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Last Call for the Friends Network 2013 Annual Conference—Focus on Friends—Dec. 7, 2013

Dear Sharl,

Who is coming to the Friends Network 2013 Annual Conference?

Groups and individuals who regularly volunteer to enhance our forests, parks, beaches and trails will spend the day sharing their success and working on their challenges.

See the side panel on the right (below) for a list of groups ready to network!

If you care about state parks, you are welcome to join your friends at the Focus on Friends conference on December 7.

On the agenda:
Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Commissioner Jack Murray, Strengthening cooperation between DCR and Friends groups

DCR Bureau of Planning and Resource Protection Bureau Chief Joseph R. Orfant, Resource Management Planning (RMP)—How Friends groups can help develop an RMP; Friends groups' roles in protecting natural and cultural resources

DCR Bureau of Ranger Services Acting Chief Ranger Chris Williams, DCR Rangers' Duties and Jurisdiction

YOU! Share your successes and challenges as a volunteer for Massachusetts' forests, parks, beaches and trails. Help identify new initiatives to move our forests and parks forward.

Bring a lunch, if you haven't signed up for the catered lunch.

Please bring your own water bottle to help make this conference green

  View the Conference Agenda for details on the day's proceedings

√  Send photos (limit 3) of your group's events and activities for the Friends Groups Introductions, Accomplishments and Challenges segment to

√  Register at the Friends Network website

√  Read a preview about the Friends Network 2013 Conference in the Milford Daily News: Forest 'Friends' to meet in Upton on Dec. 7

Driving Directions to Upton VFW Hall


The Friends Network 6th Annual Conference
Focus on Friends!
Saturday, December 7
9:00 AM to 2:30 PMVFW Post 5594
15 Milford Street
Upton, MA 01568

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The Friends Network DCR Friend of the Year Award Recipients Announced!

Ron Clough AwardEach year, the Friends Network honors DCR employees who exhibits exemplary efforts on behalf of forests, parks and Friends or other volunteer groups.

All DCR employees are eligible for this award. Recipients will be recognized at the Friends Network Annual Conference on December 7, 2013.

Visit the Friends Network Website for the listing of award winners.

Photo Above: DCR Ron Clough receives the 2012 DCR Friend of the Year Award.

Ellen Mass AwardThe Friends Network Volunteer of the Year Award Recipients Announced!

Each year the Friends Network recognizes volunteers who have benefited State parklands in an extraordinary way. Recipients will be recognized at the Friends Network Annual Conference on December 7, 2013.

Visit the Friends Network Website for the listing of the award winners.

Photo Above: Ellen Mass, Friends of the Alewife Reservation, receives 2012 Friend of the Year Award.

Was Your Group Among the Original Networking Friends?

Emily Norton, Friends of Willard Brook, first began networking Friends groups at the DCR Partnership Workshop held at Elm Bank in March 2007. In June 2007, the DCR co-sponsored the Partners in Parks Conference with numerous environmental groups to further encourage partnerships and Emily added more Friends groups to her list.

Below is the earliest Friends' list known to us, containing the founding groups of the Massachusetts Forest and Park Friends Network. Since 2007, the Friends Network has organized six statewide conferences for Friends groups and volunteers.

The Friends Network facilitators are doing our best to connect volunteers with the DCR agencies that manage our state parks and provide the networking that supports the good work that Friends groups do.

Add your name to the list of networking friends as we volunteer for the benefit of every state forest and park in the Commonwealth. The list on the right panel shows which groups have already signed up for the Friends Network 6th Annual Conference. It's only too late to signup after the Conference is over.

Registrations are welcome at the door. Just be sure to bring your lunch!

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DCR Stewardship Council

December 6, 2013, 1 pm - 3 pm: Lawrence Heritage State Park

View the 2013-2014 Stewardship Council Oversight Strategy

The DCR Stewardship Council is a thirteen member citizen board appointed by the Governor to oversee DCR polices and programs.

Members of the public are allowed a few minutes to make comments at each meeting. The Stewardship Council holds its monthly meetings at various parks across the state to encourage public participation.

Take the opportunity to introduce your Friends group to the Stewardship Council when the meeting is held in your area. If you go, please send a brief report to


√  Read the Draft Volunteers in Parks Program Guide. Review the DCR Draft Volunteer Policy and the Draft Parks & Recreation Rules & Regulations.

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 Parks and Recreation Rules and Regulations.

Adoption of these regulations will consolidate existing regulations of predecessor agencies to DCR and will define and comprehensively regulate parks and recreational facilities, and their use by the public, under DCR's care and control.

  Comment on the DCR Draft Volunteer Policy and the Draft Parks & Recreation Rules & Regulations until 4:00 p.m. on Friday, December 6, 2013.  Email, noting "Volunteers in Parks Program" or "Parks and Recreation Rules and Regulations" in the subject line.

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.

The Friends Network facilitators will provide copies of the MEP Handbook at the Annual Conference on Dec. 7. If you'd like to pick up copies at the Conference, send an email to, and tell us how many you'd like.

Hard copies of the Handbook are available for distribution by contacting OHV.SafetyCourse@Massmail.State.MA.US. Please help the MEP distribute the Handbooks. Thanks for your help!


Networking Friends

Groups marked by an asterisk * are currently registered for the 2013 Friends Network Conference

Arborway Coalition

Bay State Trail Riders Association

Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT)

*Blackstone Canal Conservancy, Inc.

Cochituate State Park Advisory Committee

Franklin & Bellingham Rail Trail Committee

Grand Trunk Trail Blazers

Green Futures

Mass Audubon

*Mt. Tom Citizens Advocacy Committee

*New England Mountain Bike Association

*Southeastern Massachusetts Pine Barrens Alliance

Friends of:
*Alewife Reservation

Blue Hills Reservation

Boston Harbor Islands

Buckland State Forest

Dighton Rock Museum

*Douglas, and Howe Park in Spencer State Forest

*Freetown-Fall River State Forest

Hawksnest State Park

Harold Parker State Park

Lynn Woods

Middlesex Fells Reservation

*Mohawk Trail State Forest

*Myles Standish State Forest

Mystic River

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 Foundation

Western Greenway

Willard Brook

*Wompatuck State Park

If your group is not on this list and think it should be, please send an email to:

Join Friends group leader Michael Toomey on LinkedIn for discussions relevant to Friends groups: Mass State Forests & Parks
Friends Network


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