Friends of Menotomy Rocks Park

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Tai Chi for Strength and Balance

Please join us for a fun workout at Menotomy Rocks Park at the Jason Street Field sponsored by the Friends of Menotomy Rocks Park through the auspices of the Arlington Recreation Department. Classes will be taught by JOSHUA GRANT and will be held on:

SATURDAY mornings
from 9:15 – 10:15 a.m.
starting MAY 2nd and continuing through JUNE 20th
Classes are FREE
The print version of the Arlington Parks & Recreation catalog lists a $75 class cost. This is a mistake: the classes are free!!!!!
or register at any class

In any setting, TAI CHI can help to refocus your energy, rejuvenate your body, and ease your mind. But to do tai chi in the fresh morning air at a cul-de-sac in Menotomy Rocks Park is an experience not to be missed!

Instructor Joshua Grant is a well-known martial artist and has over 35 years of experience. He has been a member of national Tai Ji teams and been a gold medalist. He is the owner of Back Bay’s Boston Kung Fu Tai Chi Institute as well as the author of “Tai Chi for Wimps” and an instructional video series.

Bring the whole family to Field Day at Menotomy Rocks Park!

Bring the whole family to Field Day at Menotomy Rocks Park! Sunday, June 17th 1:30-4:30pm

  • Old fashioned games, races, scavenger hunt and more.
  • Sing along with Hugh Hanley – 2:30pm
  • Bike Swap – bring your old bike. Get a “new” one.
  • Food, fun and a great way to celebrate Father’s Day.

For more information, to volunteer or to donate your old bike call 617-930-2067


Bring the kids – in their costumes – to Spooky Walk on Saturday October 23, 2010. Walk around Hills Pond in all its spookiness – prepare to have thrills and chills! It begins at 7PM at the Jason Street entrance to Menotomy Rocks Park. Please bring a flashlight.

MRP Picture Post featured in earthzine

One Picture Post is Worth A Thousand Pictures: OR How Can Outdoor Digital Photographers Become Citizen Scientists Who Participate in Environmental Monitoring:

Take a walk. Bring your digital camera. Take nine pictures (8 land-based and one of the sky) from a Picture Post, upload them to our Picture Post website (, a digital photography environmental science community and you will receive thousands of digital photographs in return. The Picture Post environmental monitoring project is a citizen science initiative funded by NASA to create opportunities for informal and formal science educators and the community-at-large to collaborate by sharing digital photographs from Picture Post sites.


John Pickle at Concord Academy and his fellow environmental observers devised the picture post concept as a way to create a standardized record of the environment in Menotomy Rocks Park in Arlington, Massachusetts. He was inspired to create the original Picture Post in April 2005 by listening to elderly people describe how the landscape had changed over their lifetimes, and his desire to build a visual record of the park.

John is a longtime board member of the Friends of Menotomy Rocks Park. Congratulations, John!

(More information on MRP’s Picture Posts can be found here.)

Park News: Spring / Summer 2009


Our thanks to the many people who have worked to keep our Park clean during the long winter by picking up debris and trash. Thanks, too, to Laura Liscio for keeping the Park safe by thwarting a few junior arsonists from their plan to set fire to the woods by igniting reams of copier paper that they’d carried into the Park – and to Oakes Plimpton for collecting the charred paper and removing it. Our seasonal volunteer work sessions have started. Our April 26th crew pulled extensive patches of soon-to-seed flowering garlic mustard from the gulley extending from Shawnee Rd. to Churchill Ave.


Monthly volunteer work days have been scheduled for the spring, summer and fall of 2009. Please post these remaining dates to your calendar. Work time will be from 10:00 a.m. to noon on the following Sundays:

  • May 17th
  • June 28th
  • July 19th
  • August 23rd
  • September 20th
  • October 18th

Most of the work will center on our on-going battle against invasive plants – but if you have ideas for other work projects, please let us know. Suggestions or questions can be sent to or or


The Friends participated in the town-wide Ecofest held at Town Hall on March 28th. Thanks to the many people who stopped by, made suggestions or signed up to volunteer.


Emerson College students filmed a movie in the Park in early April. The movie is titled “The Small Stuff” and is “an upbeat character study involving everyday people in a park, distracted by technological devices, and a lost duck that helps them gain a new sense of grounding.” Every aspect of film production was involved during the four-day stint – site scouting, permitting, support & crew operations, acting (including a trained duck and duck wrangler), and filming.


Many of you have commented on the early and extensive appearance of algae in the pond. Every year the Friends contract with Aquatic Control Technologies to treat the pond for algae and invasive pond weeds. Care should be taken not to let pets drink from the pond for a number of days after the treatment.


Check out our local take on the science of phenology and see how nature changes in our Park by visiting our Picture Post website: Thanks to volunteer John Pickle, four Picture Posts have been installed in the Park. At each post, eight pictures are taken and the panoramic shots uploaded to the web. You can view the pictures individually or as a slideshow.


The Town of Arlington has received grant funding to install bike racks around Town. Two racks will be located in Menotomy Rocks Park. The installation of the inverted-U-shaped racks should be completed by October at the latest.


The Friends of Menotomy Rocks Park will be co-sponsoring the annual production of Shakespeare in the Park – scheduled this year for Robbins Farm Park. The play will be “Hamlet” and it will be presented on Sunday, July 19th at 5:00 p.m. and performed by a new troupe of older teens from Salem, MA called “Rebel Shakespeare.”


The annual meeting of the Friends of Menotomy Rocks Park will be held on May 31st at 5:00 pm at Judy Weinberg’s residence, 39 Venner Road, Arlington.


Please consider joining the Friends of Menotomy Rocks Park to help us keep the Park a wonderful place for all to enjoy. See our website for dues information – or send $15 (individual dues) to: FoMRP, 350 Mass. Ave. #161, Arlington, MA 02474-6713. You can also order our new tshirts and other items at our web-store.

Park News: Winter 2008 / 2009


Remaining renovation work to the pond and field pathways was finished by the contractor in June. In addition the rear field was mowed, raked, fertilized and seeded. In early July, the Arlington Tree Department cut down a number of dead and hazardous trees in the woodland area prior to the summer children’s programs held in the Park. Our gratitude is extended to the Arlington Department of Public Works for their speedy repair of a park bench which was set on fire by vandals late on a Saturday night in mid-October – and for keeping the pond lighting in good order for the winter skating season.


Hill’s Pond was treated for algae and invasive pond weeds in May. Despite problems with the aerator pump, the pond remained fairly clear of weeds and algae during the summer. The four aerators were restarted in the early fall after the misbehaving pump was replaced.


Work continued from spring through fall to control the spread of invasive plants and trees in the Park in our ongoing effort to preserve the beauty and diversity of the Park’s woods and pond areas. Projects included pulling garlic mustard in April and May from the gulley area before it seeded; removing buckthorn, multiflora rose, burning bush and oriental bittersweet from the pond area; removing Norway maple saplings from the Devil’s Den area and the Shawnee Road entrance and planting some new trees and shrubs in the cleared areas.

The Friends wish to thank Marge Bean, Justine Block, Eliza Burden, Melissa Carr, Dana Cooperson, Barbara Costa, Ted, Anne, Matthew & Emma DeCourcey, Becky Edmondson, MaryAnna Foskett, Bill & Peggy Gardiner, Richard Goldberg, Erica Heffer, Andy James, Tom Ladenburg, Jean & Al Lokensgard, Biff Maier, Liz Reisberg, Clarissa Rowe, Greg Ruccio, Ted Siegan, Mustafa Varoglu, Dorothy Vieweg and Don Vieweg for their enthusiastic assistance. The volunteers who wielded weed wrenches & loppers during one of the rainiest weekends of a rainy summer are given special commendation! Our thanks, too, to the volunteers who assisted in making a spring Dallin School outing to the Park an opportunity to learn about nature.


Congratulations to the hard-working neighborhood volunteers who produced another exciting SPOOKY WALK this year. FoMRP is proud to support this community effort – an eerie after-sundown pond-side spectacle enjoyed by kids and adults alike! The July 27th

The SHAKESPEARE production, “Much Ado about Nothing”, was rained out but performed on schedule to an appreciative audience at the Arlington Center for the Arts indoor stage.


Because of many competing claims on her time, the founder of the Friends of Menotomy Rocks Park, Clarissa Rowe, resigned from her position as president of the Friends in October. It would be hard to describe how much time, talent and devotion Clarissa has dedicated to the Park. The recently completed Park renovation might be said to be the capstone of her hard work and perseverance. Suffice it to say that we are glad she will be continuing to make more contributions in her new position as a director on the Board. Vice President Judy Weinberg has assumed the duties of president of the Board. Please let Judy know your concerns and suggestions.


Please consider joining the Friends of Menotomy Rocks Park to help us keep the Park a wonderful place for all to enjoy. See our website for dues information – or send $15 (individual dues) to: FoMRP, 350 Mass. Ave. #161, Arlington, MA 02474-6713. You can also order our new t-shirts and other items at our web-store. Thanks to all who checked out our booth on Town Day, asked questions about the Park or purchased some of our parkrelated items.

Park News: Summer 2008


A number of Invasive Plant Clean-Up Days are planned for the summer and fall. July’s work sessions will concentrate on the Hill’s Pond area and tackle buckthorn, oriental bittersweet, multiflora rose, burning bush and Japanese knotweed. The second July session will be held on Saturday, July 26th from 3:00 – 5:00 pm. Please wear work gloves & old clothes and bring loppers, pruners, mattocks, shovels, if possible. Drinks & fun provided. The Friends now have four “Weed Wrenches.” They’re very impressive – come check them out. There will be work days scheduled for the Shawnee Road area of the Park in the fall. We are very grateful to volunteer Becky Edmondson for her steadfast battle this spring against a huge garlic mustard outbreak primarily in that area of the Park. If, on your walks, you can pull Japanese knotweed from the wood chip mound near the pond, please dispose of it in a barrel.


Please plan on coming to the Park on Sunday, July 27th at 5:00 p.m. on the front lawn to see “Much Ado About Nothing” co-sponsored by FoMRP, the Friends of Robbins Farm and the Arlington Center for the Arts. Should be fun!!!!


Hill’s Pond was treated in mid-June to control submerged curly-leaf pond weed which was widespread throughout the middle of the pond. The work was done by Aquatic Control Technologies. We hope that the four pond aerators, installed during last year’s park renovation, will soon be operative again. The aerators seem to be doing a very good job of keeping the pond clear. Watch for a repair guy in scuba gear!!!!


Remaining renovation work to the pathways was finished in June. And the rear field was mowed, raked, fertilized and seeded. The Tree Department of the Arlington DPW cut down a number of dead trees in the woods in July.


Please consider joining the Friends of Menotomy Rocks Park to help us keep the Park a wonderful place for al to enjoy. See our website for dues information – or send $15 (individual dues) to: FoMRP, 130 Jason Street, Arlington, MA 02476. You can also order our new t-shirts and other items at our web-store.


Many thanks to Karen Dillon who protected a snapping turtle from being disturbed by passersby in one of the fields this spring while she laid eggs – by placing a chinchilla cage over her until Ms. Snapper finished her work.

Thanks as well to David Bean who in three weeks of his twice-daily rounds through the park this spring collected 350 beer bottles. We are very grateful to all who love Menotomy Rocks Park – and who work hard to keep it the natural gem that it is.

Park News: Summer 2007

Menotomy Rocks Park Capital Improvements

The Friends of Menotomy Rocks Park have advocated for many years for capital improvements to our treasured park, so we are looking forward with great pleasure to the beginning of construction in June. Most of the work will be concentrated on Hills Pond and the paths and fields around it. By September, we’ll have new pathways, irrigation for the renovated back field, a new aeration system for the pond, ramp access to the waterside, and repairs to masonry and fencing. It will be the same, but better!

Project details

Pathways: The new Pond Loop pathways will be pitched away from the pond. A row of rocks will be laid pondside in shallow trenches. The main pathway will be 10’ wide to accommodate emergency vehicles and will run all the way along the back field up to the entrance to the woods. Secondary paths will be 6’ wide or less. French drains will be installed in areas where there are no tree roots.

The farmer’s walls near the water fountain will be kept as is, and the rebuilt path leading to the playground will be 5’ wide.

The 10′-wide path at the Jason Street entrance will be pitched toward the swale with a couple of dry wells installed for drainage. Large stones arranged in a pattern called rip rap will be installed along the pond pathway near the Churchill Avenue entrance to improve drainage.

Hills Pond: Four new aerators should help keep down the algae and reduce the need for chemical treatments.

Trees: Two damaged trees near the water fountain might have to be removed. If that happens, new trees will be planted. The Friends of Menotomy Rocks will also be planting shrubs in the fall.

Beach Areas: The four beach areas will feature large boulders and stone steps down to the water. The existing granite blocks will be used & repositioned, and the Town has some blocks at the Res which could be used. The beach nearest Jason Street will be graded for wheelchair access with an S-shaped approach. Grading of the beach near Centennial Rock will be raised.

Fields & Irrigation: The Back Field will be renovated—soil stripped, fresh top soil installed, and reseeded. We’ll also add an irrigation system to the back field.

Jason Street fence: The DPW will remove the paint from the wrought iron fence running along Jason street, and Arlington High School students have volunteered to repaint it black.

Woods: Work in the wooded area of the park will be limited to installing water bars to keep storm water from washing out the slope down from the woods.

Walls: About half of the wall running along the path by the Front Field will be rebuilt.

Stilling Basin: A 30’ semicircle near the pond wall will be dredged to maintain the stilling basin.

Staging Area, Work Areas & Closings: The Front Field will be used for staging equipment, and silt fencing will be used around the pond while work is under way. Otherwise, we expect the Park to stay open all summer.

What’s a Water Bar?

[photo source: Washington Trails Association]

A water bar diverts serious volumes of runoff from a trail, and all of you who use the Park know we have some serious volumes. A water bar is created by digging a trench across the trail at an angle, reinforcing the downhill side with a log or rocks, and lining the new runoff path with stones to slow erosion.

Park News: Spring 2006

Cleanup Days

Please join us from 9:30 to noon the last Saturday of each month through October for park cleanup. We’ll be pulling out invasive plants, picking up trash, pruning, and weeding. Wear sturdy gloves and old clothes and bring loppers, shears, a garden saw, shovel, or rake. (Rain dates: following Sundays)
Pond Treatment

As we have done for the last few years, the Friends are paying for treatments to control the algae in Hills Pond. Aquatic Control Technology applies a combination of Reward (diquat) herbicide and Captain (copper) algaecide. These same treatments are used in drinking water supplies and are the best balance we can find of effectiveness and low toxicity at an affordable price.

Capital Improvements

At last! All the funding is lined up for path regrading, field repair, stilling-basin dredging and pond aerators. The fence running inside the park along the path by the Jason Street entrance will be repaired, and the manhole cover areas regraded. Actual work should begin next spring, and we expect the park to stay open during construction. Leslie Mayer of the Parks and Recreation Committee has been a steady supporter of this project through several years, and the Friends are grateful. As the project progresses, we’ll post updates on

Aerial Photos

One highlight of Earth Day 2006 at the Park was the aerial photography provided by Derick and Nancy Veliz. More photos are posted on our web site.

Picture Posts

Our online picture post galleries now chronicle almost a full year in the park. Keep taking those photos. Information about how to submit your pictures, including a naming convention, can be found at For more details, please contact John Pickle at

Wildlife Observations

Our nesting pair of Canada geese are down to one gosling from their original seven, and we’re rooting for it. At Hills Pond we had male bass guarding their nests and ramming all intruders. (“Bass torpedo” was one description we ran across.) This only goes on for a few days, and it’s worth looking out for. Park birdwatchers have spotted a family of screech owls in the woods. Seen anything interesting? You can send us an email through our web site.
Reminders to Park Users

  • Fishers: Please be sure to collect all of your hooks and line when you’re finished.
  • Dog walkers: Be responsible. Pick up after your dog and be sensitive to other park users.
  • Picnickers: Cars are not allowed in the park. Carrying the ice chest is good exercise.

Park News: Winter 2004 / 2005

Park Trees

Once again this winter, the Friends will hire ArborCare to prune dead branches from trees near Park pathways. The work will probably begin in January – and once again ArborCare will donate two days’ labor of the five days they will be working in the Park. As a further donation to the Park, ArborCare will treat the Park’s hemlocks to combat wooly adelgid. Our thanks, too, to Ted Siegan and David Bean for labeling more specimen trees in the Park this year.

Memorial Benches/Memorial Trees

With the installation of two new benches this past fall, our memorial bench program has come to a close. New opportunities will soon be available for memorials to loved ones when the Friends initiate a MEMORIAL TREE program in 2005. Many of the Park’s older and larger trees are dying and this program will be a wonderful way to restore native trees to the Park scene.


Many thanks to the volunteer crews that helped “stem” the invasion of alien plants on a number of workdays during the past year. Also, blueberry bushes were planted, weeded and maintained. Volunteer workers included: Nancy Barry, Steve Batzell, David Bean, Michelle Deziel, Charlie & MaryAnna Foskett, Richard Goldberg, Jo Hartel, Therese Hattemer, Biff Maier, Josh & Julia Martin, Don Mattheisen, Kristen Philips, John Pickle, Clarissa Rowe, Dolores Schueler, Judy Weinberg and Laura. Two WeedWrenches have been purchased for next year’s invasive plant clean-ups.


DogWalkers: Many people use the Park fields and pondsides where it is very important to keep your dogs under strict control. —- Please keep them on a short lead near children and seniors. And thanks for scooping to keep our Park clean.


Our thanks to the Arlington Police Department for replacing the Pedestrian sign at the Jason Street crosswalk. It has made crossing Jason Street much safer and has had the additional benefit of slowing traffic.

Learn about your park

Two wonderful publications about our Park are now available: a new publication by journalist and author Pat Thomas, The Benches of Menotomy Rocks Park, ($12) and a new edition of Menotomy Rocks Park: A Centennial History ($10) by Don Mattheisen. For a copy or copies, please send your check made out to Friends of Menotomy Rocks Park to: Friends of Menotomy Rocks Park, 54 Brantwood Road, Arlington 02476.