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Friends Volunteers Clean Up the MIT Geodetic Observatory Trail and Historic Site on Park Serve Day

Friends Volunteers Clean Up the MIT Geodetic Observatory Trail and Historic Site on Park Serve Day

The Friends of the Middlesex Fells Reservation rallied volunteers who collected more than one ton of trash and invasive plants in three Fells hiking and walking areas during the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR)’s Park Serve Day last weekend.

Photos: Brian DeLacey

About 125 Friends members, area residents and students filled more than 50 garbage bags during the four-hour event on April 29. Through our innovative Students of the Fells program for high school and middle school students, the Friends also sent another dozen volunteers to assist the Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA) cleanup at Torbert Macdonald State Park in Medford. The day’s activities drew preschoolers to senior citizens to the forest, as well as groups, including a boy’s sixth birthday party and multiple Scout groups.

“The cleanup gave people a way to learn about conservation and stewardship in a fun, welcoming environment.  This year was especially gratifying because we were able to combine the educational element with the solid, measurable work projects,” said Lindsay Beal, Vice Chair of the Friends Board.

At least 70 of Friends volunteers cleaned trails that began at the Flynn Rink in Medford and the path leading up to and at the historic site of the MIT Geodetic Observatory in Malden. Built in 1899 at the top of a hill that is among the highest points in Malden, the former MIT observatory was used for mapping and geolocating. The facility fell out of use when the school founded the MIT Haystack Observatory in 1970, but the foundation remains.

The Middlesex Fells Dog Owner Group (FellsDOG), in conjunction with DCR, organized a cleanup with about 50 participants at the Sheepfold meadow in Stoneham.

Volunteers gathered trash on or near hiking trails and open areas. They also pulled up garlic mustard, an aggressive invasive species known to reproduce quickly and produce chemicals that inhibit the growth of native plants.

When volunteers arrived at the check-in table at the Flynn Rink parking lot, The Friends equipped them with gloves, trash grabbers, garbage bags and water, and taught them how to identify and properly remove the garlic mustard. Three cosponsors helped Friends arrange this important event, which prepares the forest for several months of extensive recreational use: DCR, Digital Trail Guides, and citizens of Malden.


Sheri Qualters

Sheri Qualters has been a Friends of the Fells volunteer since 2014 and joined the marketing communications committee in 2015. She grew up north of Boston and treasured family outings in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Her outdoor adventures have since included day hikes, camping, and volunteer work for an organization that led outdoor adventures for people with disabilities. She loves to walk and snowshoe in the Fells.
Sheri Qualters
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