Park News – Spring/Summer 2010

“Nature is painting for us day after day, pictures of infinite beauty.”

– John Ruskin

ANNUAL MEETING: The annual meeting of the Friends of Menotomy Rocks Park will take place on Saturday, May 1st at 12:45 p.m. at the Park. Gather at the Jason Street entrance for the short meeting.

EARTH DAY: Our biennial Menotomy Rocks Park Earth Day celebration will also take place on Saturday, May 1st from1:00 through 4:00 to mark the 40th anniversary of Earth Day festivities. Family-oriented activities will include pond and wetland projects, rocketry, art, stories, games, birding (at 8 a.m.), as well as composting, energy, and atmospheric educational activities plus a bake-sale.

STEWARDSHIP: Once again this year we will be removing invasive plants from the Park. Please help us if you can spare even an hour to keep our Park’s flora and fauna healthy by continuing to eliminate these threats. Volunteer work days are planned for 10:00 a.m – 1:00 p.m. on the following days:   May – Sunday, May 16th August – Saturday, August 14th

June – Saturday, June 19th September – Sunday, September 12th

July – Sunday, July 11th October – Saturday, October 23rd

Please wear old clothes – and bring work gloves, loppers, pruners and shovels if you have them.

ECOFEST: The Friends of Menotomy Rocks Park will be participating in Arlington’s ECOFEST, which will be held at Town Hall on Sunday, May 2nd starting at 11:00 a.m.

HILLS POND: The four aerators installed in Hills Pond during the Park renovation are often out of order. At this writing, only one of the aerators is operational. The Friends will pay for the cost of a maintenance contract for the aerators, which help to oxygenate the water and retard weed and algal growth.

TREES: This year, two of the Park’s older stately trees were felled by a combination of weather and age – “Old Man Willow” fell onto the ice of Hills Pond (look for its large stump on the pond periphery). An old red oak fell across the Pond path early this spring. Previously cut trees near the Shawnee Road entrance to the Park have been removed. Many thanks to Shawnee Road neighbors, who continue to work together to improve the appearance of that entrance.

LETTERBOXING: The red oak tree that fell also happened to be a letter-boxing site – it had a large cavity near its base which hid the letterbox. Letterboxing is an outdoor pursuit with similarities to orienteering. A small box containing a stamp and visitors’ book is hidden, and a clue is written to lead others to its position. Clues may be as simple as a map reference, terrain cues, or may be more cryptic. When a letterbox is found, the letterboxer takes a copy of the stamp, as well as leaving their own personal print in the visitors’ book. Letterboxing began on Dartmoor in the U.K. but is now popular all over the world. There are other letterboxes in the Park; to find directions to them, check the web at

PICTURE POSTS: Check out our local take on the science of phenology and see how nature changes in our Park by visiting:, our Picture Post website.  At each of the four posts located throughout the Park, nine pictures are taken and the panoramic shots uploaded to the web. You can view the pictures individually or as a slideshow.

SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARK: This year marks the 10th anniversary of Shakespeare in the Park. The production will be Othello and will take place on Sunday, August 1st at Menotomy Rocks Park at 5:00 p.m. The play, featuring the Rebel Shakespeare Company, is sponsored by the Arlington Center for the Arts, the Friends of Robbins Farm Park and the Friends of Menotomy Rocks Park. Plans are afoot to have some workshops prior to the performance.

MEMBERSHIP: 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) or $25 (family dues) to: FoMRP, 350 Mass. Ave. #161, Arlington, MA 02474-6713. Check out our website for more information and our webstore if you need a new Park t-shirt, hat, apron, stationery or history book: