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Tufts students make progress on DCR Reservation with Friends of Alewife Reservation stewardship.
Written by Ellen Mass - August 28, 2012
added to website October 20, 2012

FOCUSed on Alewife

Tufts freshmen from across the nation converged on the Alewife Reservation 4 days this week to do their part in cleaning up and revitalizing the ecosystem of their adopted region. The Cambridge sponsors were Friends of Alewife Reservation, a stewarding non-profit of volunteers from Belmont, Arlington and Cambridge. These students were involved in FOCUS, a pre-orientation program which introduces incoming Tufts students to community service opportunities in greater Boston. While working, these students made good progress in FAR's ongoing effort to keep the Alewife ecosystem clean and healthy. In the words of Brian Pollock, a student from New Jersey, "By the end of the day, we were falling over, but seeing how much we accomplished with planting, watering and fence repair for the area was definitely worth it."

Over the course of the five-days of community philanthropy, Freshmen learned a good bit about their neighboring cities including Somerville. Another volunteer Courtney Chiu, describes the Alewife end result: " We saw an amazing change with new revitalized plants and cut weeds to ground level and trash removed. We could see how much our work improved the view and plant conditions of the newly designed FAR community garden."

The large 100 foot garden has a new layer of gravel, as well as a newly built staircase to Alewife Brook Channel. In addition, a number of invasive species that threatened the local flora and fauna were uprooted to maintain the diversity and health of the stream bank ecology. More than a mile of woodlands path up the North Trail to Belmont's Little Pond was widened for the convenience of the Reservation's visitors and tour groups hosted by FAR. The group also helped clear the streambeds of fallen logs, opening water flow and providing homes for some of the reservation's animal and insect life. The newly cleared streambed flow will help facilitate the cleaning of the ecologically vital Little River. Some of the blockage remains and hopefully others will complete the job.

FAR president Ellen Mass said, "This level of generosity towards natural reserve one mile from Tufts' campus is also our natural reserve in Cambridge at the T stop. Twenty students for 4 days was a highlight of FAR's summer, and inspires us and prepares us for hard work needed this year to continue to advocate and protect the ecology of Alewife Reservation because the property values here are so high and real estate generally takes precedence over environmental concerns. Tufts has shown that generosity of spirit could work miracles.