwest. Eastern forests which once extended from the Atlantic seaboard as far as the Mississippi River have been greatly reduced. When the first colonists arrived, forests in the Eastern U.S. occupied some 170 million hectares. Today about 10 million hectares remain.

A robust tree planting effort is at the heart of every community forestry program. Species selection is an important key to success. The Bradford Pear, for example, is often chosen for urban settings because of its tidy, pyramidal shape. Neither native to city life nor able to provide significant shade, the tree is ubiquitous in urban sites across the country. A first step in a community reforestry program is identification of trees indigenous to the land. Even without a course in botany, one can learn the names and distinctive features of trees common to their region.

Important, too, is building knowledge about the needs of trees. The average life of a downtown street tree is seven years, mainly because they're not given an adequate place to grow - not enough space, not enough soil, not enough water, not enough light, too many utility wires, too much pollution, too much salt spread during winter, too much hot air ejected onto the streets from too many air conditioners.

Alienation from our natural, ultimately our forest, roots, is at the heart of the global ecological crisis. Destruction of wooded areas, loss of individual trees, and loss of wildlife habitat threaten the ecological integrity of natural systems. Personal choices can make a diiference - choose to color your landscape green with trees...for the pleasure of fallen leaves.

Act today on this EcoAlert, and thank you for your environmental responsibility. This information was provided by American P.I.E., Public Information on the Environment, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, P.O. Box 676, Northfield, MN 55057-0676, Telephone: 1-800-320-APIE(2743); fax 507-645-5724, E-mail: . You can subscribe directly to EcoAlerts at their website .


* Editor Notes: Leaf Guide, Migration, Dogs, and a Convenient Place to Stay in Newton

I recently came across at the Sturbridge Village gift shop a simple but useful small book called "Fall Color Finder - A Pocket Guide to the More Colorful Trees of Eastern North America" by C. Ritchie Bell and Anne H. Lindsey, Laurel Hill Press 1991. It is a "key" guide with great color leaf photos which can quickly guide you to an identification of a tree based on its leaves. There are certainly more comprehensive tree guides
but this is a nice little book for your fall walks in the woods.

Fall is the season of migration. If you haven't seen the movie "Winged Migration", http://www.sonyclassics.com/wingedmigration/index_flash.html, make sure you do. It has been playing recently at West Newton Cinema but check local listings. How interesting can a documentary about birds fling norht and south be? Very - it has humor, drama, tragedy, beauty! The latter waves of migrants are still heading through our area now. Our conservation areas are the rest stops on the bird highway south.

If you are a Newton dog owner (among perhaps 25% of Newton households) you may be interested in joining a group in exploring alternatives to the existing leash laws - offleash locations, special hours, or such innovative programs such as the Trustees of Reservations "Green Dog" program. This topic may be the subject of upcoming discussion in the aldermanic Programs and Service Committee chaired by Marcia Johnson.


Have you ever had visitors to Boston who have asked you for a place to stay that is not too expensive? Here's a secret - check out the Walker Center in Auburndale (144 Hancock Street) just off Grove Street near the Williams School. They have relatively inexpensive B&B ($40-$65 including breakfast) and conference facilities. It is convenient to the Riverside Green Line station and close to Lasell College. Visit their website at http://www.walkerctr.org <http://www.walkerctr.org/> or call them at 617-969-3919. You may have passed it many times and wondered about it. Nature groups have used Walker Center for conferences as I found out talking to a loon counter in Maine. This is a terrific place
with a wonderful and caring staff.

* Governor Romney Fails to Commit to Open Space Protection

The following information is from the Beacon Hill Weekly Round-Up which tracks the legislative priorities of the Massachusetts Audubon Society, focusing on the protection of the nature of Massachusetts courtesy of Christopher Hardy, Director of Legislative Affairs, Mass Audubon, 6 Beacon Street, Suite 1025, Boston, MA 02108..

The Romney Administration this week slashed bond spending for land conservation in Massachusetts by over fifty-percent from previous years. In a hastily assembled press conference, Doug Foy, Chief of Commonwealth Development, and Secretary Ellen Roy Herzfelder of the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs announced a major reversal in policy and funding for the protection of the Commonwealth’s threatened natural landscape.

The Administration’s press conference was put together immediately following a press conference coordinated by Senator Pam Resor and Representative William Greene, co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Natural Resources and Agriculture, Chair Marie Parente of the House Committee on Long Term Debt and Capital Expenditures, along with land conservation groups, including Mass Audubon. This press conference revealed that the Administration’s preliminary plans did not include any bond spending for open space protection.

The Administration now plans to spend $25 million on open space protection in fiscal year 2004, including:


* $3 million for contracts under the Urban Self-Help program to enhance park infrastructure at existing municipal parks.


* $4 million for the Farm Viability program to acquire ten-year easements on family farmers in exchange for providing marketing and business training.


* $15 million for projects and grants under a new “Commonwealth Capital” program, which will link open space protection with brownfields redevelopment grants, transit node grants, urban revitalization grants, community development grants, and public works grants.

* $3 million in federal funding for unspecified land protection programs.

The Administration will allow land protection projects to occur in communities that promote housing production, adopt zoning measures to encourage compact mixed-use development, and help achieve regional transit needs.

“It just doesn’t make sense to just stomp around the countryside buying anything you can,” Foy stated at the press conference, criticizing the practices of past Republican Administrations. Foy stated that until now state government had assumed that buying parcels of land was the only way to protect the landscape from sprawl. He vowed that the Romney Administration would be “more sophisticated and strategic” and “get more bounce for the ounce”--without providing any specific examples of how this new model would actually work.

Mass Audubon believes the Romney Administration’s plan is a major step backward from the progress achieved under past Administrations. Based on the limited information that has been provided, we contend that Governor Romney has still not made a clear state commitment to open space protection:

* It is our understanding that the $3 million for the Urban Self Help Program covers existing unfounded contracts with cities for parks infrastructure improvements, not necessarily new urban parkland acquisitions


* The Farm Viability Program is not a land conservation program. In contrast, the state’s Agricultural Preservation Restriction program purchases development rights from owners of prime farmland. This week’s announcement made no reference to the APR program and its projected funding level.


* The “Commonwealth Capital” program attaches open space protection to a series of contingencies that depend on municipalities’ progress in achieving ‘smart growth’ with limited state assistance and through state zoning and planning laws that have been described as the most archaic and poorly constructed in the nation. In addition, open space protection programs would somehow be managed in conjunction with a broad range of competing (and often conflicting) development grant programs.

* Even if you accept $25 million as a funding commitment, it is a marked regression from past annual spending which has averaged roughly $50 million over the past decade (with a high point of $73 million in FY02).

Mass Audubon will continue meeting with state legislators and colleague organizations to coordinate our next steps in trying to gain more specific information about the Romney Administration’s plan, as well as how to address its fundamental shortcomings.

* Community Preservation Act Report - November 1 Deadline for Next Round

A draft Annual Report for FY2003 of the Community Preservation Committee is now available online at http://www.newtonma.gov/Planning/CPAC/AnnualReport%20.pdf. Here is a briefexcerpt from the report:

"The past eighteen months have been an intense but exhilarating experience for the Community Preservation Committee (CPC). Following passage of the Community Preservation Act (CPA), MGL c.44B, by Newton voters in November 2001, the CPC members were designated and convened the first CPC meeting in February 2002. The CPC accomplished three important objectives in its initial six months. As required by the CPA, the CPC studied the resources and needs of the community as well as the possibilities for expenditure of CPA funds. After soliciting public comment, the CPC issued the Community Preservation Plan, October 2002 (copies can be found online at www.ci.newton.ma.us/Planning/CPA.)
Finally, a process for application, review, and granting of funds was developed in cooperation with the Board of Aldermen, who have final responsibility for appropriation of CPA funds under the law.

The first round of project applications were accepted in November 2002 and a total of 20 applications were received, 15 of which were complete. The CPC carefully reviewed each project application and held public hearings to gain input from the community. Ultimately, the CPC recommended 12 projects to the Board of Aldermen for funding and, after further scrutiny by the Board, were approved. In addition to the initial round of applications, three additional proposals were brought to CPC as time-sensitive opportunities that would be lost if delayed until the next scheduled funding round: Kesseler Woods, the Forte Property at 76 Webster Park, and the Pelham House project...."

The deadline for the next unding round is Monday, November 1, 2003 at 5 pm. Visit http://www.newtonma.gov/Planning/CPAC/index.htm for more details.


* Newton Conservators Grants Program - October 31 Deadline

The Newton Conservators provides grants to Newton's schools, educational institutions, groups, and institutions for the purpose of fostering its mission. The grants are generally modest in size; requests of between $250 and $750 may receive priority, although smaller and larger grants will be given full consideration. They can be made for a single event, a longer-term project, or for multiple year funding. Projects for multiple year funding must be reported upon and resubmitted annually. Projects shall be related to the use, study, improved public awareness, augmentation, preservation, impact upon, or improvement of
Newton's green and open spaces. Projects must have an environmental or
educational purpose or element, rather than be solely for beautification purposes. Semi-annual deadlines for proposals are on October 31 and February 28 of each year. Proposals postmarked by those dates will be considered with that current group. Proposals also may be submitted at other times and they will be evaluated. Please visit http://www.newtonconservators.org/grants.htm for full guidelines and criteria and instructions on how to apply.


* Massachusetts Environmental Trust Grants - Deadline November 1

The Massachusetts Environmental Trust is a grantmaking organization that protects and restores water resources and their related ecosystems throughout the Commonwealth. The Trust is founded on the principle that clean water is the right of all citizens. Their mission is to fund and coordinate projects that: encourage cooperative efforts to raise environmental awareness, and support innovative approaches that can protect and restore our natural resources, with a special focus on water and related resources of the Commonwealth. Since its inception, the Massachusetts Environmental Trust has awarded approximately $13 million in grants and settlement funds to more than 300 organizations. The individual programs of our grantees-though always focused on water--are eclectic, creative and dynamic. Examples include: Watershed protection and conservation throughout the state,
Educational activities & curricula for school children to increase awareness of Massachusetts waters and the effects of human activities upon them, financial encouragement to community foundations to expand environmental grantmaking capacity, fommunity-based outreach programs that connect human health and the environment in areas disproportionately burdened by water pollution. They have a deadline of November 1 for current grants. Check out their webiste at http://www.massenvironmentaltrust.org
<http://www.massenvironmentaltrust.org/> for full details or call them at 617-727-0249 (33 Union Street, 4th Floor, Boston, MA 02108) to get information and an application for their unrestricted general grants program.


* About the Newton Conservators

This email newsletter is sponsored by the Newton Conservators, a local organization that promotes the protection and preservation of natural areas, including parks, park lands, playgrounds, forests and streams, which are open or may be converted to open spaces for the enjoyment and benefit of the people of the City of Newton, Massachusetts for scientific study, education, and recreation. It further aims to disseminate information about these and other environmental matters. A primary goal is to foster the acquisition of land and other facilities to be used for the encouragement of scientific, recreational, educational, literary, and the other public pursuits that will promote good citizenship and the general welfare in the City of Newton. Please visit our website at http://www.newtonconservators.org
<http://www.newtonconservators.org/> or contact us at the address below.

If you would like to join the Newton Conservators, please send your name, address, phone and email address (if you wish email alerts) to The Newton Conservators, P.O. Box 590011, Newton Centre, MA 02459. Membership Options are the following: Individual $25, Family Member $35, Sustaining Member $50, Donor $75, Patron $100. Membership is tax deductible. Your membership includes the Newton Conservators Newsletter and emails and invitations to participate in guided tours of local conservation areas, lectures, and other programs and activities. You will also receive by mail a copy of the new Newton Conservators open space map book, "Walking Trails in Newton's Park and Conservation Lands".

The Board of Directors of the Newton Conservators meets monthly usually on the fourth Wednesday of the month at 7:30 pm (usually at City Hall). This month’s meeting will be on Wednesday, Oct. 22, in the City Hall Cafeteria. Members are welcome to attend. Topics this month will include Conservation Resrictions and the additional $1M allocation request for Kesseler Woods.


* About Newton Conservators Nature Notes

If you would like to be more directly kept apprised of future nature related events, walks, lectures, and exhibits, you are invited to join the Newton Conservators sponsored "Newton Conservators Nature Notes" email list by sending an email request to dolanpond@aol.com. Newton Conservators Nature Notes is automatically sent to members of the Newton Conservators who provide their email addresses as one of their membership benefits. Newton Conservators Nature Notes may be found online at <http://www.newtonconservators.org/naturenotes.htm>
http://www.newtonconservators.org/naturenotes.htm. You are welcome to submit any items for this sporadical newsletter via email to the same address. Please feel free to forward our newsletter to others you feel might be interested in the information contained herein.

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