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High School Sailing and Crew members clean near Alewife

High School Crew members clean Alewife Corridor around the MBTA Station

By Larry Childs

Twenty students from Sailing and Crew arrived at Alewife for a cleanup around 9am, Sunday 23rd on a nice day. There were 5 parents, 3 of whom were coordinating (2 of whom stayed with me at the park entry for the 2 hours) and 2 dads who assumed responsibility for the students, whom I broke into 2 smaller groups. After a welcome, which included brief introduction to the Alewife Reservation/FAR, an explanation about banned activities in the reservation (perplexing to some), and importance of clean transit 'corridors', we got into clean-up orientation. This included safety points and clean-up objectives for 4 pre-selected sites, which I designated on a map. The sites cleaned up were: adjacent to parking garage (round section); adjacent to road and main garage across from pond; connector between Grace parking and the T (huge mess) and walkway between Jerry's Pond fence and the Parkway.

They removed several hundred pounds (500+) of trash, disposing some in an MBTA dumpster and others left at the park entry (I had communicated this immediately after clean-up so the DCR could be informed). Their most interesting found object was a toilet, which was shattered, having apparently been heaved off a high parking garage wall. In addition to pick sticks and gloves they used rakes so as to gather a lot of micro trash and my heavy duty wheel barrel to transport trash bags.

During our debrief after the clean-up I asked about suggestions for better on-going maintenance since the trash reflects a city/state that cares little about the environment and aesthetics. They suggested positioning more trash barrels in areas where trash accumulates along with frequent collection. As for group dynamics, some commented that they connected with other students and that it was more fun than expected.

We did not conduct the scavenger hunt, which would have led them into the Reservation where we were told to stay out. Many were already familiar with the Alewife, knew the Friends group, and we decided to concentrate the smaller numbers on making an impact on the considerable trash that had accumulated.

I inventoried the returned equipment which they loaded into my car and all left at 11am after appreciating the Iggy's bread donation from Friends of Alewife Reservation President, Ellen Mass.

Larry Childs,

Local resident, and Friends of Cambridge Athletics, and Project Adventure. Also guide and educator at Friends of Alewife Reservation.

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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.
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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.

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