Friends of Menotomy Rocks Park

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Park News: Fall / Winter 2005

Playground Repair

The severe late September windstorm felled an old oak near the Playground, resulting in major damage to the structure. The Town and the Friends will be working together to have the necessary repairs made – hopefully before winter sets in.

Capital Improvements in the Park

This past spring, the Arlington Parks and Recreation Commission hired Landscape Architect Andrew Leonard to project cost estimates for the site improvements requested by the Friends of Menotomy Rocks Park, based on a survey of our members. Mr. Leonard’s estimates indicate that the needed improvements will cost over $500,000 – considerably more than the $120,000 approved by last spring’s Town Meeting. The Friends will continue to work with the Town and grant-dispensing organizations to help raise the money needed to improve the Park paths and fields.

Trash Cans

Once again this year, in mid-November, trash cans will be removed from the field and pond areas of the park to lessen damage to paths and grassy areas caused by trucks. Winter trash barrel locations are at the entrances to the Park on Jason St., Churchill Ave., Ottawa/High Haith and Spring St. The Town DPW will return the additional trash barrels in early April.

Volunteer Thanks

Heartfelt thanks to the Park volunteers who rolled up their sleeves on our Sunday, October 16th workday  to Melissa Carr, Carmenza & Clif Fonstad and Clarissa Rowe who installed the “menotomy rock and cobblestone” edging along the Jason Street fence perennial garden to Mary Cummings, David Bean & Ellen Reed for repairing the Jason St. bulletin board  and to Jane Auger, David Bean, Dilys Burke, Colin Campbell, Madeleine Drucker, Paul Fontaine, MaryAnna Foskett, Jane Howard, Carol Kalauskas, Barbara Kleeman and Elizabeth Rehfeld who did battle with Japanese Knotweed, Common Buckthorn, Norway Maple saplings, Japanese Barberry, Burning Bush and Oriental Bittersweet – all invasive woodland thugs on the USDA’s most un-wanted list. During the summer, volunteers Melissa Carr, MaryAnna Foskett and Ted Siegan worked to cut back invasive purple loosestrife in the pond stilling basin.

Good Samaritan

Our thanks to the Good Samaritan who called the Animal Rescue League on August 20th to come to the aid of a mallard who had gotten entangled in fishing line and had a fishhook through her wing. Two competent ARL staffers with two rescue vehicles, a kayak, a net, and lots of TLC soon had the unfortunate duck on her way to treatment at an ARL hospital.

Picture Posts

You may have noticed the two “picture posts” installed last spring – one at the Jason St. beach area and one by the South Field fence. Pictures taken at these posts will provide visual documentation of changes in the Park over seasons and years. You can help with this scientific effort by positioning your digital camera as instructed on the post signs and uploading the resulting photos to our website at . You may also view similar documentation taken by our partner park in this venture, Fresh Pond Reservation (FPR). Basic information about how to submit the pictures, including a naming convention, can be found at For more information, please contact John Pickle at

Park News: Spring / Early Summer 2004


  • PARK VOLUNTEER DAY: A Park clean-up and improvement day will be held on Saturday, May 22nd from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon . Rain date is Sunday, May 23rd, 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. Some tasks: invasive plant removal (including digging out roots), replanting on removal sites; playground & memorial bench maintenance, trash clean-up. Your help is greatly appreciated!
  • PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBIT: Pictures of the neighborhood will be exhibited in the Park on Saturday, May 22 from 12:00 noon to 7:00 p.m. Contact Bill Berkowitz for entry information (781-646-6319)
  • FRIENDS’ ANNUAL MEETING: The annual meeting of the Friends of Menotomy Rocks Park will take place on Saturday May 22nd in the Park at 5:00 p.m. Agenda: brief discussion of prior year accomplishments; plans for the future; vote on board nominations. Bring a picnic at 4:00 p.m. — check out the photos and come to the meeting.
  • SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARK: This year the spotlight is on Two Gentlemen of Verona, which will be presented on Sunday, July 11th at 6:00 p.m. Sponsors are The Arlington Center for the Arts (ACA), the Friends of Menotomy Rocks Park and the Friends of Robbins Farm. There will be a workshop with the actors for children over eight years of age at the ACA in the afternoon prior to the play.


The recent Friends of Menotomy Rocks membership survey about capital improvements indicated that over half of the respondents want pathway repair to be our top priority when funds are available. Other vote-getters were field repair, tree pruning and tree planting.


ArborCare Tree Service completed five days of much-needed tree pruning and dead tree removal work around Hills Pond and the two fields in early April. The Friends thank ArborCare’s Mark Bezreh for generously contributing two days’ of the tree work and for re-spraying the Park’s hemlocks to control wooly adelgid as a community service. Aquatic Control Technologies will once again be treating Hill’s Pond for invasive plants and algae this May. Look for orange informational signs around the pond.


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.


DogWalkers: Many more people use the Park fields and pondsides once the weather warms up in the Spring — Please keep your dogs on a shorter lead near children and seniors. Thanks, too, for scooping!

Park News: Winter 2003/2004


The annual letter to the Friends of Menotomy Rocks membership included a survey request asking members to submit and prioritize their ideas for capital improvements to the Park. Results will be used for Friends’ presentations to the Parks & Recreation Committee, the Board of Selectmen and the Town Finance Committee when the 2005 capital plan is discussed. Pathway and field improvement suggestions top the list thusfar. If you would like to weigh in, please call Clarissa Rowe at 781-643-3156.


The Friends have contracted with ArborCare Tree Service for much-needed tree pruning around Hills Pond. ArborCare President Mark Bezreh is generously contributing some of the work as a community service to Arlington. ArborCare will also re-spray the Park’s hemlocks to control wooly adelgids next spring at no charge. The Friends are very grateful to Mark and ArborCare for helping us keep Menotomy Rocks Park’s trees in tip-top shape.


A second edition of Menotomy Rocks Park: A Centennial History by Friends’ Treasurer (and Professor of History) Don Mattheisen has recently been published. This printing features enhanced photographs and a new fold-out historical map and can be ordered by sending $10 to the Friends of Menotomy Rocks Park, 54 Brantwood Road, Arlington 02476


Local journalist and Friends’ Board member Pat Thomas is gathering information about the memorial benches donated to the Park over the past few years. If you’ve ever wondered about the people honored by these beautiful benches, check Park bulletin boards and the Friends website in February (

Park News: Summer 2003


The Friends of Menotomy Rocks Park Annual Meeting will take place on Sunday, July 13th at 3:00 p.m. at the Jason Street Field in the Park. Please come if you can. Afterwards, about 3:30, there’ll be an “invasive plant clean-up.” Our main effort will be cutting down multiflora rose near Centennial Grove, so, if you have time to help, please bring pruning shears or loppers, gardening gloves and protective clothing.


Please reserve the evening of Tuesday, July 15th to come to a Trinity Rep park performance of William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing sponsored by The Arlington Center for the Arts and The Friends of Menotomy Rocks Park. The play will begin at 6:00. Come early with blankets, lawn chairs and a picnic dinner.


Aquatic Control Technologies treated Hills Pond in May for invasive pondweeds and algae. The algae has unfortunately returned — due to ducks flying in from other ponds which have not been treated and re-infesting our small pond.


Look for new tree ID tags, with common name, Latin name and geographical information, which have been placed on some of the trees around the pond. More to come!


Many thanks to Spring volunteers Arlene Belliveau, MaryAnna Foskett, Ed Heck, John Pickle, Clarissa Rowe, Pat Thomas, Anne Tulimieri & David Wilcox for their help in installing erosion control material near the pond’s edge.

Overheard in the Park

“Evasive Plants….. how hard can they be to catch?” (Jim Hoag)

Park News: Spring 2003


The Friends are planning a rite of spring to celebrate the end of the long, hard, cold, icy winter (which hardly describes it….). Earth Day festivities and activities are in the works for Saturday, April 26th from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. and they include hands-on activities involving the sun, the wind, the pond, the air, the trees and, of course, the earth. We’ll also have games, art, poetry and face-painting. And tree tours, natural history tours, geology tours and bird walks. And we may have a remote-control plane or two to take pictures of the park and pond – which we hope will be an on-going project to record changes over time in our Park.

We hope you can join us and would love to have you be a part of Earth Day. Email our Earth Day organizer John Pickle at if you can help with publicity, with one of the events, or with set-up or clean-up. Volunteers will be asked to work a 1.5-hour shift.


The Friends will once again be working with Aquatic Control Technologies to ensure the water quality of Hill’s Pond. This spring’s contract work will include treatment for remaining invasive pondweeds and filamentous growth – and spot treatments for purple loosestrife and Japanese knotweed.

Tree ID tags, with common name, Latin name and geographical information, are being ordered for spring installation. Tags for twenty-five different trees will be attached to trees in the Park.

The Friends will continue to encourage dog-walkers to be responsible park-citizens. Please read the bulletin board signs about dogs.

Erosion control material will be placed on the pond edge near the new boulder pathway as soon as conditions allow.

Reserve the evening of Tuesday, July 15th to come to a Trinity Rep park performance of Much Ado About Nothing sponsored by The Arlington Center for the Arts and the Friends of Menotomy Rocks Park.

Park News: Autumn 2002


At the request of the Town, the Friends contracted with Aquatic Control Technologies of Sutton in late May to treat Hills Pond for an infestation of Curly Pondweed – an invasive plant that was able to flourish in the absence of the Eurasian milfoil that was eliminated last year. An algicide was also applied.


MJM Masons of Lexington finished re-building the pond retaining wall in July. Replacement of the fieldstone wall, first built as a WPA project in the 1930’s, was paid for by a combination of Town and grant funding. Our thanks to Ben Reeve and Clarissa Rowe for their invaluable and diligent assistance during the project.

The wait for appropriate cement for the pond wall cap resulted in the masons hydroseeding the pond wall area and Centennial Grove in mid-July – a less-than-ideal time – just as the midsummer dry spell began. Many thanks to the fourteen Friends’ members who volunteered to keep the new grass watered and more thanks to the Maier and Mattheisen families who allowed access to their water supplies.

In accordance with an agreement with the Conservation Commission, the Friends replaced the seven buttonbushes lost during the demolition of the old pond wall. An additional thirteen wetland shrubs purchased from New England Wetland Nursery in Amherst were also planted pond-side in late July – including additional buttonbush, swamp azalea, elderberry, spicebush and American cranberrybush. Special thanks to planting volunteers Dianne Schaefer and the Kalauskas family.


The annual meeting of the Friends of Menotomy Rocks Park was held on June 9th. New Board member Eileen Eisele was welcomed and departing long-time board members Denise Long and Ben Reeve were thanked for their many contributions to the Park.

Once again, the Friends of Menotomy Rocks Park and the Arlington Center for the Arts co-sponsored an outdoor Shakespeare production performed by the Trinity Repertory Summer Shakespeare Project. With Hills Pond a perfect backdrop, the July 23rd performance of “The Tempest” by a talented, energetic troupe of players made for a lovely summer’s evening entertainment.


The water level of the pond is extremely low – a result of the mild, almost snowless winter and the long summer dry spell. Plans are underway for N. Sacca & Sons of Arlington to repair the broken water line from the well to the pond, and repair or replace the pump for the well water. MJM Masons will be returning to do some anti-erosion and drainage work as well as some pathway repair work along the southern edge of the pond.

Please mark your calendar for Sunday, September 22nd – 10:30 am to 12:30 pm. Volunteers are needed to help clear some of the invasive plants in the park – especially around Hills Pond. Wear garden gloves and old clothes and bring pruning shears or garden saws to help cut down buckthorn, Japanese knotweed, multiflora rose and oriental bittersweet. Folks with shovels can help dig out roots – or weed the daylily garden at the Jason St. entrance.

Park News: March 2002

Hills Pond Wall

This week MJM Masons of Lexington will begin repair on the crumbling park wall around Hills Pond. There will be a construction staging area near the wall that will be marked off with yellow construction tape. The trucks will be coming in from the Jason Street entrance. Please help us keep people and dogs out of this area. The work should take about three weeks and the masons will be working every day except Sunday. The Town workers will be removing the large buttonbush plants that are growing in the wall. At the end of the project, the buttonbushes will be replaced with new plants and cuttings from the old ones.

Please contact Clarissa Rowe at 643-3156 if you have any questions about the wall work.

Earth Day 2002

The maestro of Earth Day, John Pickle, says that more volunteer helpers will be needed to staff the fascinating array of activities that were such a hit last Spring. If volunteer recruitment falls short, John wont be able to organize events for Earth Day 2002. He must make this decision very soon, and you can help by offering to spend a couple of hours in the park on Sunday, April 8. No special skills are required, just a will to help. Training and tools will be provided, and you’ll be surprised at how much you can do to encourage children to appreciate the world around them.

Please contact John by calling 646-0643 or by email at

Park News: July/August 2001


The Friends of Menotomy Rocks Park and the Arlington Center for the Arts will be co-sponsoring a Trinity Rep production of William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream” on Tuesday, August 7th starting at 6:00 p.m. The performance by the renown theatrical company will take place at the Jason St. field with Hill’s Pond as a backdrop. One area of the field will be set aside for blankets and another for lawn chairs. Please come early and picnic before the performance if you have the time. If you would like to volunteer to help with this event (organizing/selling food & drinks, selling t-shirts, hanging posters, “ushering,” etc), there will be a Volunteers Meeting at Ted & Betsy Baldwin’s (107 Jason St.) on Tuesday, July 10th at 8:00 p.m. Or call 781-643-3848 if you miss(ed) the meeting and would like to help out.


The flurodone (Sonar) applied by Aquatic Control Technologies (ACT) has worked very well. By interfering with the photosynthesis of Eurasian Watermilfoil and Longleaf Pondweed, the treatment slowly compromised the invasive plants which had taken over the surface of the pond. With the weeds gone, Hills Pond sports a healthier look – and the native pond plants will have some time to recover and provide a better habitat for pond fish and other water critters. ACT has recently been contacted to find out how to get rid of the “mats” that are still in the pond.


The Arlington Public Works Department has recently contracted for the repair of the dangerously crumbling pond wall. Work will begin as soon as the contractor’s schedule allows. Volunteers are needed to try to remove the fairly large buttonbushes growing in the pond wall before the work begins. Six members of the Friends have volunteered to take cuttings from the buttonbushes as insurance that there will be an alternative propagation method in case the roots cannot be successfully loosed. Anyone else who can help with this alternate propagation method is encouraged to do so. The fragrant buttonbushes are a wonderful addition to the pond shoreline. Please call 781-643-3156 if you can help with the bush removal. Volunteers will be notified as soon as the Town has a work date from the contractor.


Thanks to everyone who braved the rain and attended the June 24th annual meeting of the Friends of Menotomy Rocks Park. Your interest and enthusiasm is very much appreciated. The following people were elected to the Board for a 3-year term: Jim Britt (646-1718), Tom Gonsiorowski (641-0838), Clarissa Rowe (643-3156), Rachael Sokolowski (648-2081), Anne Tulimieri (646-1420) and Judy Weinberg (646-0643).

Park News: April/May 2001

EARTH DAY: SUNDAY APRIL 22, 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.

The Friends of Menotomy Rocks Park (FMRP), together with the Arlington Public Schools, the Vision 2020 Environment Task Group and others will sponsor a fun-and-education-filled afternoon on Earth Day, April 22nd from 1:00- 4:00 p.m. (Rain date: Sunday, April 29th). Activities to suit every interest will be found: Atmospheric (clouds; homemade weather instruments, sun prints, etc.), Biological (pond biology, earthworms), Environmental (water quality, etc.), Geological (geology tours), Historical (Park history), Food (bake sale), FUN (games, scavenger hunt). There will be welcome tables with event schedules outlining the various afternoon activities. Please plan on coming for an enjoyable afternoon – but we ask that you please leave your dogs at home for this one afternoon. There will be two morning events – a bird walk (7:30 – 9:00 a.m.) and a tree walk (9:00 – 10:30 a.m.). Our thanks to FMRP board members John Pickle and Mary Cummings for organizing this event!


The Arlington Conservation Commission recently voted to approve the joint proposal of the Arlington Parks & Recreation Commission and the Friends of Menotomy Rocks Park to treat Hills Pond with an herbicide to eliminate the invasive pond weeds which have been plaguing our small pond for the past two years. Aquatic Control Technologies (ACT) will be applying Sonar (fluridone) in early May which will interfere with photosynthesis in the two major invaders, Eurasian watermilfoil and thinleaf pondweed. The cost of the treatment ($4,000-$5000) will be paid by FMRP with the hope that future treatments, which might be necessary every three years or so, will become a Town park maintenance item. Signs will be posted by ACT on the day(s) that Sonar is applied. Sonar, which is used in drinking water reservoirs, will be applied in very low-dose concentration, well below the concentration allowed by Massachusetts state law, but enough to eradicate the invasive weeds. The town DPW and the FMRP will attempt to use the pond outlet system so that the water level of the pond can be lowered prior to the treatment in May.


New Arlington Town Manager Philip Farrington and the Arlington DPW have informed us that work will begin on the pond wall repair in late summer.


Quite a few trees suffered severe damage this past winter, including quite a few near the pathways. FMRP has asked the town DPW as well as its chain-saw-owning membership to do some clearing work. Please be aware of the potential danger before this work is completed.


Spring’s good weather will draw many more people to the Park – including joggers, young families, fisherfolk and daydreamers. We ask that dogwalkers please avoid the more popular areas of the Park (the pond and field areas) unless their dogs are fully under tight control – so that no one feels threatened.

Park News: January/February 2001


Eurasian milfoil and two other weeds infested Hill’s Pond again this year. Last year, the FMRP board offered a grant to the Town to cover the cost of treating the weeds. The board has renewed the $4,000-$5000 offer again this year. The Parks & Recreation Commission, which has jurisdiction over the Park, has informed us that they will be asking the Conservation Commission to start a review process in January. The Conservation Commission must approve any steps taken to mediate weed growth after evaluating the safety, effectiveness and environmental impact of various weed eradication measures. We hope that this process will be completed by early May when weeds are most easily destroyed.


The Arlington Department of Public Works modified last spring’s public bid for the pond wall repair and received eight bids in December. The FMRP board has voted to donate $12,000 toward the cost of repairing the wall. FMRP board member Ed Heck spearheaded proposal-writing efforts that landed a $10,000 matching grant from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s Small Lakes and Ponds program in 2000. The board is working with the Town to try to extend the grant for another year. The Friends will be asking for volunteers to help with removing vegetation along the wall before the masonry work begins.


Three additional memorial benches were installed in the Park in the latter half of 2000 — two much-needed benches in the playground area and one in the vicinity of the Spring Street entrance to the Park. Our thanks to the generous donors, and to Joe Connolly, head of the Recreation Department and FMRP directors Denise Long and MaryAnna Foskett who collaborated on the installations. Only a few more approved sites remain, and once they are filled, the memorial bench program will draw to a close. In 2001, FMRP will work with the Parks & Recreation Commission to initiate a memorial tree program. The Friends will identify native tree species that can handle the hardships of life in a public park, and will help map planting sites. Plans are also in the works to install some new identification tags on older trees.


The Friends are planning some Earth Day activities in the Park on April 22nd. Included will be workshops on birds, geology, plants and water. Put the date on your calendar!