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Selling New England's Wateways

Renewable energy has the potential to help fight the climate crisis, but some energy producers and distributors appear to use slick marketing and opaque business practices to profit while avoiding public scrutiny of their operations in public waterways and while potentially doing great harm to the environment. You can read about one such example involving FirstLight and Energy New England here.

Alewife Reservation Memorial trees planted

Three trees were planted on December third to commemorate the lives and service to FAR of three volunteers who passed away over the previous three years. You can see the trees and learn more about the volunteers here.

UN Chief Pleads for Stronger Climate Policies

The secretary-general of the United Nations has called for countries to address the climate crisis by investing in a future that is more sustainable and just. Read more, including two recent reports linking fossil fuel use to extreme weather in 2020, here.

Half the Earth's Forests are Gone

The European Union is considering legislation to ban products linked to deforestation. For more information, and to sign a petition supporting this legislation, click here.

Little Progress from UN Biodiversity Conference

The United Nations recently held a Summit on Biodiversity in New York. Little progress was made, but you can view the proceedings here.

The Brands Behind Deforestation

Popular household brands, from snack foods and meat products to bath essentials and everything in between, continue to contribute to global deforestation, even after committing to stopping it. You can learn more, including how to take action, in this video.

New climate maps show a transformed nation

New analyses of climate data suggest radical changes by mid-century in where conditions will support agriculture, where people can live comfortably and what communities may be inundated by sea level rise in the United States. You can review the findings and the impacts on your county here.

Unprecedented die-off of migratory birds in Southwest

Hundreds of thousands of migratory birds (possibly millions) are thought to have died in recent weeks in the southwestern US and northern Mexico. Factors such as cold snaps and wildfires, both likely linked to climate change, are considered potential causes. You can read more here.

Administration Admits 7-degree rise by 2100

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has admitted that our planet will experience a 7-degree rise in average tempreature in a report intended to justify the Trump administration's plan to reduce vehicle fuel efficiency standards. You can read more here.

Forest and Renewable Energy Bills Need to Pass

Two bills before the Massachusetts legislature would enhance forest preservation (HB H.897) and ensure renewable energy subsidies are directed to truly clean energy (e.g. wind and solar) rather than burning wood (H.853). More information is (here).

Argentina's Wetlands on Fire

The most intense wildfires in over a decade are threatening the delicate wetland ecosystem of Argentina's Esteros del Iberá. The region possesses rich biological diversity (video), and many communities of people maintain a close cultural connection with the ecosystem (video).

MyRWA Meeting and 2019 Report card

The Mystic River Watershed Association Steering Committee will hold a virtual meeting (Agenda) on September 10 from 10am-noon. The EPA's water quality report card is also available.

IUCN Newsletter: A Voice for Nature

The International Union for Conservation of Nature recently published a new edition of its newsletter "A Voice For Nature". It documents nature conservation and sustainable management of natural resources in Eastern Europe, North and Central Asia. You can check it out and subscribe here .

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MIT Engineer: Approval for 402 Rindge Ave should be denied

The construction project proposed for 402 Rindge Ave. is vulnerable to serious climate change impacts, including flooding from rain and storm surge, which could endanger current and potential future residents. You can read the whole letter by Dr. Sarah Slaughter here.

At the Edge of a Warming World

The Boston Globe has produced a multimedia project, including curriculum materials, providing an overview and assessment of climate change on Cape Cod You can review the report and additional materials here.

How to Bring About Catastrophic Success in the Face of Climate Change

Meteorologist and climate journalist Eric Holthaus has published a book that "lays out a courageous blueprint for a better future." One of the key insights is that we must have the courage to work toward 'catastrophic success'. More information is available here.

Namasket River Story

The Nemasket River, an 11-mile tributary of the Taunton River, supports the largest runs of migrating herring and American shad in New England. This abundant, predictable food resource has played a significant role in the lives of the inhabitants of the area for thousands of years. An oral history of this close relationship can be viewed here.

Red List Updated: 32,000 species face extinction

More than one in four of the 120,372 plant and animal species assessed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature are at risk of extinction. Some, including the North Atlantic Right Whale and European Hampster, are on the brink. Read more here.

Cuban rivers benefit from Conservation Agriculture

Cuba's transition to conservation agriculture in the 1990s appears to have paid off in the form of river water quality that is better than other systems where intensive agriculture is practiced. This system may serve as a model to improve the sustainability of agriculture globally. Article.

Tipping Points May Trigger Climate Cascade

A paper recently published in the journal Nature identified some 'large-scale discontinuities' in the global climate system, such as thawing permafrost in the Arctic and droughts in the Amazon rainforest, that might trigger additional warming. You can read more here.

Arctic Ocean Monitor Documents Extreme Arctic Temperatures

Record temperatures were documented in late June in northern Russia within the Arctic circle. An area that normally has a summer temperature of 10-12C (50F - 53.6F) experience a temperature of 34C (93.2F). Sea ice has shrunk dramatically as a result. Read the whole story here.

South Pole Warming Rapidly

Recent research has revealed that the south pole is warming at three times the average global rate. The accelerated warming is thought to be due to a combination of natural variability and human-mediated climate change. More information is here.

Rain and Drought in the Forecast

Recently published climate simulations indicate precipitation is likely to increase globally but that droughts could intensify in some regions. One reason is that evaporation is expected to increase worldwide. More information is here.

UN World Heritage Agricultural Site Declared in Korea

A traditional, multilayered bamboo cultivation system in the Republic of Korea has been declared a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System. Its success is due in large part to traditional environmental knowledge developed over more than 1,000 years of cultivation. More information is here.

IUCN launches Vital Sites Series

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources has launched 'Vital Sites', a series of online events and multimedia content to highlight stories, expert opinions, and case studies on the importance of protected and conserved areas from around the world. More information is here.

Experiment to Clean Charles River with Native Plants

The Charles River Conservancy has deployed a floating, living island in an attempt to reduce seasonal harmful algal blooms in the Charles River. The island is expected to serve as a habitat for microscopic organisms that can eat the algae. More information is here.

IUCN World Congress in Marseille

President Macron has announced that the One Planet Summit will take place on 11 January, 2021 in Marseille, at the IUCN World Conservation Congress. The summit is Macron’s initiative to fight climate change and protect global ecosystems. You can find out more here.

IUCN World Environment Day Message

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature commemmorated World Environment Day on June 5 by issuing a statement calling for coordinated global action to conserve biodiversity. You can read the full statement here.

Mystic River Watershed Association webinars about our watershed

In April the Mystic River Watershed Association hosted a series of webinars covering topics including river herring, climate change, stormwater pollution and others. You can check them out here. You can see Alewife Brook's position in the Mystic River watershed in Figure 1 at the end of this report.

Photo by Eric Grunebaum
A Hunting Heron

Great blue herons can be found year-round at Alewife Reservation feeding and raising young. This video records the moment a great blue heron captures a fish.

Photo by Stephanie Liu
Happy Mothers Day From Little Pond

A family of swans has been spotted at the Reservation. You can check out some touching pictues of the family out for a paddle here.

Photo by Joshua Stevens, NASA
China and India Lead the Way in Greening

A study published in the journal Nature Sustainability has documented significant regrowth of forests in India and China, largely due to tree-planting efforts and other restortative land use management. The NASA Earth Observatory has prepared a helpful summary. The whole article can be read here.

Video by Eric Grunebaum
Deer activity At Alewife Reservation

White-tailed deer are a common site at Alewife Reservation. Groups of deer were captured on video on April 2 at Little Pond and on April 20 at the end of the North Trail.

Global Earth Day Solidarity video presentation

April 22 was the 50th observance of Earth Day. On this momentous occasion, the Earth Day Network hosted a live video presentation event to demand that world leaders take science seriously, listen to their people and push for action at every level of society to stop the rising tide of climate change. Video .

Photo by Julie Schultz
Slowed cities reveal urban wildlife

As millions across the globe have sheltered in place and cities have shut down, urban wildlife has come out of the shadows. It is a hopeful reminder of the resilience of Nature and may help citizens and policymakers find the courage to embrace sustainable economies and ways of life. Article .

Image and video by Angelika O'Connor
Healing Signs of Rebirth at the Reservation

Great blue herons have begun building a nest at Jerry's Pond. This will hopefully be the 4th generation of herons fledged in this part of the watershed. Note the delicate and intricate courting behaviors in the video .

The High Cost of Ignoring Flood Rules

Cities are supposed to enforce rules disinventivizing construction of residential and commercial buildings in floodplains, but many are not. The long-term costs of this approach may dwarf whatever short-term benefits are realized. You can read more here .

Protecting the Planet Newsletter

The International Union for Conservation of Nature has just published the March edition of its newsletter "Protecting the Planet: Delivering on the Promise of Sydney". You can check it out here .

Image by Kim Bartlett/Animal People, Inc.
Pushing Nature to the Limits: Pathogen releases

Intensive commercial agriculture has dramatically increased the availability of food around the world, but at high environmental and social costs. The current pandemic may be a consequence of these practices. You can learn more here.

Esaro Connect Newsletter

The International Union for Conservation of Nature has just published the January-March edition of its newsletter "Esaro Connect: News and Views From Eastern and Southern Africa". You can check it out here .

Image by Charity:water
World Water Day: March 22

Water brings life and should be protected and treasured. On March 22 communities and organizations around the world celebrated water and took action to make clean water available to both people and the environment on which we all rely. You can check out some headlines for World Water Day here.

Photo by Stephanie Liu

Great Blue Heron Observations At Little Pond

Regular visitor Stephanie Liu recently captured some images of great blue herons at Little Pond. You can check out her pictures and read some observations here.

Photo by Amy Saltzman, Cambridge Chronicle

Cambridge Wildlife Exposed to Rat Poison

As winter descends and rats move into homes to find a warm place to nest, more people may be tempted to use poison to solve the problem. But what many don’t understand is rat poison has a chain reaction and is leading to dangerous exposure, and death, among a high number of wild animals, according to researchers. You can read more here. Among the local species at risk is the majestic bald eagle.

Best Books for Restoring Native Landscapes

The organization Grow Native Massachusetts believes that conservation and stewardship begin at home. Check out this list of books on their website to find some great resources for restoring native landscapes in your own back yard and community.

Photo © Stephen Luk

Light pollution threatens local wildlife

The Alewife Brook Reservation is one of the few places in Boston where you can still find fireflies. Nestled between the Concord Turnpike and Alewife T Station, this humble wetland is home to diverse native plant and animal species, and serves as an important rest stop for migrating birds. It is one of our city’s greatest treasures, but we haven’t been treating it that way. You can read more here.

Cambridge Chronicle: Thanks To Green Cambridge

Friends of Alewife Reservation legally merged as an official board subsidiary with Green Cambridge Inc. in mid-October 2019, bringing further environmental protection and ecologically based projects to Cambridge’s only watershed, urban wild and rare water bodies, and a significant expanse of wetlands. You can read more here.

Restoring Ecosystems through Prescribed Fires

Wildfires can be destructive, but nature possesses a remarkable capacity for resilience. The Karuk and Yoruk tribes of the Pacific Northwest use prescribed fires to support biodiversity and agroforestry. Read more on this, and other regenerative land management tactics, here.

Photo by Friends of Fresh Pond

Friends of Fresh Pond Reservation Programs

Friends of Fresh Pond Reservation has a full program of opportunities, including hikes, presentations and movies, to learn about the natural and human history of the area. Check out their events in February here.

STEM Women Take on Climate Change

Climate change will impact every man, woman and child, and it is important that all voices are heard. Three women from India working in STEM fields traveled to Antartica as part of a larger group to empower and motivate women to find their voice and participate in climate decision-making. Video.

Global Biomimicry Challenge

Biomimicry is the practice of looking to nature for inspiration for designing and producing materials and products to solve society's challenges. If you think you have such an idea, consider entering it in the Biomimicry Institute's Global Design Challenge.

Barcelona Experimenting With Large Car-Free Area

Densely populated cities like Barcelona, Spain are experimenting with ways to make uran areas more livable. One possibility is designating car-free zones, which can improve the quality of life for both residents and urban nature. You can learn more in this video .

Photo by USFWS

Scientists release a Global Roadmap to Battle Bugpocalypse

Seventy-three scientists recently published an article in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution identifying ways to reverse a worrying global decline in insect populations. You can read more here .

Protecting the Planet Newsletter

The International Union for Conservation of Nature has just published the November edition of its newsletter "Protecting the Planet: Delivering on the Promise of Sydney". You can check it out here .

Juvenile Eagles Return to Belmont's Little Pond

Regular reservation visitor Stephanie Liu recently snapped a picture of a juvenile bald eagle in the trees around Little Pond. You can also watch a video of eagles taken in 2019.

Ecological Landscape Alliance Event

The Ecological Landscape Alliance has an event coming up where you can learn about the health and welfare of urban forests .

Germany to ban glyphosate in 2023

The German government has taken the bold step of agreeing to phase out the use of glyphosate, a widely-used herbicide that also decimates insect populations and is suspected to cause cancer in humans, by 2023. A similar campaign is needed here. Article.

DCR Citizen Forester: Join Tree Steward Training

The September 2019 issue of The Citizen Forester is here! The Citizen Forester is the monthly newsletter of the Massachusetts DCR Urban and Community Forestry Program. Learn how you can join the tree steward training.

In this issue:

  • DCR Participates in Yo-Yo Ma’s Day of Action in Pittsfield
  • Species Spotlight: Smooth Serviceberry, Amelanchier laevis
  • DCR Tree Steward Training - Registration Now Open
  • New Director of Forest Health at DCR – Nicole Keleher
  • Grants, EAB Update, Webinars, and more!
CSO Alerts Issued by City Engineer

The chief engineer for Cambridge issued alerts for CSO (combined sewer overflow) events in Alewife Brook on August 30 and September 2. Avoid contact with contaminated water and be especially careful with children and pets.

Keep up with Ecology scientists in Cambridge

The latest international climate science is always available from "Biodiversity for a Livable Climate," a non-profit think tank headquartered in Cambridge, MA that is dedicated to reversing global warming by restoring ecosystems. You can follow them and find out about the international conferences they host at local universities here.

DCR Citizen Forester, August, 2019

The August 2019 issue of The Citizen Forester is here! The Citizen Forester is the monthly newsletter of the Massachusetts DCR Urban and Community Forestry Program.

In this issue:

  • i-Tree Global Science and Users Symposium
  • Species Spotlight: Chinquapin oak, Quercus muehlenbergii
  • DCR Challenge Grant Info Session - August 20, 10am-noon
  • Growing Greener - in Worcester
  • Grants, EAB Update, Webinars, and more!
2019 Massachusetts DCR Adaptive Recreation Opportunities

The Massachusetts DCR's Universal Access Program organizes opportunities for residents with disabilities (and their families) to participate in outdoor activities such as kayaking and canoeing. Spots are still available for programs at Lake Cochituate, Lake Quinsigamond, Pottapoag Pond and Walden Pond. More information is here.

Poor Water Quality Grades Once again for Little River

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Mystic River Watershed Association issue a yearly water quality report card for the Mystic River watershed. Little River failed again, achieving a score lower than the previous year and a grade of D+. Read the report card here.

FAR and Green Cambridge hold a wildlife tour

The tour, conducted with the help of naturalist Dave Brown, was a part of the Exploratory Committees' legal process for investing in the area.

Photo by Friends of Fresh Pond

Summer Wildlife Learning Programs with Friends of Fresh Pond

Join Friends of Fresh Pond for their summer outdoor activities! Their program includes bird walks, woodland restoration gardening and other events. You can check their upcoming opportunities here.

To view previous news, click here .

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winter wildlife walk Presentation Spotlighting Alewife Reservation
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Aggregated by David Landskov of Sustainable Arlington and FAR board member.
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About Friends of Alewife Reservation

The Alewife Reservation is a unique natural resource for the communities of Belmont, Arlington and Cambridge and home to hundreds of species, including hawks, coyotes beavers, snapping turtles, wild turkeys and muskrats, the reservation is a unique natural resource for the community.
Historical information (Powerpoint)

Friends of Alewife Reservation works to protect and restore this wild area and the surrounding area for the water quality, native plants, animals and over 90 bird species with paths for walking, running and biking, recreation, and for classroom education and research. We regularly steward and preserve the Reservation area for wildlife and for the enjoyment of present and future generations.

photo of nature walk

About Friends of Alewife Reservation
Statement of Purpose
Virtual Tour
Right now, view the wildlife-rich North Trail of Alewife Reservation.
MA Dept. of Conservation and Recreation (DCR)
Master Plan for Alewife Reservation
Citizen Forester newsletter archive
History of Cambridge
Free Download from Google Play
The Birds of the Cambridge Region of Massachusetts

by William Brewster 1906
Nuttal Ornithological Society

Biodiversity Study of Alewife Reservation Area: Species, Habitat, Ecosystems

Inventories by David Brown, wildlife assessor (2003, 2004.) Published by and available from FAR for $10. Write or call for your copy. (sample)

Updated Dave Brown Inventories (2008, 2010)

Inventories of Alewife Reservation Wetland Plants by Walter Kittredge, Botanist (2013)
Phone: 617-453-8364
Email: alewife@greencambridge.org
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