MONDAY 7/6/09
Orientation
Overall, Orientation was a success. The campers were quiet and respectful when they arrived and active listeners with all our presenters and speakers. Ellen presented a slide show which greatly piqued their interest in the Silver Maple forest, causing the campers to want to see the Forest that week (we went in on Friday). The two ice breaker games worked well, as on Wednesday I quizzed the kids on each others' names and we had a very high percentage of them remembering. By Friday, they all remembered each others' names.
The campers were asked a series of discussion questions throughout the day, to which they were very responsive. They were asked why they were interested in this camp, what they liked to do outdoors, what was their top environmental concern, who was their "environmental hero". The campers and I also had a discussion about urban ecology: what it is and what are the issues related to urban ecology. The campers spoke about health, pollution, crime, their neighborhoods, and issues in Cambridge they were concerned about like trash and not having enough greenspace.
The campers were very receptive to learning about the rules and have since been good about following them. On Friday we reevaluated the dress code and some were becoming lax with following the dress code. They have been very good about the no cell phones, the pants and closed toed shoes, lunch time and office behavior.
Representative Brownsberger came in to speak with our campers and Louisa had many questions for him, about Cambridge and about labor rights.
The campers enjoyed going over the packet contents, learning more about the schedule and future activities. The liked getting their own personal journals for future writing activities. The campers' favorite part of the day was Ellen's Reservation walk. The campers were tired of sitting inside and listening to speakers, and were glad to be walking outside and seeing the reservation. They enjoyed the pole game and trying to figure out the directions of north, south, east, and west. For many, it was their first time on the reservation.
WEDNESDAY 7/8/09
On Wednesday, everyone came in on time and sat quietly in the conference room. They had their first journal activity and were asked "How does your environment affect you daily? How do you use your environment on a daily basis." After they finished, the campers got their boots and all needed supplies and we walked to the reservation. When we arrived, David Lefcourt was there waiting for us. David brought in a tree pruning truck and mulching truck; The campers were excited to see these large machines. The campers got to watch professionals in the apple picker prune larger trees and recycle the dead wood for mulch to be used the city of Cambridge. Before the professionals started, we had to wait for the GreenSense group to show from the DPW. While we were waiting, we circled up, repeated names and discussed the morning's journaling question. Almost everyone participated, talking about how they use air, water, soil, greenspace everyday and how things like pollution can affect their health. We talked about trees and run-off, and the benefits of trees.
GreenSense showed up and the dead wood recycling/pruning of a honeylocust began. After that, David spoke to the two groups about his job as the City Arborist for Cambridge and about different tree species and their benefits. He spoke about why we prune trees and why we use mulch. He then showed all the campers how to prune a tree, and pointed out the collar and shelf of the branches. I then split the groups up into pairs and teams of three: some were in charge of mulching and others in charge of pruning. In all, the campers pruned, mulched, and aerated close to 25 trees. When we finished, all the campers talked about how much they enjoyed that job, being able to do some physical work and learn about the trees.
During lunch time, we all sat together at the picnic benches. After they finished eating, I asked them different questions pertaining to what they had done that morning and about the different facts and numbers David had given them. The campers impressed me with their memory skills, spitting back the correct information.
After lunch we met Russ Cohen for the edible plant walk. First, he took us to his car and gave the kids berries and fruit leather to eat. They could not stop eating!!! They really liked it and even Alray, who wouldn't try anything at first, eventually gave in and liked the fruit leather. Russ walked us along the smaller trail near the garage and Wyeth, stopping every 10 feet or so to point out different plants (fruits, flowers, trees, grasses) and tell the kids about them. Russ knew the names, what parts of the plants were edible, when they are ripe for eating, and what types of foods he makes with them. The campers were able to try all sorts of berries, leaves, flowers, and even some crabapples. We also found a plant whose juices can be used on poison ivy to ease the itching. Kyle collected a bunch of these plants to take home. During our walk we saw a snake, two bunnies, and a swan. The campers were very good about trying everything and being participants, following Russ' directions to pick certain plants and which parts to actually eat. After Russ' walk was over, we went back to our main site and cleaned up all the supplies. We were able to store all the tools and boots in the two porto-potties. Then we walked back to the office and talked about what the campers needed for Friday and where to meet.
I found both of our consultants to be extremely prepared and thorough in their teaching and knowledge. I would definitely recommend both of them as consultants for future camp years, as would the campers.

FRIDAY 7/10/09
We met at the office. All the campers came in a few minutes early to complete their time sheets for Daniel. The campers also wrote in their journals, answering the question "What are your two worst environmental habits? Why do you do them? What can you do to change them?"
This question was somewhat challenging for the campers because it required them to think deeply and critically about themselves. Not to say they think they are perfect, but a few did not think they had any bad habits just because they recycle. We talked about things like taking long showers, eating meat, driving instead of walking, leaving lights and appliances on when not needed, and drinking bottled water. The campers started seeing that it is easy to have bad habits and not realize they are bad because they are not ACTIVELY trying to harm the environment.
After journaling and cleaning up, we walked to the reservation to meet Renee Toll-Dubois. Between the two of us, we had three pole saws plus all the loppers. Renee was great! She showed them how to use the loppers more correctly and how to use the pole saws, She gave each camper a turn with the pole saw during the demonstration. She also asked them lots of questions about trees and was impressed by their knowledge. The campers really impressed me as well, both with their willingness to participate and their remembering of what David had taught them on Wednesday. Together, the group cut a dead limb from a tree, and Renee called it a "textbook" cut. She was really impressed! We saved the piece from the perfect cut for the office. After each camper had learned how to use the pole saw, we split the campers into three groups led by myself, Renee, and Jake. The campers worked the rest of the time on cutting dead limbs from trees with the pole saws. We got some more "textbook cuts". After Renee left, we took a walk down the road and tried going through the short-cut. Then we walked further down the road and went into the Silver Maple Forest. The campers were excited to be explorers and were actively looking for any signs of wildlife. Next was time for lunch and then back to the office to work on the Wiki project. I split the campers into four teams; I would take one team at a time into the main office to go over the Wiki space from last year and my website. I explained the different components and what we could upload onto the site. While the other teams were waiting for the demonstration, they wrote summaries of the week's activities, wrote what they learned, questions they had asked, they interviewed each other, and made outlines for the Wiki. When we had completed this, we got together and watched the Biodiversity film, then had a discussion about the film and the meaning of Biodiversity. Next we had a group meeting about the rules and the dress code, because I wanted to reemphasize the proper gear they should be wearing. Next we played a team building activity, "Two truths and a lie" for 10 minutes. Then it was time for the campers to clean-up the office and go home.
Things I am really focusing on so they do not become a problem: proper clothes for our on the reservation and quiet, respectful office behavior. Also, making sure the campers are spending the majority of the time outdoors working and learning. The campers have learned the most with "on-the-job" learning.
Renee was very prepared and knowledgeable. The campers responded to her very well and really participated in answering her questions. I would recommend her for future camps.

Monday: 7/13/09
Campers answered the Journal Question:
What are the different resources (energy) used to power your home? What is energy efficiency? What are three ways to conserve water in your home? What are three ways to conserve electricity in your home?
Heather Buckner, our volunteer from Tufts, arrived and introduced herself.
Jason Taylor of HEET arrived and began the presentation in the conference room.
Created WIKI
http://farsummerecologycamp09.wikispaces.com/
•Wiki name: FARSummerEcologyCamp09
Jason’s presentation
•How to properly dispose of a broken CFL, especially in an emergency
•Outside on the ladders: how to replace a lightbulb
•Practiced speech to parents about changing lights in their own homes and saving both money and electricity
•Jason gave out packages of CFLs to some of the campers as prizes for answering questions correctly
•Worksheets
•“Carbon Cutter’s Kit” Table of Contents
•11 Ways to Save Electricity
•Example of an electric bill
•“Electricity Bill Comparison” worksheet
•Parent/Kid Contract
•Letter to Parents
•Safety Sheet
•Carbon Cutter’s Invoice
•What You Have to Do and List of Materials
Safety talk with the campers (important reminders)
•Walking or biking on roads and sidewalks
•Stinging nettles
•Sunblock
•Hat
•Long sleeves
•Sunglasses
•Water and food
•Bug spray
•Office Behavior Talk
•First full reservation walk- made it to the whole end
Photos of everything we saw; stopped every 30 feet or so to look around,, observe, talk about what we saw, and discuss different wildlife and plant issues
•What we saw
•Poisonous berries
•Red raspberries
•Wasp nest
•Bird’s nest
•Large toad
•Spider
•Bees
•Cat tails
•Beetles
•Inch worm
•Skunk hole
•Umbrella birch


Wednesday 7/15/09
Campers answered Journal Entry:
There are many different people and positions involved in making environmental regulations. Put these in order of who you think is the most influential:
-scientists/ecologists
-the government
-lawyers
-schools
-non-profits
-you
Why did you put them in that order? Who are we forgetting?
Kites with Don McCasland
•Campers made kites downstairs in the lobby. Don walked them through the steps of making the kites and explained the different pieces of the kites and what their function was; Then we went to Danehy Park to fly the kites. Took LOTS of photos.
•Campers flew their homemade kites and flew some of the kites Don brought. Had a group discussion comparing and contrasting kites, parasailing, and hang gliding.
Back to office and labeled points on the map based on the last two weeks out on the reservation. Campers placed labels on the map. Discussed why we are labeling this map and the different topics we are pinpointing
•Group discussion about wind energy, Cape Wind, preservation. Discussed morning journal question. Discussed Monday’s journal question.
Went to reservation and split into two groups
•One group went to the shortcut and marked a trail through to the main trail so when Ale comes, we can create that trail.
•The other group continued the mulching and pruning of trees throughout the meadow and near the stream. We also picked flowers for the office vase.
•Sighting of 3 different deer and 1 Pheasant/Grouse; campers extremely excited and we took lots of photos
Attended photo show opening
Email from Ale, Ale to be coming all day, August 3rd.
•I will likely be doing some indoor as well as outdoor presentations regarding designing sustainable trails, maps, maintaining existing trails, the permitting process, trail signage, how to best work with dcr on trail projects ( based on my experience with the friends of the blue hills, volunteers, sca and amc crews. I will also bring all of my trail tools as well as pictures of trail projects that have worked in wet areas such as those found at alewife.

Friday 7/17/09
Campers answered Journal Entry Question about the deer:
Describe the deer: their appearance and their behavior. How did they get there? What were your reactions? What are their habits? What are they looking for in the Reservation?
•Group discussion, campers shared their thoughts and descriptions about the deer; later to be used in the Wiki
Walked to the Reservation to do invasive species removal with Ingeborg Heggemann
•Ingeborg gave an introduction, talking about her work with wetlands, what we would be doing for the day, and how to use the tools properly to get the invasive species out
•Campers removed purpleloose strife, multifloral rose, Concord grape vine, buckthorn
•Dug up the roots of the invasive plants and pruned some back
•Collected all the invasive species into trash bags to be hauled away
•Group discussion about why we removed those invasive species, the difference between bogs, marshes, and swamps, what we will be doing next week with Ingeborg
•We will do more invasive species removal and learn about bugs, toads, and salamanders
•Found a baby turtle
Organized tools and bags in the porto potties
Campers wrote down how many bulbs they needed for their homes: Jason is having them donated by CEA
Wiki Project (see kid’s writings attached and below)
Jake prepared the computers for use
Campers broke into 4 groups and wrote reflections and summaries of the daily activities; interviewed each other for direct quotes; chose categories and a design for the Wiki: what subject matters, pictures, quotes, facts, songs lyrics.
•Campers wrote about the discussions we have had, their journal entries, the wildlife they have seen
•See attached sheet for some examples; the other groups’ writings are on the other computer
•Campers have pages of wiki written in their journals to be transferred to the computers
Examples of Wiki writings:
Wednesday (last week)
“Wednesday we went to the meadow and did some pruning of dead branches. People took mulch made from the dead branches to put around the trees we pruned. We went on an edible plant walk and at some berries and talked about the Asian long-horned beetle. We found a plant that cures poison ivy. We found carrot weed, a plant that smelled like pineapple, Bishopsweed, garlic mustard, and a giant hogweed. We saw a swan, a snake, a rabbit, a fish, and birds.” –Denesia, Alray, and Charlie
The Deer
“I didn’t see the deer too close up, but I think the deer was cautious about his surroundings because once people got a good distance away, it ran and hopped away. I think the deer might have been looking for food or just walking around. I think deers eat grass. It could have been looking for a good amount of food or trying to find someone or people took their space so they were pushed into the reservation. I think the reservation is and isn’t a good place for the deer. It is because there’s lots of grass and water. It isn’t because people go through there and scare them.”-Denesia
“The deer had no horns so it was probably a female. She acted very scared and it was always trying to get away from us. It was trying to hide and hide in the tall grass which it also ate. They probably came in from local towns that have more forest. I think it’s a safe place for them when they’re inside the reservation, but when they try to cross the roads surrounding the reservation, it’s kind of dangerous because they run the risk of getting hit by a car or truck!” –Elijah
Monday 7/20/09
Campers arrived and worked on journal question: Pretend you are the mayor of Cambridge and you have just received an unlimited budget to spend on tackling environmental issues. Which three issues are you going to tackle? How would you solve them? Lay out your exact plan, step by step, for meeting these challenges. Think about who you need to contact or get to support you.
Walked to reservation and picked up the tools; walked to the back trail that goes behind Cambridge Park Drive and Dodge; walked the whole trail doing trail maintenance in the overgrown areas and discovered three or four short-cut paths that can be worked on during a later date
•SAW A RED FOX
Met with Ingeborg Heggemann
•Ingeborg brought maps of what the reservation looked like 100 years ago and in the 1970s. She discussed how the reservation has changed, specifically the route of Little River and the placements of the buildings and parking lots.
•We walked over to Muskrat Marsh and looked for the galarucella beetle on the purple loosestrife. Ingeborg explained to the campers that these beetles had been released by the DCR as a natural way of getting rid of the purple loosestrife. The beetles eat the plant and each year, the plant grows back at a shorter height than the year before. Ingeborg showed the campers photos of the beetle and asked them to try and locate them on the remaining plants in the marsh. Denesia found two! Kyle and Charlie then measured nine of the plants to take an average of the plant heights. Next year, Ingeborg will return and re-measure the heights to determine the effects of the beetle presence. Next, the campers picked remaining inch tall loosestrife and loaded the remaining invasive species-filled bags inton Ingeborg’s car.
•Next Ingeborg took us on our first guided tour of the silver maple forest. She showed us what is believed to be the “Mother Tree” of the forest, the tree that was present during construction back in the 1970s. The campers were amazed that such a forest and so many silver maples grew in only 40 years. She also took us to the original bed/ditch of the Little River and showed us how the ground has reformed since the construction site was there. She is going to send us aerial maps to check out for further detailing of the history of Alewife Reservation.
•Ingeborg also showed us “man-made” marshes/wetlands and we looked for the presence of other purple loosestrife with the galarucella beetle. We found that in one area, the beetle had made a significant difference in eradicating the invasive species.
•We finished the day with a discussion on the history of the reservation.

Wednesday, 7/22/09
I wrote a schedule for Jake and Janet for Wednesday, a step-by-step schedule:
1. You should come in between 8:30 and 8:40
2. Write the journal question on the White Board and put the journals and pens on the table
Journal Question: Think and write about the history and importance of Alewife Reservation. What have we learned about its history, its resources, the plants, wildlife, and people involved? What kind of work have we been doing? Why is this work important or how is it helping the reservation?
3. Campers meet at Office at 9:00am
4. Campers should go into the conference room and work on their journals (Tell the campers on Friday, their journal question will be to write two questions for themselves about the reservation that they will solve by the end of the summer They should start thinking about a deep, critical question they have.)
5. Have them sign in on the sign-in sheet. Slip it under the FAR office door (the locked door) after everyone has signed in
6. Have them fill out their time sheets. Place the filled-out time sheets in the manila folder and place the folder in the FAR Mailbox near the very front door of suite 304 (our suite)
David: should only fill out Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday
Kevin: should only fill out Wednesday and Friday (and Tuesday if he went to the training)
Charlie will be absent Wednesday; his is already filled out
Everyone else: MTWF should add up to 20 hours
7. About 9:30, make sure campers have water and breakfast bars and all their belongings; make sure they take their easels with them
Head over to the reservation to meet Janet Hobbs (if raining, do in lobby downstairs)
8. Janet will do nature art and take them to the photo show; when heading over to the photo show, have the kids bring the loppers and scythes for use on the back trail shortcuts
9. Campers must have lunches with them to eat at the reservation; DO NOT let them leave; if they need to use the bathroom, they can use the potties or wait until the photo show and use the restrooms there.
10. If there is afternoon time, take them to the back trail and split into three groups; clear the shortcuts
Split into three groups: 1) David, Alray, Louisa, Ike; 2) Brian, Denesia, Richard, Darren; 3) Elijah, Kevin, James, Kyle
12. Please type up a summary of the day’s activities: include details from the day such as specifics about the campers, their activities, challenges, successes. Anything good like questions and what you discussed.
Campers answered Journal Question: Think and write about the history and importance ofAlewife Reservation. What have we learned about its history, its resources, the plants, wildlife, and people involved? What kind of work have we been doing? Why is this work important or how is it helping the reservation?
Campers worked on their journal writings and were told that on Friday, their journal question would be to write two questions for themselves about the reservation that they will solve by the end of the summer, they should start thinking about a deep, critical question they have.
Campers met with Janet Hobbs for a session of nature art.
•Janet asked them first to use colored pencils and crayons to draw flowers, then taught them how to use watercolors to create a landscape painting.
•After lunch, the campers went to the photo show and met Brooke Mohnkern, one of the three photographers. Brooke spoke to them about light and perspective.

Friday 7/24/09
Met with Matt Wilson to go over the water quality testing kits and make sure we a) knew the directions and b) had everything we needed
Wrote the journal question on the board: 1) Please summarize Wednesday’s activities in detail. What types of nature art techniques did you learn? Describe the photo show. 2) Write two critical thinking questions about the reservation that you will be able to answer throughout camp through careful observations, research, critical thinking, and questioning.
John Francis arrived and introduced himself to the campers; he handed out “Be a Climate Hero: Climate Tips from the City of Cambridge” booklets
Jason Taylor arrived and gave the campers their fluorescent lightbulbs; the campers need to bring back the incandescents. This program is being sponsored by the CEA
Matt Wilson introduced himself and gave a short presentation; he handed out watershed maps and went over the terminology used in water testing, as well as the types of equipment needed. Matt also spoke about dry vs. wet testing and how our testing would be considered “wet” due to the high volumes of current rain.
•Walked over to the reservation and split the campers into four groups. The campers noted the higher levels of the water due to the rain. Matt pointed out that the sediment and nitrate tests may be higher because of runoff into the rivers from the rain. Each group had a scribe to fill out the “Water Quality Monitoring Data Sheet”. The campers used the kits and followed Matt’s directions to start a series of tests. Overall, the plan was to conduct 9 different tests at three different sites, the sites being the Little River Canoe Launch, the Little River Bike Path, and Yeates Pond.
•The tests included: pH, dissolved oxygen, biochemical oxygen demand, temperature, turbidity, nitrate, phosphate, coliform bacteria, and color/odor. The Coliform bacteria test takes 48 hours and the biochemical oxygen test demand takes five days, but all the rest took minutes. The campers learned how to collect a water sample using the water collector pole and how to read the millimeter signs on the test tubes. Matt spoke to them about the different tests we were conducting, why we were testing for the nitrates and phosphates, and levels of oxygen. Every single camper took part in the testing process and were calling out the noticeable color changes and fizzing in the water after they had added the testing pills. Our discussions were based on making connections to professional water testing and we plan on looking at the MRWA’s website and test results on Monday when we work on the Wiki.
•Matt also took us to the Alewife Brook CSO and explained what a CSO is and about the floodplain nature of the Alewife Reservation. He went into its history, back to the 1800s when tanneries and other trades were polluting and dumping the waters until it became undrinkable. He mentioned how our drinking water is not as local as it could be. When we finished, Matt gave a closing presentation about why we are testing the water quality around real time and comparing it to years past testing. He spoke about how he and other volunteers test once a month at the Mystic River.
I led a closing discussion with the campers to discuss the journal question and critical thinking questions (see below); handed out the light bulbs; Campers added 10 new stickers to our map for our different sightings and projects.
Campers developed some critical thinking questions:
•Is Alewife Reservation home to the rare flower, the pink lady slipper?
•Is Alewife Reservation getting more healthy or less healthythan the past?
•How large was the Silver Maple Forest before construction?
•How will our trail maintenance and projects change the habitat of the reservation?
•What new earth-saving tips or skills will we learn?
•How are wasps nests formed?
•How long can trees survive in the reservation?

Monday 7/27/09
Today went really well with John Francis and better yet, the campers had a very successful afternoon with the Wiki. Their writing, details, and observations have certainly progressed and we also were able to start uploading photos and create an outline. You can check it out at http://farsummerecologycamp09.wikispaces.com/ .
Title:
Who?
Where?
Terms, New Words, Definitions
What did we do?
What did we see?
Name two specific things you learned and describe.
Connect what we did to the reservation; Why was it important? How can your new knowledge help protect the reservation? Did this project leave you with any lingering questions that you want answered?
John Francis gave an introduction and spoke about the different types of energy sources that are used to make electricity for people's use. He discussed which types are best for the environment (solar, wind, geothermal, hydrpgen gas) and which are more harmful (fossil fuels). He then focused specifically on solar power as it is known as the "cleanest" type of energy because it lacks emissions. John kept the campers entertained with many gadgets that were powered by his lamp, his source of "solar" energy. Examples include the wind cap, the piano man, and the mini oil pump. He left us with flyers for KidWind projects, how to make out our windmills, and a packet on the different types of renewable energy. John explained to the campers that he that he taught them so they could now go and teach others about solar energy, especially to other youth. John is planning on coming to the picnic and that is when he will give out the solar energy kits.

PRESS RELEASE
The Friends of Alewife Reservation 2009 Ecology Camp of Rindge and Latin students is in full swing with ecological training, earth science education, and environmental management skill-building. Tree pruning and mulching were taught by David Lefcourt, arborist at the Cambridge DPW, and pole sawing with Renee Toll-Dubois of the Eagle Eye Institute. Over 25 trees have been mulched and pruned in the restored meadow leading to the Bulfinch Company Discovery Park and Acorn Park Drive. Campers’ interest in the care for the Reservations’ trees goes beyond pure maintenance, as they have taken a preservation interest in the history and protection of the silver maple forest. Observations of “the mother tree”, that seeded the land 100 years ago, and led to a rare forest in the Boston region, noted to be "unique" by wetland scientist Charles Katuska. An ever-changing marsh-uplands ecosystem was compared with 1970s diverse vegetation, soil and hydrology maps. Engineer Ingeborg Hegemann used historical maps to illustrate the changing route of the Little River and the wetlands. Campers were given the chance to work within Muskrat Marsh, removing the invasive species, purple loosestrife, and observing signs of the galarucella beetle, placed by the DCR to combat its spread.
Bikers watching campers have delighted in their maintenance of the public North Trail. The youth cleared overgrowth of the old fishing trail to the forest while identifying native and invasive plant species. Russ Cohen of Arlington taught the campers about edible plants and different recipes for teas and medicinal uses. Youth have spotted three deer, a red fox, two hawks, and a grouse. Darren Barnes, a sophomore wrote, “The deer looked as if it wanted to run into the forest away from us. It was likely born on the reservation because of its size. This is a good place for it to live because of the trees and plants for food and cover.” Deer sightings were a first for many of the campers.
Education of plants and wildlife by consultants has enhanced the critical thinking of campers, illustrated by daily journal writing and WIKI web pages. Art teacher Janet Hobbs, conducted a session in plant drawing and landscape painting. Afterwards, campers visited the recently opened Friends of Alewife Reservation photo show at 150 Cambridge Park Drive (showing through August 14) to enjoy the professional photographers' rendition of Alewife Reservation. The campers met photographer Brooke Mohnkern to discuss light and perspective and were able to compare the photos with their own drawings.
During the next three weeks FAR Ecology Camp will visit the sustainable Blue Heron Farm in Lincoln for a hands-on organic farming experience. They will take a work shop in solar energy with last year’s specialist John Francis in order to connect their lessons on home energy practices to solar and wind energy dynamics. They will continue studying and practicing water quality monitoring techniques with Matt Wilson and compare them to the actual tests of the Mystic River Watershed Association. The campers have learned about the floodplain nature of the Alewife Reservation and how CSOs are the present-day polluter differing from the 1800's tanneries. These skills and observations of water quality management will assist in their day of studying macro-invertebrates with Arlene Olivero.

WEDNESDAY 7/29/09
Journal Question:“The economy depends on the environment.” Write a thoughtful response to this statement. Do you agree? Disagree? Can this statement be true AND false?
Met Tim Factor and Stephen Gillies for a Bird Walk
Broke the campers into teams of two; each team received their own field guide, a pair of binoculars, and a list of common possible birds to check off if sighted.
Tim explained the proper methods for bird watching and for using the binoculars. The campers were taught to sight the birds first with their eyes, then use the binoculars to zoom in.
The campers began sighting different birds and Tim asked them series of questions about: 1) distinct features of the bird 2) markings and colorings 3) body size, 4) wing shape and size, 5) beak shape and size, 6) flight pattern. The campers found a robin, Canadian geese, a red-tailed hawk, a cardinal, golden finch, a morning dove, a common pigeon, a warbler, a waxwing, and a swift. Tim noted with surprise and pleasure that Darren could do a perfect imitation of a cardinal call/song. Tim discussed the different habitats, breeding and migratory behaviors, and appearances of various birds. He also discussed why birds use songs and callings. Tim talked in great detail about the eating patterns of birds and the necessity to eat such large quantities because they fly so much. The campers asked various questions about bird anatomy and behavior, like “Do birds have ears?”, “What do they eat?”, “Why do they sing?”. Tim also taught the campers how to make a special sound that peaks the curiosity of the birds, enough to get many of them to fly towards us. We spent the bird walk both along the Meadow Trail and into the main reservation trail.
Met Russ Cohen at 1pm for Second Edible Plant Walk
Russ took us on a second edible plant walk, this time along the road between the T-Station and reservation, and then along the Meadow Trail and Acorn Park Drive. He pointed out many plants that were ripe and edible, some that were edible and not ripe, and others that were poisonous. He kept a particular focus on plants we could make easy dishes out of with quick recipes. One was how to make a special berry drink from the berries of the sumac tree. He told us to gather a dozen berry clusters for every gallon of water and let the clusters sit in room temperature water then break apart the berries and strain the juice. Ike collected many into a Tupperware container to bring home and make the drink. He will bring it in Friday to share with the other campers. Russ showed us an antidote plant for poison ivy and an antidote plant for stinging nettles. He helped us pick black berries and taught us a recipe to make blackberry ice cream. We also learned we could take cream cheese and mix it with the seeds of the peppery plant for a nice spread for crackers. Russ also showed the campers rose hip, a cup of which has more Vitamin C than 12 DOZEN oranges! The campers and I are planning to collect more of these plants and make some dishes to share at the picnic.

Invitation to the picnic

Dear members and friends of Friends of Alewife Reservation,
Friday, August 14th is a special ending day for our camp. We would like to invite you to attend the reservation tours led by our campers to see what they have learned and also to share our pizza picnic. Our youth will have also made some of the edible wild plant drinks and dishes from Russ Cohen’s recipes.
Our campers will be in small groups taking our younger campers from the Arlington Boys & Girls Club around the Reservation to show them aspects of it. You will be able to meet our Coordinator and consultants at that time. The tour and kite flying with the Boys & Girls Club will occur at 10:30 and the picnic will be held at 12 noon. We will have a short ceremony after the picnic. We will meet at the Reservation on Acorn Park Drive, however if weather does not permit this, we will meet at the office for our picnic: 186 Alewife Brook Parkway at noon. Thanks for contributing to this effort. Each year, FAR tries to provide in-depth training so that some of these youth will go on to a career in environmental conservation services, so needed in this day and age.
Sincerely,
Ellen Mass, FAR President
Katherine Walsh, FAR Ecology Camp Supervisor
Directions:
The Reservation is located at Acorn Park Drive across from Tiax and Bullfinch. You can drive by car and park, or walk from Alewife T Station.

Friday, 7/31/09
Arlene, Shawma, and Alex arrived
We set up all the needed supplies and kits into four groups; the four groups will be led by Shawma, Alex, Stephen, and Jake; Arlene and I will be floaters to check on all the groups
Dunkin Donuts donated plastic, waterproof gloves for the campers to use in the water
Each group’s kit included:
A bucket
Pond strainers/nets
A Pond Life field guide
A Pond Life key
A chart of common pond life organisms
A Water squirter
Ice cube trays
A pipette
Spoons
The campers arrived and answered the journal question: Discuss our day of water quality testing with Matt Wilson. What kind of tests did we do? What did we test for and why? How might a CSO affect the results of these tests? What were the visible differences between Little River and Yeates Pond?
(Monday’s journal question will be to begin a rough draft of a letter for Rep. Brownsberger and Governor Patrick.)
Arlene gave the four leaders a tutorial of the day’s agenda, the kit pieces, and the different tests.
Arlene and the leaders introduced themselves to the campers. Arlene gave each camper a packet called “The Diversity of Life in a Pond: Macroinvertebrates”. She then gave a powerpoint presentation on pond life and macroinvertebrate diversity. She had slides showing pictures and descriptions of various macroinvertebrates, all the ones the campers would try to identify using the vials and then out in the water samples.
After the presentation, we gathered up all the supplies and walked to the reservation. When we got to the reservation, the campers were split into their four groups and each group sat at their own picnic tables. Each camper was given an activity sheet and each group was given a set of 10 vials. The campers had to examine the vials with hand lenses and compare the “unknown” organism in the vial to the pictures of the “known” organisms on their activity sheet (they macroinvertebrate key of sorts.) By looking at the pictures of the known and by drawing and describing the attributes of the unknown, the campers had to name the unknown, figure out what they really were. The campers really impressed us leaders with both their artistic skills and their high level of accuracy in identifying the proper names of the unknown. Each group was able to get through identifying three sets of 10 vials. We saved their worksheets. The campers truly enjoyed this activity as it was a game to them and they were the scientists, working to get as many correct as possible. Also, this game helped enforce their recognition of and identifying skills for macroinvertebrates. Unfortunately as we were finishing the activity, the thunderstorms rolled in and due to the heaviness of the rain and for safety precautions, we had to head back to the office.
When we got back to the office, we sorted all the supplies while the campers watched the Silver Maple Forest Summer Solstice video. Then I spoke to them about the letters for the Governor, the picnic with the Boys & Girls Club, nextweek’s field trips, and the Wiki project. Following my talk, Arlene, Alex, and Shawma gave a closing presentation and talk to wrap things up. The three women asked the campers questions about what they did during the activity, what they thought about the water quality and the differences between Little River and Yeates Pond. They also spoke about their own work and careers to help the campers understand how they too can have a career in the environment. Each spoke about their current position, how they got there, and what types of education they had to get to where they are.
Daniel arrived and handed out the campers’ checks and some information about upcoming MYSEP events. I had the kids write down all the field trip information for next week and put that info into their camp bags.
Next we brainstormed ideas on the white board for writing a letter about the Silver Maple Forest to Representative Brownsberger and Governor Deval Patrick. We went over some key points they need to put into the letter 1) Their personal connection to the forest 2) Facts about the forest and what would happen if it was developed 3) the benefits of the silver maple forest as a habitat and as a rare forest 4) why they think it should be saved 5) how the developers have broken their promises before 6) the campers’ plea to save the forest. Then I had each camper sit individually and begin a rough draft of the letter; some started with an actual letter format, others began with bullet points of their ideas.
August 6th, there is a Public Hearing on the Acquisition of the Silver Maple Forest at 10am. I am going to have the campers attend because they have an extra hour each week of pay. I will attend also; we can bring our letters and I and some of the campers can speak.

Monday 8/3/09
Ale and Jim Presentation from the DCR, Presentation on the DCR and trail maintenance
Ale brought laminated maps of the reservation for the campers to draw trails on; where they think there should be trails, signage, parking lots; they discussed ideas for publicizing the reservation and getting more people to use it
Presentation of the laws protecting the reservation and the laws regarding trail maintenance
Slides on stream crossings and proper uses of stream bridges, bridge maintenance
Presentation included slides on the relationships between water and trails and slides on possible damage that can be done to trails
Campers watched a “How To” video on proper trail maintenance tools and techniques
Booklets for all the campers: Guide to Swimming, Camping, Hiking, and Biking
Ale went over the maps and the different “highlights” of the reservation: Little Pond, Little River, Blair Pond, Yeates, Pond, the North Trail, the Main Trail, the canoe launch, the bike paths.
Ale also brought maps of Blue Hills Reservation in case the campers are interested in visiting.
Ale would like to work with you, Ellen, on submitting permits for trail maintenance.
Presentation of trail maintenance tools: Jim showed, named, and described the use for each tool; emphasized safety features and having things like water, food, and a first-aid kit.
We took a walk to the reservation and walked along the Main Trail halfway. We stopped at two water crossings: the first with a bridge made up of a crate and the second, a bridge made up of a plank connecting the two banks. Ale talked about what might make good bridges or how the DCR could fix these bridges to be safer and more suitable for hikers and bikers. She also talked about other project proposals we could make to the DCR, like clearing brush and vegetation that is blocking parts of Little River from flowing more freely. She mentioned that removal of this brush would help prevent flooding problems further upstream. Ale was able to point out to the campers signs of erosion near the bridges and described how they could be fixed with water blocks. The campers asked questions about staffing and the breakdown of the management and DCR bureaucracy which Ale explained to them (she described the different regional and district offices)
Before Ale and Jim left, they spoke to the campers about seasonal employment opportunities with the DCR.
Letters for Governor and Representative by the campers
Read/Presented to the Campers about the Silver Maple Forest, its natural history and the history of the case over the development and acquisition; these facts and history I got from the FAR website, specifically Rep. Brownsberger’s letter December 22nd, your letters and FAR file with the DCR, notes from the trialarticles from the Globe and Belmont Citizen Herald, the DCR superceding order, and the Bond bill.
3 campers have volunteered to speak: Brian, Elijah, and Charlie. Denesia is thinking about it and will let me know Wednesday. She is a good writer, so she could read some points from her letter. Each camper wrote a final draft of a letter and will all be attenattending (in nice dress clothes) the hearing on Thursday; I will have these typed up on FAR letterhead and each camper will sign their signature at the bottom.
I went over very specific details for the rest of the week; specific times, meeting places, and proper attire for all our field trips/special events; I made them write down the details so they would not forget or be late.
Tonight and tomorrow from my home computer and the office laptop I will be uploading a) the camper’s final letters for the Governor and Rep, and b) the campers’ wiki writings.
Wednesday 8/5/09
I picked up the box of hand lenses and Larry’s invoice. On my way out, I met John Francis who had showed up to bring the solar kits.
I met the campers at 9:00 at Harvard Square. We walked to the Museum of Natural History and met Stephen. The bird session had fallen through and so we had a little over an hour to wait. I did not want us just sitting around so I suggested touring the Harvard campus and visiting various buildings. We visited the Science Center, the Yard, and the Carpenter’s Building. Stephen was a good tour guide, giving different scientific and cultural descriptions of the buildings and campus trees.
At 10:30 we met Judy and Mark. Judy gave a short presentation on the history of the museum and the facts about its purpose and contents. She spoke about how it is the second oldest museum in the country and has over 80,000 specimens and models. She explained the process of getting different animals for the museum and mentioned various species that they have been getting recently, like marine mammals.
Next Mark brought us on a behind the scenes tour of the museum. He brought us into a room with stuffed models, and skeletons and bodies being preserved in alcohol. He explained the preserving process of skinning, using beetles to eat the muscles, and the tanning and preservation of furs and skins with alcohol. The campers got to see 40 voles and an entire lion skin. He spoke about their research lab in Bedford and his job requirements of getting the animals and preparing them for the Museum.
Next I split the campers up into pairs and Mark gave each pair a two page packet with information on various mammals that are present on the reservation. Each camper was given information on two different mammals. The campers had to read their information packet then take turns describing and presenting their mammal to the group. As the team presented, Mark found the actual stuffed mammal model and allowed the campers to hold, touch, and feel the models. The campers saw a red fox, beaver, deer skull, vole, shrew, and otter.
At 12:15, we met Larry Millman and had lunch with him. Then we walked to the reservation (on the way we saw our first vole, how ironic/perfect timing! It had somehow died along the pathway). I handed out the hand lenses to each camper and Larry took them on a walk, stopping and picking all and any mushrooms he found. In all he found about 7 or 8 various kinds. The campers got to hold and look at the mushrooms, studying their part and mycelium with the hand lenses. Larry spoke about the various colors, sizes, and smells of the mushrooms. We walked all around the mulched areas, Acorn Park Drive, the silver maple forest, and the Main Trail as far as the shortcut.
At the end of the day, the campers and I revisited our plan for tomorrow: when we will be meeting, what to wear, behavior, the speaking, and the letters.

Thursday 8/6/09 State House Hearing

Arrived at the State House at 9:30 am, all the campers were in dress clothes. Proceeded inside to room A2 and had a seat. I went up to Rep Brownsberger to say hi and let him know we were there. I showed him and Sue Bass the map and Will and I worked out a plan for when the three campers would present the map and testify.
The campers enjoyed the experience, being able to see a real hearing and hear other types of disputes. When it will finally our turn, Bill 701, Will led off, explaining the bill and why it is being proposed. he next introduced the 13 campers, asking them to stand up; it was a great effect for the whole crowd to see all these campers and their dedication and interest. He called up Brian, Elijah, and Charlie who spoke in that order. I do not agree with what Stephen wrote about Charlie because when he was speaking, I watched two women nodding in agreement with him and what he was saying. His comments are not useful and I will not be sharing them with Charlie. The campers used the map to show the area they were talking about and focused on the educational and environmental values the forest provides for urban youth.
After the youth, Sue, Caroline, Richard, and I testified. Sue used the map to show how the forest is the "meat" of the area, connecting so many of the ecosystems and emphasized its accessibility by T. Richard spoke about the flooding issue, and I talked about the educational, health, and social values.
After the hearing, Will took us to the Governor's office to bring the campers' letters. The campers were in awe of the state house, so all around, an amazing experience. Elijah's grandpa walked with us, he had come to see our campers speak.
Later that day I wrote the article for you below.
Bill 701 Proposal to acquire silver maple forest
People who gave testimonies:
Representative William Brownsberger
Sue Bass
Caroline Huang
Richard ?
Brian Haggerty-Perreault
Elijah Scott
Charlie Carbone
Katherine Walsh
(Linda and her friend were not there yet but they may have arrived later...)

Press Release on Silver Maple Forest Hearing
The Friends of Alewife Reservation Summer Ecology Camp visited the State House on Thursday, August 6th, for a hearing on the Silver Maple Forest of the Belmont Uplands. Representative William Brownsberger proposed Bill 701, a bill that would have the state acquire the silver maple forest in collaboration with the communities surrounding the forest. Three of the campers, Brian Haggerty-Perreault, Elijah Scott, and Charlie Carbone testified at the hearing in support of Bill 701 and the protection of the forest from development. O'Neill Properties owns the majority of the forest and is planning to build 299 units of housing on the property. The campers see the forest as a valuable environmental educational resource for the youth of Cambridge, Belmont, and Arlington, who would be losing learning environment that is so accessible by public transportation and by foot. Elijah Scott spoke about life as an urban youth, stating "Being from Cambridge, I'm used to seeing a lot of cars, buildings, and people. When go out to the reservation, particularly the Silver Maple Forest, I feel like I am in a totally different city. It feels good to me to be able to get out of my natural setting and into the forest with all the silver maple trees and animals." Brian Haggerty-Perreault pointed to the rarity of such a forest, while Charlie Carbone highlighted the various animals species that use the forest as their habitat. The campers know there are no laws protecting animals unless they are endangered, but having seen deer, fox, a red-tailed hawk, and rabbits, they realize this forest is a critical ecological habitat for many urban animals. While testifying, the campers were able to use a GIS map of the reservation to show the committee the critical location of the forest. Camp Supervisor Katherine Walsh also testified, pointing out the social, economic, and health benefits that such a forest gives to the area and shared how for some of her campers, this summer in the reservation and forest has been their experience with such an environment. Other testimonies in favor of the bill pointed to the silver maple forest's ability to prevent floods and erosion in the area, and how the forest ecosystem connects the area around Little River to that of Muskrat Marsh. At the end of the hearing, the campers delivered written testimonies to Governor Patrick's office.

Friday 8/7/09

Met campers at Porter and took the commuter rail to Lincoln. Walked to Blue Heron Organic Farm (nice nature walk, lots of trees around in Lincoln). Arrived and did introductions; the campers met Ellery, Ana, Mia, and Jackson. The farmers explained the organic nature of the farm, how they do not use any types of chemicals and so they have to do all their weeding and planting by hand. They also use only rain as irrigation. The farmers split the campers into three groups and trained them how to weed carrots and turnips, by teaching a) how to distinguish the good vegetable from the weed and b) how to pull the weed out from the roots. While we were weeding, the campers were given more education about the history of the farm, why the weeds have been growing so much this year, what the farm grows and sells (vegetables and flowers), to whom they sell (farmer's markets, restaurants in Boston and Cambridge) and the timing of the food year (planting, harvesting, selling). The farmers commended our campers on the work they were doing; the Blue Heron farmers were VERY thankful we were there because there is so much weeding to be done.
After the lunch break, we had a Q & A session with the farmers. Ellery spoke about having a career as a farmer. Mia spoke about the differences between local small farms and factory farms as well as monoculture vs. diversity in crops. The campers were able to connect what David Lefcourt had spoke about with trees (plant a diverse array to avoid a disease or bug wiping out tons) to the farm's method of planting a variety of vegetables to avoid losing a whole farm to blight. For example, this year Blue Heron lost its tomatoes and lettuce to the rain, but not the other crops. Ellery also spoke about some farming policies and how most of our supermarket foods come from thousands of miles away and we waste a lot of gas and oil that way.
The trip was a great success and said by the campers to be one of their top days at camp.

Monday 8/10/09

At 9:30 we walked to the reservation and met David Brown for a Wildlife Walk. David brought his castings/molds of various animal tracks to show the campers. The campers sat in a circle to look at the tracks and try to identify the tracks. The campers identified dog and deer, and the fur that is on the paws of fox. David had brought the tracks of deer, dog, fox, wolf, coyote, fisher, and woodchuck. He explained how to tell the difference between dog and wolf tracks based on the nails and spacing of the toes. He also explained that “fisher” is an unusual name for the type of weasel since it does not fish.
Next, David asked the campers to survey the 100 feet around us for animal tracks or scat, which is animal feces. The campers and David found deer tracks near the mulch and he explained that deer love to eat the Yew bushes that grow in the mulch. The campers followed David to the large water puddle in the parking lot and walked around it, looking for animals signs. The campers found more deer tracks and David explained the process of making a mold or cast of the tracks. First you draw a circle around the whole set of tracks, then you mix a paste using water and plaster of Paris into a small butter tub. Keeping the lip of the tub near the tracks, you pour the plaster in. Then you wait an hour or more until the plaster is no longer warm; it must be cool. Next you take a sharp object to pry the mold from the ground and then let the mold dry more in the sun. Finally you use a pencil and tooth brush to brush away all the dirt from the mold.
After this explanation, David took the campers, Stephen, Heather, and I on a wildlife walk along the entire length of the main trail. David stopped every five minutes or so to put something out, whether it be plant or animal. David explained the difference between native invasive species and exotic invasive species. Elijah found the jaw bones/skull of a dead woodchuck and David gave a tutorial on the formation and use of the teeth and jaw bones. Woodchucks eat plants so they have different teeth than a carnivorous animal. David found otter scat and also otter food remains, the scales of a carp. He pointed out the beaver dam along Little River and asked the campers why beavers build dams and how the dams affect the river. David talked about succession and the ever changing landscape in the fields along the trail; how eight years ago they used to be more open with less vegetation. He pointed out a bramble patch and explained how animals live in the brambles because people won’t go near the thorns and the animals can eat the berries.
Near the bank of Little River, David asked the campers to find eight signs of animal tracks. The campers found more deer tracks, and various scat remains, including those of a red fox. David mentioned when he was conducting his wildlife survey, he had a hard time finding traces of deer and fox, and now this summer we are seeing signs of them frequently. The deer have come to realize they are safe in the reservation.
David talked about the behavior and intelligence of coyotes, as they have managed to learn humans’ behavior, work, and weekend schedules to know when they can move and be out in the open. We heard the cry of a hawk and so David spoke about the red-tailed hawk. We also found two hawk feathers and David was able to describe the anatomy and use of the types of feathers and answer the campers’ questions about why they are hollow, pointed, and certain shapes. David spoke about his tracking methods, finding tracks in the winter snow, tracking scents, tracking bird or other animal noises and calls, and seeing otter slides from when they come out of Little Pond during the winter. David mentioned various times and places for good bird watching and seeing otter. He also spoke about the various kinds of sumac, and about purple loosestrife, knotweed, and jouleweed.
The campers carried around their clipboards and the list from David; they were able to check off many and at the end discuss the meaning of “ecology”, the relationships amongst wildlife and their habitats.
In the afternoon, the campers worked diligently on their wiki writings, using notebooks and four computers. Many more have been uploaded onto the Wiki if you would like to check them out. Three still have to finish a few sentences, and we shall be adding more photos and my summaries. I have also uploaded the article on the hearing.
http://farsummerecologycamp09.wikispaces.com/