Newton Conservators Nature Notes

Monday, November 14, 2005

This email newsletter provides information on upcoming nature and environmental related events, exhibits, and information in and around the Newton, Massachusetts area.  The newsletter is sponsored by the Newton Conservators, the local open space organization in Newton and it also serves as the organization’s means of sending out time sensitive information.  Please visit our website at  Welcome to the many new readers of this free email newsletter.  If you wish to be removed from this email list, simply reply with "remove" in the message or subject.  (Note: email addresses mentioned in this newsletter substitute (AT) for @ to foil spammers).  Come to the Fall Lecture on Tuesday at the Library at 7 pm.  Is there room in Newton for us AND the coyotes, turkeys, foxes, and other fauna?  Come find out! 



In This Issue


Some of the topics covered in this newsletter are the following:


* Fall Lecture - Tuesday, Nov. 16, Living with Wildlife in Newton - TOMORROW!!

* Notes of Interest

        Conservators Newsletter
        Christmas Bird Count
        Map Guide
        Weston Forest and Trail
        Map Night at Newton History Museum
        Animal Trails

* Angino Farm News

* About the Newton Conservators

* About Newton Conservators Nature Notes




Tuesday, November 16, 2005, 7pm

Living With Wildlife in Newton

Newton Conservators Fall Lecture at Newton Free Library

Lecture / Slideshow with Colleen Olfenbuttel, Mass Wildlife Furbearer Biologist


Newton may be a lot wilder than you imagine.  Many creatures, thought to be confined to more rural areas, happily visit or make their home in the Garden City.  White-tailed deer, coyote, and fox have joined the squirrels, muskrats, rabbits, raccoons and skunks that we may be more familiar with.   A wild turkey harassing a postal worker worker in Newtonville, a wild moose chase in Newton Corner, a fisher stalking squirrels at a local conservation area, a bald eagle feasting on freshly caught Charles River fish at Albemarle field, and an otter cavorting in a swimming pool in West Newton, are just a few indicators that we share the city with some very diverse and unusual wildlife. 
The Newton Conservators and the Newton Free Library will host a presentation given by Colleen Olfenbuttel, MassWildlife Furbearer Biologist, on the topic of "Living with Wildlife in Newton".  The lecture will include slides and materials related to wildlife species living in Newton backyards, neighborhoods and open spaces.  The proximity of such wildlife sometimes leads to unexpected conflict.  Learn about their habits and ways to live with your wild neighbors.   Also provided will be some natural history information and hints about how to keep wild things and people at a respectful distance. Free fact sheets and other wildlife related materials will be available.
 Colleen Olfenbuttel recently joined the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) in September 2005 as a wildlife biologist and their furbearer project leader. She has her undergraduate degree in wildlife biology from Ohio University, and her Master’s degree in wildlife science from Virginia Tech, where she studied black bears in southwestern Virginia for 6 years. Besides black bears, she has performed research on brown bears in Alaska, island foxes in California, white-tailed deer in Minnesota, raptors in Michigan, and wolves in Montana and Wyoming.
This free Newton Conservators Lecture Series event takes place on Tuesday, November 15, 7 pm, at the Druker Auditorium at the Newton Free Library.  For more information,  visit  You can visit the Mass Wildlife website at .  Subscribe to MassWildlife News, a free electronic monthly newsletter updating you on research, events, new laws and other agency activities.  All you need to do is send an email to:

Notes of Interest

For Conservator members, the latest Newton Conservators Newsletter is in the mail and will be posted soon online at  Doug Dickson has been editing this fine cation for quite a few years.  Volunteers are sought for assistance in writing and production of the newsletter.


The Leonids: The most famous of all meteor showers, the Leonids, peaks on Thursday, Nov. 17th. A few years ago, the Leonids were storming, filling the skies with bright meteors. But not this year. The 2005 Leonids are expected to be few (less than 20 per hour) and hard to see because of the glaring full Moon.  Nevertheless, if you're an enthusiast, you might want to go outside before sunrise on Nov. 17th and look up. The sparkling stars of northern winter will be on full display, along with Saturn and the full Moon, and you might spot a few meteors, too. 

106th Christmas Bird Count - You are encouraged to participate in the 106th Christmas Bird Count, sponsored by the National Audubon Society and the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. Thirty-four count circles are located entirely or partly within Massachusetts.  For more information and to see last year’s results, visit the Audubon website  Newton is part of the Greater Boston Count which is organized by Robert Stymeist and will be held this year on Sunday, December 18.   In Newton, the Newton Conservators help organize the count and send out teams - all levels of birders welcome.    You would be astonished at what birds are seen.

The Map Guide put out by the Newton Conservators is a great resource for those who would like to explore Newton’s open space.  Many more folks have been observed out in our conservation areas with their trail guide in hand;.  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 payable to The Newton Conservators, Inc. to The Newton Conservators, P.O. Box 590011, Newton Center, MA 02459.   
Check out nature events in nearby Weston at website of the Weston Forest and Trail organization,  They have maps of the Weston Trails and hold monthly walks (next one on Dec 4). See for a calendar.


Map Night at the Newton History Museum Museum - Wednesday, Nov. 16, 7:30-9 pm. Pore over maps of Newton from all periods: Does your street predate the arrival of the first railroad commuters in the 1840s? When was the lot your house stands on first laid out? Which properties in Newton are on the National Register of Historic Places? How is the land in your neighborhood zoned? Recommended as preparation for making individual research appointments at the Museum. At the Newton History Museum. Consponsored by Community Heritage Maps, Inc. and the Newton Planning and Development Department. Free.

Animal Tails and Trails Throughout the Seasons - Newton History Museum - Wednesday, Dec. 28, and Thursday, Dec. 29, 2-3:30 pm each day. Celebrate the changing seasons through animals' eyes with "Stand-Up Chameleon" Jackson Gillman. His stories and songs of nature in action will have you laughing, singing and moving along. String cranberry-and-popcorn tree necklaces as winter food for birds, and sip some hot chocolate. At the Newton History Museum. Recommended for ages 4 and up. Space is limited, and prepaid registration is required for each day: $6, $5 for members



Angino  Farm News

Last year, the Newton community was presented with a momentous opportunity. Newton’s last remaining farmstead — complete with a historic farmhouse and barn — came on the market. Confronted with the choice of seeing this scenic 2.25-acre site developed or saving the site as a public space, Newton residents took action!  The tremendous outpouring of support for saving the farm persuaded our elected officials that this was a unique opportunity for our City.


Saving the Angino Farm is about preserving open space and a farmstead in continuous operation since 1670. It is also about creating a vibrant community organic farm that will enhance the quality of life in Newton for generations to come by:

  • providing locally-grown heirloom tomatoes, fresh-cut herbs, and other high-quality organic produce,
  • supporting the environment by organic and sustainable agricultural practices, 
  • connecting adults and children to the earth through on-site educational programs undertaken in partnership with city schools,
  • providing wholesome produce to people with financial need,
  • modeling sustainable environmental and energy practices,
  • allowing us all the occasional opportunity to leave our busy city life to retreat to a simpler rural past.

The farm proposal that the City funded calls for a self-sustaining community farm.  Newton Community Farm, Inc., a non-profit organization founded by Newton residents, was recently chosen by the City to operate the farm.  Income from the sale of produce will go a long way toward meeting the farm’s expenses.  However, produce sales alone will not be enough to pay for start-up equipment, critical building maintenance, and the costs of launching educational programming for school children and adults.


Income from the sale of produce will go a long way toward meeting the farm’s expenses.  However, produce sales alone will not be enough to pay for start-up equipment, critical building maintenance, and the costs of launching educational programming for school children and adults.  The success of Newton Community Farm depends upon the generosity and support of Newton residents.  Your financial support is needed to get the farm off to a strong start for the 2006 growing season.  The farm requires a tractor, hand-tools, seeds, and other farm implements to operate.  Your tax-deductible contribution will purchase equipment and provide critical start-up funding to ready the site for crop production, develop educational programming, and prepare the farm buildings for new uses.


The farm was purchased with matching city and state Community Preservation funds. Now that the City has purchased the farm, please help us sow the seeds of a successful Newton community farm with your tax-deductible contribution.


The city's Angino Farm Commission met on November 3, 2005, to review proposals for the operation of Angino Farm and the members voted unanimously to engage in contract negotiations with Newton Community Farm, Inc., a Newton-based non-profit group.  The Commission's agendas and minutes are available on the City's website under the Planning Department's Boards & Commissions section.  The next meeting will be held on December 1, 2005, beginning at 7:00 p.m. in Room 222. Contact Martha J. Aherin Horn at 617-796-1134 or email:  mhorn(AT) 

About the Newton Conservators

This email newsletter is sponsored by the Newton Conservators, a local organization 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. 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, Inc., 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 us to confirm the date, time, location, and agenda. 


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(AT) .  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.