2015 Conservators Annual Dinner Meeting

Rob Warren:

“The Trustees of Reservations: Then and Now”


Rob Warren, Managing Director of Conservation at The Trustees of Reservations, was the guest speaker at the 2015 annual dinner.

Rob will review the role of The Trustees and discuss the current focus of the organization as well as recent land acquisitions. The Trustees of Reservations is America’s oldest land trust.

Rob’s role with The Trustees of Reservations includes land-protection planning, building partnerships with other organizations, overseeing the Conservation Restriction Program of The Trustees, supervising the Land Conservation staff, and working directly with landowners to conserve their lands. Rob returned to his biology/conservation roots in 1990, after a decade as a cabinet and furniture maker. Following a brief internship with the State Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program, he worked for ten years with the MA Department of Fish & Game’s land protection program where he served as Habitat Protection Coordinator, a role that involved him in numerous land conservation projects across the Commonwealth.

Prior to joining The Trustees in 2014, Rob was Director of Protection & Policy for the Massachusetts Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, where he worked for 14 years.

President’s 2015 Report

Awards Presented

Environmentalist of the Year: Alderman Alison Leary

For her years as a dedicated educator and advocate for environmental issues and for her successful leadership of the 2015 campaign to ban thin plastic bags in Newton

Award presentation remarks from Newton Conservators board member Bill Hagar:

Photos by Henry Finch

Alison Leary is a dedicated environmentalist and community leader. She is an Alderman from Ward 1 whose committee specialties are: (1) programs and services, (2) Zoning and Planning, and (3) Real property reuse. Alison is a member of many environmentally-based groups including the Newton Conservators, Massachusetts Sierra Club, and the Environmental Committee for the League of Women Voters in Newton. She is an avid birder and is an environmental educator–with the Massachusetts Audubon Society–who has helped young and old people learn about biology and important conservation concepts.

She became a member of the Newton Conservators because of their conservation work and interest in environmental education and protection. She was a member of the board of directors of the Newton Conservators until she was elected as alderman. Alison was an active participate in all types of environmental-based activities of the Conservators including participating as a member of the Grants Committee that provides funding for ESP programs and school projects like were presented this evening. I also remember her participating as an avid canoeist with Newton Conservators’ sponsored trips to the unspoiled reaches of the Charles River.

Alison is still very focused on preventing damage to animals in the environment and was an early supporter of banning thin plastic bags that are discarded in the environment. This “Environmentalist of the Year Award” is given to her for her unselfish advocacy and leadership in banning the use of such harmful plastic bags in Newton.

–Bill Hagar

This was the 33rd 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.

Charles Johnson Maynard Award: Prof. Richard Primack

For his innovative work on the real and current effects of climate change (and conservation biology in general) and his tireless efforts to educate the public and to encourage them to become involved in citizen science

The Charles Johnson Maynard Award is given each year to recognize efforts “to improve biodiversity, habitat reclamation, and natural resource protection.” Charles Johnson Maynard was a naturalist and ornithologist who was born in Newton in 1845.

Award presentation remarks from Newton Conservators President Beth Wilkinson:

When one asks those in the know about Richard Primack, the answer is sure to be “Expert in climate change” or “passionate educator about climate change.”

He is a professor at Boston University and the director of a climate change lab there.

Professor Primack is the author of two standard texts: Essentials of Conservation Biology and A Primer of Conservation Biology (in their sixth and fifth editions with 32 foreign-language editions) as well as Walden Warming: Climate change comes to Thoreau’s Woods, which was written for the ordinary reader.

In 2001, as Dr. Primack began to look near Boston for undeniable signs of climate change, he learned that, unbeknownst to most biologists, Thoreau kept detailed records of the plants he found during his walks in the Concord Woods in the mid 1800s and also their bloom times.

Through years of walks, Dr. Primack was able to find a quarter of the same plants still growing near Walden Pond. He decided to observe them to compare the bloom dates noted by Thoreau to those growing in the present His observations are the basis of Walden Warming. The results led him—and then his readers– to the inescapable conclusion that climate change is here and is having a strongly negative impact on our local environment.

As if his academic teaching and writing were not enough, Professor Primack also seems to be willing to go almost anywhere and talk to anyone to help people understand the extent of current global warming and the dangers that are in store if we don’t find a way to stop it. Over the past ten years, he has given more than 100 lectures on the impact of climate change. In spite of his busy schedule, he was willing to take the time to write a great article for our newsletter–about the local effects of climate change.

In his presentations, Richard does not just talk in general terms about what can be done to ameliorate the situation; he doesn’t suggest that climate change is a problem for the politicians and experts to solve. Instead, he presents specific recommendations in which all of us can participate. For example, he suggests a goal of halving the number of miles we drive, primarily through use of public transportation.

He is a great advocate for citizen science—both to help to document and to understand climate change and to try to counteract it. He recommends taking part in programs such as Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s eBird and also keeping a journal (just like Thoreau).

Richard, for all of your inspiring work, it is my honor to present to you the Newton Conservators’ Charles Johnson Maynard Award.

–Beth Wilkinson, President

Directors’ Award: Greg Maslowe, manager of Newton Community Farm

For expanding our view of what it means to be a suburban farmer, and sharing his knowledge of the sustainable use of a small plot of land (and the farm’s delicious crops) with the Newton community

Award presentation remarks from Newton Conservators board member Margaret Doris:
It is with great pleasure that the Conservators welcome back Greg Maslowe, who was the featured speaker at our 2007 annual meeting.

Most people recognize Greg.manager of Newton Community Farm as “Newton’s farmer”. In conveying this Director’s Award, the Conservators wish to recognize Greg as Newton’s farmer/scholar.

Carrying on in the fine tradition first established by farmer/scholar/environmentalist Liberty Hyde Bailey more than a century ago, Greg not only applies his scholarship to the work of farming but teaches . and even evangelizes. The holder of two master’s degrees — one in systematic and philosophical theology from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, and one from Boston University’s science, philosophy and religion program, where his research centered on the ethics of genetically modified crops — Greg expands his vision beyond the farm’s two-plus acres of field and greenhouses to involve and inspire others. Greg is a presence locally – not only has he developed a number of educational programs at the farm, but he is a sought-after speaker..most recently at the Newton School Foundation’s fourth annual fundraiser. Increasingly, though, Greg is a presence on the state and national scene as a featured participant in conferences, symposia and webinars.

“I am convinced,” Liberty Hyde Bailey wrote in 1911, “that the size of an acre of land varies directly with the size of the man who manages it. The larger the man, the larger the acre. I once asked an old gardener how much land he had, and he said with pride that he owned one acre; and he added, ‘it is a wonderful acre: it reaches to the center of the earth in one direction, and it takes in the stars in the other.'”

It is with deep appreciation then that we recognize Greg Maslowe: a man possessed of such vision that he has enlarged a few small acres to take in not only the earth.and the stars.but also the future.

–Margaret Doris