2010 Conservators Annual Dinner Meeting

Newton Mayor Setti Warren:
“Help Government Work”


Mayor Setti Warren gave the keynote address at the 2010 Newton Conservators’ Annual Dinner Meeting. He stressed the importance of conservation and of citizen involvement in local organizations like the Conservators, as part of the active engagement that characterizes healthy communities.

Mayor Warren described his own efforts at openness and transparency in government. He meets regularly with reporters from local media and has set up office hours to make himself accessible to citizens at City Hall. Not only in Newton but at the state and national level, the mayor stressed how important it is that citizens be able to believe in their government. Quoting Congressman Barney Frank, he said that “government is what we decide to do together.” Without trust in our government, collectively, we can accomplish little. If citizens are to have confidence in government, “we {in government} must bring our A game every day.”

Americans, he said, honor personal liberty, but “liberty without accountability is a path to destruction.” The financial crisis of 2008 and the ecological disaster from the blown out oil well in the Gulf are both examples of “a callous pursuit of profits” and of what happens when government fails to protect Americans’ basic interests. He said, “We must reverse course.”

The mayor reminded the Conservators that “people get the government they deserve.” He chided those who sit on the sidelines in the belief that “someone else will do everything.”

He praised the Conservators for their part in the preservation of over 350 acres of open space since 1961. Newton, he said, has been a leader in the effort to reduce waste through its single stream recycling program and as one of only 35 Green Communities in the commonwealth eligible for state grants. He cited the Conservators for their recent work organizing invasives removal projects in parks. That work is vital, he said. He challenged the Conservators and the community to “do more.”

President’s Report

Awards Presented

Environmentalists of the Year: Newton Conservators Almanac Committee

The Environmentalist of the Year Award was given to the Newton Conservators Almanac Committee–Sue J. Avery, Dr. Modestino “Cris” Criscitiello, Laura Eisener, Don Lubin, Patricia Robinson, and Beth E. Schroeder– for their hard work creating and publishing the beautiful Newton Conservators’ Almanac.

This was the 29th Environmentalist of the Year Award presented by the Newton Conservators to an individual or group who has made a distinguished environmental contribution to our community.

Patricia Robinson, Laura Eisener, Don Lubin, Sue J. Avery, and Beth Schroeder. Dr. Modestino “Cris” Criscitiello was unable to attend the dinner.

Newton Conservators President Jane Sender made these comments in presenting the award:

“What is wonderful about the almanac is that it is a serious but user friendly and beautiful guide to the awesome natural world right out our front doors here in Newton.

“For example, June is next week, and all you have to do is open the almanac to June to see what will be blooming (like Pink Lady Slipper) or flying around (like Eastern Comma Butterflies, Red Bellied Woodpeckers and Warbling Vireos).

“We are nearly sold out of our first printing but will reprint – they make great holiday gifts!

“Thank you so much for this heroic effort which we are all very proud of!”

Charles Johnson Maynard Award: Elaine Gentile

The Charles Johnson Maynard Award is given each year to recognize efforts to improve biodiversity, habitat reclamation, and natural resource protection.

The Charles Maynard Award went to Newton’s Director of Environmental Affairs, Elaine Gentile, for her successful implementation of single stream recycling.

From President Jane Sender:

“The award was given to Elaine in recognition of the hard work it took to change Newton over to single stream recycling. Early figures showed that as a result of the change our trash tonnage is down 25% and our recycling has increased by 7%. Less trash saves the City money and saves the environment. Simply having those big green containers on the street I think makes people think more about recycling.”

Directors’ Awards: Patricia Rand and Penelope Caponigro

Directors’ Awards were made to Patricia Rand and Penelope Caponigro for their care of Newton’s public spaces.

Patricia Rand and Penelope Caponigro

From President Jane Sender:

“When you walk or drive through Newton – and you glance at the Newton Center Garden, the traffic island on Lake Avenue, the Arthur English garden in Newton Highlands, the planters along Lincoln Street in Newton Highlands, the gardens in front of City Hall and the Newton Library, the young trees along Webster and Cherry streets in West Newton – just to name a new- you see the work of Pat Rand and Penny Caponigro.

“It is a wonderful, special thing when people care enough about public spaces – not just their own yards-to keep them flowering.

“This takes work – weeding, planting watering –and commitment.

“We thank you both very much for your significant contributions to our City.”

Seen at the dinner…

Deb Howard and Conservators board member Frank Howard
Former board member Doug Dickson with current members Peter Kastner and Mike Clarke

–photos by Henry Finch