Friends of Menotomy Rocks Park

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Park News: Summer 2008

VOLUNTEER WORK DAYS

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.

SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARK

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

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!!!!

PARK UPKEEP

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.

MEMBERSHIP

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.

PARK HEROES

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 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.