2019 Conservators Annual Dinner Meeting

Dr. Jonathan Way:  “Living with Coyotes”

Dr. Jonathan (Jon) Way is the founder of Eastern Coyote/Coywolf Research.

Jon discussed living with coyotes in our community.  Details about his talk are in the Summer 2019 newsletter.

We are very grateful to Jon for stepping in at the last minute to replace John Maguranis, who was prevented by illness from speaking to us.


Dinner Report from the Newsletter


President’s 2019 Annual Report


Awards Presented

Environmentalist of the Year: Eric Olson

For his devotion to the environment, the City of Newton, and the Newton Conservators. For all his work to further the science of ecology and his belief that education will help to save the environment. For his continued insistence that our actions be guided by best practices and sound science. For his tireless work to encourage the growth of native plants and the creatures they support.

This was the 37th 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. Conservators Director David Backer presented the award:

In Newton, there are a lot of people who are actively working to preserve and protect the environment, so the Conservators have the good fortune of being able to choose from a substantial group.

But even in that good company, Eric Olson stands out for the work he is constantly doing here in Newton and in the larger world. He plans and participates in numerous Conservators events, he has been active in several other groups that are advocating for the environment, clean energy, and a long list of other goals.

I know about Eric’s contributions from personal experience because he has worked for many years with the Environmental Science Program of Newton that I run, helping us with our invasive species removal day. His explanations are clear and fun, and his enthusiasm is always a boost for the students and leaders who clear out hundreds of square feet of Japanese Knotweed every summer.

So I am very happy tonight to present the Environmentalist of the Year Award to Eric Olson.


Charles Johnson Maynard Award: Don Lubin

For his efforts to discover and identify ferns in conservation areas throughout New England. For his strong commitment to promoting biodiversity, and for the decades he has spent sharing his knowledge of ferns with all of us.

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. Conservators Vice President Chris Hepburn presented the award:

This evening I am honored to present the Newton Conservators Charles Johnson Maynard award to Don Lubin. For those of you who may not know, Charles Johnson Maynard was a well-known naturalist, ornithologist, author, and publisher who was born and lived in Newton from 1845 until his death in 1929. I think it is fair to say that today no one follows in this naturalist’s footsteps better than Don Lubin.

Don’s knowledge of and love for Ferns is remarkable and his enthusiasm for showing them to others is truly infectious, as those of you who have been on any of his field trips know. He leads trips and workshops not only for the Newton Conservators but many other groups, including the NE Wildflower Society. Among his other activities Don has contributed dozens of samples of uncommon New England ferns to herbaria, including the Asa Gray Herbarium at Harvard, worked on biodiversity surveys throughout eastern Massachusetts, and hosts a website on New England Ferns called “Ferns et al. of New England.” Google it, and you can learn a great deal about our ferns and view some amazing photographs, but I warn you, that if you do this, you may never be able to look at a Fern in the same way again. Thank you, Don.


Directors’ Awards: Maria Rose and the Friends of Kennard Park

Maria Rose: For her work as Newton’s Environmental Engineer to improve the City’s drainage infrastructure to manage storm water. For her dedication to improving the water quality of Newton’s rivers, lakes, ponds, and streams.

Conservators President Beth Wilkinson presented the award to Maria Rose:

I’m pleased to introduce Maria Rose, the recipient of a 2019 Directors’ Award.

Maria is Newton’s Environmental Engineer and an expert in stormwater and storm drain issues.

I first met Maria while involved in water sampling at Crystal Lake. That day, she was standing at the edge of the lake with a long stick with a bottle on the end and she was reaching into the lake to sample the water around one of the outfalls.

As the Crystal Lake Conservancy learned more about the quality of the water in the lake, Maria was a great source of info. Over the years, I’ve found that many other people involved in the care of the city’s water bodies view her as their own special resource. Just ask advocates for the Charles, Hammond Pond, and Cheesecake Brook.

In fact, Maria is a treasure for the whole city—all 18.1 square miles of it, with its 11.5 miles of riverfront on the Charles River.

In a 2011 presentation, Maria Rose explained that there were 12,750 catch basins, 320 miles of drainage pipes, 7 miles of streams, and many impervious areas that compound flooding in our city. And she oversees the health of all of them.

Maria’s work work includes highly technical aspects. She oversees the important NPDES General Permit for Stormwater Discharges issued by the state to the city. She has done analysis of how the way that runoff is handled at Crystal Lake could prevent future blue-green algae blooms. She’s also on the steering committee of the City of Newton Climate Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation and Resiliency Action Plan.

Maria’s work also includes–well, to be polite–the mundane. In 2011, she provided the Clerk’s Office with post cards that requested “Please Scoop the Poop!” for owners renewing their dog licenses. She advised “Make the Connection! Storm Drains empty into Waterways!” in neighborhoods where large quantities of dog waste were found in storm drains. Now, thanks to her work, many of the city’s storm drains also carry a similar warning.

Public education is a common theme that runs through her work. This March, she participated in a program to engage Newton elementary school students in different aspects of research and design.

Thank you, Maria Rose, for all your work to defend our waterways and water bodies!


Friends of Kennard Park (Carolyn Kraft, Larry Burdick, Michelle Cusick, Dorothea Buckler, and Pam Ward): For their stewardship and work on projects to improve Kennard Park. For their tireless work educating citizens about the value of open space and bringing delight into our lives.

Conservators Director Peter Barrer presented the award:

Before I get into the details of what this group has done, I want to mention those who lived here before the white people. We cannot celebrate our work with integrity without acknowledging the indigenous people who used to live on this land.

The award goes to the five people on the Board of Friends of Kennard Park.  Carolyn Kraft, Larry Burdick , Dorothea Buckler, and Michelle Cusick, and Pam Ward (who was not able to join us tonight).

These people have brought new life to Kennard Park. They have demonstrated that nature and art complement each other – a kind of magic. They have been removing invasives from the park, and have placed native plants. They are making a meadow of native plantings.

They have opened up the park to the wider community, welcoming people by holding events. The park has hosted sculpture, dance, and a speakers series at the Kennard House.

And in a plug for what is coming up, there will be a speakers series this fall. An Art Trail is in planning for opening in 2020, similar to the Sculpture Trail of 2016. Also, the group is in process of creating a labyrinth garden for contemplation and mindfulness.

So, Newton Conservators thanks you for your creative, thoughtful work! Thank you very much!”


More from the Meeting

Doug Dickson

Special Recognition of Doug Dickson

On behalf of the Board, Director Pete Gilmore acknowledged the work done over the years by Doug Dickson, who is stepping down as an Advisor. Doug was Conservators President from 1999-2001, and received our Environmentalist of the Year award in 2005.  He served on the Urban Tree Commission for many years and was instrumental in starting the Newton Tree Conservancy.  He played a key role in Newton acquiring Kesseler Woods and the Newton Community Farm.  He also served on the Newton Conservation Commission and the Community Preservation Committee.

Katherine Howard, Treasurer

Materials distributed at the Annual Meeting

Nominating Committee Report

Dinner Sponsors

Nahanton Paddler — Platinum Sponsor

Lucy Caldwell-Stair

Charles River Canoe & Kayak

Crystal Lake Swimmer — Silver Sponsor

Lalor and Patricia Burdick

Crystal Lake Conservancy

Jewish Community Centers of Greater Boston

The Village Bank

Newton Community Farm Harvester

Shaevel, Krems, O’Connor and Jackowitz, LLP