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Archive for the ‘Waltham Land Trust’ Category

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Members of the Waltham Committee organized an event titled, “Weeding out Fencing” in partnership with the Waltham Land Trust (WLT). Our prior project with the has already been documented and we have continued to pursue furthering our connections with WLT.

Sonja Wadman, Program Director at WLT presented in great detail the work of the organization. The mission of WLT is to create a legacy of land conservation. One of the drives that has been organized by the WLT has been the weeding out of Bittersweet vines in the local community. As an invasive species, it grows and spreads quickly, produce large quantities of easily dispersed seeds, and reproduce vegetatively, all traits that make controlling them a difficult task. These are harmful to the local vegetation, suffocates them as it reproduces and thrives.

While the idea of scouting for the vines was tempting, it was too late in the season. Instead Sonja displayed wreaths already made from vines  We hope to be involved in making wreaths late summer-early Fall next year.

Sonja presented the vast array of work that she and WLT are involved in. She works with community members, organizations, government agencies (city officials), neighborhood groups to mobilize change. Currently and really on the day of the event, WLT was petitioning the city officials to save Arrigo Farm which is the oldest farm in Waltham. Since the 1630’s it has been run by three families. With the passing of the last son of Placido Arrigo, John Arrigo in 2011, the farm has not been functioning. Developers have offered the 9 heirs a large sum of money to construct 19 homes.

The WLT is gathering signature to petition the City Council to acquire the farm using Community Preservation Act funds, and  lease the land as farmland. In effect the WLT is preserving the open space and historic nature of the property and surrounding land.

Sonja called upon Waltham Committee members to join WLT in this petition so that together we could participate in preserving a local agricultural farm, honor the history of farm working families and generate produce for the present and future inhabitants of Waltham. Scholars at WSRC signed on the petition in support of WLT’s work and to “save Arrigo farm.” The petition read “as Scholars at WSRC, we support retaining this site which is of cultural significance to the Waltham community and its collective memory.  We join other members of the Waltham community to demonstrate the power of preservation to contribute to the public good.”

An update from Sonja: “The public hearing of the Community Preservation Committee was fantastic! A dozen folks spoke, including several neighbors who learned about the project only because we canvassed their neighborhood; they were horrified. Two of the heirs spoke. Many people started tearing up at the lectern. It was rather emotional…Finally, they voted, I think unanimously, to approve the project and recommend acquisition to the City Council”

More details to follow. Stay tuned!

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A walk organized by members of the Waltham Committee and led by Sonja Wadman of the Waltham Land Trust exposed us to the many facets of local environmentalism and activism. Sonja took us to the paved trail path (which is easy to walk on and wheel chair accessible) on River Road. At the point of entry was the splendid Silver Maple – the oldest in Waltham stood majestic and presented a most welcoming sight. Onto a footbridge over the Charles River backwaters – was dedicated to Mary Early an activist to work in South Waltham.  For the Scholars, this was a treat to learn about women activists who have been recognized locally for the difference they make in their community. The vistas along the bridge and beyond were breathtaking. The unusually warm day was encouraging as we made our way to the serene pathways marked by the Department of Conservation and Recreation. At one point Sonja gently chided a visitor on picking Bittersweet vines that choke local foliage. In a previous post we have talked about the activities the land trust is involved in removing these parasitic vines from the area. Continuing on our path the Blue Heron bridge was a suspension bridge that did not cease to awe us with its shape, construction and the arches framing the sky as if it were.As a community partner the Waltham Land Trust has led us to newer avenues of being engaged locally.

Note of thanks

 

Donations collected from Scholars during the walk will go towards supporting the following: Land Preservation, Outreach and Education, Western Greenway development and literature and maps on local open spaces.

We hope to remain connected to the Land Trust and organize further activities to support this worthy initiative.

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Sonja Wadman

Sonja Wadman, an environmentalist and Program Director at the Waltham Land Trust  met with the members of the Waltham Committee at the WSRC.  Committee member Rajashree Ghosh met Sonja at the Waltham Day celebrations and invited her to the Center so we could learn from her more about her work.

Sonja informed us that the Land Trust comprises residents of Waltham whose mission is to acquire, preserve or restore land. It has worked closely with the city administration to acquire and protect 115 acres of open space, promoted conservation on 335 acres and intervened development efforts on 200 acres.

In addition the Land Trust also plans educational, recreational and social events that include trail clean ups, lectures, walks etc.

Bittersweet vines that have been pulled and twisted

At the time of our meeting Sonja introduced the Committee members to an invasive Oriental creeper called Bittersweet. This creeper flourishes and suffocates local foliage. Sonja is leading a campaign to “pull and twist” the vines and tie up into concentric circles that will go into building a nature viewing blind. The nature blind,  will screen Western Greenway Trail walkers and others who enjoy this peaceful spot in the woods. This will be installed in the trails in Shady Pond area. Some of the Committee members were thrilled to participate in this activity.

With our interests peaked we learned from Sonja organizes walks that not only provide opportunity to educate about the environment but also about activists who contributed in their own ways in protecting the open spaces in Waltham.

With that in mind we hope to organize a walk in Waltham that will open our eyes to the local resources – human and environmental. The Waltham Committee members are thankful to Sonja for presenting the work of the Waltham Land Trust, and we hope we are able to partner with them in the near future.

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