Contact Us: 617-232-0466

About the Friends

The Friends partners with the Conservation Commission as stewards of the sanctuary. Their initiatives include Community Work Days, tending the Formal Garden and raising funds for the Horticultural Fund.

The Friends of Hall’s Pond

Jo Albrecht, founder


During the course of 2020, our team suffered losses. In June, our Co-President Ellen Forrester stepped down after suffering a personal loss. In late September, longtime Board Member Bruce Wolff died from complications due to Parkinson’s Disease. On October 2nd, our President Frank Caro died unexpectedly after a brief illness. Losses notwithstanding, the Friends of Hall’s Pond is carrying on. Our Board has elected Bob Schram and John Shreffler to serve as Interim Co-Presidents to fill out the remainder of the unexpired terms. Our other Officers, Jim Franco (Treasurer), Diane Ryan (Recording Secretary), continue to serve. Harry Breger continues to design and produce the newsletters. A special thanks to all our volunteers, too numerous to name here. Volunteers are an essential part of our team and we always welcome and need more.

Ann Frechette, Co-President

Ann Frechette, M.Ed., PhD., has lived in Brookline since 1998 with her husband and three children.  Ann started bringing her now-adult children to Hall’s Pond when they were in preschool to volunteer at Community Day events and then was recruited to serve on the Maintenance Committee.  An avid gardener and nature educator, Ann is interested in maintaining the sanctuary as a resource for the community to learn about the natural world, play a part in its preservation, and work together as a community around our common interest in sustaining the environment for human habitation.

John Shreffler, Co-President

John Shreffler has been a resident of Brookline since 2003 and currently serves as a Town Meeting Member for Precinct Two. A greenspace advocate, he also serves on the Board of the Brookline Greenspace Alliance and regularly volunteers at Hall’s Pond and in the Minot Rose Garden. He also serves on the Solid Waste Advisory Committee and is active in the Town Meeting Green Caucus. He is currently retired but continues to be an active poet and has been internationally published at odd intervals.

Priscilla Smith, Vice President, Information Technology

Priscilla Smith has been living in Brookline for 40 years, almost in the backyard of Hall’s Pond. She has retired, after a career working in computers, mostly in the retail industry. She has been associated with Friends of Hall’s Pond for over 20 years, at least, and volunteered at a large number of community days. She has been working with the Summer Maintenance crew since Frank started it.

James Franco, treasurer 

Jim Franco is an Amory Street resident for over thirty years who along with wife Ellen has two children who graduated Lawrence School and Brookline High School.  Halls Pond Sanctuary was a favorite family destination and serving on the Board is an honor but also an opportunity to help make sure our community jewel will continue to thrive.  Jim is a Precinct 1 Town Meeting Member


Board Members

Fred Bouchard

Fred Bouchard, associate professor of music journalism and literature at Berklee College of Music, reviews music for Downbeat Magazine, New York City Jazz Record, Boston Musical Intelligencer. He contributes to Fodor Guides: Boston. His articles on music, wine, food, nature, and travel have appeared in Beverage Business Magazine, Brookline Tab, Our Town Brookline, Middlesex News, Patriot Ledger, Boston Phoenix, Boston Herald. A former jazz/classical radio host on MIT’s WMBR-FM, Fred conducts video interviews for Berklee’s Oral History Project. He enjoys nature travel, birdwatching, reading fiction and natural history, cooking, wine, choral singing, hiking, biking.

Harry Breger

Harry Breger is a Brookline resident who recently retired after 30 years as a senior graphic designer at Boston University’s department of Publications Production. Since 2007 Harry has volunteered his printing experience to help produce the Friends of Hall’s Pond newsletters, along with announcements, invitations, and posters for Friends of Halls Pond events. Harry is also a member of the volunteer maintenance team.

Neil Gore

Neil Gore is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Brookline and Chelmsford. He and his wife Susan have been Brookline residents since 1976, and in the Hall’s Pond neighborhood for the past 27 years. As a birdwatcher, he is frequently at the Pond and in Amory Woods. Hall’s Pond is probably the finest birding area in Brookline, due to the diverse botanical and landscape features concentrated in such a small area.

Neil appreciates and supports all the varied features of Amory playground: As a tennis player, he has utilized the courts and noted the upgrading of that facility and program in the last several years; and as the father (and coach) of Zack, a soccer and baseball player in the Brookline programs, they have spent many enjoyable hours on the fields.

Neil is a participant in the Pond’s maintenance work, and is learning more about the ecology of Hall’s Pond. Despite the location in the midst of this busy and often noisy urban area, Hall’s Pond is a uniquely serene, inspiring, and uplifting area. He is devoted to the well-being of this wonderful park, with its diversity of benefits to the community, all four seasons of the year, and welcomes the opportunity to be of help.

Sharon Gray 

Sharon Gray has lived in Brookline since 1996. As a development professional, she has managed projects in environmental health, AIDS research, and human services. She is the librarian/bibliographer for the largest private collection of North American books on bees and beekeeping. A dedicated hiker, her walks to — and around — Hall’s Pond, led her to join the volunteer maintenance team.

Betsy Shure Gross

BSG2x2Betsy Shure Gross is a life long conservationist. She was on the Brookline Conservation Commission for 19 years, serving as Chair from 1979-1998. She became involved with Brookline’s first “Friends” group, The Friends of Hall’s Pond, through the Commission.

Betsy is the Co-Founder of the High Street Hill Association Friends of Leverett Pond, the Town’s second Friends group and has served on the board of The Brookline Green Space Alliance and remains on the Advisory Board. She is a Town Meeting Member from Precinct 5.

She is the former Executive Director of the Office of Public Private Partnerships at the Commonwealth’s Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. She served as the Special Assistant for Community Preservation under former Secretary Bob Durand. She is a public private partnership development expert with over thirty years of experience creating partnerships for environmental protection, historic landscape preservation and community preservation at the local, state and national level.

She was a Founding member and National Co-Chair of The National Association for Olmsted Parks; The Massachusetts Association for Olmsted Parks (now incorporated into PreservatiON MASS); The Emerald Necklace Conservancy; and the Massachusetts Community Preservation Coalition and the City Parks Alliance. She has served as the Chair of the Boston Harbor Islands Partnership, and currently serves on the board of directors of the Massachusetts League of Environmental Voters and as the Vice Chair of The Muddy River Maintenance and Management Oversight Committee.

John Harris

John Harris is a Brookline resident and Town Meeting member representing Precinct 8. John is an environmental activist and bicycle advocate. John is also musician and leader of a band that sometimes can be heard at Hall’s Pond on Community Days.

Helen Herman

Helen Herman and her husband moved to Brookline 10 years ago from New Orleans.  Helen has several degrees from Tulane University and a law degree from Loyola. Over the years she was a social worker, a law clerk and law school instructor.  Her last job before retirement was Dean of Students at Tulane Law School.  She has two adult daughters and two grandchildren. She has been a Town Meeting Member representing Precinct 1 since 2008 and is a member of the  Brookline Medical Reserve Corps as well as a member of our volunteer maintenance team.  She enjoys travel, photography and taking courses and baking (too much for her own good).

Chobee Hoy

Chobee Hoy is a long-time Brookline resident. Chobee is a prominent Brookline realtor who is a generous supporter of many Brookline causes.

Fran Perler

Fran Perler, a Brookline resident since 1982, is originally from New York City. Fran had a long career as a Principal Investigator leading a small basic and applied Research group at a local Biotech company. After retiring she returned to science as a part time consultant. She is an avid photographer and birder contributing photos and a dragonfly essay to the Friends of Halls Pond. She participates in the Halls Pond volunteer maintenance program and volunteers at the Brookline Senior Center food pantry. Fran is an Associate Member of the Brookline Council on Aging and co-chair of its Recreation Department Committee.

Deborah Raptopoulos, MEd, MSW

Deborah Raptopoulos is a former abutter and Vice President of the Cottage Farm neighborhood association. Deborah continues to live in the area. She is a family therapist.

Diane Ryan

Diane Ryan is now retired but loved working with adolescents for many years as an educator and psychologist. A lifelong lover of nature, she was thrilled to stumble across Halls Pond after moving to Brookline, and soon became a happy volunteer. In addition to Halls Pond, she also currently volunteers with the Friends of the Brookline Public Library and at the Brookline Food Pantry.  

Michael Sandman

Mike Sandman and his wife Nancy are a long-time Brookline residents  Mike is active in Town affairs and is currently a member of the Brookline Advisory Committee.  He’s a former chair of the Brookline Transportation Board and the Brookline Community Foundation.  Now retired, he was a principal at Fuld & Company, a consulting firm specializing in the field of competitive intelligence.

Bob Schram

Living just a few blocks from Halls Pond, Bob Schram strolls through the Sanctuary as often as he can.  Since moving to Brookline 12  years ago, he has sunk roots into some of our best local institutions:  elected a Town Meeting Member from Precinct 1 for the last 8 years, serving as moderator of the United Parish of Brookline for six years, joining the Greenspace Alliance, volunteering at “Thrifty Threads” in Coolidge Corner and now joining the Friends of Hall’s Pond.   After 40 years of an urban vertical lifestyle in New York and Sao Paulo, Bob rediscovered his appreciation of gardening in his Brookline back yard (and would volunteer more often at the Pond if their workdays were scheduled more frequently on the weekends.)  Still working, Bob is a managing director at Aon Corporation, specializing in international insurance issues.

Patricia Schram

Patricia Schram moved to Brookline in 2002 from New York City.  She is a pediatrician at Children’s Hospital where she specializes in Developmental Medicine and Adolescent Substance Abuse.  Born in Sao Paulo, Brazil when the city was surrounded by subtropical forest and had a population of only 1,500,000,  she has watched her home town grow to 20,000,000,  lose virtually all of its green space and run dangerously short on water, all  in the space of her lifetime.   This sad experience watching the evolution of  Latin America’s signature concrete jungle has made her an avid advocate for the preservation and protection of our urban parklands.  She is also on the Board of the Massachusetts Federation for Children with Special Needs, and for five years was the vice chair of the State Board of Education’s Commission on Special Education.

Janet Wynn

Janet Wynn is a long-time Brookline resident. She is a very active member of our volunteer maintenance team.