the Newton Conservators

NEWSLETTER

Fall Issue September 1999

IN THIS ISSUE:

Message from the President

Setting Goals

By Doug Dickson

After a spectacular and, I hope for each of you, a successful summer season, itís time to focus anew on matters large and small. As is clear from the articles contained in this edition of the Newsletter, the issues we care aboutĖopen space, land use and the environmentĖdidnít take a vacation during the summer. Work has continued on a variety of fronts, including restoration of the Flowed Meadow area, development at the Woodland MBTA land, extending the Charles River pathway, preparation of a comprehensive plan for the city, and the always amazing state legislative and budget process. Despite this activity, we know from the past that issues will surface at an increasing rate during the fall and into the coming year.

As we embark on this new season, itís an appropriate time to ask some questions and set some goals.

Running parallel to these program questions are others that deal with how we get the job done.

These are questions that will form much of the subject for Newton Conservators board meetings this fall. We seek input from a broad cross-section of our membership as we reaffirm our mission and determine how to apply it in the context of issues we face or can anticipate in the coming months and years. Please take a moment to let us know your thoughts and ideasĖtalk to any member of the board or contact me.

We also invite you to attend board meetings and participate in the discussions directly. Meetings are held on the fourth Wednesday of each month at 7:30 pm, usually at City Hall. As a membership organization, the effectiveness of our advocacy depends on the numbers of people who indicate by their support and participation that they care about open space and land use issues in our city. Make your voice heard!

Newton Framework Planning Committee

by Burton Elliott

Late in 1998 Mayor Cohen established several committees made up of citizens from various sectors and constituencies in the City. The mission of these committees is to review the policies and practices of the various programs and a department in the City, and to solicit public input with the end goal of recommending policy changes and practices where deemed advisable.

Among them is a committee of twenty-seven members called the "Newton Framework Planning Committee," hereafter referred to as the NFPC. The committee consists of individuals from various constituencies such as business, real estate, education, City Aldermen, open space advocates etc. Norm Richardson and I are Newton Conservators Board members who were appointed by the Mayor to this committee. Other Conservators' Board members are on other committees.

The fundamental goal of the NFPC is to develop a framework for policy on long term planning for the City that fits the "consensus values" of the majority of the citizens as expressed by the various constituencies. Progress will come organically (although some may not see it as progress), and changes will occur inevitably. The hope is to structure policies and planning so that Newton will retain it's essential character in accord with those consensus values as changes occur over the years.

The general categories covered are Economic Development, Transportation, Social and Cultural Considerations, Environment, Land Use (including Open Space), Public Process, Public Facilities and Services (including Transportation) and Housing.

The NFPC and its subcommittees have met many times since its inception, the last meeting being on July 21. On April 29, a well-publicized and well-attended public meeting was held by the committee to invite public input on the subjects that the committee is considering. During the last part of the meeting, the audience broke up into subgroups led by committee members so that people could express themselves on the subjects about which they felt strongly. Notes were taken, and the comments of the participants were included for discussion and evaluation in subsequent NFPC meetings.

The committee meets in various locations around the city to vary the atmosphere and for the convenience of the members.

If you would like to know more about this, or have comments, you may call Burton Elliott at 244-8920.

Newton's Aqueducts as Pathways

by Michael J. Clarke

Sudbury Aqueduct: Echo Bridge

The MWRA's new water supply tunnel, the Metrowest Water Supply Tunnel (MWWST), will provide redundancy to the Hultman Aqueduct and will terminate in Weston. At the completion of this project in 2004, the Weston Aqueduct and reservoir will only be used for emergencies. Use of the Sudbury Aqueduct, which traverses Newton, also diminishes. The MWRA has agreed to review and analyze the feasibility of increasing public access to the Weston and Sudbury aqueduct rights-of-way. However, because these aqueducts are constructed of brick, the MWRA prefers low impact uses, such as bicycle and pedestrian.

Sudbury Aqueduct. Dating back to the 1870s, this is the oldest aqueduct in the region. The Sudbury Aqueduct starts at Framingham Reservoir No. 1 and terminates at the Chestnut Hill Reservoir in Boston. The Sudbury Aqueduct is currently off-line, but will continue to serve as an emergency transport of water supply for the Boston area. The MWRA has plans to upgrade the gate houses on aqueduct in the near future.

In Newton the Sudbury Aqueduct traverses from the Charles River at Echo Bridge in Upper Falls through Newton Center to Boston College and the Chestnut Hill Reservoir. It begins at the MDC Hemlock Gorge Reservation on Ellis St., which will become a segment of the Charles River Pathway. Thereafter, it runs northeast crossing Chestnut St. and then Rte. 9 at High St. It continues as a green space through backyards and crosses the MBTA tracks near Canterbury Rd. Continuing in the same way, it crosses Dickerman Rd. and Woodward St. and then parallels Wood End Rd. At this point it runs parallel to the Cochituate Aqueduct at Cold Spring Park crossing Hillside Rd., Dunklee St., Kingman Rd., and Walnut St. It coincides with the Cochituate Aqueduct at Beacon and Greenlawn, before diverging south to cross Breckenridge Rd. It proceeds under the south edge of Newton Center Playground at Tyler Tr. and is evident again as a separate green space behind the Fire Station at Lyman & Center Sts. Thereafter it is not evident until it connects with the Chestnut Hill Reservoir near the Stadium and Merkert Chemistry Center at Boston College.

Cochituate Aqueduct. Owned largely by the City of Newton and used for sewage. It traverses west to east in Newton between Waban and Newton Center. The aqueduct begins at Quinobequin Road at the MDC Charles River Reservation near Rte. 128 (I-95), where there will eventually be a link with the Charles River Pathway. It runs as a green space directly to Waban Ave., where it forms the median strip. Then to Woodward Ave., which it crosses and continues through back yards before turning to parallel Woodward. It crosses Winslow between Selden and Chatham Sts. before becoming the south and eastern edges of Cold Spring Park. Near Beacon & Walnut Sts. it nearly coincides with the Sudbury Aqueduct, before forming the northern edge of the Newton Centre Playground. It crosses Center St. and proceeds under Commonwealth Ave. and emerges as a green space at Avondale Rd. and Grant Ave. It then appears to proceed under the Newton Commonwealth Golf Course and returns to Commonwealth Ave. near the Boston line.

Bicycle and Pedestrian Access. At the urging of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Task Force, the City has contracted with Greenman-Pedersen, Inc. to develop a plan for bicycle accommodations in the city. State law requires accommodation for bicycles in any new state-funded road construction, but many major roads in Newton are unsuitable for separate bicycle lanes. Consequently, it may be necessary to find other safe pathways for bicycle and pedestrian use through Newton.

Fortunately, Newton is blessed with the two aqueducts and even a railway right of way, each of which could connect to These could eventually connect to the planned extension of the Charles River Pathway to provide an extensive network of off-road paths in Newton.

Newton should extend its planning for pedestrian pathways and bicycle lanes to include the aqueducts, railway rights of ways, and roads that parallel major arteries. Funds deferred from widening major roads for bicycle lanes should be used to develop other, well-defined bicycle routes and greenways throughout the city.

Not a single bicycle lane now exists in Newton; while at the same time traffic is increasing because of increasing numbers of cars. Safe bicycle lanes and enjoyable pedestrian routes might encourage these quiet, non-polluting and inexpensive mode of transport, make local errands easier, save tax dollars by not widening roads, and improve Newton's quality of life.

At its September meeting, the Bicycle and Pedestrian Task Force enthusiastically endorsed the idea of developing a circular, largely off-road, triangular-loop pedestrian and bicycle pathway encompassing both the Sudbury and Cochituate Aqueducts and a bike lane along Quinobequin road. This would connect Echo Bridge, Newton Centre, and Quinobequin Rd. at the pump house near 128. For ecological reasons, the BPTF recommended a permeable, but rideable surface, such as bluestone, rather than asphalt.

Open Space at the State House

From State Rep. Ruth Balser's Office

State Representative Ruth Balser identified a number of petitions to transfer municipal conservation land for other public uses, such as schools, and was consequently asked to chair the Open Space Subcommittee of the Joint Committee on Local Affairs. With a goal of supporting the educational needs of the Commonwealth, at the same time as preserving its precious but dwindling open space, she convened a meeting of legislators, representatives of the Department of Education, the Department of Environmental Affairs, State Administration and Finance, and statewide environmental advocates to search for solutions.

She is now working on legislative and policy changes to strengthen Article 97 (the State Constitution's open space protection), and to support alternatives for our public schools that will preserve our historic buildings and our open space. Rep. Balser will testify in support of the "no net loss bill", H2046, on September 15. This bill, which is sponsored by Senator Pam Resor, would ensure no net loss of natural resources by mandating replacement any transferred land with land of equal value, both quantitatively and qualitatively.

Green Under the Golden Dome

by State Senator Cynthia Creem

Beacon Hillís agenda has certainly taken on a green hue during the first nine months of my tenure as Newtonís representative in the State Senate. It has been very exciting to work for key environmental initiatives throughout this period. I believe that there is a strong environmental consciousness among legislators in Massachusetts and that significant progress has been made on several fronts in protecting our land, natural resources and historic legacy. Because I have made environmental protection one of my top priorities in the legislature, I have a good deal to report to you about.

Among the important environmental endeavors I have been working on is the passage of the Community Preservation Act. This important legislation that would empower local communities to conserve and protect open space, preserve historic sites and properties and create more affordable housing by allowing them to raise municipal revenue to achieve these purposes. In New England, some 1, 200 acres of open space are being devoured by development each week. Affordable housing in the Greater Boston region is harder to find than ever. Obviously, the need for this legislation at this time is paramount. I have lobbied my colleagues on the Taxation Committee to report the Community Preservation Act to the Senate and I believe that this will occur this year. I am hopeful that this landmark legislation, modeled after the Cape Cod Land Bank Bill will become law sometime next year.

Land is one of our most precious commodities, water is another. In March, Representative Khan and I co-founded the Charles River Legislatorsí Caucus. The Caucus brings together legislators from the 35 communities within the Charles River Basin to promote Charles friendly legislation. These efforts have reaped some notable rewards. I lead efforts to double funding for the Watershed Initiative, which helps preserve the stateís river systems, and was pleased to see funding of more than $1 million provided in both chambers for this program. Amendments I proposed to remediate the non-native weeds polluting the river and improve stormwater practices in the river basin were passed in the Senate. With the Caucus members working together and with the help of the Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA) we have put the Charles River agenda on the map. In the future, we will be pushing the revitalization of our regionís sewer infrastructure, efforts to reduce non-point source pollution from entering the river and methods to preserve drinking water resources. A Water Forum I have sponsored with CRWA will also be held at the State House on October 14th.

Otherwise, reducing air pollution from old power plants in the Commonwealth, improving planning practices throughout the state and pressing for stronger pesticide control laws are initiatives that I have supported and advocated for. These measures are in various stages of Beacon Hillís labyrinthine legislative process but have all taken positive steps forward.

Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Legislation

from State Rep. Kay Khan's Office

Newton State Representative Kay Khan is working to pass legislation that will establish a program to breed, and test the effectiveness of, natural predators of the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid. This insect is damaging and even threatening to destroy our widespread and beautiful Hemlock groves.

This legislation would provide for:

Extending the Charles River Pathway

by Mike Clarke

The MDC recently contracted with Carol R. Johnson Associates to design major new sections of the Charles River Pathway from Bridge Street in Watertown to Moody Street in Waltham, on both the Newton and Waltham sides of the river. Included is a footbridge crossing the river near Cheesecake Brook. The Woerd Ave. boat launch in Waltham will also be renovated with partial funding by the Public Access Board of the State Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. Design work is to be completed by January 2000 and construction will begin in Summer 2000.

Dan Driscoll, the MDC planner in charge of the project, has resolved many problems involving abutter encroachments. Where encroachments involved pavement or gravel, abutters were charged $12 or $8 per square foot,

respectively, for replacing the pavement with loam and seed. As a result, more than $100,000 has been placed in a new MDC trust fund dedicated to maintenance and improvement of the new greenway sections.

The overwhelming success of the initial effort coupled with positive feedback from citizens makes Driscoll optimistic that the next phase of the master plan will go well.

 

Membership Dues Reminder

If you haven't sent in your 1999 dues to the Newton Conservators, we ask you to please do so at your earliest convenience. Your dues make this Newsletter, our grants program, and all our work to preserve open space in Newton possible. So please give extra if you can. And Thanks!

 

Flowed Meadow Planning Group

by Mike Clarke

The 1813 construction of the Moody St. mill dam in Waltham created the Lakes District of the Charles River, but this was not as we know it today. A branch of the Charles connected Flowed Meadow with Crams Cove in Waltham, leaving part of Waltham and a bit of Newton as islands. Beginning in the 1920's dumping, dams and bridges transformed much of the region into a polluted and unsightly area.

The Mayor's select Flowed Meadow Planning Group began meeting over the summer to begin the process of recommending the best use of land that DPW is expected to declare surplus around the capped Rumford Dump site. The initial phase of this endeavor has been to hear from the various stakeholder groups.

Jim Hickey, Commissioner of Public Works, delineated the land to be surplused. A ribbon of land around the landfill plus all the undeveloped acreage will make up the package to be studied by the committee. On the Lexington Street side where one part of the City's property juts out into adjacent private property, the property owners have offered to buy the irregular parcel from the City. If this were done, the City would probably request a Conservation Restriction or other deed restriction so that it could not be built upon. DPW would allow access over the far side of the former incinerator property in the event that a new walking path that might connect with the Charles River Pathway is designated along Cram's Cove in Waltham.

Anna Eleria, Environmental Scientist from the Charles River Watershed Association, noted that Purgatory Cove is filling up rapidly with duckweed and water chestnuts. Eleria suggested studying Brunnen Brook to see whether it should be re-routed to help flush out Purgatory Cove.

Attila Klein, Professor at Brandeis University, has been studying the Lakes District with his students for several years. Klein noted that while Purgatory Cove is healthy, eutrophication is rapid with water lilies, milfoil and algae as the major contributors to the sediment. Klein believes that options, such as dredging, should be examined to improve the Cove rather than letting it fill in naturally. However, a hydrological study of flow in and out of the Cove is a prerequisite to any action. Klein's studies on Purgatory and Crams Coves will be available in the Newton Room of the library.

John Sangiolo, a Trustee of the Charles River Neighborhood Trust, reported that this foundation engaged the firm of Horsley & Witten to do a basic overview of the coves. This analysis revealed that there is very little flow in and out of the both Purgatory and Crams Coves. Sediment and water quality is poor, but it is not clear how to best improve them. This information will be shared with the CRWA, Conservation Commission, Island Neighborhood Association and the Library.

Ginny Gardner of the Nightcap Corner Neighborhood Association cited continuing frustrations with the City over the years regarding its handling of the Rumford dump site and their pleasure at the prospect of improvements to the area. They hope for cross-country skiing, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, connections to the MDC walkways, Lyons Field and Ware's and Purgatory Coves, and canoe, but not motor boat, launching. The Nightcap Corner Association feels that controls to prevent illegal are very important and would like to explore options for funding opening the bridge at Purgatory Cove to improve flushing. Concerns were raised about operations at the landfill with the suggestion that a Citizens Advisory Group be formed.

Dan Driscoll, Senior Planner for the MDC, reviewed the progress of the Charles River Pathway into the Coves area. Upstream of the Prospect St. bridge, asphalt surfacing will not be used. He estimated that concept plans for paths in the Rumford/Coves area would cost about $5000 and that to progress through construction plans would be about $25,000. Driscoll can only spend MDC money for construction on MDC land.

A number of concerns were expressed about involving Waltham in the process and Ted Fields, a member of the Waltham Planning Department has been appointed to the group.

Suggestions from the public for the best use of the property will be solicited at a public meeting, which will likely be on November 4 at the Burr School. The various suggestions made that have arisen in the planning group will be also be presented for public comment.

 

 

 

Board of Directors Meetings

Members are welcome to attend the open meetings of the Board of Directors of the Newton Conservators, Inc. Meetings are usually on the fourth Wednesday of the month. The next meeting will be on Wednesday, September 22 at 7:30 pm in Rm. 202, Newton City Hall. Members are invited to attend

 

Hearings for Woodland MBTA Project

by Bryna Klevan

National Development of New England (NDNE) submitted a petition to the City of Newton Zoning Board of Appeals for a comprehensive permit to construct 175 units on the existing Woodland MBTA parking lot. The MBTA, which owns the property, will the land to NDNE for a total acquisition price of $3.3 million dollars.

No environmental impact report has been required; but neighbors are considering filing a petition with the Massachusetts Environmental Protection Agency (MEPA) to require the NDNE to provide a more comprehensive analysis on the effect of traffic, groundwater and general environmental issues. Those wishing to join in the petition for this can contact Bryna S. Klevan, 70 Longfellow Road, Newton, MA 02462, 332-1102, or by e-mail at attybsk@aol.com.

A legal notice in the September 14 Boston Herald indicated that the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency will hold a public hearing also on Tuesday, September 28, 1999 at 10:00 a.m. on the NDNE's application for issuance of bonds to finance the construction of "175 apartments containing 49 1-bedroom and 126 2-bedroom units. Construction will include 3, 4-story buildings located above grad-level parking. There will be 295 parking spaces, including 249 garaged spaces. Of the 175 apartments, 20 percent will be reserved for and affordable to households earning no more than 50 percent of the area median income. The maximum aggregate amount the Agency expects to issue to finance the mortgage loan for the project will not exceed $31,250,000." If you are interested in attending the hearing, notice must be given in writing to the attention of Paul K. Burbine, MHFA, One Beacon Street, 27th floor, Boston, MA.

The MBTA initial plans for the site included a 600-car cement parking garage beyond the rear section of the existing parking lot, which would require the clearing of an existing wooded lot. While the MBTA still plans to demolish and clear the existing trees in the rear section of the MBTA lot, their current plans indicate creation of 250 additional parking spaces for commuters. The current lot contains 448 parking spaces.

While the MBTA has been silent, the question remains: At what cost should public land be ceded for private profit? Once NDNE constructs apartment, the public will no longer have access to the 3.5 acres of open space now utilized by commuters riding the T into Boston. NDNE suggests the residents of the 175 apartments will "most likely" utilize the public transportation, but no one can accurately estimate what fraction of these residents will use the T or drive down the Mass Pike.

While this project is supposedly "transit-oriented," the biggest loser will be the commuter who drives to Woodland to ride the T into Boston. The existing parking lot would be replaced by a 55-80 foot solid brick structure, and the parking spaces relocated to far to rear, away from the T platform.

The developer has chosen to seek a comprehensive permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) in order to bypass the special permitting process of the Board of Aldermen. The ZBA will hear the petition on Tuesday, September 28, 1999 at 6:30 p.m. in City Hall.

Partly at the request of the Newton Conservators, the ZBA recently formulated written procedures for granting special permits, which will inform the public as to the legal process. However, NDNE filed before the approval of these procedures and so will not be bound by them. Nevertheless, city departments will have an opportunity to provide comments to the ZBA. The Planning Department will issue its comments to the ZBA around Friday, September 24, 1999. The engineering department and public works department will also have an opportunity to review and comment on the developer's petition.

The neighbors of the Woodland MBTA have formed the Woodland Community Association to work with the city concerning this development and other issues. Those interested may contact Bryna Klevan at 332-1102 or attybsk@aol.com.

Conservators' Grant Program

by Burton Elliott & Bill Hagar

As we have done for the past many years, the Newton Conservators, Inc. is continuing its program of making grants for environmental programs. We have made many grants to individuals, the Conservation Commission, and the Newton Schools. As we do several times a year, we have written to the Newton School System inviting new proposals for the fall and winter. We thought it might be interesting for our members and readers to see the criteria guidelines which are followed in making and approving grants, so we are publishing them below. If you know of any parties who might be interested in applying, encourage them to apply. You may even wish to yourself.

Guidelines for Conservator's Grants

The Newton Conservators, Inc. provides grants to Newton's schools, educational institutions, groups, individuals and institutions for the purpose of fostering the aims stated above. The range of our recent grants has primarily been from $500.00 to $750.00. Grant requests for smaller and larger amounts will be given full consideration. Grant proposals 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.

Program Criteria:

1. Projects shall be related to the use, study, public awareness, augmentation, preservation, impact upon or improvement of Newton's green and open spaces.

2. Projects can be one-time events or activities or may be extended over a longer period of time.

3. Projects must follow a clear, written description of the project with a specified starting and ending time.

4. Projects must have an environmental or educational purpose or element rather than be solely for beautification purposes,

5. If by an organization. projects must be supervised or directed by a specific individual(s) e.g., a teacher if a school project.

6. Projects which involve broad participation (students, groups, volunteers, etc.) or in which the result will be available to many people will be given preference.

7. Projects providing high public awareness or visibility will be given preference.

8. Proposals must be written or endorsed by the person who will supervising or doing the project.

The Newton Conservators will:

1. Provide specified funds for materials, equipment, books, speakers, transportation, documentation etc.

2. Work with applicants to clarify proposals and assist in attempting to make them acceptable (meet our criteria).

3. Have the right to publicize the project (The NCI may make awards to individuals or groups if appropriate.)

4. Entertain proposals, which may involve joint grants with other organizations.

5. Assume no liability for events, loss or damage to property or harm or death to individuals which happen during the program period or as a result thereof.

How to apply:

1. Prepare grant proposals for the proposed project including the following

information:

2. The name of the organization, individual or school (or all):

The grade level(s) if any that will be involved:

The proposal writer's name, address and telephone number:

The names and titles (if any) of the person(s) who will direct the project:

The name of the head of the organization or school (if any) involved:

Title of the project.

A full description of the project, including a timeline and anticipated numbers of persons involved:

Plans for the execution of the project:

Itemized budget

Amount of funds requested from the Newton Conservators, Inc.

Source of other funds received or anticipated.

Future funding requirements if anticipated:

Plans for reporting on the project.

Note: If the project description exceeds three pages, attach a one-page summary. Send two copies printed on one side of each sheet only.

Submit proposals in duplicate to:

Grants Committee

The Newton Conservators, Inc.,

PO Box 11

Newton Centre, MA 02459

Twice a year deadlines for proposals are generally on October 31 and January 31 of each year. Some years those dates are changed. Proposals must be postmarked by those dates to be considered with that current group. Proposals submitted in advance will be evaluated with the other proposals for the next deadline. Responses are generally made within 60 days. Successful applicants will be required to submit a final report on the project, and may be asked to make a report at our annual meeting or at another time.

 

 

 

The Newton: Conservators Newsletter appears three or four times a year. Editor: Michael Clarke. Production: Bonnie Carter, 969-0686. We wish to thank the contributors to this edition of the Newsletter: Mike Clarke, Doug Dickson, Burton Elliott, Bill Hagar and Bryna Klevan. We also thank Boston College, for the use of its word-processing equipment.

Newton Conservators Fall Walks '99

Saturday, September 25, 9:30 to noon.

Ordway Park: Planting Small Spring Bulbs.

Come and help plant early spring bulbs of scilla, snow crocus, glory-of-the-snow, winter aconite, etc. at the Newton Conservator's own Ordway Park. These are small-to-tiny bulbs that are shallowly planted, so the work will be more fun than arduous; but in order to create a rainbow of colors next spring we need to plant several hundred. Please share this vision and bring gloves, small gardening tools or a dibble if you have them. Ordway Park is at the corner of Grant and Everett St. in Newton Center. For more information call Jim Broderick (332-3465), Chairman of the Ordway Park Committee.

Saturday, October 2, 10:00 AM

Canoe Trip on the Charles

Our canoe trip up the Charles from Nahanton Park is a leisurely paddle that explores a seldom-visited region of the river that seems far away from its urban setting. The broad wetlands are well populated with ducks, geese, blue herons and the occasional hawk or egret. We will also look at the small creatures that inhabit the waters, using portable field microscopes. Bring a lunch for our stop at the wooded Powell's Island, and binoculars if you'd like. We leave from the canoe landing at Nahanton Park. If you would like to join the trip, need a canoe or could loan a canoe, call the trip leaders Bill and Dottie Hagar (964-2644 ).

Saturday, October 16, 8:30 AM

Charles River - Bridge Street to Cheesecake Brook (BEFORE)

On this approximately one-hour stroll, we will explore the Newton side of the Charles River from Bridge Street (next street upstream from Watertown Square) to where Cheesecake Brook enters the river at Albemarle Road. This currently undeveloped and little known path will be one of the next sections of the riverwalk to be done and will link existing sections with the addition of a footbridge near Cheesecake Brook. Come see it in its BEFORE state. This area is very good wildlife habitat and yields some surprises in all seasons. Fall migration could lead to some interesting bird sightings. Bring binoculars if you have them. The walk will begin in the parking lot of the Meredith Building at Bridge and California Streets in the Nonantum section of Newton. The building management has kindly given permission to park in their lot (preferably in the lower lot behind the building next to the river). Led by Ted Kuklinski (969-6222 for more information)

Sunday, October 24, 2:00 PM

Newton Commonwealth Golf Course

View the 71-acre golf course that was saved for golf and recreational purposes by forward-looking municipal officials and private citizens of Newton. Today, it is maintained by a community board. Tour the site with course supervisor David Stowe, leaving from the clubhouse located at 212 Kenrick Street. Call David (789-4631) for more information.

Saturday, November 6, 9:30 AM to noon

Ordway Park Clean-up

Help us prepare the Conservators' own 1/2 acre green space for winter. Ordway Park is at the corner of Grant and Everett Streets in Newton Center. Call Jim Broderick (332-3465), Chair of the Conservators' Ordway Park Committee for more information. If you can, bring gloves and small pruning or gardening tools.

Saturday, November 13, 1:00 PM

The Nature of Brook Farm

Brook Farm, just over the Newton line in West Roxbury, was the site of a Utopian community founded by some of Boston's leading literary and intellectual figures of the mid-1800's. Come wander the grounds with an MDC Ranger and enjoy the beautiful woods and fields inspired Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, George Ripley and Margaret Fuller. The walk will last approximately 1.5 hours and is co-sponsored with the MDC Ranger walk program (698-1802). Brook Farm Historic Site is today located in Gethsemane Cemetery. From Rt. 9 take Parker St., left onto Dedham St., which becomes Baker Street in W. Roxbury. Turn left (fairly abrupt ) 1/4 mi. before you get to the VFW Parkway (Route 1).