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Spring/Summer 2007 Newsletter

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Amory Park Renovation, March 13, 2007
Illustration of Amory Park Renovation, March 13, 2007, prepared by Larson Associates.

Landscape Improvements at Amory Park
by Ferris Hall

THE TOWN of Brookline has budgeted $300,000 to be spent by the Park and Recreation Commission for improvements to Amory Park. Larson Associates, a landscape architect firm and the Town’s design consultant has had multiple informative public design review meetings over the past few months, including site visits. These included the Park and Recreation Commission, interested neighbors, members of the Friends of Hall’s Pond, the Conservation and Preservation Commissions, and the Parks and Open Space and Engineering Divisions of the Town — no one ever said that democracy was efficient. However, the near-final plans, as outlined in the accompanying survey map, look terrific.

The vast majority of the funds will be spent on the playing fields to optimize water drainage and irrigation. It is particularly important to minimize water saturation and flooding of the-low lying field from rain running off the Amory Street hillside, and to prevent subsequent uncontrolled run-off into Hall’s Pond. However, of more interest to most parties is the required construction of a universally accessible four foot wide walking path around the Park which needs to connect to the comfort station on the knoll at the southwest corner. The latter presents difficult choices because of the height of this hill. Other considerations included the path’s potential damage to the roots of trees along the Amory Street slope, the need for it to avoid the foul lines of the two adjacent baseball fields, and not to interfere with winter sledding along the northwest portion of the Park. There will be a new semiformal entrance to the Park at southwest corner. My own pet interest was to have some of the funds spent for new trees to replace or augment the mature and post mature oaks along the Amory Street slope and the willows and other water loving trees adjacent to the Pond. It is always a pleasure to be involved in a process in which so many individuals and groups with differing ideas and agendas can amicably reach compromise — we all thank Annie Blair of the Park and Recreation Commission for her people skills in this regard.

That is the good news. The temporary bad news is that, assuming the work is successfully put out to bid, the work could begin as early as June of this year, after the end of the baseball season. The field and hillside would be closed to the public until the new turf is established, probably in the summer of 2008. The Friends who participated in this project heartily support it.

tree-formalGardenIn and Around the Garden

SPRING in Hall’s Pond Sanctuary and Formal Garden is a welcome sight to behold! From the plants’ point of view, it was a tough winter. The snow blanket was not present to help insulate, therefore as the spring progresses, we will see what kind of damage has been done. The potential damage ranges from mild die back along the tips and branches of trees and shrubs, to frost cracks on tree trunks and frost heaving of entire plants, trees and shrubs.

2007 will be a year dedicated to managing and monitoring invasive plants. High on the list once again is Garlic Mustard (Allaria petiolata) and Oriental Bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus). We will also be on the lookout for Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria), Japanese Knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum), Multiflora Rose (Rosa multiflora), and the Black and Pale swallowworts (Cynanchum louiseae and rossicum).

These plants seem to be most prevalent and in need of monitoring, but by no means are they the only ones to watch out for. There are many places to find information on invasive plants, but a good place to start is the New England Wildflower Society website (

Come on out and enjoy the garden!

heronSuccess for Climate Change Action Brookline

GLOBAL WARMING a worldwide concern, is being addressed in our town by an organization called Climate Change Action Brookline. In an effort to raise public awareness of renewable energy, Climate Change Action Brookline solicited 150 households or organizations to donate $100 each to the New England Wind Fund by April 30, 2007. If Brookline reached that goal, the New England Wind Fund would donate a 2-kilowatt solar panel for a Brookline public building valued at $25,000. The Friends of Hall’s Pond joined in support of this effort with a $100 donation. The community-wide effort to reach this goal was successful.

Congratulations go to Climate Change Action Brookline and to everyone who participated. The solar panels will be installed at a public building selected by the town.


On October 3, 2006, Joan W. Goodwin, a long time Board Member of the Friends of Hall’s Pond, died at the age of 79. Joan served on our board as Secretary for a number of years and was known for her warm smile, her generous support of the sanctuary and for her ability to get things done.Upon her retirement from the board, Joan was honored at the Friends’ annual meeting in March 2001.

Born in Dallas,Texas, Joan lived in the Boston and Brookline area for 32 years. For the last several years she resided in Jamaica Plain. During the years she lived in proximity to Hall’s Pond she was also a member of the Friends of Longwood Mall. Longwood Mall, located between Kent and Hawes Streets, is on the National Historic Registry for preservation of its grove of beech trees.

In November 1995, Joan was interviewed for a segment about Longwood Mall on Brookline Access TV’s The Garden Show. Lucia Droby, a former Friends of Hall’s Pond board member,was producer of the show.The Friends of Longwood Mall work in partnership with the town in caring and preserving the beech trees, something Joan used to describe as bing like “old elephants.” We, like elephants, will long remember this wonderful woman and her contributions to these protected spaces.