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Guided Walks and Activities - Spring 2011

Each Spring and Fall, the Newton Conservators organizes a series of walks to local open space areas. These walks are led by knowlegeable leaders and are open to the public. They normally last for an hour or two. Some events are for bicycle or canoe. Others are activities, especially removing invasive plants. These walks are a great way to get to know open space areas in Newton. Below is the current walk schedule.

If you have questions or are interested in leading a walk, please contact the walks coordinator.


printable list of all walks


Bird Walk along Charles River with Waltham Land Trust

Join us for a spring bird walk on the upriver trails of the Charles between Waltham and Auburndale. We'll be looking for early spring migrants, lingering winter ducks, and our resident species. This event is co-sponsored with the Waltham Land Trust.

Meet at the Watch Factory Parking Lot on Crescent Street.

Trip leaders are Alison Leary Mooradian and Ted Kuklinski (617-821-5619).




Nahanton Park: Newton's "Little Bit of Wilderness"

Tour Newton's little bit of wilderness, observing and learning about early spring migrant birds and signs of other wildlife (deer, fox, and river otter have been observed there recently) with long-time Newton resident and bird watcher Haynes Miller. Easy walking, some narrow trails, walking shoes recommended, especially after rain.

Meet at lot on entrance road from Winchester St.

Cancelled if there is steady rain. If in doubt, call trip leader Haynes Miller at


photo by Ted Kuklinski

Garlic Mustard Pull at Cold Spring Park

Garlic Mustard, a non-native species high on federal and state plant invaders lists, is taking hold in our backyards, parks, forests and conservation areas. It quickly covers low-light forested areas, shading out other plants, chemically altering the soil to inhibit growth of competitor plants, and altering the habitat for native insects such as butterflies. But where it is just starting to invade, it is easy to be rid of it. It is a biennial easily identified and pulled when the second year plants are flowering in May/June. If not pulled, each plant will scatter hundreds to thousands of seeds later in the season that will become first year plants the next year, and also remain as viable seeds for several more years. It is easy and fun to get it out! We will pull along the Cochituate Aqueduct in Cold Spring Park. Wear long pants and garden gloves. Trash bags will be provided; the plants must be disposed of as trash, not as yard waste.

Meet at the Duncklee Street entrance, at the Newton Highlands side of the park.

Trip leader is Katherine Howard (617-527-1796).


Nahanton Park Mother’s Day Bird Walk

Nahanton Park offers a mix of woodlands, wetlands, edge habitat and meadows along the Charles River, making it one of the best birding spots in Newton for both migratory and resident songbirds. Likely finds include brightly colored warblers, vireos, and orioles. Also expect bluebirds, scarlet tanagers, swallows, and brown thrashers.

Enter the park at the Nahanton Street entrance next to the river. Parking is available inside the park. Bring binoculars if you have them. Beginners as well as experienced birders are welcome. Boots are recommended. Walk will be cancelled in steady rain. Co-sponsored with Friends of Nahanton Park.

Trip leader is Alison Leary (617-821-5619).


Garlic Mustard Pull at Dolan Pond (A NewtonServes Project)

This is an exciting year for garlic mustard pulling at Dolan Pond because plant pull crews have been very active in the last three years eradicating nearly every flowering stem before they had a chance to set seed. We are close to eradicating this soil-damaging invasive from this gem of a pocket park. Crews also removed many knotweed stems, and although knotweed removal takes years to complete, each time it gets easier. We will mix in some general nature study so bring binoculars and hand lenses for observing birds, bugs, flowers, and a good variety of pond life.

Meet at Dolan Pond conservation area in W. Newton. Street parking is available near the four entrances at Auburndale Avenue, Webster Park, Stratford and Cumberland.

Trip leader is Ted Kuklinski (617-332-7753)


Garlic Mustard Pull at Sawmill Brook Conservation Area (A NewtonServes Project)

See description of garlic mustard. Wear long pants and garden gloves.

Meet at the parking lot on Vine Street.

Trip leader is Katherine Howard (617-527-1796)

Garlic Mustard Pull at Blue Heron Bridge (A NewtonServes Project)

This is the fourth year working along the Charles River Greenway at this bridge on the Charles River Path, helping The Trustees of Reservations with their stewardship of the floodplain forest. We will again mix in some general nature study, so bring binoculars, an insect net, and hand lens if you have them.

Park at the Pleasant Street Super Stop N Shop parking lot in Watertown (near Russo’s) at the corner farthest from the store. This spot is directly in front of you as you enter the parking lot from Pleasant Street. There is a path entrance there. Turn left and follow path to the bridge.

Trip leader is Eric Olson (617-872-9928)


Cold Spring Park Landfill Cleanup (A NewtonServes Project)

Several large pieces of metal debris litter the edge of a small, very shallow, seasonal wetland area in Cold Spring Park.

As part of the NewtonSERVES Day of Community Service on May 15, 2011, Newton Conservators is sponsoring an afternoon project to remove this debris. Sign up to help with this cleanup by going to the NewtonSERVES volunteer page and scrolling down to the "Cold Spring Park Landfill Cleanup" project. (Please note that a separate project, in the morning, will do trash removal and other cleanup work in the park.)


Birding and Boating Trip at Nahanton Park

Join us for a leisurely canoe/kayak trip investigating bird life along the banks of the Charles River from Charles River Canoe & Kayak's newest location in Nahanton Park. This is a lovely 15-mile stretch of the Charles, where paddlers can enjoy 13 miles of calm water from upstream of Dedham Ave. in Needham to Silk Mill Dam at Newton Upper Falls. Almost all the shoreline is forest or marsh, and much of it is protected parkland. We can expect to see shorebirds like spotted sandpipers, great blue herons, common egrets, and several species of warblers, as well as raptors like red tailed and red shouldered hawks. Co-Sponsored with Friends of Nahanton Park.

If you have your own canoe or kayak you can put it in the water from this parking lot. Dress appropriately. A hat, sunscreen, snacks, and drinks are recommended. Newton Conservators members get a 10% discount on canoe and kayak rentals.

Meet at the Nahanton Street entrance next to the river. Parking is available inside the park.

Trip leader is Pete Gilmore (617-969-1513).

Note: rain date is Sunday, May 22.


Follow-up Garlic Mustard Pulls (Blue Heron Bridge and/or other locations TBD)

See description of Blue Heron Bridge and parking instructions. Check with leaders; locations near the Bridge will be chosen depending on where the need is greatest. We may be several hundred yards away from the Bridge so do not hesitate to call the phone numbers provided, if you arrive a bit late.

Trip leaders are Eric Olson (617-872-9928) and Katherine Howard (617-527-1796).


Japanese Knotweed Pull at Hammond Pond

Japanese Knotweed is a bamboo-like invader from Asia that can create dense 8' tall single-species stands. Knotweed is a tough adversary, not because it's spiny or strong or even particularly hard to pull. But like the magic brooms in Disney's "Fantasia" Sorcerer's Apprentice, any small root fragments we leave behind will spring back to life the following year. Government scientists are seeking biological control agents for this species in Asia but until and unless they find some, we are stuck controlling the plant by hand. Persistence pays with this species, and eradication is possible, but it takes several years to truly finish the job. Bring pitchforks, garden spades, and hand pruners, if you have them.

Meet at the small parking lot off Hammond Pond Parkway adjacent to pond and within view of the former Macy's store.

Trip leader is Eric Olson (617-872-9928) .



Canoe/Kayak Trip at Nahanton Park

Join us for an afternoon canoe trip from Nahanton Park. (See description of a morning birding trip in May. Co-Sponsored with Friends of Nahanton Park.

If you have your own canoe or kayak you can put it in the water from this parking lot. Dress appropriately. A hat, sunscreen, snacks, and drinks are recommended. Newton Conservators members get a 10% discount on canoe and kayak rentals.

Meet at the Nahanton Street entrance next to the river. Parking is available inside the park.

Trip leader is Bill Hagar (617-964-2644)




Newton Aqueducts Hike

This is a very popular 4-6 mile hike through woods, meadows and fields along the Newton sections of the Sudbury and Cochituate aqueducts. Parts of the paths traverse close to backyards, so hikers do need to be respectful of private property. This is a steady but not fast hike. Participants should be in sufficiently good shape to keep up with the group. (There are cutoffs for those who wish to shorten the hike.)

Meet in front of the Starbucks near the Waban MBTA Station.

Trip leader is Henry Finch (617-964-4488)


More listings of upcoming local walks and programs:

Appalachian Mountain Club

Mass Audubon Society

Mass Department of Conservation and Recreation

Organization for the Assabet River


Sudbury Valley Trustees

Trustees of Reservations

Walden Woods Project

Wellesley Conservation Council bird walks

Weston Forest and Trail Association

Weather: When in doubt check with the group leader.

Upcoming trips: Sign up for our email newsletter to be informed when the next walk schedule is posted. The newsletter also will tell you about other Newton conservation news.

Prior walks:

Fall 2003
Spring 2004
Fall 2004
Spring 2005
Fall 2005
Spring 2006
Fall 2006
Spring 2007
Fall 2007
Spring 2008
Fall 2008
Spring 2009
Fall 2009
Spring 2010
Fall 2010

Spring 2011 (complete list)

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