New Year, New Blog Post

I seem to wait to blog until I have way too much to talk about and can’t possibly expect to not overwhelm readers. New Year’s resolutions aren’t usually my thing but I suppose keeping up with the blog wouldn’t be a bad one! Another resolution I have is to move desks since I claimed Tim’s old cubicle with lovely views of the Old State House. I can’t wait to Instagram a photo of it to my peeps!

First on my list of new and exciting activities since my last blog post is the Charlestown Navy Yard (CNY) Commandant’s House front walk redesign. At the beginning of December, Eliot and I met with Ruth Raphael and Jason Rindfleisch, along with OCLP staff Celena and Michelle at the Navy Yard for a start-up meeting in which we discussed a strategy for creating a plan to rejuvenate the planting beds and some other problematic areas at the Commandant’s House. Before the meeting I was able to skim over a few surveys, histories, and historic photos of the Navy Yard and the Commandant’s House specifically. Out of curiosity I also checked out existing HABS drawings of the property which are beautiful. It was really fun looking at historic paintings, engravings, and photos to gain a sense of how much the property has changed since it was built in 1805. I particularly enjoyed the photos showing a larger context of the house with its historic surroundings and landscape; I believe that’s something important to consider while redesigning. What I will be working on specifically for this project is an updated planting plan and plant list. Michelle is going to have some student ambassadors from Branching Out involved in some research and tracking down sources for the plants once I get the plant list draft completed. I’m very excited for the before and after photos. Here are some before photos:

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On the same day, Chris and I went to Greenhill to take GPS points of stakes he and Angelina placed, which mark new trees to be planted. There are a little over 200 stakes that we recorded with the help of my bff the Trimble. Luckily we had some help from Michelle and four Branching Out ambassadors, who had recently been learning winter tree ID. Chris gave them a brief history of Greenhill and overview of the purpose of the stakes and GPS points, and I guided them in collecting data with the Trimble. I had never been to the site before, so I got to learn a lot about Fairsted, sit in the room with the pebble wall, see the plan vault, and hang out with Chris!

Last week I got to check a few “firsts” off my list: First time in Maine, first time at Acadia, and first time in -15 degree weather. Last Wednesday, Jeff, John, Emily and I were on a site visit to Isle au Haut, which is part of Acadia National Park. We were guided and assisted by Gail Gladstone, a landscape architect with the NPS in Bar Harbor. The purpose of the trip was to document conditions and locations of culverts, trailheads, problem areas, and other features along the park road as it is in need of rehabilitation. The weather was kind to us on our site visit day and we had 30-40 degree temperatures on the island, and nothing falling from the sky except sunshine. Emily and I gathered lots of great data, we managed not to slip on any ice, we all became locals at the Harbor View Café in Stonington, and made it back to Boston just in time for the holiday cookie party. Go Team Haut!

And finally on Friday the OCLP had our holiday service at Minute Man and party at the Colonial Inn in Concord. It’s always lovely to hang out with Margie and the cattle! The -15 wind chill was certainly the coldest I’ve felt in my entire life, but very much worth it. For our service part of the day, one group built up gaps in a rock wall with brush and logs to keep the cattle from getting out of their designated pasture, and the other group engineered a new gate system complete with saloon door. After coming back inside and warming up a bit, we helped Margie with new storage design ideas for stewardship tools in the barn. Some highlights from our MIMA day are: petting Daisy, not getting shocked by the electric fence, eating Margie-made muffins, and spending a day with wonderful people in the great outdoors.


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