Friends of Arlington's Great Meadows - FoAGM

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Current Events

Meadows Circumnavigation Walk - Moved to Rain Date of Saturday May 26 19, 10:00 - 11:30 am

See areas that are rarely visited. And learn enough to never be (really) lost there again. 

Total distance is two miles of moderate walking on dirt paths and some side streets. 

We’ll walk in dry upland areas and cross lower wetland areas on boardwalks.

David White of FoAGM will be the leader and will point out areas of interest along the way. 


Please Wear:  Appropriate outerwear and footwear.  Also insect repellant for ticks.

Location:  Meet in the parking lot of the nursing home at the end of Emerson Gardens Road.  From Maple Street, turn onto Emerson Gardens Road and follow it to the end.  Enter the facility’s driveway (slowly, please) and continue around to the right, keeping the building on your left.  Proceed to the far end of the parking lot. 

For information contact David at Rain date May 26.


2017 Annual Report Available

Find out about FoAGM's activities in 2017 FoAGM Annual Report 2017.pdf 

Other annual reports (going back to 2002) can be found here: Annual Reports   

Winter Walk - Saturday February 3, 10:00 - 11:30 am - This walk happened !

On our winter walk in Arlington’s Great Meadows we will share some of the special features that this quiet season can provide. We will look for animal sign and if conditions are favorable, tracks.  Learn the difference between wild and domestic animal trails.  

Children accompanied by adults are welcome, but please leave your canine companions at home (a dog walk will be offered in the spring).  Heavy precipitation and icy, treacherous trails will cancel, so please check the FoAGM website in the morning.  Of course dress warmly for the weather. 

Meet at the end of the parking lot of the Excel Nursing Home on the corner of Emerson Gardens and Bryant St. in Lexington.  Led by Sandra Ruggiero

Recommended animal tracking resources:
Tracking and the Art of Seeing
- Paul Rezendes. A very comprehensive and practical guide for tracking.
The Wild Within - Paul Rezendes.  A great read about his own transformation from hard core gang leader to Zen tracker also includes exercises to develop general tracking skills. 

Educational Mini-Grants

Friends of Arlington’s Great Meadows (FoAGM) is offering educational mini-grants to K-12 teachers and students in schools and non-profit organizations who want to do research, natural history study, or artistic projects in Arlington’s Great Meadows (AGM).  If you need funds for a project that would increase your students’ understanding of and appreciation for the natural world, you are encouraged to apply for one of these mini-grants.  More information here:  Mini Grants

Stewardship Activities 

Maintenance and Outreach 

In 2015 the ACROSS Lexington program extended into East Lexington and included parts of AGM in its path system.  There are two loop trails C & D which are well marked and extend to the Whipple Hill Conservation land and the Arlington Reservoir. 

FoAGM sponsored two nature walks, one in the spring led by Meg Muckenhaupt and one in the fall led by Don Miller.  In addition we had a “Walk All Around AGM” event in the late fall led by David White.

We also continued with regular maintenance including replacing broken and rotting boardwalk treads. 

Mowing of upland meadows 

Four years ago, we undertook a project to restore the upland “entry meadow” at the northwest corner of AGM, which had been rapidly reverting to woodland, to its historical open condition. 

In the fall of 2010, with the assistance of a large group of volunteers, we cleared the area of trees and dense shrubbery.  In the spring of 2011, we planted a mix of native wildflowers in the southwestern corner of the meadow.   Since that time, with the help of volunteers, we have worked to control invasives and the re-growth of woody vegetation by hand trimming. 

To maintain this lovely meadow, we continued this year with the mowing program. The work was done in the early fall to avoid interference with nesting birds and to minimize the impact on wildflowers. 

Invasive plant control 

We continue our efforts to clear and maintain an approximately 100-yard stretch of AGM along the Minutemen Bikeway that had become densely overgrown with the invasive plant Japanese Knotweed.  Permanent eradication of this invasive is extremely difficult, particularly without the use of herbicides.  However, over the last ten years, with volunteer labor and purely mechanical means, we have succeeded in keeping this area mostly knotweed-free, preserving a stunning view of the Meadows from the bikeway.


Donations and expenses for AGM in 2015 were about the same as 2014.  Income exceeded expenses and we continue to hold healthy cash balances.  All of our income was from the generosity of individual donors and private foundations, and was not dependent on municipal budgets, corporate funding, or fundraising events.  FoAGM also continues its successful partnership with the Arlington Land Trust (ALT) as fiscal agent.  

We thank our new and trustworthy regular donors who have contributed to the preservation of one of the largest natural open spaces in the Arlington/Lexington region. Those wishing to make a tax-deductible donation can make a check out to “ALT FoAGM Fund” and mail it to FoAGM, Box 492, Arlington, MA 02476, or use a credit card online at (Enter "arlington land" in the search field and select state of MA.  Select Arlington Land Trust and enter “FoAGM” as a designation.)

Friends of Arlington’s Great Meadows Steering Committee

            David White, Chair            John Bartenstein            Gordon Jones            Don Miller

            Sandra Ruggiero            Mike Tabaczynski 

If you would like to help out or just want more information please contact us at:

First Decade Report Released
FoAGM has been in existence since 2002 and we have issued a report reviewing the first decade of our activities.  It is available here as a PDF file:  First Decade Report

Meadow Volunteers Wanted
Do you love Arlington’s Great Meadows and do you have at least a few hours to help it thrive? FoAGM is looking for people who could volunteer 2 hours a month on the upland meadow restoration project from now until November. You can work on your own after a brief training or we could make some dates to work together. The task will include pulling staghorn sumac, cutting grey birch sprouts, and pulling or cutting honeysuckle. This should keep some of the most prolific shrubs and invasive plants at bay and give the native seeds that we have planted a chance to grow.  Contact Sandra Ruggiero 617 365-2034

Spring, Summer & Fall  - Japanese Knotweed Control Project
Friends of Arlington's Great Meadows are continuing efforts to control the invasive Japanese Knotweed along the bikeway to provide a more diverse habitat and re-open the view of the meadows. For information on how to help out contact Don Miller at   See the Knotweed Project page for more news and info.

Also visit the Citizens for Lexington Conservation website for other walks in the Lexington/Arlington/Winchester area. 

Join our email list to receive up to the minute announcements.

Recent Activities

Events of Previous Years

Upland Meadow Restoration    
     A proposal to restore upland meadow areas in Arlington’s Great Meadows was presented at a public meeting on the evening of July 14th of 2009.
        The Mass Audubon report is entitled “Recommendations for Restoration of Meadows Habitat at Arlington’s Great Meadows, Final Report, May 14, 2009”. Copies can be found here on the website.  

Fire at AGM on Friday April 17, 2009
There was an extensive fire in AGM on the afternoon of April 17.  Although the fire was mostly confined to the lower wetland areas, some upland areas especially in the northeast near Shelia Road were also damaged.  Approximately 100 acres of a total of 183 acres were affected. Regrowth in the wetland areas is likely to be very rapid.  Here is a map (2MB PDF) showing the general extent of the fire, although the burned areas were somewhat patchy even the the central meadow area, perhaps related to water levels.  The fire was almost certainly of human origin, but there is no information about whether it was accidental or intentional.  We also have a photo page of some after fire pictures.  We welcome any photos of the fire that you might have to share.  The wetland area is recovering quite rapidly after the fire although the situation is more mixed in the upland areas.  More photos to come soon.

Fire at AGM on April 23 in 2008 
Nine acres of upland forest near the nursing home were scorched by a fire on April 23.  Read the Lexington Minuteman article:

FoAGM Contact Information:

To join the FoAGM email list, all you need to do is click on this link to send an email to  You will then receive news and updates about our events, including weather-related cancellations and reschedulings.  This is a very low volume moderated list, and you can unsubscribe at any time.  You can also visit our internet discussion group at

Email Contacts:
General information at

General Resource Information

A Natural Resource Inventory and Stewardship Plan commissioned by Arlington's Conservation Commission, was completed in 2001 by Frances Clark of Carex Associates.  Copies are available at the Arlington and Lexington Public libraries.  It is available here on this web site.

About Arlington's Great Meadows (AGM)

About the Friends of AGM

Annual Reports (since 2003)

FoAGM By-Laws (6/21/14)

Boardwalk Project Background & Info (7/8/05)

Information about Invasive Plants (added 3/24/02)

All about Woodcocks (3/28/02)

More about Woodcocks by Marj Rines (9/17/03)

Photo Album (7/1/02)

Bugs Photo Album (7/3/03)

Site Search



Resource Links

Arlington Town Website

Arlington Reservoir Committee

Citizens for Lexington Conservation

Environmental League of Massachusetts

Lexington Town Website

Menotomy Bird Club

Mystic River Watershed Association

Puddle Stompers (for the kids)

(Page updated on: 05/18/2018 )

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