Community Spotlight: Local Girl Scouts Explore Natural Mosquito Management

Olivia Doherty and Margy Eno are Winchester residents, Girl Scouts, and avid fans of outdoor activities, including hiking through the Fells.  As Girl Scout Cadettes, they had the opportunity to create a project in order to earn a Girl Scout’s Silver Award, and help better their community in the process.

Olivia and Margy were aware of the challenge presented by mosquito management– mosquitoes are a major public health concern, but so are many of the common control methods that we use, especially pesticides.

Their project work focused on the effects of pesticides to the environment, and natural alternatives to these chemicals that could be utilized. You can see their proposed solution below (hint:  they are small, brown, and fly!):

(No video?  View on youtube)


As Margy said, “I really wanted  people to know not only how much toxic insecticides harm the environment, but how much better natural methods of pest control, especially bats, are for the world and everyone living in it.”

Most of our native bat species are now threatened or endangered (many as a result of the white-nose syndrome epidemic).  And discovering this information motivated Olivia and Margy to make “bat advocacy” a core part of their project!

According to Olivia, “the best part of this project was when we assembled and painted our bat houses and displayed them at Town Day. One person asked us to put up a bat house in her yard, and I am looking forward to that…”

We encourage all of the community to join in the good work of Margy and Olivia, and support your local bats!

 

INVASIVE SPECIES ALERTS!!

On August 29, 2019, the Medford Transcript published a news report about local environmentalist and graphic artist Ian Lippincott, also known as iNKY sTAINS, who recently released two illustrated Public Service Announcements (PSA) about two specific invasive species attacking the region.

Lippincott worked closely with Friends of the Fells botanical experts to create a successful pilot of invasive species PSAs, which later won a Melrose Cultural Council (MCC) grant award. Black Swallow-Wort and Oriental Bittersweet are two of his least favorite species.

Black Swallow-Wort

Black Swallow-Wort – Image courtesy Robby McKittrick, Wicked Local

Oriental Bittersweet

Oriental Bittersweet – Image accessed from https://bygl.osu.edu/node/980
The artist hopes to disseminate the materials widely, and the Friends of the Fells plans to extend the series.

 

Lippincott encourages everyone who cares about combating these environmental threats to visit his online studio http://stainsworthink.com/index.html#signage-gallery where high-resolution images are available for download.  Both the Friends and the artist encourage members to share and distribute the images with others widely. Thank you!

 

This announcement is supported in part by a grant from the Melrose Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

A notice to all hikers in the Bellevue Pond area:  due to significant erosion issues that have developed on the Skyline Trail/Wrights Tower Path between Quarry Road Path and Wright’s Tower proper, DCR staff have diverted and re-routed a section of the trail in order to prevent further erosion damage to this hillside and the surrounding area.

DCR rangers ask that all visitors using this route to please remain on the new trail section (follow the updated trail blazes in white!) and allow the area to recover naturally.

 


Friends of the Fells would also like to take this opportunity to recognize the contribution to this trail project by the volunteer group from American Well.  It was primarily due to their very hard work on their company’s service day that this trail re-route was completed– in only a few hours, no less!

Thank you Erin, Ben, Daniel, Leon, David D., David K., and Keith!  Your volunteer efforts for the Fells are sincerely appreciated!

Are you a part of a group that is interested in a service project in the Fells?  We always welcome volunteer interest and requests!

Become a Volunteer

 

In the annals of the early history and the creation of the Fells, one of the defining moments was the publication of the 1894 Boston Herald article MIDDLESEX FELLS: Another Great Reservation for the Public.

Celebrating the “conversion of the Middlesex Fells into a great public recreation ground” the month prior, this article presented the newly established Fells to the Boston area with aureate prose and a number of beautiful line drawings and a map of the Fells.


For many years, this article was only available to view from the archives of the Boston Public Library as a scan of the original printed newspaper page (see header photo).  But now, thanks to the hard work of Fells Board Member Anita Brewer-Siljeholm and former Executive Director Mike Ryan, this article has been transcribed and re-assembled in .pdf form for easy viewing.

Many thanks to Anita and Mike for all their work, and for preserving this piece of Fells history for future Fells historians!

Having trouble viewing the document?
Click here for a direct download of the article.


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Support the Friends of the Fells on our Path to Growth

Friends,

This past year has seen us make significant strides in the fulfillment of our mission to serve the Middlesex Fells Reservation.  We have been fortunate to expand our conservation and educational programming, community outreach and service, and advocacy efforts in and for the Fells.

Across the board, this has been a year of development, progress, and success!

But, all of our success is wholly indebted to you– our members, volunteers, and donors.  And for us to continue on our Path to Growth, we need your continued support.

If you have not done so already, please consider contributing to the Friends of the Fells in this final month of our Summer Fundraising appeal.

All donations received this Summer will be matched by the R.J. Weggel Fund for the Friends of the Fells!

 

When the Friends of the Fells Youth Programs Director Ann Frenning Kossuth first saw an EarthLoom® on display at a Maine Farmer’s Market, she knew immediately that it would be perfect for summer camp.  It could serve not only as a rainy-day activity but also as an intentional way to bring children together in community to create art in a nature setting.

“The EarthLoom is a living symbol of our intention to weave together the fabric of community… It brings the magic of weaving together to groups, celebrations, and ceremonies.” — Weaving a Life Founder Susan Barrett Merrill

To make this special loom of nature materials woven on a man-made frame happen in time for summer 2019, the Friends first secured a $300 grant (with the help of volunteer Michelle Desveaux) from the National Coalition for Education & Cultural Programs (NCECP) via the Stoneham Business and Community Educational Foundation (SBCEF).

After that, Principal Fallon of the Medford Vocational and Technical High School (MVTHS) agreed to let the Friends work with the MVTHS Carpentry Department — pro bono.  Mr. Brown and his crew built the loom’s 6-foot+ frame and Jesse MacDonald, our Development Associate, took care of bringing the materials to and from the shop — ultimately delivering it direct to the Tudor Barn.

Tudor Barn image credit: Mike Ryan

Transformation

Years ago, under former Executive Director Mike Ryan’s oversight, the mid-19th-century stone Tudor Barn (above) was lovingly restored with the help of $15,000 in fundraising efforts by the Friends of the Fells. Since then, however, the building has not been used to its maximum potential. Happily, this year by storing and using the EarthLoom at the Tudor Barn, it has transformed the use of the space by youth actively weaving in the summer forest program.

All images (other than Tudor Barn) courtesy of Fells Forest Programs camp instructors.

Spaces still available for some weeks in Summer 2019. Sign up today! https://www.friendsofthefells.org/youth-programs/