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Nature Notes

Newton Conservators Nature Notes - Friday, September 19, 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 If you wish to be removed from this email list, simply reply with "remove" in the message or subject.

* Sunday, September 21, 3-5 pm, Houghton Garden Grand Re-Opening (Walk #17 Conservators Guide)

Around the turn-of-the-century Martha Houghton surrounded her Chestnut Hill Spanish Mission-style home with a naturalistic garden featuring a tranquil pond, waterfall rock formation, and an alpine rock garden. Now owned by the City of Newton, the garden has recently under gone a major restoration with funds from the Massachusetts Historical Commission and the Department of Environmental Management. The original plan can still be discerned as you stroll its azalea and rhododendron-bordered paths. The Newton Conservators are invited to the re-opening of Houghton Gardens, this Sunday afternoon, September 21 fro 3 to 5 pm. Mayor Cohen will preside at a ribbon cutting at 4:00 p.m. This invitation comes from Nancy Avery, a member of the of the Chestnut Hill Garden Club who has taken an active role in restoration for the garden and received a special award at this year's annual dinner of the Newton Conservators. The entrance location is on Suffolk Road (the left side, as you drive in from Hammond Street).

* Newton Conservators Fall Walk Series - 2003

Below are the walks in the Fall Walk Series of the Newton Conservators. The walks are free and open to the public. They are organized by Peter Kastner. Consider contacting Peter if you would like to lead a walk in the spring.

* Sunday September 21-2:00 pm
The Aqueducts - Newton's Linear Open Space

These annual walks of Newton's two aqueducts have become a favorite walk and Newton and the MWRA continue to plan their future as a more accessible open space for walkers and bicyclists. Explore with us the Sudbury & Cochituate Aqueducts, which run behind backyards and through rarely, visited pinewoods and meadows. Meet in the parking lot of the Waban MBTA Station. Trip Leader: Henry Finch

* Sunday September 28-2:00 pm
Charles River Lake District Walk

This walk is an opportunity to view the expansive waters of the Lake District along with intimate trails and the historical Waltham Watch Factory. The trip goes through varied terrain and walkers should wear comfortable shoes and long pants. The program starts at the Auburndale playground and travels along Ware's Cove to the MDC Forest Grove to the Waltham Watch Factory and continues along the north side of the Charles River through Waltham and Weston. The loop is completed by going through Norumbega Park and Lyons Field. Meet at the sandy beach at Wares Cove near the children's playground equipment at 2:00 PM. Leader Peter Kastner-

* Sunday October 5, 2003 2:00 pm
Kennard Park (Walk #18 Conservators Guide)

A walk along the trails of the Kennard properties, where a 32-acre post-agricultural forest has grown up on 19th century farmland that became an early 20th century gentleman's estate and finally a Newton park, adjacent to Brookline's Lost Pond properties. Explore South Meadow Brook, the mixed and conifer woodlands with colonial stone walls, a red maple swamp with century-old trees, and a sensitive fern marsh. Meet at the main entrance, 246 Dudley Road. Trip leader Larry Burdick.

*Sunday October 12, 8:OO am
Nahanton Park - Fall Bird Migration

The mix of woodlands, wetlands and meadows adjacent to the Charles River makes Nahanton a wonderful place to seen the fall bird migration. Enter the park at the Winchester Street entrance in order to reach the upper parking area located a short way down the road on the left opposite an open field. This entrance is off Winchester Street between the Charles River Country Club golf course and the Jewish Community Center. Please gather at the upper parking area at 8:00 a.m. Call Cris Criscitiello, an experienced birder. Bring binoculars if you have them. Beginners as well as established enthusiasts are welcome!

* 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 welcome! Contact Ted Kuklinski (

* Sunday October 26, 2003 2:00 pm
Newton Cemetery

Created in the 19th century naturalistic style pioneered by Mr. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Newton Cemetery is beautifully landscaped. Call Peter Kastner (244-6094) for information about the walk to view the variety of specimen trees that have been planted there. Meet by the administrative building just inside the main entrance on Walnut Street.

* Sunday -November 2, 2:00 pm
Kessler 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 Kessler 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 Kessler Nstar acquisition. Meet at the Sawmill Brook parking area at the corner of Vine.

* Newton Conservators Fall Lecture 2003 - November 17, 2003, 7 pm Druker Auditorium, Newton Free Library Land Protection: Now or Never...Forever Mass Audubon's New Land Protection Strategy

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 ( , 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, (, 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, 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!

* 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 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 a copy of the Newton Conservators open space map book, "Walking Trails in Newton's Park and Conservation Lands", a handy trail guide to the conservation and open space recreation opportunities in Newton. 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 should be showing up soon in local bookstores. It fits nicely in your back pocket and will be a terrific companion to introducing you to places in Newton you never knew existed.

* About Newton 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 Newton Conservators Nature Notes is automatically sent to members of the Newton Conservators who provide their email addresses as one of the membership benefits. You are welcome to submit any items for this sporadical newsletter 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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