Minutes of the Winter 2009-10 Meeting
Friends of Fresh Pond Reservation
January 24, 2010

Attending: Laura Baring-Gould, Jean Berry, Suzanna Black, Roger Boothe, Susan Coolidge, Lance Drane, Bob Gardner, Nancy Haslett, Claudia Hill, Renee Jula, Renee LaPlume, Chris McKay, Betsy Meyer, Herb Pearce, Squizzle Plekavich, Nancy Preis, Rebecca Ramsay, Paul Robillard, Susie Robillard, Grenelle Scott, Mary Shetterly, Claudia Thompson, Elizabeth Wylde (Recording)

The Maynard Ecology Center was filled with the sounds of people talking and laughing, and the aroma of good food on the Sunday evening of the Friends of Fresh Pond Reservation's eighth annual potluck supper and meeting. After we shared a delicious meal, Elizabeth Wylde opened the meeting with a brief description of the past year's accomplishments, including a new high number of 193 memberships; also, 73 public programs about the natural world: and more than 500 hours of Reservation stewardship work by Friends group members and other volunteers. Members of the FFPR Planning Committee then shared with the group some of the Friends group's activities that took place in 2009. Susie Robillard described the Fresh Pond art shows, Suzanna Black the woodland gardens and bird box programs, Rebecca Ramsay the stewardship program, and Susan Coolidge the reading group.

We then divided into three groups to share experiences and discuss ideas for future Friends group activities. Recorders for the three groups were Susie Robillard (Group 1), Rebecca Ramsay (Group 2) and Laura Baring-Gould (Group 3). The notes from each of the groups are included, below.

Group 1
1. Many programs are interesting and valuable and could repeated each year (example: tree programs with Ranger Jean, drawing in nature with Janet Hobbs). Suggestions:
* Have additional programs of higher level - beyond beginner.
* Have a specific time each month for tree programs, so that participants could observe trees throughout the year and improve their tree ID and observation skills.
* Include drawing a specific tree over the course of the year.

2. Take advantage of expertise of participants to enrich programs. (Already do a good job of this.)
3. Have "Mommy & Me" programs to encourage parents to come with children by looking for baby and mature trees, plants, animals.
4. Send email survey to members asking for program suggestions and experts to lead them.
5. Have an annual scrapbook of items collected during programs (ex: twigs, bark). Could include nature journaling.
6. For animal tracking programs, include information on habitat.
7. Water/mud study, to include insect life cycles. Bring specimens inside to observe under microscope.
8. Invasive animals: interface between people and animals
9. Life at Fresh Pond for Native Americans - include survival skills, edible plants
10. Poetry in nature
11. Photography in nature
12. Insect defenses and adaptations
13. Mosses and lichens
14. Find university expertise for new programs (ex: grad students)
15. Connect with other organizations to share program ideas and experts (ex: Break Heart Reservation and Middlesex Fells)
16. Notation around pond of history and sites (Could mention in occasional monthly fliers a list of resources in Ranger Station (history maps, bird lists, etc)

Group 2
1) The plants birds need for food. Describing the food web would reinforce ecological connections.
2) Geology
3) Outdoor drawing and sketching while on walks for adults or kids or both.
4) Photography and more photography for children like Laurie and David Leavitt's
5) Insects
6) Insects at night (There was apparently one four of five years ago.)
7) Aquatic plants
8) Asters and goldenrods
9) Kinds of fish in the Reservations ponds. Karsten Hartel might be able to lead this program.
10) Butterflies
11) Early spring flowers
12) Measuring biodiversity from year-to-year.
13) Fossils ?
14) Scents and aromas of nature.
15) Birding by ear with Herb
16) Edible plants with Russ Cohen or Herb and Barbara
17) Relationship between Fresh Pond and Alewife reservations within the Mystic River Water Shed. Could invite Sheila Cook, author of The Great Swamp to do a presentation.
18) Industries besides the ice industry that were located at FP
19) Invasives with Claudia Thompson
20) Sounds of nature
21) Insect sounds
22) What's happening in the Reservation, e.g., walk-abouts to describe restorations taking place at Black's Nook and the slope behind the golf course clubhouse.
23) Animal tracks and IDs
24) Moles
25) Plaster casts of animal tracks for kids. Claudia Hill has seen this nature-related art project..
26) Snow shoeing to view animal tracks on the Golf Course
27) Bird nests building workshop to see how they are made. Renee was at a different table but shared this idea.

Group 3
Discussion on what has been meaningful/of interest during the last year:
"I can't imagine not having Fresh Pond in my Life"

1. Weeding "I weeded my brains out! Best Thing ever!"
*As activity, weeding is pleasurable & rewarding
*Cultivates focus

2. Participation at Friends of Fresh Pond Day
*Opportunity to connect with people
*· Educate or share with them

3. Birding
*Getting people out there
*Opportunity for unusual conversation
*Bird board very useful - allows different expertise and contribution.

4. New programs were a hit
*Ants: Fascinating topic that got a lot of interest.
*Saving Energy in your Home: Programs at FP with a focus away from Fresh Pond /in people's homes.

5. Water Department Tour
· Range of participants
· Fascination and interest in water, where Cambridge water comes from, and what is necessary to protect it.

6. The reservation has a big responsibility: it is a portal into the natural world.
*By visiting this small place, people connect with the rest of the natural world.
*In this, the reservation has a big job.

What do we want to carry out for Future?

Observation: FoFPR has grown in an organic manner, growing like a plant with many branches: Increased membership, Programs, Weeding, Reading group.

What are the new branch ideas?

Ideas for Future Actions/ Engagement:

1. How do we get people off their cell phones?
*Maybe people on their cell phones do connect with place?

2. Would it be beneficial to connect with other Friends Groups?
*Any strategic gains/benefits?
*Programming benefits: Last year's Jill Sinclair programs with Mt Auburn
*Ecological/Educational: Isolated reservations/ecological habitats in urban areas are linked by the organisms that travel beyond their boundaries: i.e. coyotes

3. How does FoFPR connect with dog owners?
*Dog owners love the place
*Dogs have high impact on reservation
*Powerful dog lobby
*Dogs not often under verbal control
*Removal of low fencing allows dog free movement/trespass

Can the informal stewards of Fresh Pond help educate dog owners? i.e. Richard (the photographer) currently passes out brochures.

Could guidelines be available at doggy bag stations?

How does FoFPR get dog owners to participate in programs (without their dogs) so they have a wider participation/appreciation of FP, and better understand dog impact at FP.

4. How does FoFPR connect with residents and staff at Neville Manner?
*Pedicabb and elder transport already in place, but perhaps not well used
*Elders often isolated
*Long way for elders to walk
*Trails and paths can be intimidating

*Create highlights of Fresh Pond map for Pedicabb peddlers
*Outreach to family members visiting elders; promote FP as way to spend time with elder.
*Outreach to specific staff at Neville Manner to see how we can include and work with elders. Include Jean in this.
*Frame initiative as 3-year plan: Yr 1 goals, Yr 2 goals, Yr 3.