Friends of Fresh Pond Reservation
Minutes of the Annual Meeting
Sunday, January 18, 2015

Attending: Carol Benoit-Reynolds, Carolyn Bensinger, Jim Bensinger, Suzanna Black, Richard Bosel, Janet Burns, Susan Cooldige, Lance Drane, Nancy Haslett, Susan Kaufman, Kathleen Kelly, Chris McKay, Betsy Meyer, Rebecca Ramsay, Elizabeth Wylde (Recording)

The thirteenth annual meeting of the Friends of Fresh Pond Reservation was held at the Maynard Ecology Center in Neville Place Assisted Living Facility at 650 Concord Avenue, Cambridge. The meeting was called to order by coordinator Elizabeth Wylde, after the fifteen attendees had enjoyed a delicious potluck supper.

Elizabeth started the meeting with acknowledgements of everyone at the meeting who made a contribution to the Reservation or the Friends group in 2014. This included the members of the Planning Committee, volunteers in the Woodland Habitat Restoration Project, Volunteer Stewards who weeded around the Reservation, the Reading Group moderator, and other volunteers.

For the business portion of the meeting, our treasurer, Suzanna Black, gave a summary of the year's expenses, including $1225 for honoraria. At the end of the year we had $3351.93 in the bank.

Elizabeth reported that we currently have about 300 members. . In 2014 we publicized 77 events led by our members or the CWD. In our 13 years we have publicized more than 800 such programs.

She then gave a brief history of the Friends group: she recalled a conversation with Ranger Jean Rogers in 2001, during which the idea of starting a friends group was discussed. They decided to organize and publicize a Winter Tree Identification program. It was a success, and they proceeded to plan 40 more programs that year, and invite people to join. As time progressed, the Friends and the Cambridge Water Department began to collaborate, first on offering tours of the water purification facility, then on working with volunteer stewards. More recently the water department has begun offering a wider variety of educational programs, and in 2014 more than half of the programs publicized by the Friends group were led by water department staff. The water department has also begun printing monthly fliers publicizing their own programs.

Elizabeth has decided that it is time for her to step back from leading the Friends group. The Planning Committee discussed options for the future and observed that there is nobody in line to replace her. However, the water department is now in a good position to take over leadership in planning public programs. The Planning Committee worked with Kirsten Lindquist, the water department's Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator to plan the following changes that will be implemented this year:

       1. FFPR will discontinue membership dues. This will reduce our work load and expenses.
       2. FFPR will form a partnership in education with the CWD, in which the two groups publicize programs for             both groups.
       3. Friends will do email publicity as in the past. (FFPR has 1600 email addresses) CWD will produce printed             fliers
       4. Both websites will carry both group's programs
       5. The Planning committee will take on more of a supportive role for the VOC.

· Friends group programs will continue to be free and open to the public
· Friends will offer the same programs - bird walks, wildflower ID, etc.
· Friends monthly email publicity will be sent every month as before
· Elizabeth will still be on the planning committee

Carol Benoit-Reynolds led our closing ceremony. We gathered around a table that had in the middle, a large bowl filled with sand. Carol invited us to, one by one, light a candle and place it in the bowl, while sharing with the group what it is that we love about Fresh Pond. For many of us, the attraction is the fellowship with other people who also love the natural world.

Elizabeth Wylde
January 20, 2015