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FAR supporter writes about FAR and Alewife Reservation
October 15, 2012

Kids laughing, birds cheering, and bicyclist biking are some of the few simple pleasure in life that can be found at the Alewife garden in Cambridge Massachusetts. The Alewife Brook reservation, completed in 1916, is 120 acres of urban wild. This land includes a wetland, a little river, and a meadow part to it as well. The reservation is a beautiful piece of land home to a vast number of creatures, trees, plants, and insects. Not only is this area the home of important species but it is a beautiful valuable area of land that benefits all of Cambridge as a whole. If something were to happen to it the natural beauty that Cambridge is known and appreciated for will no longer be the same, for it would have just become another city with too many buildings and not enough gardens and grass area.

The Alewife Reservation is not just something that was made without purpose and thought or something that was created because people had nothing to do with their time, it had a purpose, and its purpose was to serve the people and animals of Cambridge. Although it is not the oldest land or field, being established in the early 1900's it is an important one and will become greater and older with age; and right now where the world is headed it could be useful in more than just a natural resource that a lot of people love. "Red-winged Blackbirds, Swamp Sparrows, Yellow Warblers, Maryland Yellow-throats, Catbirds and other marsh- or thicket-loving birds . . . As the meadow is also bordered on every side by sparsely populated country, abounding in woods, thickets, cedar pastures and grassy fields, it offers to the bird lover one of the most attractive and interesting resorts to be found anywhere, at the present time, within easy reach of Cambridge." (William Brewster- SEE FAR website: The Reservation is used as something to be proud of, and a reminder for Cambridge's future kids, that there are so many natural and beautiful things out there in the world that are useful and that big companies and businesses should not always get what they want.

In the past there have been people who wanted to take down the Alewife Reservation, but right now a man named Brian O'Neill, a developer stationed at the uplands, is trying to take it down now. If he gets what he wants then he will put up apartment housing for people to live in. O'Neill wanting to put up housing for people may seem like he is making good use of the land but he is not. Cambridge already has plenty of living complexes such as the Rindge towers, an apartment complex on Mass Ave and another complex on Mass Ave, seven Cameron avenue that is only a few yards away from the other complex, there are also the Roosevelt towers in East, and in West Cambridge there are the Archstone CambridgePark, 808 Memorial Drive, Clinton & Prospect Apartments, Auburn Court, Watermark Cambridge, Archstone North Point, briston arms, archstone Cambridge park, and parkside. even though he wants to put up living space and not some parking lot he is causing a lot of problems by not abiding by the wetlands protection act and is not acting accordingly to the harm of what he is doing to the wetlands. Not only will he be damaging the wetlands but he will be building more "luxury vintage apartments". He has already built some of the most expensive buildings in the east coast. What he would be offering is a place to live, but Cambridge already has plenty of places to live not including houses, and he would be adding another unneeded complex at the expense of the valuable reservation.

Because of the Reservation, the Friends of Alewife Reservation annual Ecology Camp is able to exist and help teens learn about the environment. The camp has been around for six years and has made an impact on every teen that was lucky enough to be chosen to work at it. The rare Ecology camp as part of the Mayor's Summer Youth Program is run by the enthusiast and dedicated wildlife lover and Friends of Alewife Reservation president and Ellen Mass, who began the Friends' work in 2002 with publication of Dave brown's report on Biodiversity of the area. The camp has had multiple people come and teach the teens working at the camp about natural wildlife things such as plants, animals, bugs, and especially water. The camp has provided a valuable and enlightening experience for everyone from the works to the volunteers. Two of the volunteers that have repeatedly come back are Jason Taylor and Stephen Gillies. Jason taught everyone the importance of being efficient when it came to using electricity in homes. He taught everyone that being more efficient saves a lot of money, but he also how to be more efficient with our water as well. And Stephen taught everybody about the wild life that reside around the reservation. He also accompanied the FAR ecology camp to the Harvard science museum as well to a plant and vegetable farm. Probably one of the most entertaining things done at the camp would be the tree climb. On the first Friday of the camp everybody was allowed to attempt a tree climb. The tree climb was an awesome experience

Alewife's reservation is a beautiful piece of land that should be kept the way it is and not changed due to the selfish needs of a rich individual. With the reservation in place there could be so many more things that could be done with it. Things such as a Halloween haunted house or a field trip would be great uses for the reservations. Even if none of those things happen with the reservation there are still many good things that are already going on with the reservation. The majority of Cambridge is happy and proud of the reservation so it should stay the way it is, which is why there is a petition going around trying to stop the construction in the reservation, and also people have taken homes away from enough animals there is no need to do it again. Not when Cambridge already has so much.

From the articles of Ellen Mass:
"Just as the once-ler had no heart for the inhabitants of the forest and the benefits of the trees, neither seems the large Pennsylvania Developer who calls himself a "home owner," rather than a developer who has violated the Wetlands Protection Act and miscalculated the harm of a faulty storm water design.

What a waste of good money on lawyers, explained Brian. HE did not reveal however that he had just settled an 8 billion dollar law suit against Citizen's Bank where millions of legal fees were spent. While Brian says he cares about the nurses, firemen and policemen in Belmont who would not have a place to live without some of his "affordable housing," he did not 'let on' that a major part of his developments are luxury vintage, and some of the most expensive on the East Coast."