Four Arrested by Belmont Police in Protest of Forest Clearcutting

Belmont Police arrested four Cambridge residents yesterday for trespassing in the 15-acre floodplain forest “Silver Maple Forest,”a section of Belmont bordering Cambridge and Arlington, where a decades-long battle for conservation hangs by a thread. A press release issued by the Friends of Alewife Reservation reported that

The arrests were peaceful and without incident.  Dana Demetrio, University of Vermont student, Sylvia Gilman, Illustrator with Peace Action; Ben Beckwith software repair and musician; and Paula Sharaga, children’s librarian, were agreeably escorted by police out of the forest into paddy wagons after refusing to leave when asked to do so. They say permits are still pending or  “up in the air” in Belmont and it is nonsensical to clear-cut before building permits are approved and municipal matters settled in both Cambridge and Belmont.

One protester referred to the removal of the trees as a”crime against nature.” Madeline Sis, a Lesley University student who was arrested at a similar protest on Tuesday, said “Each tree falling is like a human dying because people will pay dearly as more flooding happens.” Ellen Mass, director of the Friends of Alewife Reservation (FAR), has been involved in legal cases against developer O’Neill Properties regarding the environmental impact of the development. Mass and others have asserted that the development, on which 300 residential units will be built,  will be in violation of FEMA floodplain designations, including numerous municipal/state guidelines, Mass, in the FAR press release, stated

“A French coastal town is even preparing to send their Mayor and administration to prison for allowing permits on a floodplain which ended in 29 deaths with surges from storm Xynthia,”

FAR is a member of the Silver Maple Forest Alliance, which plans another rally Monday, October 20th at 7:00 a.m. at the forest site on Acorn Park Drive.

silvermaplearrestsFAR also reported in the press release that on Monday, October 20th, the Cambridge City Council will hear a policy order requesting that no Cambridge property be used for the “development designs” or “square footage replication area,” As the developer’s design plans for the site extend across the Belmont border into Cambridge, this measure has the potential to halt the clearcutting. In addition, a temporary injunction has been filed in Woburn District Court to stop the tree felling without known results.

Honk! 2014

At the front of our community group in the 2014 Honk! Parade was this bevy of critters and delightful meadow flowers

L to R: mouse, fish, heliopsis, purple coneflower (holding cattail), red-winged blackbird. Background right, a glimpse of the great blue heron giant puppet.

Honk! Parade's Fresh Pond Creatures group, 2014
Honk! Parade’s Fresh Pond Creatures group, 2014
Honk! Parade 2014: A red-winged blackbird
Honk! Parade 2014: A red-winged blackbird

Two Natural History Events in Greater Boston coming up on 1/31 and 2/2

Developmental Mechanisms for the Origin and Evolution of Birds
Lecture by Arkhat Abzhanov, Associate Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University

We might think robins are simply a common backyard bird, but actually they represent one of the most unusual, successful, and abundant animals (the order Aves) in Earth’s history. The new science of evolutionary developmental biology (“evo-devo”) sheds fascinating light on the evolution of birds’ highly distinct skulls with toothless beaks, and on how modern birds can generate a seemingly endless array of beak shapes.

Part of the Evolution Matters Lecture Series
Free and open to the public. Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford Street.
Free event parking for evening lectures in the 52 Oxford Street garag

Winter hike on Saturday, February 2nd at the Stony Brook Reservation.

Fox or Coyote Scat, January, Fresh Pond Reservation

BNAN staff, Jessica Mink from the Friends of Stony Brook Reservation and DCR rangers will guide you through the winter landscape. On our hunt for signs of wildlife in winter we will visit a newly planted orchard and explore a new garden site within the reservation. So much to explore and lots of opportunities for wildlife discovery throughout. We will have hot cocoa available at the end of the hike. ,