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Nature Notes

Newton Conservators Nature Notes - September 22, 2004

* 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 their website at


Welcome to many new receivers of this email news. If you wish to be removed

from this email list, simply reply with "remove" in the message or subject.




Don't miss an outstanding lecture at the library this evening by naturalist

and photographer Carole Smith Berney (see details below). We saw her

gallery exhibit last year in Watertown and knew that many of you would be

interested in seeing her outstanding nature photography taken along the

Charles River Pathway. Our new hot off the press Fall walk schedule is

included along with information on the Angino Farm, Newton's last farm!



In this issue:



* Fall 2004 Lecture - Wednesday, September 22, 7 pm


* Newton Conservators Fall Walk Series - 2004


* Save the Farm


* EcoAlert from American P.I.E. - Eat your veggies...grown organically


* Nature Notes


* NewTV debuts the "Environmental Program"


* Other Events and Programs


* About the Newton Conservators


* Walking Trails in Newton's Parks and Conservation Lands


* About Newton Conservators Nature Notes



* Fall 2004 Lecture - Wednesday, September 22, 7 pm, Library


Celebrating the Charles River - A Slideshow and Interactive Evening

with Naturalist and Photographer Carole Smith Berney


Please join us for a "virtual walk" along the Charles River Upper Greenway

Path in Newton and Watertown-a slide presentation focusing on the surprising

diversity of the urban landscape presented by Watertown naturalist Carole

Smith Berney. Ms. Berney's colorful and entertaining slide show features

images of birds, waterfowl, cormorants, cottontail rabbits, great blue

herons, turtles, seasonal riverscapes and sunsets, and the people who walk,

run, skate, bike, fish and birdwatch along the path. She will also discuss

efforts over the last decade to restore the river banks as viable habitat

for wildlife and to create a path that enables human enjoyment with minimal

impact on the flora and fauna there.


Carole Smith Berney, M.A. is a Watertown naturalist, wildlife photographer,

nature educator and member of the Newton Camera Club. Inspired by her many

walks on the MDC Charles River Upper Greenway Path in Watertown and Newton,

she has documented life along the river in all seasons and weather over

several years. Her "portraits" of animals-great blue herons, snapping

turtles, cottontail rabbits, wood ducks-help to enhance the community's

appreciation of the biodiversity and natural beauty found close to urban

settings. She continues to exhibit her work locally, and to present

slideshows for diverse audiences: libraries, community groups, assisted

living facilities, senior centers, and public and private schools from

kindergarten through high school.


Her publications include "Clever Critters," featuring photographs of animal

behavior, in a forthcoming issue of Highlights for Children, and Wildflowers

Along the Upper Greenway Path, partially funded by the Watertown Cultural

Council and the Department of Parks and Recreation (formerly MDC). The

Massachusetts Cultural Council has designated the latter publication as an

exemplary, "gold star" project for its significance in wedding the arts with

community involvement. Her image, "Glowing Mallards," was chosen by the

Massachusetts Audubon Society for inclusion in its Important Bird Areas

exhibit. Her various slideshows and exhibits have entertained and

enlightened many a nature-lover, birder, and wildflower enthusiast.


This 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. Carole Smith Berney's lecture is

the eighth in the 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. Some of Carole's photo prints and cards will be

available for purchase as well as the Conservators publication Walking

Trails in <> Newton's Park

and Conservation Lands. For further information on this event, please

contact the Conservators coordinator for this event, Ted Kuklinski.



Newton Conservators Fall Walk Series - 2004


Each Spring and Fall, the Newton Conservators organizes a series of walks to

local open space areas. These walks are led by knowledgeable leaders and are

open to the public. They normally last for an hour or two. Sometimes events

are even for bicycle or canoe. These walks are a great way to get to know

open space areas in Newton. Below is the current walk schedule for the Fall

2004 Walk Series. If you have questions about a walk or are interested in

leading such a walk in an area that you know, please contact the walks

coordinator, Peter Kastner, for more information.


Sunday, October 3, 2 pm, 2 hrs


Cutler DCR (formerly MDC) Park, Millennium Park /Wells Avenue Charles River




Starting at Cutler Park, we will explore the park itself and after walking

into Boston over the railroad bridge, will enter Millennium Park and

complete the tour by way of the Helen Heyn Riverway. These

areas have been vastly improved over the past several years and now provide

a wide variety of trails, river landings and playing fields. Henry Finch will be the group leader. Part of this walk is on page 54 of the Newton Conservators Walk Guide. Meet at the Cutler Park entrance 1/4

mile south of the Charles River, on Kendrick Street in Needham. Kendrick

and Nahanton Streets meet at the Charles River Bridge.



Sunday, October 10, 2 pm, 1 to 1.5 hrs


Albermarle / Charles River / Cheesecake Brook Link / Avery Woods



The Friends of Albemarle will lead a walk through the varied park,

playground, and conservation areas in the Albemarle / Cheesecake Brook

area. This organization is developing a comprehensive plan for this area and

will ask walkers for their ideas on how to plan for this area. The area has

a rich mix of active and passive spaces and the goal of the Friends of

Albemarle is to develop a balanced plan for this area. Meet at the Gath

Pool on Albemarle Road. For more information call Margaret Albright.



Sunday, October 17, 2 pm, 1 hr


Norumbega Park / Islington Road Oval / DCR Park



We will explore the trail system that goes through the remains of the old

Norumbega Park, a 13 Acre Park that was rescued from development when the

privately owned Norumbega Park closed. We will see a meadow, tall pines and

a hemlock grove that opens to a wonderful view of the Charles River as well

as the little know DCR park that is hidden behind the Marriott hotel. Meet

at the Norumbega Park entrance, near the remains of the sudden garden that

located at the Marriott-Norumbega boundary line on Commonwealth Avenue. Call

AnnaMarie Abernathy for more information



Sunday, October 24, 2 pm, 2 hrs


West Newton CPA Improvements Tour (Historic, Open Space, Housing, and




The walk will begin at the historic 1781 West Parish Burying Ground at River

and Cherry Streets in West Newton. Sheila Donahue of the Historic Burying

Grounds Committee will provide background on this site, which is undergoing

stone restoration and other improvements via CPA. It was recently placed on

the State of Massachusetts Register of Historic Sites. From the West Parish

Burying Ground, we will walk a short distance to the recently renovated

Dolan Pond Conservation Area's Auburndale Avenue entrance. In this hidden

treasure of Newton, we will traverse the accessible trails and boardwalk

past vernal pools to the CPA acquired Forte' estate. This project will

result in a 10% open space addition, the preservation of the 1925 homestead

by the Newton Housing Authority, and the creation of two additional Habitat

for Humanity housing units. We will return to the starting point via the

Webster Park Historic District, containing many fine examples of 1840

Cottage style houses, and across the West Newton Common play field, which is

to receive an irrigation system with CPA funds. Contact Ted Kuklinski

( Park on Cherry Street north of River





* Save the Farm


Angino Farm is the last remaining farm in Newton and the Newton Conservators

put forth a proposal before the CPA Committee to save it. The project has

been recommended by the CPA Committee and must go before aldermanic

committees and the full board for approval this fall. Ultimately it was

desired to save the property in its original farm usage. You can learn more

about this project at the Conservators website at or at the site of the new

Farm Group that has formed: The group has

been handing out information over the last several weeks at the Newton

Farmer's Market on Tuesdays at Cold Spring Park. Check their website for

full information. An excerpt from their website is below:


"We are friends and community members who wish to preserve and work on

Newton's last standing Farm. The Angino family farm is being offered to a

group of concerned citizens who see the value of maintaining and working a

community farm located on Nahanton Street. The Angino estate has entered in

provisional agreement to work with the City of Newton, the Committee for

Community Preservation, and local residents to see that Newton's last farm

is preserved as protected productive open space.


Much like the Stearns <> Farm in Framingham,

MA, we envision a real working farm where community members can work

together in Community Supported Agriculture

<> to grow a self sustaining source

of delicious produce in an eco-friendly farm where school groups and the

community could participate in educational programs. We have been talking

about inviting the community to buy shares where each family could both work

on the farm and enjoy its harvest. We like to see a portion of this food

going to local shelters and food pantries."


Many other local communities have such local farms many using the so called

CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) model of operation where community

members buy shares in the farm. One such nearby farm is the Stearns Farm in

Framingham at <>

. To learn more about CSA's check out



* EcoAlert from American P.I.E. - Eat your veggies...grown organically -

18 August, 2004





A strategy for reducing the environmental impact of our food consumption is

to buy organically produced foods. The term organic is a familiar reference

for foods produced without the use of manufactured fertilizers, pesticides,

herbicides, additives, or hormones. Growing numbers of people are choosing

organic products over those produced through conventional agriculture.

Environmentally speaking, here are some reasons why:


- Combined erosion from wind and water exceeds the staggering sum of six

billion tons annually. Most conventional farmlands in the U.S. are operating

with a mere six to nine inches of topsoil, one-third the amount present in

the seventeenth century...Organic agriculture reduces soil erosion due to

cover crops and low and no-till practices.


- While 20 percent of our country's land is used to grow crops, 40 percent

is devoted to livestock grazing which diminishes the land's ability to

support natural wildlife. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists,

household meat and poultry consumption alone is responsible for about a

quarter of the threats to natural ecosystems and wildlife...Organic

agriculture is less resource intensive than conventional agriculture.


- Scientists find that Bt corn varieties, bearing pollen containing BT

toxin, constitute a threat to the monarch butterfly with possible

consequences to other species and soil ecosystems...Organic agriculture

respects natural habitats.


- Synthetic chemicals, pesticides and related man-made products, do not

efficiently do the job they were created for. In fact, they contribute to

the extinction of bird and wildlife species, the contamination of life in

aquatic ecosystems, the widespread and often irreversible contamination of

groundwater, and the growing resistance of insect, weed and fungus

species...Organic agriculture vastly reduces water and air pollution.


There is a choice for the future of agriculture - what Michael Pollan refers

to as America's second food chain: organic agriculture. With a 20-percent

annual growth rate in the United States since 1989, organic farming - driven

by consumer demand - could lead the way toward a healthier environment,

improved human health, and...better tasting food.


Consumers sometimes complain about the cost of organics. The price premium

is often over 10%, a differential which can be reduced as demand for

organically grown food increases. Does your local market offer the choice of

organic fruit and vegetables, dairy, meat and poultry products? If not, see

the store manager and encourage availability.





Act today on this EcoAlert, and thank you for your environmental

responsibility. This material provided by American P.I.E., Public

Information on the Environment, P.O. Box 676, Northfield, MN 55057-0676,

Telephone: 1-800-320-APIE(2743); fax 507-645-5724, E-mail:

. EcoAlert subscribe/unsubscribe at their website:







* Nature Notes





Mosquitoes with the West Nile Virus have been detected recently near Cold

Spring Park in Newton, the Mass. Dept. of Public Health announced yesterday.

As a result, Health Commissioner David Naperstek is urging people to use

extra precautions to avoid insect bites, especially when outdoors in wetland

areas. See more details in today's Newton Tab:



Carol Stapleton of the Parks Department reports seeing an all white sparrow

sized bird in the vicinity of Commonwealth Avenue and Exeter in Auburndale

recently. Is it a cage bird escapee or some unusual vagrant or leucistic or

albino variant? Any reports would be appreciated.



Last week in our garden, we were surprised to see a hummingbird feeding on

some late flowers. Keep an eye out for migrating birds over the next

several weeks - this is the peak time for southward migration. Speaking of

hummingbirds, in July while looking at some flowers in the garden, there

appeared to be what looked like a hummingbird in body shape, frequency of

wingbeats, feeding behavior, and even tail shape. Looking it up on the

internet, it was a type of Sphinx Moth which does a remarkable imitation of

a hummingbird - so much so that they are often called "hummingbird moths".



Over the last few summers, we have let a small patch of milkweed expand and

this year it comprised some 60 or 70 plants. These are the only type of

plants that Monarch Butterflys will use and it was delightful to see one

this summer feeding on them. Alas, we could find no chrysalis this year -

but there's always hope for next.



Have you seen the strange holes in the ground in your yard or park. We

found a number of them at Wellington Park in West Newton. The holes are

fairly big and bordered on one side by a significant area of dug dirt.

Apparently these are dug by Cicada Killer Wasps (they kill Cicadas, not

people!). These large colorful wasps sting adult Cicadas and bury them with

a single wasp egg. The paralyzed cicada serves as food for the growing wasp

grub. Find out more info at the What's That Bug website:



Do you have some interesting sightings or nature experiences that you would

like to share? Send them along for publication here.




* NewTV debuts the "Environmental Program"



The Green Decade Coalition (GDC) and the Newton Conservators are pleased to

announce their partnership on the production of a new Environmental Show on

the NewTV Blue Channel. The Environmental Show will be broadcast five times

a week. Check your listings. The first show in September is presented by

the Green Decade Coalition, with host Beverly Droz, GDC President, and guest

David DelPorto. The program will provide an overview of High Performance

Building Technology as it relates to the construction or renovation of

Newton North High School. In October, the Newton Conservators produced

show will highlight the topic of Community Supported Agriculture and the

Angino farm, the acquisition of which was recently recommended by the

Community Preservation Committee. The Conservators next show in December

will focus on Cold Spring Park.



Both organizations are dedicated to highlighting issues important to Newton

residents. Learn more about our parks and open spaces, even the secret

ones, with the Newton Conservators, and learn to think globally and act

locally with the Green Decade Coalition.



We are looking for all kinds of talent - announcers, writers, producers,

camera people, editors, etc. to help with our shows. In each program, we

will be normally be highlighting a different one of our open spaces. If you

are interested, please reply to this email and we will forward your info.

To find out more about NewTV visit their website at

They have a great selection of courses in all aspects of video production

and editing.





* Other Events and Programs



Sunday, October 3rd, 2 pm - Lost Pond Nature Hike



Join local resident Marian Lazar and the Friends of Lost Pond to explore the

varied habitats, and social and natural history that make the Lost Pond

Sanctuary in Brookline so interesting. Meet at the Arlington Rd. entrance

(off of Heath St.) in South Brookline.


Sunday, October 3rd from 10 - 5 - Festival in Larz Anderson Park-



Brookline GreenSpace Alliance is looking for volunteers to help staff our

table and to provide extra volunteer support for Festival in the Park. This

annual event takes place at the Larz Anderson Park behind the Transportation

Museum and features over 60 juried crafters selling ceramics, glass,

carvings, photography & textiles; Arts and community groups providing

information, demonstrations and activities; and fun for the kids - pony

rides, face-painting, balloons and more. There is continuous live

entertainment with diverse styles of music and dancing and a variety of

foods is available throughout the day The event is sponsored by the

Brookline Council for the Arts and Humanities in cooperation with Brookline

GreenSpace Alliance. If you can help us out it would be much appreciated!



Restoring the Urban Environment - a course for watershed citizens -


Six Mondays from October 4th - November 13th, 6:30 pm



By 2010 more than half of the worlds' population will live in cities, making

us an urban species for the first time in history. This fall, join the

Charles River Watershed and the Arnold Arboretum for a six-week adult

education course to explore the world where most of us spend our time. The

course will focus on urban environmental restoration, explored in the

context of the Charles River and its watershed, and the Arboretum, a 265

acre living collection of trees, shrubs and vines. Classes meet on Monday

from 6:30 - 8:30 PM in the Hunnewell Building at the Arnold Arboretum in

Jamaica Plain. $170- for CRWA members, $200 non members. Call the Charles

River Watershed Association at 781-788-0007 for more information.

Registration ends September 24th




* 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 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 third Wednesday of the month at 7:30 pm (usually at City Hall). Members

are welcome to attend. If you wish to attend you can contact the

organization Secretary to confirm the date, time, location, and agenda.



* Walking Trails in Newton's Parks and Conservation Lands


The map guide put out by the Newton Conservators is a great resource for

those who would like to explore Newton's open space. It is available by

web, mail and also at Newtonville Books and New England Mobile Book Fair.

Walking Trails in Newton's Parks and Conservation Lands may be purchased for

$7.95 online at or by mailing a check to The Newton Conservators, P.O. Box 590011,

Newton Center, MA 02459. Sales benefit The Newton Conservators, a nonprofit

citizen advocacy organization which actively promotes the acquisition,

creation, and preservation of natural open spaces for the people of Newton.

Since its formation in the late 1950's, The Newton Conservators has been

instrumental in safeguarding more than 200 acres of open space in Newton,

creating several major public parks, and enacting ground-breaking

environmental ordinances with respect to the protection and preservation of

trees, wetlands and clean air, and the conservation of energy.



* 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

. 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 <> 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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