Cambridge Outdoors

playing, learning, and being outdoors in Cambridge, Mass.


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

A summer evening at Magazine Beach…what could be more delightful? It’s the perfect time to take note of birds having their evening meal of insects by the river. And maybe you’ll find a moth or two, seeing as it’s still National Moth Week!

Magazine Beach

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…

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Thursday’s Moth: National Moth Week 2017

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Grape Plume Moth, Geina periscelidactylus, photographed at Alewife Reservation, Cambridge. Photo (c) Mike Mulqueen. Used by permission.

Moths come in a variety of shapes, as this plume moth demonstrates. It’s National Moth Week. Find your own moth!  Here’s a guide  to attracting and identifying moths…and having a “mothing” event.

Wednesday’s Moth: National Moth Week 2017

(c) Tom Murray

Our National Moth Week species of the day is shown here in its caterpillar form. Meet the Goldenrod Hooded Owlet (Cucullia asteroides)!

The closest public event during National Moth Week to our city is at the South Shore Nature Center, this afternoon (Wed. July 27th). But check out this guide to finding moths.

All of our moth images this week are photographs shot in Cambridge. The image here was photographed at Fresh Pond Reservation by Tom Murray, author of Insects of New England and New York.

When you’re out looking for moths this week, include caterpillars. You can post a photo of it on iNaturalist.org or bugguide.net and ask for identification help.

A woman uses a long pole reaching from a bridge into the water on a snowy day.


A Victory for Clean Water: Citizen Science Data Leads to Change

The following news is reprinted with permission from the Mystic River Watershed Association:

For years, the Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA) and its volunteers have helped to document water pollution problems in the Town of Belmont. This week, that hard work paid off.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued an Administrative Order on Consent with the Town of Belmont over years of water quality damages. Over the next five years the town has agreed to make a significant investment in repairs to its storm water system, which is discharging pollutants, including human sewage, into waters of the Mystic River watershed. We congratulate Belmont on their commitment to improve water quality to tributaries to Alewife Brook.

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This is a success story for citizen science and for non-profit environmental collaboration with government agencies. Data acquired by MyRWA volunteers and shared with EPA was key to making progress. This has been a group effort—from the dozens of volunteer monitors who go out each month to collect samples, to the tireless work of others like Roger Frymire, who spent countless hours finding sources of pollution in the Alewife Brook area.

Since 2000, volunteers through the MyRWA’s Baseline Monitoring Program have generated water quality data that is shared with state and federal agencies. Each year the EPA in conjunction with MyRWA issues a water quality report card for the Mystic River watershed.
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The 2015 water quality report card for the Belmont area tells the story: Alewife Brook earned a D grade with 50% compliance with boating and swimming standards for bacteria; Little River a D- grade at 44% compliance; and Winn’s Brook an F grade at 33% compliance.

One powerful aspect of the Baseline Monitoring Program is that it is poised to document success as well as problems. As infrastructure repairs are made in Belmont, we fully expect these grades to improve. We look forward to documenting and celebrating water quality improvements to Alewife Brook, Little River, Winn’s Brook, Wellington Brook—and the Mystic River itself—over the next five years!

Congratulations and thanks to everyone who continues to work with us for protecting clean water.


Locals Offset Carbon Footprint to April 29 Climate March

If you’re traveling to Washington, D.C., for the April 29th People’s Climate March from Greater Boston, you can now offset the carbon footprint of your travel through a GreenCambridge program that will provide  education and support local urban trees, plants and climate through the purchase of biochar.soil for climate.jpg

About Biochar (from the International Biochar Initiative)

The 2,000 year-old practice of making biochar converts agricultural waste into a soil enhancer that can hold carbon, boost food security, and increase soil biodiversity, and discourage deforestation. The process creates a fine-grained, highly porous charcoal that helps soils retain nutrients and water.