Letter: Franklin Park Action Plan Light Pollution Concerns

The following letter was sent to Boston Mayor Michelle Wu; Chief of Environment, Energy, and Open Space Rev. Mariama White-Hammond; and Boston Parks and Recreation Commissioner Ryan Woods. We are writing with concerns about proposals to make significant changes to Franklin Park in the recently released Action Plan. At well over 400 pages, it was too big for us to analyze everything in detail but the recently released highlights from the Franklin Park Coalition alerted us to the proposal to add significant amount of lighting to the paved park paths and clear a large border of understory foliage on the park edges. Both of these suggestions appear to be proposed in the spirit of accessibility, wayfinding and perception of safety however we are concerned that other important aspects are not being taken into account, such as increased light pollution, nighttime park uses that the added lighting would eliminate, added lighting's effects on the nocturnal creatures that call this urban forest home, as well as noise pollution, effective reduction of the size of the park, and elimination of habitat for park animals and birds that live in this understory habitat. Increased light pollution
We’d like to remind you that as a city councilor, you sponsored a Dark Skies talk by Kelly Beatty, editor of Sky and Telescope Magazine, at the Arnold Arboretum in July of 2019.


Pining for Beautiful Bark in the Arnold Arboretum

Looking for something unusual and eye-catching in the winter landscape? A hidden gem you might not be familiar with is Pinus bungeana, known commonly as lacebark pine. The bark of the species offers quite a vivid display—mottled and multi-colored, its hues graduate from white to gray, yellow, green, purple, and orange. As a bonus, the bark peels off in amorphous shapes, revealing more yellow bark beneath the surface which changes color by exposure to light. Flakes or plates of bark fall onto the ground beneath the tree like puzzle pieces, exposing new layers.


Woodland Dog Park, Tennis Courts, BBQ, White Stadium Updates: Franklin Park Action Plan Summary

The following is a summary of the Franklin Park Action Plan that includes recommendations for particular locations. Keep in mind that the Franklin Park Coalition board "regards many of these recommendations favorably," according to the plan's summary. But it is not an endorsement. The board has submitted comments on the Franklin Park Action Plan, including both endorsements and objections, to the Parks and Recreation Department in a separate document which will be made available on the Franklin Park Coalition website. You can register for a virtual public meeting hosted by the coalition about the action plan on Feb.


Ice Flowers at the Arnold Arboretum

“Ice flowers?” Never heard of them. That is, until last Tuesday, when the buzz at the Arboretum was all about the ice flowers on Isodon henryi (593-2010*A; 鄂西香茶菜), a Chinese perennial herbaceous plant in the mint family. Needless to say, I was there first thing the next morning! And this is what I saw. Word on the street is that you need air temperatures below freezing and soil temperatures above freezing.


Vouching For What We Grow at the Arnold Arboretum

This article was written by Devika Jaikumar

Carefully unfolding sheets of newspaper, I reveal tissue-thin dried blossoms of pressed lilac flowers, the rich purples and blues of their inflorescences faded to soft pastels. Despite the rigorous preservation process they have undergone, the powerful aroma of lilacs still permeates the air. The scent takes me back to the weeks leading up to the Arnold Arboretum’s annual celebration of Lilac Sunday, when I spent days collecting flower specimens while enveloped in their perfume. Pressing plants for preservation—a leaf with bright fall color folded in a wallet, a flower from a gifted bouquet pressed in a heavy book—is a tradition as old as time. By the 1500s, the word “herbarium” was adopted to refer to a scientific collection of pressed plant cuttings mounted onto paper.


You Are No Longer Allowed to Throw Mattresses Out in Trash

Starting November 1, Massachusetts residents are no longer allowed to throw mattresses out with the trash. More than 600,000 mattresses and boxsprings are discarded annually in the commonwealth, according to mass.gov.

"They are expensive to transport, hard to compact, take up lots of landfill space, and can damage incinerator processing equipment. Yet mattresses are made up mostly of recyclable materials. Once disassembled, more than 75 percent of their components can be reused. This is better for the environment, the economy, and municipal waste management budgets," states mass.gov.

Not sure what you can do with your mattress?