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Massachusetts Forest and Park Friends Network News and Alerts  

June 26, 2013

 Hello Friend,
With the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) draft Volunteers in Parks Program Guide, released for the second time, we dedicate this newsletter to Emily Norton. Emily founded the Friends of Willard Brook in 2004, served multiple terms as president and remains active in the group today. Realizing early on how Friends groups are hobbled by the high costs of liability insurance, Emily spearheaded legislation intended to benefit all Friends groups.  In May 2007, Emily sent the following message to Friends groups:

"I have some great news about the liability legislation that Senator Antonioni filed on behalf of Friends groups around the state.  Not only did the bill get a favorable recommendation from the Judiciary Committee, but last week it passed unanimously in the Senate!  There is one more hurdle for the bill.  It needs to get passed in the House of Representatives.  Please contact your State Representative and ask him or her to support Senate Bill #786. This bill will make it unnecessary for Friends groups to purchase liability insurance. It will eliminate hours of work trying to raise money to pay for insurance; in turn, that will give us more hours to fulfill our purpose of enriching the public's enjoyment and appreciation of the State Parks and Forests."

In January 2009, Emily sent this note to the then DCR Commissioner Rick Sullivan:

"Over a year ago on November 19, 2007 “An Act Relative to Volunteers at State Parks” was signed by Governor Patrick. The signing of that law was the culmination of years of discussions, negotiations, and wording and re-wording of details between the former Senator Antonioni’s office and representatives of the MA Department of Conservation and Recreation."

The excerpts above give you a sense of Emily's perseverance. She is an inspiration to us all, and we owe her our thanks. As we review the volunteer policy draft, let's keep in mind the original intent of the legislation and make sure that friends groups have the liability insurance that Emily has been fighting for all these years.

The Friends Network Facilitators
DCR Releases Draft Volunteer Policy

Volunteers at Myles Standish State Forest. This photo is included in the Volunteers in Parks Program Guide along with numerous photos of other Friends groups in action. Go Friends!
Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) has released a revised draft of DCR's Volunteers in Parks Program Guide. A  copy of the draft is available at the following link:

DCR will be seeking public input through a series of public meetings and a subsequent 30-day public comment period. Public meeting dates and locations will be announced soon.

The document establishes guidelines for extending liability protections to volunteers and nonprofit organizations engaged in activities that support and promote DCR's mission and our parks system. Read the Draft, talk it over with your Friends, and plan to attend the public meeting in your area. We'll keep you posted.
 Iron Ranger Artists Recognized
Iron Ranger painting proposals 001

Judges for the 2012 Iron Ranger submissions judging artwork from the 2012 artists, whose works are now completed and were honored by DCR on June 21, 2013.

From left to right: DCR Trusts Development Manager Sharon Hoey; Marcella Stasa, experienced iron ranger painter, Upton State Forest; Sharon Vasicek and Carol Gilmour, Friends of Robinson State Park.

Donations received through the Iron Rangers pay for educational programs and conservation projects in the parks.

The DCRs Conservation Trust and Urban Parks Trust Fund provides mechanisms through which park users, businesses, foundations and other interested parties can protect and improve Massachusetts state parks directly.

A contribution to DCR’s trust funds is a contribution to the health of our forests and diverse wildlife habitats, our recreational opportunities and cultural and historic resources.

Please help improve Massachusetts state parks! You will find more information and may download a donation form here.
DCR Honors “Iron Rangers” Artists
June 21, 2013— DCR met at the picturesque Wompatuck State Park to celebrate the artists who designed and painted Iron Rangers [a must see collection!] in seven state parks across the Commonwealth.
Artists are invited to submit designs of their own creation for painting directly on the metal contribution containers known as Iron Rangers.
We are proud to say that Friends groups were asked to serve on the panel of judges that selected the designs in 2012 and in 2013 too—this was no easy task as every submission is a work of art! Our thanks and congratulations go to all of the artists who donated their time and talent to our state parks.
The artists and the DCR parks where they painted an Iron Ranger are:
Karen McLinden of Westport: Demarest Lloyd State Park, Dartmouth, MA [Needs Friends]

Amanda Tricomi of Somerville: Harold Parker State Forest, North Andover, MA [Friends]

Liz Popolo of Haydenville: Hopkinton State Park, Hopkinton, MA [Needs Friends]

Lois Mitchell of Arlington: Wachusett Mountain State Reservation, Princeton, MA [Friends]

Brigitte Dugas of Milton: Webb Memorial State Park, Weymouth, MA [Needs Friends]

Joe Davis of Kingston: Wompatuck State Park, Hingham, MA [Friends]

Gillian Ferreira of Norfolk: Wrentham State Forest, Wrentham, MA [Needs Friends]
View beautifully painted Iron Rangers

List of Iron Ranger locations, including those that need painting
Action Plan for the Conservation of State-listed Obligate Grassland Birds in Massachusetts


Map contained withing the An Action Plan for the Conservation of State–listed Obligate Grassland Birds in Massachusetts shows the locations and rankings of sites known to have Upland Sandpipers or Grasshopper Sparrows since 1990.

When you read the tables in this plan, you will be struck with how these birds are relegated to living on airports, military reservations, landfills and prisons. Most of them are unprotected sites.

It's a little late for comment but take a look at the The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife An Action Plan for the Conservation of State–listed Obligate Grassland Birds in Massachusetts has been completed and is available online here.

This plan provides the foundation for instituting a state-wide bird conservation program in Massachusetts.

FYI: You can find other Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) projects under review posted at the Environmental Monitor.

We thank Wendy Howes of the Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT) for providing the links.

Wendy is seeking information and personal anecdotes about Bobolinks, Savannah Sparrows, Eastern Meadowlark, etc., for an article she is writing on the management of bobolinks and other non-endangered (so far) grassland birds on public lands in Massachusetts.

If you have an interest in protecting grassland birds, please contact Wendy Howes at

50 Friends and Counting...

The Friends Network has identified 50 Friends groups actively serving DCR parks throughout the Commonwealth. Check out the list of DCR parks that have or need Friends groups and make sure your group is among the Friends we've found!
DCR Properties/Friends

Check out the Friends groups listing on this page. Please contact us with any corrections or additions at

Help Distribute The Massachusetts Off-Highway Vehicle Handbook

The Mass Environmental Police (MEP) has produced an excellent booklet, The Handbook of Massachusetts Off-Highway Vehicle Laws and Safe Operating Procedures for OHVs.

Hard copies of the Handbook are available for distribution by contacting OHV.SafetyCourse@Massmail.State.MA.US. Please help the MEP distribute the Handbooks by placing them at your local parks, libraries, police stations, schools, pediatricians' offices and other areas where safety information is made available to the public. Foldout pamphlets are available for the asking as well. The more people are aware of the new laws, the better for our forests, parklands and all visitors. Thanks for your help!

Friends Welcome Commissioner Murray

Department of Conservation and Recreation Deputy Commissioner Jack Murray was appointed commissioner of DCR, effective June 22, 2013.The Friends would like to welcome Commissioner Murray and thank former Commissioner Ed Lambert, who will take over the position of Vice Chancellor of Government Relations and Public Affairs at the University of Massachusetts Boston, for his hard work and the support he showed for Friends groups over the past few years. As we say goodbye to Mr. Lambert, we look forward to meeting and working with Commissioner Murray.

Secretary Sullivan Announces Jack Murray as Commissioner of the Department of Conservation and Recreation

Networking Friends

Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT)

Cochituate State Park Advisory Committee

Franklin & Bellingham Rail Trail Committee

Grand Trunk Trail Blazers

Mass Audubon

Mt. Tom Citizens Advocacy Committee (Mt. Tom State Reservation)

Southeastern Massachusetts Pine Barrens Alliance

Friends of:

Alewife Reservation

Blue Hills Reservation

Buckland State Forest

Douglas, Howe Park and Spencer State Forest

Fall River Freetown State Forest

Hawksnest State Park

Middlesex Fells Reservation

Myles Standish State Forest

Nickerson State Park

Quabbin and Ware River

Robinson State Park

Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Association, Inc.

Scusset Beach Reservation, Inc.

Shawme-Crowell State Forest

Southern New England Trunkline Trail (SNETT)

Springside Park

Upton State Forest

Wachusetts Mountain

Waquoit Bay Reserve

Willard Brook

Wompatuck State Park

The Great Park Pursuit

gppgraphic 2

Please help DCR spread the word about the 2013 Great Park Pursuit – it’s a great Massachusetts state park family adventure!

Click here for information and registration.

Thank You,
From Amy Wilmot, DCR Regional Interpretive Coordinator.

Vernal Pool Chronicles

Jonathan Twining, Environmental Science instructor at Eastern Nazarene College, has produced a series of educational videos and photos about vernal pools. He is offering them for free to further the training of people who would like to certify or learn more about vernal pools.

You will enjoy every episode!

Vernal Pool Chronicles
Massachusetts Forest and Park Friends Network

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MA Forest and Park Friends Network
P.O. Box 1199
Plymouth, Massachusetts 02362