Search results for 'wildlife'

CRWA Awarded Prestigious Fish & Wildlife Grant for Magazine Beach

10 Aug
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As part of this grant, we’ll be removing the phragmites that now fill the swale between the soccer fields at the park. Our goal is to return wildflowers to the site, restoring this habitat for birds and insects.

We’ve just heard the good news that the Charles River Watershed Association just received a highly competitive Five Star & Urban Waters Restoration Program grant to improve the Charles River watershed at Magazine Beach and to engage the community in the process. The CNA is a partner in this grant providing community outreach and assisting with the development of educational and interpretative materials (working with Mass Audubon and the CRWA) relating to watersheds, water management and urban habitat.

With this grant we will restore wetlands, add and maintain rain gardens, and remove invasive vegetation—including common reed (phragmites), false indigo, Japanese knotweed and purple loosestrife. Work will begin in the next months and continue over the next two years. The idea is to incorporate these sustainable watershed features and best management practices as we renovate the park. Other partners include: DCR, the Cambridge Public Schools and Afterschools, the Charles River Conservancy, the Riverside Boat Club and the City of Cambridge. For more information, click here. Want to help out? Click here.

Wildlife at MB Oct.-Dec. 2015

5 Feb

Many thanks to the bird and critter watchers at Magazine Beach who are noting what they see and when on the Powder Magazine whiteboard. Among the creatures spotted between October 15th and the end of December were:

Canada geese, White geese, Seagulls, Sparrows, Cormorants, Downey woodpeckers, Golden crowned kinglets, Mockingbirds, Bluejays, Red-tailed hawks, Robins, Eastern phoebe, Chicadees, Scarlet tanagers, Goldfinches, Black-throated blue warblers, Mallard ducks, Northern shovelers, and a Great-crested flycatcher, Slate-colored junco, Catbird, Wood thrush, Brown thrasher, Grackle, Yellow warbler, Mourning dove and Great-blue heron.

Rabbits, squirrels, voles, crickets mosquitoes and a snake—seen in the water near the kayak landing.

This is the beginning of a seasonal record of wildlife at the park. Check out the nature just down the street!

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!

 

 

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.

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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 cathzusy@gmail.com. THANKS in advance.

 

 

 

What a Year–2017!

21 Dec

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We have moved from planning to implementing Phase II improvements. Hallelujah!

Physical Improvements

*In September DCR opened the new spray deck. Now they are removing the broken wading pool.

*Campbell Construction is under contract to make interior improvements to the Powder Magazine—adding 2 public bathrooms. Look for work to begin soon.

*Landscape designers CSS have prepared bid documents for the canoe/kayak launch and outlook. These will go out in January.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Programming

*Magazine Beach Partners organized almost 40 programs, partnering with 12 groups and drawing almost 1,800 participants.

Additional

*The CRWA led a campaign to remove Phragmites from the eastern swale. While remaining rhizomes will certainly sprout in the spring, the battle has begun and the black tarp that covers the swale will discourage growth.

*MBPs has raised funds from the City, Cambridge Redevelopment Authority, DCR and the community for the boat launch, outlook and interpretative signs.

*MBPS published fall and winter editions of Nature Notes @ Magazine Beach and Jeanne Strahan continued the wildlife inventory.

*MBPs spun off from the Cambridgeport Neighborhood Association to become a separate 501c3.

Thanks to all who have contributed with money or time. None of this would have happened without you!

Please help support further improvements and programs by donating TODAY! Generous anonymous donors have offered a $10k challenge match, so your gift will double. Make checks out to “Magazine Beach Partners, Inc.” and send them to Marge Amster, Treasurer, MBPs, 10 McTernan St., Cambridge, MA 02139 OR contribute on Paypal. (Note: We’re still setting up our MBPs Paypal account.  You can donate to the CNA here and the money will go to MBPs.)

 

 

 

 

 

What a Year–2017!

20 Dec

IMG_9181 copy

We have moved from planning to implementing Phase II improvements. Hallelujah!

Physical Improvements

*In September DCR opened the new spray deck. Now they are removing the broken wading pool.

*Campbell Construction is under contract to make interior improvements to the Powder Magazine—adding 2 public bathrooms. Look for work to begin soon.

*Landscape designers CSS have prepared bid documents for the canoe/kayak launch and outlook. These will go out in January.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Programming

*Magazine Beach Partners organized almost 40 programs, partnering with 12 groups and drawing almost 1,800 participants.

Additional

*The CRWA led a campaign to remove Phragmites from the eastern swale. While remaining rhizomes will certainly sprout in the spring, the battle has begun and the black tarp that covers the swale will discourage growth.

*MBPs has raised funds from the City, Cambridge Redevelopment Authority, DCR and the community for the boat launch, outlook and interpretative signs.

*MBPS published fall and winter editions of Nature Notes @ Magazine Beach and Jeanne Strahan continued the wildlife inventory.

*MBPs spun off from the Cambridgeport Neighborhood Association to become a separate 501c3.

Thanks to all who have contributed with money or time. None of this would have happened without you!

Please help support further improvements and programs by donating TODAY! Generous anonymous donors have offered a $10k challenge match, so your gift will double. Make checks out to “Magazine Beach Partners, Inc.” and send them to Marge Amster, Treasurer, MBPs, 10 McTernan St., Cambridge, MA 02139 OR contribute on Paypal.

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to the Over 330 Who Have Volunteered

19 Nov

Update: Another 22 volunteers help out today, December 2. Thank you! See photo of what the site looks like NOW way below.

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Forest Tze, a UMass Boston student, has dedicated 15 hours to this project. Thank you, Forest!

It was perfect in the swales this morning: 55˚ F with a light warm rain and mud everywhere—ideal conditions for pulling out phragmite rhizomes. They came out easily.

Removing phragmites is a meditation. There you are outside, in a beautiful spot with a big sky and good company, focused on accomplishing a physical task. While the project itself can seem overwhelming (and even futile), the task itself is satisfying and, especially today in the mud, even fun. I don’t know if I’ve ever been so dirty.

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The rhizomes are thick and extend in a web 3″-6″ deep across the swale.

I have developed extraordinary respect for phragmites. They dominate because they extend a web of 1/2”-¾” thick rhizomes that grow horizontally 3-6” below the surface. They’re strong and jointed like bamboo. They also spread by seed from their beautiful seedheads. A few weeks ago, on a windy day, we watched thousands of these seeds blow across the fields.

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Who knows why phragmites overtook the eastern swale? It wasn’t one of the 20 wildflowers planted there in 2009. Curiously, the “sister” western swale at the park is without them.

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The western swale is full of wildflowers and volunteer trees.

In the next weeks, Elisabeth Cianciola of the Charles River Watershed Association will lead a few more volunteer events to dig out the last rhizomes and then cover the site with black fabric that will stay down for 2 years. Then, wildflowers will be planted, which, we hope, will out compete the phragmites.

The whole goal of this project has been to replace the invasive phragmites with wildflowers again for the sake of biodiversity and to recreate a richer habitat for insects and birds. May we be successful.

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Eastern swale as of 12.2. The CRWA will be covering it with black tarp in the next few days.

Thanks to the over 330 who have already volunteered, to the others who will pitch in in the coming weeks, to the CRWA for leading this effort, to the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation for funding it, to the Charles River Conservancy for partnering, and to the City of Cambridge for loaning tools and disposing of the waste. Working together, we’ve got a shot at success. This small project has been HUGE.

 

Music! Stories! Big Animal Puppets! And Bicycle Decorating on Friday, July 28

25 Jul

UPDATE: We’re moving to our rain date, Friday, July 28. Sorry to change things, but we don’t want you sitting in the wet. Tomorrow should be beautiful! See you at the park!singing white background horizontal

Come celebrate sustainable and healthy commuting at our Walk/Ride Day Eve Celebration Friday, July 28 at 6-8pm (rain date: Walk/Ride Day, Friday, July 28). Bring a picnic and enjoy treats from ice cream truck!

Boston-based band Trusting Fate will serenade us with “imaginative, unexpected music that combines elements of rock, folk, bluegrass, roots and blues into a fresh, powerful sound.” Katie Liesener from Massmouth will MC commuter-related storytelling. (Have a funny, gripping, or otherwise memorable personal story about urban biking, walking, or transit experience to share in 4-5 minutes?) Gallery 263 will host a bicycle decorating table, so bring your bikes. And be amazed by big animal puppets made by the Cambridge Wildlife Puppetry Project. FREE!

Thanks to our partners: Green Streets Initiative, MassMouth, the Cambridge Wildlife Puppetry Project and Gallery 263; and to our sponsors: Sanofi Genzyme, MIT, Kimco, Forest City and the Charles River Conservancy.

The Annual Warbler Migration is Underway

31 May

Note: Jeanne Strahen, who’s conducting the wildlife inventory of the park, will lead a FREE bird walk THIS Saturday, June 3. Meet on the BU Bridge, facing the park, at 7:30am. Bring your binoculars! (Rain date: Sunday, June 4.)

Each spring, warblers wintering in Mexico and Central America catch favorable air currents and begin their migration up through the Midwest, then head east to New England and Canada, where they breed in the summer months. The migration peaks in the first two weeks of May, when groups of warblers arrive at Magazine Beach after traveling as much as 200 miles in the previous evening. They stay a day or two to rest and feed on insects. Depending on the weather, they will be joined or replaced by a new group of warblers every day or two. Each group brings new species, most of whom will head north. I’ve identified sixteen species at Magazine Beach since the beginning of May. Look for them in the tall trees around the Magazine Street entrance.

–Jeanne Strahen

Yesterday’s sightings at the park: 20 black crowned night herons and three great blues with a total of 459 birds!

Warblers sighted at Magazine Beach: black and white warbler, common yellowthroat, American redstart, yellow rumped warbler, Nashville Warbler, blackburnian warbler, blackpoll warbler, magnolia warbler, northern parula, prairie warbler, chestnut-sided warbler, black-throated green warbler, palm warbler, pine warbler and Tennessee warbler.

4.29 Earth Day Cleanup & Bird Walk THIS Saturday!

30 Apr

Thanks to all who participated in yesterday’s Earth Day Charles River Cleanup, including: Gensler, Reed Hildebrand, the Green Engineer, MIT, Pack 56 Cub Scouts and Cambridgeport neighbors; and to event organizers: the Charles River Watershed Association and Charles River Conservancy.

DCR will pick up the many piles of sticks and branches this week. Volunteers pulled tons of bits of plastic from the river and shoreline. A high school student took bags of it and will craft artwork from the marine debris.

Nature Lovers: We also sighted a muskrat, living along the river’s edge!!!!!! And, last week: a great blue heron. Jeanne Strahen, who’s conducting the wildlife inventory of Magazine Beach, and CRWA bird watcher Matt Marshall will lead a Bird Walk at the park Saturday, May 6. Meet on the BU bridge, facing the park at 7:30am (rain date: Sunday, May 7). Free. Bring your binoculars! UPDATE: Rain is predicted, but it’s not raining. The walk is on! See you there!

Wildlife photos courtesy of Garrett Newton and Coleen O’Connell.