Jun 142016

villageschoolrobinsonFor much of the current academic year Village School fourth graders have been carrying out a study of the Robinson Farm Conservation Area. Teacher Mary LeBlanc refers to the project as “place-based service learning”, an effort that combined learning with community service. One aspect of the community service was a recent offering of student-led tours of the property. Readers may have seen an article about this in the June 2 issue of the Marblehead Reporter.

Another part of the project involved gathering information on animals one might find in the area, building a display around what was found and converting all that into a digital presentation. The students turned this accomplishment over to the Conservancy, and we offer it to our readers.

The presentation was constructed on a cloud-based platform called Glogster that was developed some years ago just for such a purpose. To view the presentation, go to (Adobe Flash Player required). Once at the site, the individual parts of the presentation are self explanatory. One suggestion: after reviewing one part of the presentation, close that tab and return to the home page before going to the next part. The presentation will be available this year. Enjoy!

The Village 4th grade receivd another honor on June 8th when their work was exhibited at the National Park Service Regional Visitor Center at 2 New Liberty St. in Salem.

 Posted by at 10:28 am
Jun 142016

supportnaturecenterMarblehead’s Recreation and Park Commission is working hard to develop an education program around the Hamond Nature center at the foot of Everett Paine Boulevard. The Conservancy supports that effort by improving the trails around the Center. Recently The Conservancy’s Trail Crew joined with members of the Marblehead Explorer’s Club ( to repair a flight of stone steps just to the left of the cabin that are an access route to the rest of Wyman Woods. As the stones in the photo show, this was no small feat! In the days that folllowed, the Trails Crew picked up trash and trimmed all the trails in Wyman Woods. All of this is in preparation for an active summer at the cabin and in the

 Posted by at 10:21 am
Jun 142016

environmentalboothThe Farmers’ Market of Marblehead is in full swing and your Conservancy is right there. We join with the Recycling Committee Marblehead Health Department volunteers in presenting the several aspects of servicing the environment. Visitors can obtain current recycling guidelines along with recycling containers. They may also learn of Conservancy activities, locate conservation areas and trails, and see how
even small efforts can help keep these wonderful public spaces in good conditon.

 Posted by at 10:18 am
Jun 212014

knotweed-aleAt different times in the past, we have suggested various ways of combating one of the toughest of alien invasive plants to control – Japanese Knotweed. One of the combat approaches, generally assumed to apply to those most desperate, is consumption. If all else fails, eat it. Young plants can be cooked and eaten like asparagus (see, for example:
www. Further, some enterprising folks have made jams and jellies (for example:, offering them commercially.

Recently our attention was drawn to yet another gastronomical suggestion: knotweed beer!
The idea seems to have been suggested by another Conservancy past speaker, Russ Cohen, for trial by the Boston Area Beer Enthusiasts Society. The Boston Globe reports that Krysten
Sykes, founder of the Society, tried brewing a batch of the weed finding it to have a natural
tartness with rhubarb-like qualities. Doesn’t sound inspiring, but the experiment seems to
have been sufficiently promising to bring it to the attention of the Cambridge Brewing Company. Their brew master tweaked the recipe to reduce maltiness, adding a bit of cranberry. The result was said to be light, dry, and refreshing

 Posted by at 10:41 pm
Jun 212014

The Director of the Abbot Public Library drew our attention to something we would like to
share – “Seed Libraries”. This was the subject of a March 9 article in the Boston Globe titled, “Seed Libraries try to save the world’s plants”. The point of saving seeds is to preserve heritage stock as a means of supporting biodiversity. That job has been given to professionally managed seed banks around the world with more than seven million seed samples already in storage for use one day in research.

What is new is the idea of involving local means of not only saving seeds, but putting them into circulation – hence the circulating library connection – encouraging local varietal protection and perhaps even development of new plant strains. In Massachusetts the idea has been taken up at Hampshire College in Amherst, the Concord Free Public Library, and the Sturgis Library in Barnstable (references available on request). When a “borrowed” seed produces the desired plant, fresh seeds are returned to the supporting library for further circulation.

The idea relates to a talk on plants with known provenance given by Mark Richardson,
Horticultural Director of the New England Wildflower Society, at the Conservancy’s Annual
Meeting in late March of this year.

If the idea of seed libraries interests you, we and the Abbot Library would like to know. Please send us an email through one of the contacts listed at the upper right of our home page.

 Posted by at 10:22 pm