Since its founding in 1961, The Newton Conservators has been involved a wide range of activities related to the preservation and management of parks and open space in Newton. Read a narrative history of the Conservators. Some highlights of our work include:
1961 Planting trees in Edmands Park.
1966 The City of Newton forming the Conservation Commission at the urging of the Conservators.
1967 Initiating the summer Environmental Science Program for junior high and high school students as a joint project with the Newton Public Schools.
1968 Assisting in the creation of Webster Conservation Area.
1971 Advocating for Newton’s Floodplain/Watershed Protection Ordinance to restrict the development of wetlands.
1971 Preserving Ordway Park , which was donated to the Conservators by Priscilla Ordway.
1973 Assisting in the addition of Webster Vale to Webster Conservation Area.
1974 Creating the first Open Space Survey of the city.
1976 Norumbega Park Conservation Area
1978 Kennard Conservation Area
1979 Houghton Garden Conservation Area, Dolan Pond Conservation Area, and Sawmill Brook Conservation Area
1979 Addition of 28 acres to Nahanton Park
1981 Publication of “Visit Your Parks,” a map locating the city’s public open spaces with detailed maps of the individual parks and conservation areas, including walking trails. A successor publication, the Walking Trails in Newton’s Park & Conservation Lands, has been revised several times.
1981 Newton Commonwealth Golf Course
1982 Addition to Sawmill Brook Conservation Area
1982 Addition of 16 acres to Kennard Park
1983 Addition of the Beacon Street section of Cold Spring Park
1983 Flowed Meadow Conservation Area
1985 Addition to Sawmill Brook Conservation Area
1989 Nahanton Park developed
1991 Participating in the Commonwealth Avenue Task Force, replacing the “highway” plan with the “green space” plan.
1992 Launching a grants program to foster open space conservation and study in Newton schools
1994 Together with the Newton League of Women Voters, persuading the Board of Aldermen to affirm the Parks & Recreation Commission’s responsibility toward parks and the preservation of open space and to add four alternate members, who might serve as open space advocates
1995 Helping the Parks & Recreation Commission develop guidelines for considering the declaration of Commission land surplus or transferring land to other City Departments. Development of Parks & Recreation internet site begun by Conservators volunteers.
1996 Advising the Parks & Recreation Commission to redevelop Weeks Field as both a park and playing fields. .
1997 Successfully advocating for a full-time Environmental Planner in Newton, the purchase of parcels adjacent to the Flowed Meadow, and the reconstruction of Kennard Conservation Area bog bridge. (President’s report)
1998 Successfully advocating for the transfer of the 30 acre South Charles River Reservation along Wells Avenue to the Conservation Commission. Assisting in passage of zoning amendment to provide for clustering campuses of religious or educational institutions. Advocating for the preservation ofthe 20 acres of woodlands to be sold by Andover-Newton Theological Seminary and the 40 acre Kesseler Woods, to be divested by Boston Edison. (President’s report)
1999 Working with MDC (now DCR) on plans for the extension of the Blue Heron Trail/Charles River Pathway west from Bridge Street. (President’s report)
2000: Helping to gain passage of the landmark Tree Preservation Ordinance, the first to require replacement of trees lost to private development in the state. Forming the Newton Community Preservation Alliance, which was successful in getting the city of Newton to adopt the Community Preservation Act. (President’s report)
2002 Beginning our successful advocacy of use of Community Preservation Act funds to preserve 30 acres of Kesseler Woods.
2003: Receiving a gift of land for conservation at the end of Elgin Street in Newton Centre, which was subsequently incorporated into Webster Conservation Area. Publishing the first edition of Walking Trails in Newton’s Park & Conservation Lands, with trails and history of 27 public open space areas. Arranging the acquisition of conservation land adjacent to Dolan Pond, with the city taking ownership and the Conservators holding a conservation restriction. The project included preserving the historical house at 76 Webster Park, and providing Habitat for Humanity housing.
2004 Leading the effort to acquire Angino Farm, a 2.5-acre farm with a farmhouse, barn, and field, for use as a community farm, to be owned by the city. Producing our first TV show, on the Angino Farm, for NewTV. Receiving a gift of land for conservation on Dexter Road, near Laundry Brook. (President’s Report)
2005: Receiving a gift of a half acre of wooded land from Pam and Tony Awtrey at “The Dell,” the hollow where Hyde Brook rises in Newton Corner. Receiving an Environmental Leadership award from the Green Decade Coalition for work done by the Conservators in the acquisition of Angino Farm. (President’s Report)
2007: Advocating for the City to request Community Preservation Committee (CPA) funds to purchase the property adjacent to Crystal Lake, to provide more visual open space and recreational access to the lake and swimming area. (President’s Report)
2008: President’s Report
2009: Contributing to the Crystal Lake Master Plan and accepting a conservation restriction on this property. Supporting the Lower Falls DCR Bridge Preservation Project. (President’s Report)
2010: Working to maintain a healthy, biodiverse environment in Newton’s parks and conservation areas by consistent and diligent invasives removal efforts. Finalizing the conservation restriction for Newton Commonweatlh Golf Course. (President’s Report)
2011: Celebrating our 50th anniversary. (President’s Report)
2012: Finalizing a conservation restriction with Andrée and Richard Wilson to protect 1.5 acres of their Newton Centre property for conservation purposes in perpetuity. (President’s Report)
2015: Assisting in the city purchase of the Waban Hill Reservoir by agreeing to accept a conservation restriction on the land.
2016: Leading the effort to restore Woodcock Meadow at Nahanton Park.
2017: Advocating for the preservation of Webster Woods, which led to the appointment by Mayor Ruthanne Fuller of a Webster Woods Advisory Panel. The panel includes three Directors of the Conservators. Working with the city to accept conservation restrictions on other parcels previously acquired using CPA funds, including land adjacent to Crystal Lake. (President’s Report)
2018: Collaborating with Bike Newton, the Solomon Foundation, and the Conservation Commission to expand the network of trails along the Charles as the Riverside Greenway. (President’s Report)
2019: Creating a new website for the Conservators, and bringing our advocacy for Webster Woods to a successful conclusion. (President’s Report)