The Newton Conservators turn fifty in 2011. Like all baby boomers, we seek at midlife a reinvigorated, practical and realistic sense of how we can best use the years of accumulated wisdom, experience, and accomplishments to do even better, furthering our mission of preserving and protecting Newton’s open spaces.
My view is that Newton’s parks and conservation areas need our stewardship. Paying close attention to what is happening in our open spaces, educating people about them, and working with partners to solve problems is vitally important. My view also is that we need a renewed focus on protecting some of the land listed on the City’s open space plan and on shaping current development projects.
We are active in stewardship and in education and awareness efforts. Among our recent efforts are these:
- working with Marc Welch, the City’s Tree Warden, we succeeded in temporarily halting NStar’s tree pruning so that a more thoughtful approach could be adopted;
- we spearheaded the establishment of a Parks and Recreation Commission Working Group to carefully study current uses and proposed changes at Nahanton Park;
- we are revising our very popular trail guide, providing up to date maps and information;
- we are implementing the recommendations contained in the monitoring reports done by the Massachusetts Audubon Extension Service to keep our properties well managed;
- we are producing a Public Service announcement with NewTV;
- we printed a Second Edition of our highly acclaimed Newton Conservators’ Almanac;
- we are updating and creating other communications, including a new promotional card, an updated look for our newsletters, and a new brochure;
- we continue our popular fall and spring walks and events;
- we continue our invasives removal efforts.
These are really solid efforts, and we can build on them in years to come. There is, however, more to be done to focus our efforts on protecting land and on monitoring development projects. We are already planning a new and different Annual Meeting for next year, focusing on our leadership role in preserving additional open space, celebrating the accomplishments of the last fifty years, and fundraising to support our activities.
We are the only group in Newton dedicated to these efforts. The next fifty years are sure to bring huge and different challenges. We are very proud of what the Conservators have done in the last fifty years, and we hope we can do it again. We also hope you will see that our efforts are important, support us with donations, and join us, often, in our work as well as on our walks and activities.