September 2010 updates from some of Green Needham’s partner organizations
Bay Colony Rail Trail
The Bay Colony Rail Trail project is an effort to convert seven miles of unused rail corridor between Needham Junction and Medfield to a shared use recreational path. The BCRT is a registered non-profit, and recently received its first grant from Needham Bank for $10,000. It’s a long road ahead, but we are looking for community volunteers and activists who can help accelerate the support and help raise the funds to make this healthy and environmental vision a reality.
Over the summer, Green Kids Needham joined a new collaboration called Green Kids and Schools of Greater Boson. Lisa Gordon, Chair of Green Kids Needham, brought environmental leaders from surrounding communities together to create this new network for sharing information and ideas. Subjects the group members are researching include; composting at schools, food service guidelines, purchasing power and paper reduction.
Green Kids Needham was awarded a $7,500 grant last spring. The money will be used to fund an environmental initiative at the six Green Kids member elementary schools. In addition, the Green Kids groups plan to continue to their efforts to engage the school community in environmental stewardship through Earth Day events, Student environmental clubs, walking programs and much more.
Contact: Debbie Schmill firstname.lastname@example.org
Needham Bikes is a local advocacy group that is working to make bicycling safer and more widespread in Needham as a healthy alternative to driving, or simply for fun and recreation. Needham Bikes has already posted signs on several Needham streets to raise awareness that bicyclists share the road, with much more work ahead.
The Needham Community Farm (NCF):
The School Committee(SC) recently voted to allow an acre of the Nike site to be used for hands-on educational programs. The NCF will be submitting a proposal to the SC which will include plans to develop the land and create a k-12 educational program at the site.
The NCF collaborated with the Needham School Department and the Science Center on a successful application for a $50,000 EPA Environmental Education Grant. The funding will be used to implement the Eco-Explorers Program developed by the Science Center. This program goal is to train elementary school teachers how to utilize outdoor learning environments, including the school gardens, to enhance the curriculum.
The NCF also collaborated with the Eliot School to build their educational garden beds this past spring and we plan to do the same with Broadmeadow in the coming months.
Needham Friends of Woods and Waters
The Needham Friends of Woods & Waters can report its continuing monitoring of the maintenance of the open spaces in town. The Trails Plan is complete but no organized program for trail maintenance has been put in place. The Conservation Commission now has a full time Director, Patty Berry, and we have hopes that she will be able to get more funds and attention for the town’s open spaces. The Open Space Report has yet to be completed.
The Needham Friends has enjoyed a number of walks in town in which experts have helped us to make progress on our current central question: how do the ecosystems of wild Needham interact with built Needham and visa versa? We hope ultimately to issue a guide devoted to these interactions.
Contact: Sam Bass Warner (781) 449-1184
Needham League of Women Voters Climate Action Committee
The Climate Action Committee is taking time to study and discuss climate change issues, including the claims of climate “skeptics.” The Committee will also be planning a June, 2011, Green Energy Tour, which will highlight homes in Needham with high energy efficiency or alternative technologies, such as solar photovoltaic, solar thermal, geothermal, and cogeneration (heat and electricity).
Contact: Eleanor Rosellini email@example.com
Needham League of Women Voters Transportation Group
The Transportation Group is working on studying and promoting alternative means of transportation. Last year we hosted Needham in Motion, a town-wide effort that encourages residents to leave their cars at home for local trips. This year, we’re looking to improve Needham’s walkability by studying organizations and other towns’ approaches, culminating with a report to the town planning board with specific and actionable ideas on how Needham could improve its accessibility to walkers and other non-motorists.