Jean Rogers has been Fresh Pond Reservation’s ranger since 1994.
1. Are you coming to the Honk! Parade on October 9th?
I am going to come, though I won’t be walking the entire parade route. You can see me helping launch the Cambridge Wildlife marching group in Davis Square as the parade begins, and I’ll be there again as the parade ends in Harvard Square.
I’m going to Honk! because it’s a way to reach out to people who are celebrating the fall season. The giant animal puppets, and the handmade costumes, help people be aware of the real animals that are all around us in the city. Anyone in Cambridge can march with Cambridge Wildlife. It’s a way to celebrate our connection to them. The Honk! band music makes it even more enjoyable!
2. Why is it important to people to know what animals live in Cambridge?
Well, what’s important is that we pay attention. We don’t want to take away things wild animals need or use up all the space ourselves. All of us are sharing the city with other people but we also sometimes forget we have animals in the city, wild animals that we might not think about very much. There’s so many animals that we need to be aware of—so that we don’t step on them or harm them in other ways. It’s nice to see the wildness of animals because we are part of nature, and we have wildness in us too.
3. What are some of the questions people ask you the most at Fresh Pond Reservation?
How far is it around the pond is the main one. People come to tell me about things they see. Because when they don’t know the name of an animal, they can’t find out more about it in a book, so they ask me to help them start to know something about it.
A lady came in the other day to say she noticed a turtle on the grass and wanted to know if it was okay. It was! Turtles come onto the land to lay their eggs. People don’t know when wild things are okay, and they worry whether an animal is in the right place or not. Also, they want to know what wild things eat and should they feed them. They shouldn’t. People think I take care of the wild things at Fresh Pond, but actually they take care of themselves.
4. What are three of the most fascinating animals at Fresh Pond?
Minks are fascinating because they are so athletic. They are really an all-terrain animal. They are on the water, they are in the water, they are up a tree; they are on the ground, they are under the ground. They chase chipmunks up trees. Chipmunks are their idea of a very good meal. You never expect to see chipmunks up in a tree! Minks are very wild. A mink will ignores us, try to not be visible to us; it will back away, do what ever it can to remain unseen.
I think rabbits are fascinating. They try to be invisible in plain sight—they just stay still..
The tree swallows that use our nesting boxes and other hollow areas in trees are interesting. They like to live near the water, where they can catch insects to feed their young. Every spring the same pairs come back to raise their young here. They follow us around to see which bird box they’re going to get, as we’re putting them up!
5. What do you think surprises people about Fresh Pond?
Because so many people move so quickly here, they don’t notice a lot of things. Either that, or they’re using earphones or talking with a friend while walking. Most people are really surprised that, when they stay still and quiet for a bit, they see wild things.