Friends of Arlington's Great Meadows (in Lexington) - FoAGM

Previous Events

Many events take place in AGM throughout the year.

Events in 2012

 

Winter Nature Walk - Saturday February 25 at 10 am.
     On Sat. Feb. 25 at 10 a.m. Fran Ludwig and Sandra Ruggiero will lead a walk in Arlington’s Great Meadows to explore nature in winter. We will look for animal tracks and sign down by the stream and the vernal pools, examine some twigs to try to identify trees in winter, and explore what will soon emerge from the buds.
     Please meet us in the back parking lot of the Golden Living Center on Emerson Gardens. Dress appropriately for the weather. Children are welcome with adults. Questions contact Sandra at 781 863-5385 or Sandra.ruggiero@comcast.net

 

Events in 2011

Trail Clearing at Arlington's Great Meadows - Friday Nov 11
     It turned out to be a beautiful day Friday, November 11, 2011 and nine of us met at Arlington Great Meadows from 10am to noon. We cut, sawed and hauled brush to clear and widen paths. A huge thank you to everyone who helped out. We hope to see you again at other FoAGM events.

Nature Walk Saturday October 15
     On Saturday, October 15th, there was a nature walk at Arlington's Great Meadows led by Don Miller of the Friends of AGM.    

    
  Many trees and other plants were be in their beautiful fall colors.  The view of the wetland from Lily Pond Boardwalk will be worth the whole walk.  And we'll see the newly-restored upland meadow known as "Entry Meadow", a major project of the past year. 
     We’ll see how plants are getting ready for winter, and how woody plants have gotten a head start on what they need to do next spring.  And we'll talk about tree bark -- what it does for trees and how it can help us to identify tree species when there are no leaves to guide us.   
     A few “late bloomers” will be still in flower, but most plants have gone to seed by now.  We’ll learn how plants have evolved at least four strategies to spread their seeds far and wide.   
     As always, we will keep our eyes and ears open for birds, insects, animals and any other aspects of nature we encounter.  If you have binoculars or a hand lens, do bring them.  
     There is no charge for this event, which is sponsored by the Friends of Arlington’s Great Meadows.  We suggest long pants, a hat for the sun, and a bottle of water.  We’ll have insect repellant with deet if you’d like some. 


Trail Clearing September 19
    
The Waldorf School seventh graders assisted by our steering committee members Sandra Ruggiero and Don Miller cleared the trail along the Lily Pond boardwalk on Monday 9/19.  Thanks to all who helped out.

Walk at Arlington's Great Meadow - Saturday, June 11
     Discover the wonderful tract of land, owned by Arlington but located in Lexington. Trails may be wet in places but waterproof boots are not required. Co-sponsored with Citizens for Lexington Conservation. Meet at the parking lot of the Waldorf School. 8:00-10:30AM. Chris Floyd.

Meadow Area Reseeding - May 4
      As part of the upland meadow restoration efforts, a portion of the area that was a honeysuckle thicket was raked out and reseeded.  The working group lead by John Bartenstein and Sarah Carrier met at 9:00 this morning with Sandra Ruggiero and twelve or so of her Waldorf High School students. After a short orientation, they spent about an hour and a half raking up sticks and leaves and digging out as much of the honeysuckle stumps, roots and other woody vegetation as feasible. They then raked up the soil with garden rakes to loosen it and a crew of students simultaneously spread the charcoal from the burned area. The students then sowed the seed mixes (mixed with light sand) as directed by Sarah, and finally we raked in the seed lightly. 
    The restoration area has been staked and circled with twine. A sign has been installed explaining what was done and asking people (and their dogs) to keep off.

Brush Burn at Arlington's Great Meadows - Saturday April 2
     On Saturday, April 2, ten to fifteen sturdy volunteers turned out to burn the piles of slash that remained from our meadow-clearing workday in October.  We had hoped to do this burn earlier in the year but were unable to do so because of the deep snow.  The day was organized into two shifts, one from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the second from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. 
     We began the day with an inch or two of fresh snow on the ground, but with a warm breeze most of the snow had melted by day’s end.  Thanks to the hard work of the morning crew, as well as that of three or four “walk-ons” who also pitched in, we had most of the dozen or so piles of slash burned by the time the afternoon crew arrived.  The afternoon crew made short work of the remaining piles, and we then tended down the fire for several hours until it finally had to be doused. 
     Thanks to all the volunteers, particularly the two or three who stayed until well past 5 p.m. carrying many buckets of water to make sure the fire was thoroughly extinguished. 

Woodcocks at Arlington's Great Meadow - Wednesday, April 6
The Menotomy Bird Club (http://www.mrines.com/menotomy/Trips.htm) is sponsoring a woodcock walk (or sit and listen) at Arlington's Great Meadow. Hard to find or see most of the year, this strange-looking bird and its courtship dance is one of the joys of spring. Moist forests and meadows are the usual habitat of the woodcock. Spring peepers, wood frogs, and even winnowing snipe may also be heard. The ground can be damp and cold, so dress warmly with appropriate footwear. Bring a flashlight, something to sit on, and your binoculars. Meet at the Sheila Road entrance to the Great Meadow. 7:00pm Cedar Stanistreet.

Firewood Benefit for Arlington's Great Meadows
     Have you benefited from Arlington’s Great Meadows? Walked the paths and boardwalks? Enjoyed the fresh air, woodlands and open meadows? Now enjoy an additional benefit that will also help benefit this great space. Since our meadow restoration work in October 2009, we have been diligently cleaning up the cleared trees and brush.  In January of 2010 the slash was burned. 
     As part of the cleanup, we have salvaged and cut a considerable amount of good, useable firewood. We are now offering this firewood to users and other friends of the Meadows to help benefit the Meadows and our continuing work. For a tax-deductible contribution to FoAGM of just $25, we invite you to take home a trunk load of firewood. The wood is primarily cherry, aspen, white birch and grey birch and medium in size. For further details and to arrange pickup, contact John Bartenstein by email at jcblex@verizon.net .

 

Events in 2010

Saturday October 23 - Upland Meadow Restoration Project  
        Nature cooperated for a banner volunteer work day at Arlington Great Meadows. On Sat. October 23rd, approximately sixty people of all ages turned out to remove woody growth in an upland area of the meadow. The event organized by Friends of Arlington's Great Meadows (FoAGM) was the result of years of planning with the goal of restoring several acres of meadow that were on the way of turning into woodlands. The meadow restoration will re-open a vista near the northwestern entrance off Bryant Road and enhance the diversity of plant and animal life.
        It was inspiring to see so many people engaged in the clearing. Starting at 8:30am until 3:30pm workers arrived by bus, car, bicycle and on foot, everyone eager to do their part. We were honored to host twenty high school seniors and their chaperones from Tulsa, OK who were in the area visiting colleges with http://www.explorecolleges.org/. The students jumped right in cutting, clearing, singing and learning about the area while they worked. Local area cub scouts; mainly Cub Scout Pack 306 (Pierce, Stratton, Bishop, Arlington school children), Daisy scouts, and their parents also joined in with great enthusiasm. A special thank-you to Bob Hausslein whose chainsaw skills greatly multiplied the amount of clearing that was accomplished. Members of Citizens for Lexington Conservation (CLC) joined citizens from Arlington and Lexington for the work day. Many walkers with and without dogs stopped to ask what was being done, and a few residents shared their delight in seeing the area restored to “how it looked ten years ago”.
      At one point there were 35 loppers in use, 15 hand saws, one chain saw, 6 weed wrenches, and many hands hauling. Most of what was cleared was staghorn sumac, buckthorn, japanese honeysuckle, grey birch, and quaking aspen. Hundreds of stems were cut down, hauled, and piled. Much of the buckthorn was pulled out by the roots using weed wrenches to prevent re-growth. The next phase of the project is to obtain a permit and safely burn the brush pile. The cleared area will need ongoing maintenance to suppress re-growth of woody vegetation. Volunteers from the day as well as passers-by indicated they would love to participate in future volunteer work days.
       A hearty thank you to everyone who helped make the day a great success.  Read more about the plan in the Audubon report.  Here is a previous article about the project from the Arlington Advocate.  Any questions can be directed to Mike Tabaczynski at mjt1@rcn.com or 781 929-8748Saturday October 16 @ 9:30 am - A Third Saturday Nature Walk  
     The last 3rd Saturday Nature Walk of 2010 at Arlington's Great Meadows will be this coming Saturday, October 16 . Meet us at 9:30am , as usual, in the west parking lot of Golden LivingCenter - Lexington, directions below . We’ll end about 11:30am or so.
     There will be PLENTY to see in Arlington’s Great Meadows. The fall colors will be beautiful, both in the woodlands and in the wetland. We’ll see how buds have already formed on the trees and shrubs for next spring. We’ll see that smooth sumac "hides" its buds (as do sycamore trees), but poison sumac does not. The composite flowers we saw last month are becoming seeds now, some with “fluff” to help the seeds fly off in the wind. We’ll speak of four kinds of seeds: fliers, hitchhikers, passengers, and shooters, and we’ll see plants of each type. We’ll see “stick-tights” in various stages of development, from flower heads to the aggravating "fruits" which cling to your clothes, and we’ll learn from which current political candidate they got their scientific name.
      As always, we will keep our eyes and ears open for birds, insects, animals and any other aspects of nature we encounter . If you have binoculars or a hand lens, do bring them. If you don’t, come anyway. It will be fun. There is no charge for this event, which is sponsored by the Friends of Arlington’s Great Meadows . We suggest long pants, a hat for the sun, and a bottle of water. We’ll have insect repellant with deet if you’d like some.
      Directions: Meet in the parking lot of the Golden LivingCenter--Lexington. 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 donaldbmiller@comcast.net, or 978-610-6298 . Note the new phone number.

Sunday June 6 @ 7:00 am - A Birding Walk Lead by Chris Floyd  
      
  Local birding enthusiast Chris Floyd will lead a walk at Arlington’s Great Meadows (in East Lexington) on Sunday morning, June 6, starting at 7:00am and ending between 9:00 and 9:30am. The subject of the walk is, “Breeding Birds of Arlington’s Great Meadows”.
        The event is aimed at adults and teens, for there will be a considerable amount of walking, all within AGM. Dogs are not welcome. There is no charge for this event.
        The group will identify birds by both sight and song. Highly recommended are binoculars, a water bottle, a hat for sun, long pants, and insect repellant. Participants will meet in the parking lot of Golden LivingCenter-Lexington.
         Directions: From Maple Street in Lexington, 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. Go to the far end of the parking lot. For information contact Don Miller at donaldbmiller@comcast.net, preferably, or 781-646-4965.

Saturday April 17 @ 9:30 am - A Third Saturday Nature Walk Report  
 
    "That was the best 'canceled' walk I've ever been on", one person said. I had to agree.
       At 9:30am this morning, eight people joined me at the trail head into Arlington's Great Meadows. Despite the sprinkles, cold, and lack of sun, we went on the "officially canceled, BUT..." nature walk.
       We walked across the entry meadow seeing "flowers that don't look like flowers", such as birch and aspen catkins, oak flowers, and others. Bear oak flowers come out of the same buds as new oak twigs with their tiny unfolding leaves. Together, they could be jewelry if made from longer-lasting stuff. New leaves of Wild Black Cherry and Glossy Buckthorn were reaching out, a bright shiny green. Glossy Buckthorn leaves point upward as they come out of the bud. When sunlight coming through them, they remind me of candle flames. (Not today, though.)
      As we got to Infinity Pond, we learned about the "courting" rituals of male wood frogs, which don't bother with introductory niceties, but get right to the purpose for which they left homes in the woods. The newly-fertilized frog eggs must hatch into tadpoles and develop into terrestrially-competent frogs before the vernal pool dries up. Otherwise, they die.
       Nearby, there are many three-foot-tall shrubs of the genus Amelanchier, known as Shad Bush, Service Berry, or June Berry, with white flowers, each with five thin petals. The shrubs flower in mid-April, when the shad run, and the services for colonists who died during the winter could be held, for the ground is no longer frozen. They produce their berries in June, which explains the third name.
       We proceeded up over the hill which burned in a wild fire two years ago this month, and has been coming back ever since. In pretty short order, we completed our one-hour walk in (oh my gosh) two hours. Half the group took me up on my offer to extend the walk, so the five of us (including the two women who had looked frozen the whole time) headed off for Peat Pond to see, among other things, hundreds of emerging Canada mayflower leaves, and a few, white-furry, cinnamon ferns beginning to unfurl at the water's edge. As the rain picked up, we decided to press on for Lily Pond along the boardwalk, stopping to be introduced to highbush blueberry, maleberry, buttonbush and others. The buttonbush buds are way behind the others, just beginning to lighten in color and swell a bit. In a month or two, every buttonbush will be covered with flowers and a variety of insects pollinating them. Come back then, for sure.
         We also saw light-tan woody stems of poison sumac, the buds not swelling yet, and a tall shrub of Amelanchier, this one 15' to 18' tall, with lots of flowers. Just above water level, tussock sedge hummocks have their new green shoots rising above last year's golden, falling blades, which I like to think of as their grass skirts. In among the green shoots are the reproductive stalks with male and female flowers evident, just beginning to grow to their mature height of two feet or so, well above the green shoots.
       We walked more quickly by a different trail, up the hill and through the woods, stopping to see a low branch of a black oak tree with its new flowers and leafy twigs just emerging. Back near the parking lot, three hours after we began, I offered a further extension of the walk -- to be "led by anyone besides me." No one took advantage of the offer. It was time to warm up and get dry.
      "Come back in May", I said. "The third Saturday, as always. There will be lots to see, even Pink Ladyslipper."  Don Miller reporting.
      Pictures by Jack Johnson at 
http://gallery.me.com/jack2bike#100142

Saturday April 24 @ 10:00 am - Butterfly Walk   
   
  Lexington butterfly enthusiast Tom Whelan will lead a walk to see spring butterflies at Arlington’s Great Meadows (located in East Lexington) on Saturday, April 24, starting at 10:00 am. A rain date of April 25 has been planned.
     People of all ages are welcome, and children must be accompanied by one of their parents. Sponsored by the Friends of Arlington’s Great Meadows, there is no charge for this event.
     Mr. Whelan said he expects to find two species of spring butterflies, Brown Elfin and Henry’s Elfin. These small, easily overlooked butterflies are found in many parts of the United States and Canada. Since these species overwinter in the chrysalis stage, their lives as adults begin early in the spring. We should also see Mourning Cloak and possibly Spring Azure butterflies. If time permits, additional insects will be sought at adjacent Infinity Pond, a certified vernal pool.
     The walk will meet in the parking lot at Golden LivingCenter–Lexington, 840 Emerson Gardens Road (off Maple Street) in East Lexington. The parking lot is on the right side of the facility, and drivers should park at the far end.
     Mr. Whelan suggests that participants sign up with him ahead of time, preferably by email (tom@whelanphoto.com) or at 781-863-1880. Those who sign up will be informed by Mr. Whelan if weather or other conditions require postponement of the event.

Garlic Mustard Season
     
Spring  is garlic mustard season - one of our least favorite invasive plants.  More information here.  But remembering the old saw that if you have too many lemons, make lemonade - here are recipes for making use of garlic mustard: 
 http://www.patapscoheritagegreenway.org/garlic07/index.html (Links to cooking tips and recipes on left side navigation.)
http://www.wildmanstevebrill.com/Plants.Folder/Garlic%20Mustard.html (Note the link to the recipes at the bottom of the page.)

 

Events in 2009

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 main speaker was Jeffrey Collins of the Massachusetts Audubon Society’s Ecological Extension Service. Collins is an expert in the ecological management of natural lands. The meeting was held on the ground floor of Follen Community Church, 755 Massachusetts Avenue, East Lexington, from 7:30 to 9:00 pm. The purpose of this meeting is to solicit public input for the development of a final plan this Fall.
     Arlington’s Great Meadows (AGM) is a 183-acre area of natural landscape owned by the Town of Arlington, but located in nearby East Lexington. The land was used by the Town of Arlington for its water supply over a century ago. About three-quarters of the area is wetland, but the rest is uplands which surround the wetland.
     In the past, much of the upland area was dry, open grasslands. Over the past 20 years or so, trees and shrubs have begun to grow aggressively in the grasslands. These upland areas will change into woodlands without human intervention. This means that many current inhabitants such as the American Woodcock will no longer have a home there. The proposed upland restoration areas at AGM are less than six acres total.
     The Mass Audubon report is entitled “Recommendations for Restoration of Meadows Habitat at Arlington’s Great Meadows, Final Report, May 14, 2009”. Copies were available at the July meeting and can be found here on the website. 
     Comments or questions can be submitted in person at the public meeting or sent to Mike Tabaczynski at mjt1@rcn.com or by sending them to 12 Essex Street, Lexington, MA 02421.

Saturday March 21 @ 9:30 am - A Third Saturday Nature Walk
Don Miller and Sandra Ruggiero will co-lead the walk. The theme will be "Setting the Stage for the Arrival of Spring".
- We will see some very early signs of spring in plant life and hopefully insect life.
- We'll talk about the buds which formed on woody plants last summer and learn why they did not freeze over the winter, and we'll learn how tiny markings on their twigs can tell us a lot about trees and shrubs.
- We'll look for animal tracks and sign, and look-and-listen for birds.
- We'll see a vernal pool and learn about the amazing things about to happen there -- and the crucial role that vernal pools play in the eco-system.
- And lots, LOTS more. AND we'll have fun with other people who love AGM and nature. 

Sunday February 1 @ 1:00 pm to about 3:30 pm - Animal Tracking Class

       Noted animal tracker Lydia Rogers held an outdoor class for adults and older teens interested in learning to track animals.  Although tracking conditions were not great, the weather was and over two dozen people showed up.  Joe Snodgrass posted a report on this walk at his Arlington Natural Connections Project website:  http://arlingtonnaturalconnections.blogspot.com/
Lydia Rogers has also provided a list of tracking resources.

Events in 2008

Saturday, October 18; 9:30 to 11:30 am:  Signs of Fall at AGM
 This is to remind you that our next "3rd Saturday Nature Walk" will be on Saturday Oct 18. Meet us at 9:30am, as usual, in the nursing home parking lot, directions below. We’ll end about 11:30am.
 Location: Meet in the parking lot of the Golden LivingCenter-Lexington. 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 donaldbmiller@comcast.net, 781-646-4965.     

Sunday, October 5; 1:00 to 3:00 pm:  Minuteman Bikeway Celebration
 Bikers - Stop at our information table at the entrance to AGM off the bikeway behind the Waldorf School and learn more about this place.  More information about this event at www.minutemanbikeway.org

Monday, October 13; 10:00 am to Noon:  JKW Control Activities
     Celebrate Columbus Day by dealing with foreign invasives.  After nearly four years, we are pleased to report that a large segment of Japanese Knotweed (JKW) which FoAGM has been working to eradicate in our test plot along the Minuteman Bikeway is finally showing signs of succumbing. We have attacked this portion of JKW by cutting it down periodically during the growing season in an effort to interrupt its growing cycle. The JKW plants in this area have become weak enough that many can now be uprooted by hand.
     To capitalize on this development, we are planning a “pulling party” on Columbus Day, Monday, October 13, from 10-12 A.M. Our goal is to remove as much of the weakened JKW from the test area as possible, but we need your help. We will meet at 10 a.m. at the JKW test plot along the north side of the bikeway between the Brandon Street entrance and the Waldorf School playing fields. Parking is available at the end of Brandon Street. Bring work shoes, work gloves, and a (reasonably) strong back.  For more information or to let us know that you are coming contact John Bartenstein jcblex@verizon.net
     More information about the FoAGM JKW project can be found here.

Saturday, July 19; 9:30 to 11:30 am:  Signs of the Season - July
     This is to remind you that this Saturday is July 19th – time once again for our "3rd Saturday Nature Walk" series.  Meet us at 9:30am in the nursing home parking lot, directions below.
     There is PLENTY to see in AGM now.  At the Lily Pond Boardwalk, we’ll see swamp milkweed in flower (beautiful); highbush blueberry and male berry past flowering, but developing their fruit; sweet gale (a relative of bayberry);  several kinds of ferns, including marsh fern; and LOTS more.  We’ll see, but not touch, poison sumac.  Along the way, we’ll see “enchanters’ nightshade” and the diminutive but beautiful “orange grass”, a yellow-flowered plant that is definitely not a grass.  Wild indigo is widespread and in flower in the drier parts of Arlington’s Great Meadows, its flowers not blue, but yellow. And lots more.
      We are likely to hear the song of the song sparrow, and we’ll learn the English translation of what it is singing – it’s bound to help you recognize it in the future. (Hint: It has to do with “maids”.)  And no doubt we’ll see and hear a number of other species of birds.
      At the latter part of the walk, if you still have energy, we’ll visit the forest-fire area.  You’ll be blown away by what is happening there – even if you saw it last month.  It gets greener every week, and is now quite amazing.  Life does, indeed, go on. 
      Come and have a great time -- especially if you bring a cold bottle of water. 
Location: Meet in the parking lot of the Golden LivingCenter-Lexington. 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
donaldbmiller@comcast.net, 781-646-4965.
      PS:  Children are welcome if they are accompanied by at least one of their parents. 

Photographs of Arlington’s Great Meadows by Harvey Coté.
Arlington Town Hall, 730 Massachusetts Avenue, second floor gallery.
April 7 through June 30, 2008.  Hours:  MW 8am – 4pm, Th 8am – 7pm, F 8am – noon.

Saturday May 31, 9-12 am - Japanese Knotweed Control
     Hands-on experience in controlling JKW.  For information on how to help out contact Mike Tabaczynski at mjt1@rcn.com   
See the Knotweed Project page for more news and info.

New England Wildflower Society Walk - May 21
Leader: Roland "Boot" Boutwell.  Contact NEWFS to register.
http://www.newfs.org/learn/catalog/fdt1087

Fire at AGM on April 23 
Nine acres of upland forest near the nursing home were scorched by a fire on April 23.  Read the Lexington Minuteman article: http://www.wickedlocal.com/lexington/news/x1041578027

Saturday, April 19; 9:30am to Noon:  “Signs of Spring at AGM”
Come join us as we look for signs of spring in Arlington’s Great Meadows.  We’ll look especially at plants and what they are doing to get ready for their favorite time of the year.  We’ll see lots of buds that are opening and identify many species of trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants.  We’ll learn what twigs have to tell us, if we know how to “read” them.

Saturday, May 17; 9:30am to Noon:  “Signs of Spring, Part Two”
Join us to see how our plants have changed by the middle of May.  Most leaves will have emerged from their buds and be soaking up the sun, so we’ll identify many plants by their leaves, and some by their flowers.  We’ll look at dry upland areas and lower wetland areas. 

Friday, March 21, 7 to 8 pm  - Woodcocks at the Meadows
    
Join the Friends of Arlington Great Meadows for a woodcock walk. Nearly invisible for most of the year, this wonderful bird and its courtship dance are one of the joys of spring. Spring peepers, other frogs, toads and snipe might also be heard. Binoculars, scopes, a flashlight and a portable beach chair would be useful. Dress warmly and be prepared for wet ground.
Meet promptly in the south (right side) parking lot behind the Golden Living Center, off Bryant Street. Andrea Golden leader.  Rain Date - Friday March 28.

Events in 2007

Photographic Essay of the October 20, 2007 Nature Walk
     Even if you weren't there you can catch some of the highlights of this walk in our graphic report

Saturday, October 20, 9 to 11 am - Naturalist Led Nature Walk
     Naturalist Boot Boutwell will lead a walk to see the nature of Arlington's Great Meadow in autumn. Adults and accompanied children are welcome. Meet in the rear of the parking lot of the Golden Living Center nursing home, formerly East Village Rehab & Nursing Center. (off Maple St. onto Emerson Gardens Road). Sponsored by Friends of Arlington’s Great Meadow. Walk Leader: Boot Boutwell. For information contact donaldbmiller@comcast.net

Sunday, October 14, 1 to 3 pm - Mushroom Walk
     Harvard mycologist, Dr. Donald Pfister, will lead a walk to teach about fungi. This walk is for adults and older teens, not for children. Dr. Pfister says that October is the best month to look at fungi and that one can tell a lot about a piece of land by the fungi that are present. Meet in the rear of the parking lot of the Golden Living Center nursing home, formerly East Village Rehab & Nursing Center. (off Maple St. onto Emerson Gardens Road), Sponsored by Friends of Arlington’s Great Meadow. Walk Leader: Dr. Donald Pfister, donaldbmiller@comcast.net

Sunday, April 1, 7:30 PM - Woodcock Walk
     Join us for a woodcock "walk" at Arlington's Great Meadows. Nearly invisible for most of the year, this wonderful bird and its courtship dance are one of the joys of spring. Spring peepers, other frogs, toads and snipe might also be heard. Binoculars, scopes, a flashlight and a portable beach chair would be useful. Dress warmly, and be prepared for wet ground. Meet promptly at 7:30 in the parking lot behind the East Village Nursing Home, off of Bryant Street. Leader: Andrea Golden (781-646-3941)

Sunday, January 28 - Winter Tracking Walk at AGM
Here's the walk report:  Seven of us headed out on Sunday, Jan. 28th in search of animal tracks.  A slight dusting of snow had covered up the tracks I had found on my scouting mission the previous day,  but left us with some fresh imprints to decipher.  Domestic canines were abundant and we quickly learned to look for the X in their symmetrical track and the circuitous wandering path an animal that doesn’t have to conserve energy (i.e. because his dinner is served to him) might make.   Next we found the knobby, slightly duck footed tracks of grey squirrels.  We saw that the rabbits’ tracks, by contrast, tend to be parallel.  Some small rodents had ventured across a snowy patch leaving their adorable miniature scrawl as evidence.  A weasel had also left its sign, some twisted scat and fur from a kill, on a fallen log.   We followed two huge sets of bird prints down the little stream.  Just when we decided they had to be geese due to their size, we came upon the ducks that made them.  The afternoon’s finds ended with a mystery track beside the brook at the orchard lane bridge.  Our best guess on this was a mink based on its starry shape and waterside location.  The numerous discoveries of the day, even with less than optimum tracking conditions, reminded me that we share this land with a diversity of silent, seldom seen creatures whose presence often goes unnoticed until we learn to read their stories from the signs they leave behind.

Monday, January 22, 7:00 to 9:00PM - Arlington Land Trust Annual Meeting
 Join us for the Annual Meeting of the Arlington Land Trust at the Robbins Library. 
Guest Speaker Katherine Abbott will talk about  "Campaigning for Public Parks: A Personal and Professional Journey"
     Katherine Abbott is the director of the Conservation and Recreation Campaign, housed at the Trust for Public Land in Boston. The campaign is working to increase annual funding for the operations and maintenance of parks and public lands.
     The campaign's aim is to broaden the constituency for the parks, and to educate and encourage the legislature to increase public spending for them. Abbott was formerly the commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, and the president and CEO of the Island Alliance. 
Robbins Library Community Room, 700 Massachusetts Avenue, Arlington. Massachusetts

Events in 2006

Sunday October 15, 1:30-4:00PM - Fall Walk at AGM
     Join us for a fall walk around AGM. We'll follow the route outlined in the "Guide to Arlington's Great Meadows", available from the CLC website, and look for seasonal changes in the landscape. Bring field guides, binoculars and cameras. Meet in the parking lot behind the East Village Nursing Home, off of Bryant Street. Co-sponsored by Friends of Arlington¹s Great Meadows.  Leader: Andrea Golden (781-646-3941)

Saturday September 30, 8:30-12:30 - Trail Trimming
     If you've visited Great Meadows recently, you probably noticed that with two unusually wet growing seasons in a row, the trails have become overgrown in places. Help remedy this on Saturday, September 30. No previous experience necessary, tools and instruction will be provided. Please respond to Mike at mjt1@rcn.com or 781-929-8748 to get the starting location. Please remember that freelance trimming or cutting of any plants or trees on your own is illegal on public property like Great Meadows without the permission of the land manager.

Saturday September 23, 8:30-12:30 - Mini Boardwalk Construction
     Help build two new short boardwalks over a muddy trail section in Great Meadows this Saturday September 23, 8:30am - 12:30. This is a relatively easy task, as the lumber is very near the site and doesn't need to be moved any distance. No experience necessary. I need just a few helpers, and student community service opportunities are very limited. Please respond to Mike at mjt1@rcn.com or 781-929-8748 to get the starting location.

Saturday, July 15, 8:30am to 3:00pm - Munroe Brook Bridge Construction
Strong bodies are needed to help FoAGM and CLC erect a 25' bridge across Munroe Brook between AGM and the Orchard Land conservation land.  If interested, contact Mike Tabaczynski at mjt1@rcn.com   Here are pictures of the project before, during and after construction <Orchard Lane Bridge>.

Saturday, June 17, 10am-noon - Plants of Arlington’s Great Meadows
Join Mass Audubon naturalist and author Hilary Hopkins in an exploration of wetlands, woods and meadows. Hilary is a plant enthusiast and will help us identify and be amazed by what we find. She’ll tell stories and lore about plants and other wildlife. You’ll never look at a dandelion the same way! Hilary will also bring along a field microscope, because you never know what wonderful little creatures we might find. Be prepared to get your feet wet or at least mucky.  Her book "Never Say It's Just a Dandelion" can be found at:  http://www.geocities.com/amcwalks/authors.html

Saturday, June 10, 7:30-10:30am - Birds in Arlington’s Great Meadows
Chris Floyd's bird walk was well attended by about 16-18 birders who hadn't been able to get out and bird much for a couple of weeks. Everyone was thrilled to see the sun, and lots of birds, too. Chris' list included 36 species, including black-billed cuckoo, alder & willow flycatchers, orchard oriole, and warbling & red eyed vireos.

Sunday, June 11, 1:00-4:00pm - Biodiversity Day Survey at Arlington’s Great Meadows
We had a good outing in the afternoon to Infinity Pond, with a side trip to look at plants and insects.  It also looks like something is eating the Purple Loosestrife.

Friday, April 14 7:30-8:30pm - Woodcock Walk at Arlington’s Great Meadow
Join us for a woodcock "walk" at Arlington’s Great Meadows. Nearly invisible for most of the
year, this wonderful bird and its courtship dance are one of the joys of spring. Spring peepers,
other frogs, toads and snipe might also be heard. Binoculars, scopes, a flashlight and a portable
beach chair would be useful. Dress warmly, and be prepared for wet ground. Meet promptly at
7:30 in the parking lot behind the East Village Nursing Home, off of Bryant Street.
Leaders: Andrea Golden (781-646-3941), Sandra Ruggiero

January 18, Wednesday, 7:30 PM  -  The Role of Trees in the Urban Forest - Peter del Tredici, Senior Research Scientist at the renowned Arnold Arboretum, has a broad interest in urban ecology, botany and horticulture. Also a lecturer at Harvard's Graduate School of Design, his focus is to bridge the gap between botany and horticulture. This provocative speaker will prove how our street trees, often taken for granted, make the human landscape more livable.  At the Lexington Cary Library.  Flyer for tree lecture series.

Events in 2005

September 12 through January 3, "Into the Meadows" - A photographic exhibit of Arlington's Great Meadows by Harvey Coté.  Tsongas Gallery, Walden Pond State Reservation, 915 Walden Street (Rt 126), Concord MA.  Call 978-369-3254 for gallery days and hours.

December 3, Saturday 9:00 - 11:30 AM - A Winter Walk
Keith Ohmart will lead a walk along the Lower Vine Brook from North Street to Hayes Lane. Keith will discuss the importance of this greenbelt corridor throughout the seasons based upon his experiences from his many walks over the years along this route. Please bring binoculars if you have them. Meet at Hayes Lane and Grant Street. For further information, contact Keith at 781-862-6216.

November 5, Saturday, 10-12 AM - Plant Walk.  Not many leaves on the trees and shrubs? It's not a problem identifying them, using other characteristics. Join us at Arlington Great Meadows, where the focus will be on plant identification and natural history.  We will meet at the parking lot behind the East Village Nursing Home.

October 30, Sunday 7:30-10:30 AM - AGM/Arlington Res, Bird walk with Chris Floyd.  (Note: daylight savings time ends the night before.)  Join Chris Floyd to view autumn bird life at the Arlington Reservoir and adjoining areas of Lexington. Meet Chris at the playground off South Rindge Avenue in Lexington (parking on the playground side of the street). We'll observe the reservoir with scopes, then circle through the Cataldo Reservation, Busa Farm, Minuteman Bikeway, and the eastern edge of the Great Meadows. Wear comfortable, water-resistant boots/shoes. This walk is co-sponsored by the FoAGM, CLC and the Menotomy Bird Club. Leader: Chris Floyd (chrisf@mitre.org; 781-862-2841)

October 22, Saturday, All Day - Dunback Meadow boardwalk construction.  Please join the Lexington Bicycle Advisory Committee and Lexington Conservation Stewards as they continue their boardwalk construction project in the Dunback Meadow conservation area. Meet at the trailhead near the playground behind the Bowman School in Lexington, anytime Saturday October 15th between 8:30 and 4. The Bowman School can be reached via Philip Road or Worthen Road East, both of which intersect one-way Rockville Ave at the school. Bring work gloves, a hammer, and drinking water. Some poison ivy may be present. Lunch and instruction will be provided. Students interested in community service, please email mjt1@rcn.com to pre-register.  

October 23, Saturday, 1:00-3:00 PM -  Trail talk and walk.  A field talk at Arlington's Great Meadows by local trail crew leader Mike Tabaczynski. Learn about trail design and construction and other land management issues such as invasive plant control, visitor experience, and habitat restoration and maintenance. We will take a short walk over easy terrain to view and discuss past and future work on wetlands protection and erosion control, including the new boardwalks. Meet in the parking lot behind the Waldorf School, 739 Mass Ave, East Lexington. The Waldorf School is behind the East Lexington Branch Library and the Follen Church,. Contact Mike Tabaczynski with any questions mjt1@rcn.com or 781-861-1537

October 1, Saturday - East Village Fair. Come visit our table at the fair in East Lexington.

September 24-25, Saturday & Sunday:  Boardwalk construction, 8:30 am to 4:00 pm each day (and a Free Lunch)  
     Please join the Friends of Arlington's Great Meadows on National Public Lands Day weekend for a day or two of fun and accomplishment constructing a new boardwalk.  We will be working both Saturday September 24th and Sunday September 25th , 8:30am to 4pm to build our longest boardwalk ever at 448 feet Meet in the East Village nursing home rear parking lot, 840 Emerson Gardens Rd (corner of Bryant Rd), Lexington. Bring a hammer, work gloves, drinking water, and dress for wet conditions.  Lunch and instruction will be provided.   
     Contact Mike Tabaczynski with any questions mjt1@rcn.com or 781-861-1537See also the website:  www.FoAGM.org
     Students interested in community service, please contact Mike via email to pre-register. For information about National Public Lands Day, visit
www.npld.com.
     See the
info page for much more about this project.  There was also an article about the July construction of the first section of the boardwalk in the local paper.

September 24, Saturday, Arlington Town Day - We'll have AGM information at the Arlington Land Trust booth.  Come by and visit.

September 29, Thursday, 7:30 PM  - Steering Committee Meeting
     Planning for our upcoming activities.  Anyone interested in helping out is welcome. Contact David White at dwhite@gilbertwhite.com or 781-642-2879 for the location.

Saturday July 23  - Boardwalk Construction
     We received a state grant of $11,316 for construction of a boardwalk along some of the current wetland trails.  No municipal funds will be needed.  See the info page for much more about this project. 
    
See article in the local paper:  http://www2.townonline.com/lexington/artsLifestyle/view.bg?articleid=294088

June 23, Thursday, 6:00 to 8:00 PM - Edible Plants Walk
     Meet in parking lot behind Waldorf School, 739 Mass. Ave, Lexington Waldorf School is just west of Pleasant Street and Wilson Farm. The school is behind the East Lexington Branch Library and the Follen Church. 

Plant expert, wild foods enthusiast and Arlington resident Russ Cohen will lead us on an edible plant walk at Arlington’s Great Meadows. The walk will begin at Peepers Pond, adjacent to the Waldorf School, and continue into Arlington’s Great Meadows. Footgear for marshy areas is desirable, especially if it has rained recently. Insect repellent is strongly recommended. We will probably have an opportunity to taste some wild plants. 

Russ is in his 32nd year of teaching courses about wild edibles. During the "off-season", he writes articles on foraging and gives slide presentations featuring many of his favorite edible wild plants and mushrooms found in New England. Russ' foraging book, "Wild Plants I Have Known. . .and Eaten" came out last year. Visit his website for more info about his relationship with wild plants: http://users.rcn.com/eatwild/bio.htm  

June 11, Saturday, 9:30 to 12:30 - Biodiversity Day Infinity Pond Drop In
Infinity Pond is one of two vernal ponds located in Arlington’s Great Meadows. In honor of the 2005 "Biodiversity Days", FoAGM and CLC sponsored an "Open House" at the pond on June 11th.

The day was hot, and a shady pond was a good spot to spend a Saturday morning. About 20 children and adults attended the event. Everyone had a net or kitchen strainer to sample the pond life. Every dip seemed to bring up at least one tadpole. Bullfrogs, Green frogs, Spring peepers and American toads are all represented in the tadpole population at the pond. Insect larvae, including dragonfly and damselfly larvae were also common catches.

For more information:  http://www.maccweb.org/biodiversity_days.html  Co-sponsored by Friends of Arlington’s Great Meadows, Citizens for Lexington Conservation and the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions.

Saturday, May 14, 8:30 - 12:00 AM - Japanese Knotweed Control Project
Friends of Arlington's Great Meadows will be holding a volunteer workday to continue efforts to control Japanese Knotweed along the bikeway to provide a more diverse habitat and re-open the view of the meadows. Depending on weather and participation, we may also do some garlic mustard control and trash collection, and maybe even remove an engine block.

Meet behind the Waldorf School on Mass Ave in East Lexington. Bring gloves and drinking water. Some poison ivy may be present. We will work rain or shine. For more information contact Mike Tabaczynski at mjt1@rcn.com.  Students seeking community service must contact Mike at that address to preregister.

Wednesday, April 27, 7:30 - 9:30 PM - General Spring Meeting
At the Waldorf School in East Lexington at 739 Massachusetts Ave. just west of Pleasant Street and Wilson Farm.  The school is behind the East Lexington Branch Library and the Follen Church.  We will be meeting in the ground floor room at the back of the building.
      Arlington’s Great Meadows is adjacent to the bikeway in East Lexington and is the largest area of open space in either Arlington or Lexington, but is owned by the Town of Arlington.  The Friends of Arlington’s Great Meadows (FoAGM) are dedicated to preserving this natural open space.  

Anyone interested in Arlington’s Great Meadows is welcome to attend.  Refreshments will be provided.  Email for more info to:  Info@FoAGM.org  

March 5, 9:00 to 10:30 - Early Signs of Spring in Arlington’s Great Meadows
     Join us for an intriguing look at deciduous trees and shrubs in winter.
This guided nature walk will cover identification of some trees and shrubs in winter by looking at their shape, bark, and twigs.  We will also keep our eyes and ears open for insect and bird activity that tells us spring is approaching. Bring shoes for snow or mud, curiosity, and a hand lens if you have one.
Meet at the back of the parking lot of East Village Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, 840 Emerson Gardens Road, Lexington.  The nursing center is at the end of Bryant Street, off Summer, east of Maple. Rain date is Saturday, March 21.
Leaders:  Laurel Carpenter and Don Miller. Questions: Contact Laurel at lcarp@rcn.com or Don at 781-646-4965

Lexington Reads
     “Lexington Reads” is a reading project aiming to cultivate the culture of reading and discussion in Lexington by bringing our diverse town together around one great book and important ideas. The goal of “Lexington Reads” is to have people who live, work, or attend school in Lexington read the same book at the same time to create a kind of town-wide book club. Harvard Professor and Naturalist E.O. Wilson’s book “The Future of Life” has been chosen as the book for this year.  Up to date info about the LexReads program can be found at:  http://ci.lexington.ma.us/lexreads/

February 13  - Winter Tracking Report
     Last Sunday (2/13/05) brought the perfect conditions for our FoAGM animal tracking walk, 48 hours after a snowfall and warm enough weather to soften the it so that it captured good prints.  Lydia Rogers from Walden Keeping Track led 13 people to Infinity Pond in the Great Meadows.  Right beside the parking lot, however, before we even got into the Meadows, we found both the galloping pattern of the cottontail rabbit and the alternating, surprisingly small track of the grey fox that walks way up on his toes.  Both predator and prey were already accounted for.  Our next lesson was in distinguishing domestic dog from wild canines.  Both contain the characteristic X in their track, but the trail of the domestic dog weaves and wanders about while those of the wild ones are an energy-saving beeline.   For our next treat, we saw where a crow with its knobby feet had landed in the snow with an outstretched wing.  The half melted subterranean passageways of the voles revealed the network they create under the snow.  Just past the pond we picked up raccoon prints with dexterous, deceiving toes and the star-like tracks of the mink.  We followed them down to the open stream where we also found the bounding pattern of fisher and the slightly duck-footed hopping of the grey squirrel.  It was a rewarding walk and several of us lingered on for a couple extra hours, reluctant to leave as we tried to read the stories of our nighttime visitors to Arlington’s Great Meadows.  Thank you to Lydia and Walden Keeping Track for a great day.  More information on animal tracking and Walden Keeping Track may be obtained by contacting Bart DeWolf at Bdewolf@Alum.Mit.edu.  (Report by Sandra Ruggiero, 2/20/05.)

Events in 2004

Monday, Dec 6 at 7:00 PM  -  ALT Annual Meeting
     Arlington Fox Library Community Room, 175 Massachusetts Avenue, East Arlington.
     Keynote Speaker:
          Russ Cohen
          Environmentalist and Wild Foods Enthusiast
          Rivers Advocate, Massachusetts Riverways Program
          "Finding Edible Plants in Unlikely Places"

Saturday, October 23, 8 to 11 AM
      Join Chris Floyd to view autumn bird life at the Arlington Reservoir, the Cataldo Reservation, and the Great Meadow. Meet Chris in the parking lot off Drake Road (just west of Trader Joes) in Arlington Heights, observe the reservoir with scopes, then circle through the Cataldo Reservation, Busa Farm, along the Minuteman Bikeway, and the eastern edge of the Great Meadow. Wear comfortable, water-resistant boots/shoes. This walk is co-sponsored by the Friends of Arlington’s Great Meadows in Lexington and the Menotomy Bird Club.  Leader: Chris Floyd (781-862-2841)Owl/Kestrel Houses
    
Two Owl/Kestrel houses built by Waldorf School shop students have been installed by FoAGM volunteers.  See one here.

Signs Installed by Eagle Scouts
    
During my frequent and sometimes lengthy visits to Arlington's Great Meadows with maps, GPS, and camera in hand, people often ask me questions, the most common by far being "What is this place?" Well, thanks to the hard work of Lexington Boy Scout Alex MacNeil, no Great Meadows visitor will need to ask that question again. With help from his friends, Alex recently completed his Eagle Scout project of installing two large signs reading "Arlington's Great Meadows" near the most popular entrances, and about a dozen posts reading "AGM" at the other entrances.
     Stay tuned for future Eagle Scout projects in Great Meadows. With minimal supervision from FoAGM, guidance from troop leader Skip Irving, materials donated by Friend Lumber, and pizza "fuel" supplied by his mother, Alex's sign project was done at no cost to FoAGM or the towns of Arlington or Lexington. It's an impressive example of how a diverse collection of civic minded folks can work together to make a small change that identifies the largest natural open space in Lexington and Arlington as public land that the communities care about.
       Mike Tabaczynski, 8/8/04.

Swamp Milkweed Restoration
    
We (FoAGM) have permission from Lex. Conservation to plant a small number of swamp milkweed plants at Arlington's Great Meadows. Once a common plant at AGM, I have found only 2 surviving plants, the rest have been crowded out by purple loosestrife. I collected seeds from the swamp milkweed plants last year, and they are now growing nicely and almost ready to plant at AGM.
    I cleared 2 small plots for swamp milkweed seedlings. Both are near the 2 surviving swamp milkweed plants. The plots have well established patches of purple loosestrife, and boy, that stuff is hard to dig out. The roots form a dense mat, and there are thick, woody rhizomes connecting the stalks. I cleared a few square feet, but I could definitely use a little help. Just an hour would be great, the total area to be cleared will only be about 25-30 square feet.
Let me know if you are willing to help with this. You'll need: garden gloves, long pants, bug repellent, shovel, garden clippers (optional).  Thanks in advance for any time you might have, Andrea Golden at andgold@comcast.net

Saturday, October 2, 10 AM - 3 PM
FoAGM will have a booth at the 165th Annual (Lexington) East Village Fair, held on the lawn area between Waldorf School, the East Lexington Library, and Follen Church .  

Sunday, October 3, 8 AM
Laurel will lead a nature walk with a focus on fruits, nuts and seeds.  “Fall is a peak time to observe berries, fruits, nuts and seeds.  Fruits serve as protection for seeds as well as effective means for dispersal.  Join us for a walk to look at the structures of different fruits and the ways they have evolved to attract animals, spill or eject ripe seeds, or stick to passers-by.”  Meet behind the Waldorf School at 8:00 AM.

August 1, Sunday, 8:00-10:00 AM: Plant & Insect Walk
Highlights of the walk included two species of ambush bugs hiding in flowers, a lacewing larvae covered with aphid carcasses, adult green lacewings, spiders, leaf hoppers, ants protecting their aphid colonies, a variety of small beetles and butterflies, geometrids [inchworms], galls, and dragonfly exuvia (discarded exoskeletons left behind by molting adults emerging from their nymph stage).  Another interesting aspect of the walk was comparison of the variety of insects captured by sweeping the net through different types of grassy habitats.  There are some pictures too!

June 12, Saturday, 7:30-10:30 AM: Breeding Birds at Arlington’s Great Meadow
Now that the rush of migration has passed, it’s time to turn our attention to breeding birds. We will explore Arlington’s Great Meadow (in Lexington), where breeders may include Blue-winged warbler, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Orchard Oriole, and both cuckoo species. Meet at the entrance to the Great Meadow that is behind the Waldorf School, 793 Mass Avenue, Lexington.  Chris Floyd

May 22, Saturday, 9-12:  Invasive Plant Control
We will be doing some maintenance in Arlington's Great Meadows this Saturday May 22 between 9am and noon. Volunteer help is welcome. Work is expected to include trail closures, invasive plant control, and the planting of over 100 trees. Good student community service opportunity. Meet behind the Waldorf School on Mass Ave, rain or shine. Bring work gloves and water.  For more information contact Mike Tabaczynski at mjt1@rcn.com.

May 1, Saturday, 9-12:  Invasive Plant Control
Location to be determined.  Likely targets are garlic mustard and multiflora rose.

May 15, Saturday, 9-12:  Invasive Plant Control
Primary targets are garlic mustard and multiflora rose. Meet at the AGM/Bryant St. parking lot.  For more information contact Andrea Golden at andgold@comcast.net or 781-646-3941.

April 28, Wednesday: Woodcock Walk 
Join us for our annual woodcock walks at Arlington’s Great Meadows. Nearly invisible for most of the year, this wonderful bird and its courtship dance are one of the joys of spring. Moist forests and meadows, such as those at AGM, are the required habitat of the woodcock, and we will discuss some of the reasons why before venturing out into the meadow to look for woodcocks. Spring peepers, wood frogs, toads and sometimes winnowing snipe can also be heard.  Binoculars and scopes are useful, particularly if we have a full moon. Dress warmly, woodcock “walks” are mostly woodcock “watches”. A portable beach chair might be useful, and the ground may be wet. Walk will begin at twilight, 7:15 pm. Meet at the AGM/Bryant St. parking lot.  Contact Andrea Golden at andgold@comcast.net or 781-646-3941 for more information.

April 27, Tuesday, 8:00 PM: Arlington's Great Meadows: A Photographer's View
Arlington Historical Society, 7 Jason Street, Arlington, MA.
For over 25 years, Arlington resident and photographer Harvey Coté has been admiring and capturing the ambiance, seasonal changes and ecology of this natural open space situated in Lexington but owned by the Town of Arlington. Mr. Coté says he will continue to photograph his favorite place "until I get it right." He will share his own experiences, observations and knowledge by offering a narration illustrated with large photographs from the early 1970s to the present.
More details are at:  http://www.arlingtonhistorical.org/events/greatmeadow.php

April 24, Saturday, 9-12:  Invasive Plant Control
Meet in the parking lot behind the East Village Nursing Home off Maple Street.  Primary foci are garlic mustard and trash.

April 10, Saturday, 9-12:  Invasive Plant Control
Meet behind the Waldorf School on Mass Ave.  Primary target is garlic mustard.  More info on invasive plants.

April 3, Saturday  - Woodcock Walk 
Join us for our annual woodcock walks at Arlington’s Great Meadows. Nearly invisible for most of the year, this wonderful bird and its courtship dance are one of the joys of spring. Moist forests and meadows, such as those at AGM, are the required habitat of the woodcock, and we will discuss some of the reasons why before venturing out into the meadow to look for woodcocks. Spring peepers, wood frogs, toads and sometimes winnowing snipe can also be heard.
Binoculars and scopes are useful, particularly if we have a full moon. Dress warmly, woodcock “walks” are mostly woodcock “watches”. A portable beach chair might be useful, and the ground may be wet. Walk will begin at twilight, 6:15 pm sharp. Meet at the AGM/Bryant St. parking lot.  Contact Andrea Golden at andgold@comcast.net or 781-646-3941 for more information.

Sunday February 8 at 10:00 AM - Tracking Arlington’s Great Meadows
    
We had a very successful tracking walk this morning. There were thirteen people total.
Although sunny, it was bitterly cold with strong winds. The ground was covered with frozen snow which had actually preserved animal tracks from a day or so earlier.  We saw tracks for squirrel, rabbit, raccoon, grey (or red?) fox and fisher.  And many many dogs and humans.
 The tracking walk was led by members of Walden Keeping Track.    

Tuesday, January 27 at 7:30 PM - Eco-tracking:  signs and tracks of animals in our midst
    
Dave Brown presented an evening program on animal tracking on January 27th at 7:30 at the Waldorf School.  This is jointly sponsored by the Friends of Arlington’s Great Meadows and Walden Keeping Track.  This program is designed to help participants learn to identify the tracks and other sign of wild animals in natural areas ranging from our backyards to the wilderness.  Because these animals flee from us and hide in the night or in foliage, we are usually unaware of their presence.  In the past two decades many so-called “wilderness species” have been insinuating themselves back into their ancestral habitats and are living among us largely undetected.  Although these animals are difficult to observe directly, they leave behind signs that can be found and used to determine their presence. 

Dave is a lifelong naturalist, birder, and teacher.  Beside interpretive programs such as this one, he does wildlife inventories and outdoor interpreter training.  His extensive experience has offered him many opportunities to take the slides and videotapes some of which he will be showing in this program.  In addition he has created Trackards and Companion Guide, a resource that many trackers have come to value and rely on. 

Come treat yourself to a delightful evening of the sights and stories of our natural world while also hearing about the work that Walden Keeping Track and Friends of Arlington’s Great Meadows are doing.  The program will be held in a room at the back of the Waldorf Elementary School, so easiest access is at the rear of the school.  Any questions may be directed to sandra.ruggiero@comcast.net.  

Events in 2003

Arlington Advocate and Lexington Minuteman Publish Articles about AGM  
     Article about Waldorf High School students tutoring elementary Brackett School students about Arlington's Great Meadows and vernal pools.  
Article about the fiscal sponsorship relationship with the Arlington Land Trust

Monday, November 17 :  Arlington Land Trust Annual Meeting
     The Arlington Land Trust which has recently become the Fiscal Sponsor of FoAGM is having their annual meeting in the Robbins Library Community Room.  All FoAGM'ers are welcome.  

November 11 :  Arlington Girl Scouts Visit AGM
     Arlington Girl Scouts from six troops joined their leaders for a walk at Arlington's Great Meadows on Tuesday Nov. 11. The girls were from sixth grade troops 1009 and 1022, seventh grade troop 1046, and eighth grade troops 1017, 1045, and 1023.
The route taken by the girls is detailed in the "Great Meadows Tour Guide", adapted by High School students at the Waldorf School.

Saturday, November 1, 12:00-2:00: More Trails Day
      
I know I said last Saturday was the last maintenance day of the year, but I'm thinking it would be nice to spend 2 or 3 hours putting a few finishing touches on the work we accomplished, probably plant some more trees, install a few check dams, maybe erect some sign posts. If you were thinking of helping CLC at the Cataldo land that day (off Bow Street, 9:00-11:30am Saturday Nov 1), go right ahead. I'll be there also and will head over to Great Meadows afterward. It's about a half mile away.
      Meet Saturday Nov 1 at 12 noon in the parking lot next to the soccer field behind the Waldorf School, 739 Mass Ave, East Lexington, behind the branch library near Pleasant St/routes 4 & 225. If you arrive late, you can find us working in the area across the bikeway from the soccer field. Tools will be provided, and as always, student community service hours are available. Snow or heavy rain cancels.
      Contact Mike Tabaczynski with any questions before the workday at 781-861-1537 or mjt1@rcn.com, or 781-929-8748 on the workday.

Puddle Stompers Adventures for Young Children
     Now accepting registrations for the upcoming Fall session. Classes for ages 2-7 start the week of Sept. 8 and take place at Arlington's Great Meadows, Mt Gilboa, the land around the Reservoir, and Menotomy Rocks Park. Sessions involve active exploration, a light snack, crafts, and songs. Fall topics will touch on insects, migrating birds, oak trees, chipmunks, and much more. A portion of the proceeds from the Puddlestompers classes will go into a trust fund for Arlington conservation lands. Visit www.puddlestompers.com for registration information or call (781) 449-0776 or email info@puddlestompers.com.

Sunday, October 26, 9:30-12:00:  Fall Nature Walk 
     We can expect a colorful landscape plus fall wildflowers, birds and insects (but hopefully no mosquitoes!) for our fall walks at Arlington's Great Meadows. There is no specific focus for these walks, other than the interests of participating walkers. We'll stop to look at things of interest as they turn up. Binoculars, magnifiers, field guides, and perhaps a camera would be useful items to bring along. Wet spots on the trail are a possibility, so please wear shoes you don't mind getting wet.
     A copy of the "Guide to the Great Meadows" is available at the Citizens for Lexington Conservation website,   http://www.lexingtonma.org/clc/pdfFiles.htm .
     Meet at the East Village Nursing Home parking lot at 9:30 AM, we'll plan to return there around 12:00.  Any questions contact Andrea Golden at andgold@comcast.net
If you would like to help organize a walk also contact Andrea Golden.  

Saturday, October 18, 8:30-12:00: Trails Day
      
Help at our first organized trail maintenance day at AGM.  We will be closing some redundant trails, rerouting and securing an eroded trail, trimming brush to better define some trails, and possibly more if enough people show up. Bring gloves, water, and sturdy shoes. Tools and lunch will be provided. Student community service hours available.  Please pass this message along to anyone you know who might be interested. 
     Meet in the parking lot behind the Waldorf School, 739 Mass Ave, East Lexington, behind the branch library near Pleasant St/routes 4 & 225.  If you arrive late, you can find us working in the area across the bikeway from the soccer field.  Contact Mike Tabaczynski with any questions before the workday at 781-861-1537 or mjt1@rcn.com, or 781-929-8748 on the workday. Thanks

Saturday, September 27, 9:30-12:00:  Nature Walk  
     We can expect a colorful landscape plus fall wildflowers, birds and insects (but hopefully no mosquitoes!) for our fall walks at Arlington's Great Meadows. There is no specific focus for these walks, other than the interests of participating walkers. We'll stop to look at things of interest as they turn up. Binoculars, magnifiers, field guides, and perhaps a camera would be useful items to bring along. Wet spots on the trail are a possibility, so please wear shoes you don't mind getting wet.

Wednesday, September 17, 7:30-9:30 PM:  Steering Committee 
All invited.  Meeting is in the basement conference room at East Village Nursing Home (enter via the side basement door). 

Sunday, June 29: Birds & Bugs at The Great Meadows
Sponsored by the Menotomy Bird Club.  The breeding season is well underway, and the birds of Great Meadows are varied and beautiful. But when was the last time you looked at the insects around you? Join naturalist Andrea Golden and invertebrate zoologist Maria Aliberti to discover the birds, butterflies, and dragonflies of Arlington Great Meadows. Meet in back parking lot of East Village Nursing Home at the very end of  Bryant Road (off Lowell Street) in Lexington. Bring waterproof footwear, insect field guides, and nets if you have them. 9:00AM.-noon.

Saturday, June 14: Breeders at The Great Meadows
Sponsored by the Menotomy Bird Club.  The breeding birds of The Great Meadows are varied and intriguing. Willow Flycatchers, Blue-winged Warblers, and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks are regular breeders, and both species of cuckoo are possible. Meet in back of the Waldorf School on Mass Avenue in Lexington. Bring waterproof footwear. 7:30-10:30AM. Chris Floyd.

May 31, Saturday, 7:30-10:30 AM: Great Meadow in Lexington
Sponsored by CLC and FoAGM. Discover the wonderful tract of land, owned by Arlington but located in Lexington. Trails may be wet in places but waterproof boots are not required. Don't forget your binoculars and other optical equipment! Meet at the parking lot of the Waldorf School. Chris Floyd

May 24 Saturday, 9:30-12:30 -  Nature Walk
Join amateur botanists Betty Wright and Andrea Golden for a walk around Arlington's Great Meadows. We'll walk through the meadows, uplands, and pond edges to look at spring wildflowers, trees and grasses. Bring field guides and a pocket magnifier if you have them.
Wear shoes that you won't mind getting wet.  

May 10 and May 17 (Saturdays), 9-12 - Invasive Plants Work Days
Black Swallowwort -
We will be pulling out black swallowwort.   Sturdy gloves are essential.  This shrubby plant is an irritant and can cause skin reactions.  Garden clippers and loppers may also be helpful.   

April 19, Saturday, 9-12  - Invasive Plants Work Day & Cleanup
A general litter and trash cleanup of Arlington's Great Meadows in conjunction with a garlic mustard pull.  We'd like to have plenty of volunteers present so both jobs can get done thoroughly and efficiently.  For pulling up garlic mustard no special tools are needed; the plants simply get pulled out of the ground.  Do bring gloves.  Also, you'll probably be sitting or kneeling on the ground so you might want to bring something to sit on.   

April 22, Tuesday, 7:30 PM  - General Meeting, Anniversary Party and Earth Day
A Party!  Bring munchies to share.  Also bring photos, pictures, drawings for display.   We will look back on the first year and forward to the next one.  At the Waldorf School at 7:30 PM.  

April 16, Wednesday - Woodcock Walk 
The evening woodcock display is a thrilling experience. Most of it goes on after dark, but there is a window of time when you can watch it fly. The sounds are the real experience (find out more on the link above). 

March 15, Saturday - Tracking in the Great Meadows 
Lead by Kevin Harding who is a high school teacher at Concord Carlisle and a long time
tracker. He is also a member of the Walden Keeping Track group which monitors wildlife in the Concord area.
Conditions for tracking were ideal. A few inches of snow had fallen two days earlier, and temperatures remained cool enough to preserve footprints and other traces in the fresh snow.
Animal tracks included coyote, rabbits, chipmunks, mice, fisher, and weasel.  Characteristic patterns of each type of animal track were noted, as well as information about the habits, physical appearance, lifestyle of each animal..
For instance, coyotes and other wild animals will walk in a straight line and minimize their steps to save energy, while dogs will wander widely and show a relatively erratic pattern of footprints.
Fisher tracks often follow a path around trees in hopes of discovering prey on the other side. A feeding site for rabbits included not only footprints but rabbit pellets and small branches that had been gnawed and stripped of bark.
Pictures:  Rabbit dining spot, Kevin & mouse tracks, Coyote tracks.
Our sincere thanks to Kevin for an outstanding walk!

February 25 - Winter Meeting:  
A general meeting was held at the Waldorf School.  There were presentations made on vernal pools and invasive plants.  Infinity Pond shown above is a vernal pool in AGM.  For more about vernal pools visit www.VernalPool.org

The agenda for the Friends of Arlington's Great Meadows focuses on three main areas:  educational activities, natural resource management, and conservation/legal issues.

Advocate Letter (3/6/03)

Events in 2002

Just for the Birds, Fall Migration at Great Meadows - Sunday, September 29
Lead by local birder Karsten Hartel.

Infinity Pond and Beyond - Sunday, June 23
Focus on aquatic life at Infinity Pond.

Great Meadows Cleanup - Saturday, June 22, 9 am - noon. 
A featured event will be the removal of some old car engines.  Heavy lifting involved.  For more information or to volunteer contact Mike Tabaczynski at mjt1@rcn.com  

Birds in Arlington's Great Meadow in Lexington - Saturday, June 8, 8 to 11am 
Meet at the parking lot of the Waldorf School, 793 Mass. Ave, Lexington, near the intersection with Routes 4 and 225. Trails may be wet in places. Don't forget your binoculars and other optical equipment!  Leader - Chris Floyd, 781-862-2841.  A CLC sponsored event. 

Biodiversity Days - Sunday, June 2, 2 to 4 pm. 
Meet at the parking lot of the Waldorf School, 793 Mass. Ave, Lexington.  
- This years' walk will be an introduction to the flora and fauna of Great Meadows, children are welcome. We'll try to cover most of Great Meadows, a trip down to the pond to look at aquatic life, and a walk through the meadow and woods to look at the characteristic plants of each area. Also, we'll take a brief look at the insects one can find in the grass, trees, and shrubs. Bring field guides, insect repellent, and shoes you don't mind getting wet.
- More information about Biodiversity Days at: http://data.massgis.state.ma.us/Biodiversity/BiodiversityDays.htm

The Boston Globe ran an article about our planned activities in December 2002.

The Arlington Advocate ran an article about the kickoff meeting.

Globe Article (12/1/02)

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