Friends of Menotomy Rocks Park

Park News

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 www.friendsofmenotomy.org

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 http://picturepost.smgmug.com/gallery/635128. For more details, please contact John Pickle at picklejohnmr@gmail.com.

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.

Volunteers

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.

Dogs

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.

Safety

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.

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 http://picturepost.smugmug.com/ . 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 http://picturepost.smgmug.com/gallery/635128. For more information, please contact John Pickle at jpickle@mos.org.

Park News: Spring / Early Summer 2004

FOR YOUR CALENDAR

  • 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.

PARK PRIORITIES SURVEY

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.

TREE & POND CARE

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.

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.

DOGS

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

PARK PRIORITIES SURVEY

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.

TREE CARE

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.

PARK HISTORY

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

PARK LORE

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 (www.friendsofmenotomy.org)

Park News: Summer 2003

FRIENDS OF MENOTOMY ROCKS PARK ANNUAL MEETING

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.

ACTING UP

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.

HILLS POND

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.

TREES

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!

THANKS

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

EARTH DAY CELEBRATION

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 jpickle@mos.org 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.

PARK PROJECTS

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

HILLS POND

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.

HILLS POND WALL REPAIR

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.

SUMMER EVENTS

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.

FALL PROJECTS

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 jpickle@mos.org.

Park News: July/August 2001

SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARK

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.

POND WEEDS

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.

POND WALL

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.

ANNUAL MEETING

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).