Thank You, Volunteers!

21 May

Thank you, Novartis, BU Academy and Salesforce, for your recent cleanups at Magazine Beach. May 10, over 100 Novartis employees painted park benches, picnic tables and fences, removed invasives plants, and picked up trash. May 16 BU Academy got dirty digging up those pesky phragmite rhizomes. And today, Salesforce are on site in the eastern swale once more.

We’re grateful to the Charles River Conservancy and Charles River Watershed Association for organizing these events. DCR counts on volunteers to help maintain the park. Thanks also to neighbors who have been watering the willow and to the Nature Heroes, who will be watering the new wildflower meadow weekly.


Look closely. To the left, a heron stands in the wetlands just to the east of the boat launch.


The Story of the Lost Gosling

18 May

IMG_0117Below is the story of the Lost Gosling, written and photographed by Paul Kelley, leader of Nature Heroes, a Habitat (Mass Audubon) program for Morse afterschool students at Magazine Beach. Thank you, Paul, and thank you heroes Lucy Weltner and Bill Nauman!

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Water the New Willow!

8 May

We need your help to water the new willow. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Take the bucket beside the willow and walk down to the river. Fill the bucket.
  2. Water the willow.
  3. Leave the bucket upside down on one of the stakes beside the young tree for the next waterer. THANK YOU!

A slide show of other wonders at the park:

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A New Willow, A New Wildflower Meadow…

4 May

Turner Construction planted the new willow, among MANY park projects.

Among the many things that 45 volunteers from Turner Construction did at the park today was to plant a new weeping willow—along the river, near the old one—that one day, will be 50’ tall! They also raked away leaves and the countless broken twigs at the park, cut down the invasive ailanthus trees in the western swale and cleared out the dead vegetation and helped to plant a new wildflower meadow. And they gave us 2 new picnic tables. THANK YOU!

Take a walk at the park. It looks amazing. Also, please help water the new willow. By early next week there will be a bucket beside it that you can fill with river water. Willows need water!


Students from City on a Hill helped plant the wildflowers, working with the CRC and M4BD.

Also today, students from the City on the Hill School in Dorchester, along with the Charles River Conservancy (CRC) and Meadowmaking for Biodiversity M4BD), planted a wildflower garden beside the eastern swale.

Barbara Passero and Jean Devine have lovingly cultivated these plants and are now spreading them to several sites. We are lucky enough to be one of them. Barbara and Jean will be leading a Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program focusing on environmental entrepreneurship. They will be using Magazine Beach to help strengthen students’ understanding of ecosystems in the city. For more about their work, see:


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Many thanks are also due to the CRWA for coming to straighten out the tarp on the swales today, to the City of Cambridge for loaning us rakes and shovels, and to Mahoney’s, who gave us a break on the willow.


It’s Spring! It’s Summer?

2 May


Catch the cherry blossoms at the park this week. This first hot summer-like night, the park was filled with users: playing baseball, picnicking, drumming and relaxing. The river breeze refreshes. What a great place to cool off!


Earth Day Cleanup & Kids, Bugs, Art

30 Apr

IMG_1365 (1)Saturday was spectacular and 80 volunteers, including Troop 56, Forward Financing, the BU Forensics Group, the Boston Kiwanis Club and Cambridgeport neighbors were there picking up sticks and trash and preparing a flowerbed for a wildflower meadow. Thanks to all volunteers and to the CRWA, CRC and DCR for organizing this annual event.

IMG_1037And then the Cambridge Wildlife Puppetry Project brought Kids, Bugs, Art to the park, where children delighted in making bumble bee puppets, engaging in a nature scavenger hunt and talking with naturalists about the wonders of the park.

It just happened to be the most spectacular day we’ve had this spring and many were out savoring the day. May this be the first of so many more!



Riverside Has a New Slab

23 Apr

IMG_0285After years of having a cracked and sinking slab/foundation for their scull (boat) storage, the Riverside Boat Club replaced it this spring. What better way to celebrate the new slab than with a semi-formal SLAB party with good food, good cheer and dancing. The sculls will move back into the boathouse this week. Look for them out on the river.

Other Signs of Spring
Central Cambridge Youth Baseball has kicked off their season with practices at the park and the soccer fields are also in use with soccer and frisbee players.IMG_1299

The Charles River Conservancy organized the first park cleanup of the season on Saturday. Students at Camp Kesem at MIT raked leaves and picked up sticks. Thank you!

4.22.18 - Camp Kesem at MIT

Camp Kesem at MIT did a park cleanup April 22

And the warm sun is drawing out terrace wall sitters as well, passing the time watching the river, the rowers, the geese…IMG_1300

Coming up this Saturday at Magazine Beach:
Charles River Earth Day Cleanup, 9-12 noon (rain or shine).
Kids, Bugs, Art, 1:30-3:30pm (rain date and time: April 29, 4-6pm)
Come join in the fun!

Change is Afoot!

13 Apr

Jean Devine and Barbara Passero of Meadowscaping will give us a wildflower garden in May. Paul Kelley of Mass Audubon and his Nature Heroes will help water it.

A lot is going on at the park today… The founders of Meadowscaping for Biodiversity met with representatives of the City, Mass Audubon and me to discuss how best to bring their wildflower garden to the park in early May. Look for 4-year-old asters, bee balm, blazing stars, blue vervain, coneflowers, coreopsis and more beside the eastern swale come May. The goal is to move them into the swale once we conquer the phragmites. In the meantime, black tarps will remain there, discouraging the hardy phragmites from reappearing.


And DCR is putting in the ADA-accessible path to the Powder Magazine. The bathrooms at the Magazine have been framed out and the place is abuzz with electricians and plumbers. The magazine will be fully renovated by early this summer!

For some, however, there is no time nor change, only contemplation…


Red-Winged Blackbirds, Come Nest!

8 Apr

This morning sixteen volunteers cut down the hedge where the canoe/kayak launch and outlook will go–just in time. The female red-winged blackbirds are just returning to the park, weeks after their mates, and will soon set up housekeeping. The goal of today’s cleanup was to remove the hedge BEFORE they nested at the site. (These bushes will be dug out, but later.) Never fear, most of the hedge is still up. Look for shorebirds–killdeer, snipes and American woodcocks–coming soon. They are usually here by now, but their migration has been delayed by the bomb cyclones.

Many thanks to Riverside Boat Club, the CRLS Charles River Cleanup Project and to Cambridgeport neighbors for coming out to help today. Thanks are also due to the Charles River Conservancy for loaning us their tools and to the City of Cambridge for hauling the brush away.

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Nature Heroes Discover @ MB

5 Apr

Tuesdays, February-June, Paul Kelley from Mass Audubon brings Morse afterschool students to explore the park as Nature Heroes.

The Nature Heroes program at Magazine Beach was created to provide students from Morse Elementary the opportunity to make connections with a nearby green space. Topics we are going to cover include plants and pollinators, water quality, and predator prey relationships. One of my favorite quotes is; “In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we are taught.” (Baba Dioum, 1968.)  

 Through exploring Magazine Beach, learning about its past history as a powder magazine, and creating fun, new memories, students will develop a sense of place with Magazine Beach, empowering them to conserve its beauty and importance as a habitat for wildlife. My hope is that those who attend this program bring their friends and family out to Magazine Beach, and other green spaces in Cambridge, to spread the knowledge and love of such amazing nature in an urban setting. It’s all right there and all you have to do is look for it!

–Paul Kelley, Habitat, a Mass Audubon Sanctuary

Note: This program is funded by the CRWA’s National Fish & Wildlife Foundation grant. Its goal is to improve watersheds and cultivate stewards of them.


A hawk appeared out of no where, within 25 feet of our Nature Heroes as they explored the park.

Interested in nature at the Park? See our spring edition of Nature Notes @ Magazine Beach.

Also… HELP! We Need Volunteers to Cut the Hedges at the New Canoe/Kayak Launch at Magazine Beach Park THIS Sunday, April 8, 9am-12noon

We’ve got to cut down the hedges ASAP at the site of the new, expanded ADA-accessible canoe/kayak launch & outlook BEFORE the red-winged blackbirds nest there. (Construction will probably begin in May, but the birds will begin nesting soon.)

PLEASE join us. We’ll have tools, water and some work gloves. Please bring work gloves (if you have them) and a snack. We’ll be meeting at the current boat launch at the end of the Cottage Farm Plant parking lot—the most eastern parking lot at the park.  Questions? Email or call Cathie of Magazine Beach Partners at 617-460-2716 or THANKS in advance.