of the Winter 2009-10 Meeting
Friends of Fresh Pond Reservation
January 24, 2010
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)
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.
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
* 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,
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)
1) The plants birds need for food. Describing the food web would reinforce
3) Outdoor drawing and sketching while on walks for adults or kids or
4) Photography and more photography for children like Laurie and David
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.
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
23) Animal tracks and IDs
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.
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
at Friends of Fresh Pond Day
*Opportunity to connect with people
*· Educate or share with them
*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
· 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
*In this, the reservation has a big job.
What do we want to carry out for Future?
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
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:
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.
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
*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.
YEAR IN REVIEW