The Year in Review
Friends of Fresh Pond Reservation

In 2009, Friends of Fresh Pond Reservation continued its tradition of seeking new ways to explore, celebrate, and care for Fresh Pond Reservation. We started the year (our eighth) with the ambitious goal of offering to the public a display of artwork related to Fresh Pond and the Reservation. The FFPR Planning Committee worked with the staff at Neville Place to organize a 9-day show, which we called "Reflections on the Pond." Twenty local artists, both professional and amateur, responded to our publicity and loaned their paintings, photos, poetry, sculptures, and jewelry for display in the Neville Place downstairs gallery. The opening reception on February 27 was a gala event, with wine and excellent hors d'oeuvres provided by the Neville cooking staff. During the week that followed, residents of the Neville community and many other people visited the show. Art lovers had a second opportunity to enjoy Fresh Pond-related artwork during Fresh Pond Week, May 4-9. This show was hung in the ground-level corridor of the Walter J. Sullivan Water Purification Facility.

This year the Friends group responded to widespread interest in the history of Fresh Pond and its surroundings by offering four excellent history programs. In February, Ranger Jean Rogers gave a PowerPoint presentation called "When Ice Was King," that summarized the rise and fall of the ice industry in the early 19th century. In April we welcomed back landscape historian Jill Sinclair, who several years ago gave three talks about the history of Fresh Pond for the Friends. Jill had returned to the States from Paris to promote her new book, Fresh Pond: The History of a Cambridge Landscape. During this visit, she led us on a walk to many of the historic sites on the Reservation, where she described the events that occurred there. Later in the summer, Ranger Jean offered two programs about the buildings that once stood (or, in a few cases, still stand) in the vicinity of the Pond.

Other new programs this year included a fascinating presentation about ants by mymecologist (ant specialist) David Lubertazzi and a very informative discussion with energy expert Samina Ali, of Boreal Renewal Energy Development, on how we all can save energy in our homes. New on Ranger Jean's agenda were "Where is Fresh Pond's Groundhog?" "A Tree Scavenger Hunt," "The Real Deal" (a program about drinking water), "Plant a Tree," and a series of 6 programs in various areas of the Reservation about trees growing there.

Other members of the Cambridge Water Department Staff generously gave their time and expertise to lead programs for us. Watershed Manager Chip Norton expanded the range of his "Reservation Walkabouts" beyond the Northeast Sector, to include Black's Nook and areas on the south side of the Pond that are to be upgraded in the future. He also led three "Evening Walks in the Upper Cambridge Watershed," showing us the beautiful Cambridge-owned woods and meadows that are adjacent to our upcountry reservoirs. Tim MacDonald, Manager of Water Operations for the Cambridge Water Department, and members of his staff welcomed the public to eight evening tours of the Walter J. Sullivan Water Purification Facility.

Several of our regular programs continue to draw large groups: Our reading group has a dedicated following of up to 21 people. We met 5 times this year, enjoying gourmet potluck dinners and lively discussions about topics ranging from trees, coyotes and the ice industry to Darwin's Voyage of the Beagle. We also took a "Geology Field Trip" to Groton in April, to look at formations left by the glacier 12,000 years ago. Our monthly bird walks continue to attract long-time birders as well as beginners, who appreciate the benefit of borrowing binoculars from us.

Our stewardship activities on the Reservation included summer weeding of the Kingsley Park bioswale, setup and monitoring of Tree Swallow and Chickadee boxes, participation with the Water Department in the Purple Loosestrife Biocontrol Project, and planting and maintenance of the Neville Place gardens. Many Friends group members also participated in the Water Department's Reservation Stewardship program, removing truckloads of invasive weeds from the Reservation's recently restored Northeast Sector, maintaining a woodland garden, and designing planting beds of native perennials. For more details of this year's stewardship projects, please read the "2009 Fresh Pond Reservation Stewardship Report"
In August, the Friends group celebrated our successful weeding season at Kingsley Park with a picnic of Ma Magoo's subs at Suzanna's Corner. In September we invited all Reservation Stewards to attend the Landmark Festival Orchestra's outdoor concert of nature-inspired music at the Hatch Shell in Boston.

This spring and early summer the FFPR Planning Committee took on a new role; that of running the Friends group while I was away on vacation for more than three weeks. Some committee members, in addition to their usual jobs, took on the tasks that I normally do. Barbara Strell shouldered the major responsibility of managing the e-mail account, Susie Robillard did the photocopying of publicity fliers and maps, Suzanna Black handled membership sign-up and renewal letters, Rebecca Ramsay and Susie kept the information boards and boxes up to date, and Janet Kovner edited fliers for Rebecca. Everyone did a splendid job, while I was able to relax, knowing that competent and dedicated people were in control.

FFPR ended the year with a total of 193 memberships, about 13% more than in 2008. Of last year's members, 86% renewed their memberships in 2009. In addition to their membership fees, many people generously gave additional donations, totaling $1555. As of January 1, 2010 we had $3867 in our bank account, $950 more than a year ago.

Expenditures included honoraria of $500 for program leaders; $200 to Neville Place for their new art room, and $300 for bird seed and nature-related activities; and $372 to the Cambridge Public Schools for bus rides to the Maynard Ecology Center.

We invite anyone who is interested to attend our programs, to participate in our stewardship projects and to become a member if you wish. Members may join our reading group and participate in decision making by attending Planning Committee meetings.

Our thanks to the people listed below, who helped make 2009 a successful year for Friends of Fresh Pond Resevation.

Elizabeth Wylde for the FFPR Planning Committee
January 9, 2010

Members of the Planning Committee: Susan Agger, Suzanna Black, Susan Coolidge, Janet Kovner, Rebecca Ramsay, Susie Robillard, Barbara Strell, and Elizabeth Wylde (coordinator)

Fresh Pond Reading Group Moderator: Barbara Strell
Reading Group Discussion Leaders in 2009: Susan Coolidge, John MacDougall, Herb Pearce, Rebecca
Ramsay, Barbara Strell

Program Leaders:
Professionals: Samina Ali, Janet Hobbs, Dave Lubertazzi, Randi Mail, Larry Millman, Jill Sinclair

Cambridge Water Department Staff: Ed Dowling, Vince Falcione, Dave Kaplan, Tim
MacDonald, Krystyna McNally, Chip Norton, Jean Rogers, Emily Tansey

Volunteer Leaders: Susan Agger, Suzanna Black, Susan Coolidge, Lance Drane, Nancy Guppy, Janet Kovner, Deyne Meadow, Tom Murray, Herb Pearce, Squizzle Plekavich, Rebecca Ramsay, Barbara Strell, Elizabeth Wylde

Program Helpers: Jayne Cantor, Carol Collura, Rowena Conkling, Susan DeAngelis, Renee DuBois, Lore Levitt, Jan McCarter, Betsy Meyer, Squizzle Plekavich, Rebecca Ramsay, Paul Robillard, Susie Robillard, Elizabeth Wylde

Photographers: Carol Collura, Gabe Miller, Emily Tansey, Elizabeth Wylde

Kingsley Park Weeders, Beetle Nursery builders, and Neville Gardeners: Susan Agger, Brad Barber, Suzanna Black, Margaret Cain, Susan Coolidge, Susan DeAngelis, Jodi Dowling, Susan Kaufman, Jan McCarter, Betsy Meyer, Squizzle Plekavich, Rebecca Ramsay, Grenelle Scott, Barbara Strell, Judy Vollmer, Elizabeth Wylde

Folks who helped in other ways: Sue Bowdridge (Neville Place Activities Director), the Neville Place Dining Hall Staff, Vince Falcione (CWD), Joyce Kuzmin of BBN Technologies