Since completing the week dedicated to kickstarting this initiative, the group has been on Spring Break. However, everything has not come to a complete stop. The group has been hearing back from the various city and state officials they reached out to and are beginning to organize the next steps of communication. Here is the additional information:
A member of the group, also a Newton Resident, put in an official request for the painting of a sidewalk and addition of a pedestrian signal. The request was forwarded on to multiple departments in the city. As expected, the City of Newton responded that Hammond Pond Parkway is operated by the DCR and all requests had to be made through the Commonwealth.
The group heard back from Jennifer Steel of the City of Newton Conservation Committee. She shared her support for the endeavor and also shared that there has been a submitted proposal to add a bike lane to Hammond Parkway as well. She also shared the contact information of additional people to reach out to and indicated that the time was right for such an ask.
Representative Kay Kahn responded to the group and suggested that the group reach out to Sen. Creem and Rep. Balser.
A representative from Sen. Creem’s office sent a response that they would
Look out for additional updates in the coming weeks.
Thursday morning students broke up into two groups again. One group went to Hammond Pond Reservation to do some trail clean-up. Students picked up broken glass and trash that had been left in the park. On Thursday afternoon the group also returned to do additional spray paint removal.
On Wednesday Boston Winterim headed into Boston to visit the Museum of Science to learn more about the science involved in the project and whole lot more! Students went to an IMAX film on the National Parks. During the movie they learned about the history of the conservation movement, how national and state parks were established, and the types of support they need.
Students also had a chance to visit many of the other exhibits, including the new water exhibit. In one area of the exhibit you can learn about how parking lots, industry, and plants can have negative and positive impacts on waterways. This was relevant given the large parking lot adjacent to Hammond Pond.
It was a fun day and students were energized to continue their work on improving the experience of visitors to Hammond Pond Reservation and Webster Woods.
Starting Tuesday morning a second group of students focused on the issue of unsafe travel from one section of Webster Woods to another section because of the location of Hammond Pond Parkway and the lack of safe crossing between trail heads.
This was a first hand experience by our group on Monday when we were faced with the need to cross Hammond Pond Parkway to get to the rest of Webster Woods.
(The map on the left shows how Hammond Pond Parkway divides the conservation areas in half)
Students began researching the area and learning about which municipalities were in charge of the care and upkeep of the three impacted areas: Hammond Pond Reservation, Webster Woods, and Hammond Pond Parkway. In addition, the group had to identify potential abutters, which in this case is only Boston College who recently purchased the land from Congregation Mishkan Tefila.
Based on the traffic pattern of Hammond Pond Parkway, students decided to work towards requesting that a crosswalk and pedestrian signal be placed along Hammond Pond Parkway, approximately 1,500 feet past the entrance to synagogue towards Beacon St.
Students began reaching out to Newton municipalities, included Newton Parks and Recreation and Newton Town Hall.
Ms. Lee reached out to Newton Parks and Rec to ask about learning how they care for town conservation areas. She was given the contact information of the person in charge of Webster Woods and left her a message.
Students learned through internet research that Hammond Pond Reservation and
Students called Newton City Hall to learn about the requirements for a petition and the process for requesting a sidewalk. Mr. Neudel then went to City Hall to collect the paperwork set aside for the students.
At Newton City Hall, Mr. Neudel spoke with the City Clerk’s office about the issue and was directed to the Planning Department to speak with different members of the department. In addition to speaking with members of the planning department, they recommended the group reach out to City Councilors and Ward 7 Councilors about bringing the issue up at the monthly Newton Traffic Council.
Knowing that this was most likely a Commonwealth of Massachusetts issue, students began reaching out to State Senators and State Representatives to garner support and learn more information on how to move the request forward. They reached out to Cynthia Creem who stated that she would support the initiative; Newton Councilor-At-Large RuthAnne Fuller who recommended a person to contact in the State Engineering and Planning Office; and Kay Kahn and Ruth Balsar who also said they would support the cause.
Students then develop the petition to be filled out on Thursday.
On Tuesday morning students broke up into two groups to focus on the two different issue areas. Group One was focused on the most effective ways to clean spray paint off of rocks.
After reading articles and watching videos on cleaning spray paint off of rocks, the group identified a few areas of concern:
The location of the rock formation would not allow for the use of a power washer which speeds up the clean up process
Many chemicals used to loosen the spray paint would have a negative environmental impact
The rocks need to continuously be wet for the most effective scraping
Based on this research the group created a supply list to take on this task and planned to do a short outing in the afternoon to test how to best clean the rocks.
Water spray bottles
Buckets for water
Eco-friendly spray paint remover
After working on a graffitied area for nearly an hour the group learned:
Lots of water was necessary to help remove the paint
It is very tiring work
It is possible to remove the paint by hand
The group plans to go back to Hammond Pond Reservation and Webster Woods on Thursday to continue removing spray paint. The group knows that the removal of spray paint may be a temporary solution to this issue, because at any time people could come back and paint the rocks again. At the same time, it feels this work is critical to help protect this conservation land in the middle of our urban community.
Today we visited what we originally thought was Hammond Pond Reservation but later learned was both Hammond Pond Reservation and Webster Woods. The initial goal was to do a walk through the parks to learn about visible issues. During our two hour long walk we both looked for physical ways to improve the area and spoke to people that used the parks. Some of the problem areas we learned were:
Spray paint on rocks throughout the conservation areas
There is no crosswalk and pedestrian crossing signal. Hammond Pond Parkway cuts right through Webster Woods and creates an unsafe environment for people looking to cross there road.
In the summer families looking to picnic in the park do not have a designated area and tend to sprawl out blocking the entrance to the park.
Some trash can be found in the park, including broken glass from bottles thrown against rocks
The trails have limited markings which makes for a more aesthetic hike, but also leaves new patrons confused
The entrance to the Hammond Pond Reservation has an old bulletin board that is not used and been damaged
Due to the closeness to the road and parking lot, many of the climbing rocks are covered with soot from vehicle
After much deliberation, the group determined to focus on two areas- petitioning the state and town for a safe crossway across Hammond Pond Parkway for patrons of the conservation area and clean up on spray paint and class in the woods.
During the afternoon on Monday groups began researching both issues and creating action plans for Tuesday. Continue to follow us for more details on the work groups did on Tuesday.
On day one, Monday, Before moving into our official work on the Hammond Pond Reservation and Webster Woods, students participated in a Design Sprint. The goal of the spring was to give students an opportunity to go through a design process. In this sprint students paired up and worked to understand how they each use their wallet in an effort to design a better wallet.
In just an hour, students created designs that ranged from a new type of pants to better organize one’s money and cards, a belt attachment for change, and new ways to transfer money electronically.
Our group is comprised of high school students from the Brimmer and May School. We have two ninth grade students, one tenth grade student, three eleventh grade students, and two twelfth grade students.
This year the group of Brimmer students in the Boston Winterim group chose to take use the design process to improve an issue in our local community. During the lead up to Winterim the group developed an interest in identifying an issue at the Hammond Pond Reservation and Webster Woods conservatory areas in Chestnut Hill. The posts that follow are a recap of the work that the group did and how they are working to make a difference.