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The Friends of Hemlock Gorge

Minutes of Meetings in 2008


January February March
April May June
July: No Meeting August: Picnic Meeting September
October November December

The Friends of Hemlock Gorge

Minutes for January 8, 2008

Next Meeting: Tuesday February 5, 2008 at 7:30

Present were Vaunita Schnell, Erica Uramkin, John Mordes, and Brian Yates.

Erica expressed some cautious optimism on the part of the DCR that the Governorís  initiative to restore funding for parks and other recreation areas like beaches may come to pass in the near future. There are already new job posting for beach supervisors. There is trail work at Chestnut Hill in progress.

At Hemlock Gorge the new signs are all up, including 6 no trespassing signs. Erica met with engineering on the new windows. They are in contact with Kevin Hollenbeck for photos and Erica will try ďto keep it rollingĒ Also working on the electricity; spoke with her supervisor and will contact mobile maintenance.

Erica will check on location of old artifacts from the Stone Building that may have been stored at Elm Bank or in the loft of the Stone Building.

MWRA awaiting news on bridge railings. District commission agrees that historic restoration is preferred. Fund Raising remains a critical issue. Notice of construction needs will be posted to various list servers for news on suggestions for restoration methods, especially for preservation of railings in place.

Brian is reconsidering trying again designation of the gorge as a Nation Natural Landmark. He is seeing input from the Department of Geology at B.C.

We have no news on the adelgids.

Respectfully Submitted,

John Mordes, Secretary pro tempore


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The Friends of Hemlock Gorge

Minutes for February 5, 2008

Next Meeting: Tuesday March 4, 2008 at 7:30.

Present were Erica Uramkin, Vaunita Schnell, John Mordes, and Brian Yates.

Erica reported that there were no critical issues at the Reservation. More importantly she reported that she engaged NStart electric to work with DCR and THE ELECTRICITY IS BACK ON IN THE STONE BUILDING. She is also in contact with the DCR about the window replacement.

The date of the Spring Cleanup was fixed at Saturday, April 26, the day before The Run of the Charles.

The interim fencing was thought to be reasonably well done and attractive. The installation left some trash on the bridge, and this has been cleaned up by the Friends. 

Brian and Erica suggest trimming of invasive plants like bittersweet in the fall

Erica will call the MWRA about the vandalized grout on the bridge.

Erica still thinks that the Governorís proposal to enhance parks funding is proceeding, especially for beach positions this coming summer.

Chipping and storm cleanup will arrive at HG soon. Erica is also planning trail restoration.

We will make a prioritized wish list, starting with repair of the trails and  continuing to graffiti remediation, checks of the roof of the stone building, the Friendsí bridge, and possibly connecting the Reservation and the downstream riverbank via th sluiceway

Respectfully Submitted,

John Mordes, Secretary pro tempore


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The Friends of Hemlock Gorge

Minutes for March 4, 2008

Next Meeting: Tuesday April 1, 2008 at 7:30

Present on March 4, 2008 were Brian Yates, Vaunita Schnell, Nina Koch, and John Mordes

Site supervisor Erica Uramkin was unable to be present due to the heavy rains; she was on call for possible flood control. For this reason we had no update on the stone building electrical status or windows.

The date for the spring cleaunup, April 25 is set; we will be part of the larger Earth Day Cleanup. It was noted that there are no exterior lights at the Stone Building.

Brian reported that Anny Lysaght had found the typescript copy of Ken Newcomb's Makers of the Mold that Ken had given to Hank. Anne has given the typescript to Brian.

Brian also reported that the Lysaght family has access to grante that could be used for memorials. The idea was floated that we could perhaps obtain a large piece of granite on which we could memorialize not only Hank, but Hannah Sherman, Sarah Hannah and perhaps others in the future. Anne will be contacted about this.

Finally, we have about $2800 in the treasury. Apart from $100 per year over the next 5 years for web site expenses, the rest is available for cleanups, maintenance, and the bridge restoration.

Respectfully Submitted,

John Mordes, Secretary pro tempore


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The Friends of Hemlock Gorge

Minutes for April 1, 2008

Next Meeting: Tuesday May 6, 2008 at 7:30

Present on April 1, 2008 were Erica Uramkin, John Mordes, Bill Tedoldi, Karen Shanley, and Brian Yates.

Additional membership renewals and dues continue to come in.

The lights in the Stone Building remain on. Some street lights on Rte 9 are still off.

Finances: our current checking account balance is $3,459.29.

Jim Purdy has a new email address but is still keeping the books.

We have received a form letter from EMS Sports. They will invite us to 4/17-19 to Club Days. 300 needham street 20% off on everything and 1% of sales to to the "Access Fund" and "Conservation Alliance". EMS has pledged $500k to the conservation alliance legacy fund. Our email notice will constitute proof of membership.

Ericaís new email is Erica.urammkin@state.ma.us

Windows: DCR regional engineer has selected a replacement window design and DCR staff are in the process of ordering them. They are to be installed on both river facing widows and the upper floor door.

DCR is working to do maintenance on the trail along Quinobequin Road. Bill Giezentannner did a trail plan some twenty years ago. It's whereabouts is not known.

Brian is working to have a large dead tree near the Mills Fall complex taken down. Brian has a list of trees on publics land that need to be removed. There are three on Ellis street on city of Newton land.

Memorial: in parking lot or under the bridge where there MWRA land. Maybe a bench? One proposal would be use the space in front of the stone building. A problem would be extending the fence along Rte. 9 if that were to be thought necessary for public safety.

Cleanup will be from 9:30 to noon. Followed by a lunch.

The meeting ended at 8:44 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted,

John Mordes, Secretary pro tempore


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The Friends of Hemlock Gorge

Minutes for May 6, 2008

Next Meeting: Tuesday June 3, 2008 at 7:39

The May meeting was attended by Brian Yates, John Mordes, and Vaunita Schnell. We reviewed the spring cleanup and set the date for the summer picnic. We complimented the DCR staff in absentia on the long0awaited installation of new lights in the Stone Building.

The meeting adjourned at about 8:30.

Respectfully Submitted,

John Mordes, Secretary pro tempore


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The Friends of Hemlock Gorge

Minutes for June and August, 2008

Next Meeting: Tuesday September 8, 2008 at 7:30

Present at the June meeting were Brian Yates, John Mordes, Bonnie and Rick Pearson, and Anne Lysaght and her son Tim.

Items discussed:

Annual Summer Picnic: Mark your calendar!  The Friends of Hemlock Gorge picnic will be held on Tuesday, August 12th, 2008 from 6:00pm at Hamilton Place. Thanks again to the generosity of member, Karen Osborn Shanley, we will have a free concert featuring vocalist Jenn Bostic and guitarist Kenny Silva playing country, rock and pop. Picnic tables and a grill will be provided. This event is open to all, please invite your friends and family. In the event of rain, the picnic will move to the Stone Building.

Memorial and Tribute for Hank Lysaght -  Plans are coming together for a special tribute to such a unique and profound member and dear friend that we lost suddenly last November.  Hank was instrumental in helping the Friends to digitize and publish online historian Ken Newcomb's book, Makers of the Mold  as well as many projects benefiting the Hemlock Gorge Reservation.  The friends are very happy to be working with the Lysaght family on this tribute and would like to have a presentation at the Annual Picnic.

Friends Memorial Plaque Ė Discussion of Friends memorial plaque to be displayed in the Stone Building to honor active members and tribute members who have passed away.

Stone Building Ė The Friends are appreciative of the efforts of DCR Site Supervisor Erica Uramkin in restoring the electrical service to the Stone Building.  We are looking forward to Ericaís next report regarding the replacement windows in the Stone Building and plans for trail restoration project.

Removal of Graffiti Ė Echo Bridge:  MWRA Maintenance Dept. has done wonders on removing the graffiti from the Echo Bridge.  Many thanks from the Friends for their dedication.

This meeting adjourned at 8:45pm

Respectfully Submitted,

Bonnie Pearson, Secretary


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The Friends of Hemlock Gorge

Minutes for September 8, 2008

Next Meeting: Tuesday October 7, 2008 at 7:30

Members present:  Brian Yates, Vaugnita Schnell, Bonnie Pearson and Rick Pearson.

Items discussed:

Annual Summer Picnic: The Friends of Hemlock Gorge picnic held on Tuesday, August 19th, 2008 was enjoyed by all. Thanks again to the generosity of member, Karen Osborn Shanley, we had entertainment during the picnic.  The highlight of the picnic was a special tribute to Hank Lysaght, a unique, profound member and dear friend that we lost suddenly last November.  Hank was instrumental in helping the Friends to digitize and publish online historian Ken Newcomb's book, Makers of the Mold  as well as many projects benefiting the Hemlock Gorge Reservation.  The friends are very happy to be working with the Lysaght family on this tribute and presentation of the memorial granite bench located in Hemlock Gorge. Newton TV did film this presentation.

Friends Memorial Plaque: Plans are underway for a commerative plaque to be located in side the stone barn as a way of for the FOHG to memorialize members who have passed away and to tribute current active members.

Stone Building and Trail Upkeep: The latest update from the DCR Site Supervisor Erica Uramkin regarding the stone barn is that the windows and door have been delivered and installation will be scheduled in the near future. Erica also reported that the AMC (Appalachian Mtn. Club) is planning on spending some time in October working on the steep trails that have washed out in the Hemlock Gorge Reservation.

Echo Bridge Railings: No new information to report.

Annual Fall Cleanup:  Mark your calendars for Saturday, October 18th, 2008.  Volunteers to meet between 9:30am-10am at the parking lot of Hamilton Place, Needham entrance (off Central Ave, Needham or off Elliot St, Newton) Additional Parking available at the Mills Falls parking lot. Spruce-up materials (e.g. plastic bags) and Refreshments at lunchtime will be provided for all volunteers! 

Please dress appropriately for the work and weather (rain or shine).  For more information and updates, check our website: www.hemlockgorge.org

This meeting adjourned at 8:30pm

Respectfully Submitted,

Bonnie Pearson, Secretary


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The Friends of Hemlock Gorge

Minutes for October 7, 2008

Next Meeting: Tuesday November 11, 2008 at 7:30

Members present:  Brian Yates, John Mordes, Vaugnita Schnell, Bonnie Pearson and Rick Pearson.

Items discussed:

Financial Report:  $2900 is in the FOHG account.

Hemlock Gorge Reservation Annual Fall Spruce Up -  Saturday, October 18th, 2008.  Volunteers to meet between 9:30am-10am at the parking lot of Hamilton Place.  Spruce-up materials supplied and lunch will be kindly provided by Dunn Gaherinís Restaurant, Newton Upper Falls after the cleanup at the Stone Building for all volunteers. Please dress appropriately for the work and weather (rain or shine).  For more information, go to www.hemlockgorge.org.

Dunn Gaherinís Restaurant has a hearing scheduled Tuesday, October 14th at 7pm at Newton City Hall.  The purpose of the hearing is to vote on their proposal to make improvements to the building.  Support at the hearing by our members would be appreciated and encouraged.

Friends Memorial: Plans are underway for a way to commerative the FOHG members who have passed away and to tribute current active members.

Stone Building: Last word from the DCR Site Supervisor Erica Uramkin regarding the stone barn is that the windows and door have been delivered and date for installation will be scheduled in the near future.  We hope to have an update at the next meeting.

Adelgids and Hemlock Status: Updates have not been available from the DCR due to constraints put on the department in dealing with the Asian Longhorned Beetle issue in Worcester.  Discussion about hiring an arborist to check out the condition of the hemlocks for any results from the ladybugs in dealing with the adelgids.

Note next meeting is Tuesday, November 11th at 7:30pm.  Scheduled one week later due to Elections on November 4th, 2008.

This meeting adjourned at 8:45pm

Respectfully Submitted,

John Mordes, Secretary pro tempore


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The Friends of Hemlock Gorge

Minutes for November 11, 2008

Next Meeting: Tuesday December 2, 2008 at 7:30

The November meeting was unusual. We had been assured that, even though it was Veteran's Day, the Emerson Community Center would be open. But it wasn't, and the meeting was held in 40 degree temperatures in the parking lot! Nonetheless it was a great meeting.

Present were Site Supervisor Erika Uramkin, Brian Yates, John Mordes, Vaunita Schnell, Bonnie and Rick Pearson, and Karen Osborne-Shanley. In addition Maureen Byrne was able to join us as was Gillian Pierce. Gillian brought two children very interested in adelgids and our efforts to combat them: Kathryn Pierce and Brian Koker.

Erika announced that State forester Charlie Burnham has visited Hemlock Gorge recently. We don't have a formal report, but Erika said he was perplexed by the seemingly random of tree loss, with healthy trees and dead or dying ones in close proximity. John will write to Charlie for a report.

Erika also reported that the fabrication of the windows for the Stone Building is complete, and that installation may be starting soon.

Brian remains concerned about a street light near the Stone Building that is still out.

Brian reported that there is about $2900 in the treasury.

We discussed Karen's offer for plantings to shield the Reservation from the new houses built on the Needham side. Erika expllained that the process will start with a survey to be sure that there has been no encroachment on the park. She Alsao stated that she would favor, in addition to trees, a physical barrier like a stone wall to partition the properties. Karen was asked about getting a quote for various candidate trees that might be planted. Western hemlocks were mentioned, but it is not clear that they grow well in the east. Pines were another suggestion.

Erika is in talks with the MWRA to try to remediate the erosion that has been occuring in the riverbank above the Echo Platoform. The erosion is making it treacherous for people walking down there.

There was discussion of the new Longhorn Beetle threat to treas. It appears to have affected more trees in more places in central Massachusetts that previouly reported. How serious the threat is to eastern Massachusetts is not clear yet.

Erika was asked fi the financial crisis is affecting DCR. She is cautiously optimistic that funding will be stable, but staffing levels may be reduced.

Ericka reported that the Newcomb and Lysaght memorials are in good shape; discussion of other memorials was deferred pending the installation of windows in the Stone Building.

Respectfully Submitted,

John Mordes, Secretary pro tempore


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The Friends of Hemlock Gorge

Minutes for December 2, 2008

Next Meeting: Tuesday, January 6, 2009 at 7:30

Present were Brian Yates, Vaunita Schnell, Bill Tedoldi, John Mordes, and Nina Koch.

The main agenda item was the preparation of our annual mailing. We worked together to insert our annual report, a membership brochure, and stamped return envelopes into about 120 envelopes.

Agenda items included an announcement by Brian that our bank account is now about $3,000. Our January meeting will focus on potential uses for our dues beyond the cleanups and picnics.

Brian also announced that Hemlock Gorge trails are included in a new book on hiking trails in the Boston area.

John reported on the news received from Forester Charlie Burnham concerning the adelgids. This is the correspondence, which is also on our website


Hi, Charlie,
We heard last Tuesday from Erika Uramkin that youíve visited Hemlock Gorge recently to review the status of the adelgids and the hemlocks. Can you share a few sentences with me that I can pass on to the Friends of Hemlock Gorge? Thanks very much.  John P. Mordes

John
I went to the gorge to evaluate it as a possible release site for a different predatory beetle Laricobius nigrinus.  I noticed that the hemlocks were in two very different states of health which I canít explain.  Some of the trees have full crowns and a nice green foliage color, exactly what a hemlock is suppose to look like.  Other trees have a thinning crown; and are kind of off color. These two different states of tree health are in some cases right next to each other which would rule out site or environmental factors.  As for the adelgid the populations are extremely low at least on the braches I could reach so the site  did not meet the needs of the new predator program.  One other thing I notices is that there is an increase in the population of elongate hemlock scale which can cause tree decline and mortality especially when coupled with another stress factor like adelgid, drought, or soil compaction.

I hope this answers your question. Charlie

Hi, Charlie,

Thank you very much for this information, which I will pass on to the Friends of Hemlock Gorge. If you have a moment, we have a few other questions.
1.       Are any descendants of the ladybugs we released still in Hemlock Gorge?
2.       Whatís the origin of the other predator you were thinking to release? Does your interest in it mean weíve given up on ladybugs?
3.       Do you think the longhorned beetle is in Bostonís future?

Warmest regards,  John P. Mordes

John
I would like to thing the ladybugs are still present at the Gorge and for the past several years intended to do some sampling, but other things seem to be higher on the priority list, maybe next spring or summer.
The other predator is native to the Pacific Northwest, some of the insects we had available were collected in Washington and Idaho.  Virginia Tech is doing some lab rearing also.  We havenít given up on the ladybugs but we just donít want to have all our eggs in one basket.
As for the Asian Longhorned beetle given the fact that it has been in Worcester for 7 plus years I suspect it has been spread through the movement of infested wood without anyone knowing it but I hope for the sake of the New England forests it is contained in Worcester.
Charlie


After finishing some light refreshments, the meeting adjourned at 9:45 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted,

John Mordes, Secretary


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