Phyllis Theermann

Shout out to the Wellesley High School girls swim team who enthusiastically  participated in a plastic pick up this week.

Want to have this much fun and do something positive?

Make time for the upcoming cleans ups in Wellesley:

~Student organized Wellesley Clean up this Saturday, October 5th at 2pm. Meet at Wellesley College’s main entrance (West Entrance near the Wang Campus Center) for a stroll, clean up and chat. Adults and students welcome!

~Indigenous Peoples Day: Land Clean Up on Saturday, October 12th from 2:00 – 3:30pm. Meet at Long Fellow Pond on Oakland
Street for a walk in honoring Mother Earth and a clean-up around the pond. Co-Sponsored by Sustainable Wellesley.

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A year ago we were reading about gas explosions in the Merrimack Valley that resulted in a fatality, injuries, property damage, displacement of tens of thousands of people for months, not to mention over a billion dollars in costs.

On the anniversary of these catastrophic explosions a new report, Rolling the Dice: Assessment of Gas System Safety in Massachusetts, was released.  Wellesley’s Regina LaRocque, MD, MPH contributed to the report, published by the Gas Leaks Allies Coalition. The report identifies fundamental flaws in the gas distribution system in towns such as Wellesley that can lead directly to unsafe situations while recommending feasible, cost-effective, short-term actions to improve public safety. The report proposes a strategy to triage the gas distribution system and transition to a new way to heat homes and businesses. It sends an urgent message to legislators, the executive branch, municipalities, and gas companies to take action now.  

This is important as Wellesley has more than 260 gas leaks and endured two gas “blowdowns”  just this past August. Fortunately, there were no homes destroyed nor fires started, this time, but gas was vented from an interstate pipeline that runs along the eastern edge of town. Breathing air polluted with the components of natural gas is hazardous to human health. In addition, its methane is at least 80 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, it kills trees, and the leaks are expensive – Wellesley customers pay for lost gas in their gas bills. 

Gas leaks and blowouts will continue in Wellesley until significant changes are made. To greatly enhance public safety in the near term and in the future, Sustainable Wellesley is urging residents to learn more about the FUTURE Act H.2849/S.1940 which addresses the safety of the gas system, increases state oversight, and creates a pathway for utilities to deliver reliable, clean energy by investing now in heat pumps, thermal storage, solar thermal, or geothermal district energy systems.

Then, contact your legislators to share your concerns:

Rep. Alice Peisch, Alice.Peisch@mahouse.gov, (617) 722-2070

Senator Becca Rausch, Becca.Rausch@masenate.gov, (617) 722-1555

Senator Cynthia Creem, Cynthia.Creem@masenate.gov, (617) 722-1639


Finally, consider reaching out to Wellesley town officials to encourage them to continue their efforts in a multi-town initiative aiming to open a dialogue with National Grid on fixing gas leaks – particularly the large volume leaks. The multi-town initiative includes representatives from more than 20 cities and towns, as well as the Gas Leaks Allies, Metropolitan Area Planning Council, and Mothers Out Front.

 

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Wellesley Family Grows Milkweed for MonarchsWellesley Family Grows Beautiful Milkweed For Monarchs

Beautiful Monarch butterflies that were once regular visitors to our yards are now in a world-wide decline. This is largely due to the wide use of pesticides and herbicides that poison the butterflies and their caterpillars, and to the reduction in milkweed plant numbers. Milkweed is the *only* plant that Monarch caterpillars can eat, so it’s presence is essential. Unfortunately, the clearing of roadside verges and more intensive development has greatly reduced this critical, native plant.

Over the past five years Sustainable Wellesley has provided more than 800 milkweed plants to Wellesley residents so they can encourage Monarch butterflies in their own yards. Many have sent in photos of butterflies and caterpillars in their gardens. 

Now Wellesley resident Jaden Crawford has taken it to the next level!

Jaden wrote to Sustainable Wellesley lately letting us know that he has been germinating, propagating and growing milkweed and has some seeds to share if folks are interested in them.

“They are prolific!,” he said. “Part of the trick to propagating from collected seed is collecting the seed pods once they turn brown and start splitting, but before the seeds go airborne. Remove them from the pods and store in a clean, dry container. Then make sure they spend some time in freezing temps and store them in a cool, dry place,” Jaden wrote.  He continued that, “Even though they are prolific, they are much easier to manage than other prolific plants like goldenrod (which we also grow-carefully) because they don’t have the same type of fast-running roots. So they are quite easy to pull at any stage of growth if they do turn up in beds where they aren’t wanted.”

According to Jaden germination took a long time this year and the germination ratio was about 70%. WIth the thousands of seeds produced per plant this is a lot, but he still aims to beat it next season by letting the seeds freeze a bit – just as they do in nature.

Beginning in late February, he uses a greenhouse (one that he built out of an old deck that he pulled up, glass primarily from the RDF, and a polycarbonate roof) and heat mats on timers when ambient temps are relatively low at night. He also keeps moisture fairly constant until they germinate. For folks without greenhouses, simple cold frames would work just as well.

Jaden is happy to walk others through his process in person. Email info@sustainablewellesley.com to get connected to him. If you want to be a monarch watcher, or learn more about them, reach out to them here.

Next month we will learn more about his family’s food, ornamental, and wildlife gardens.