Welcome back to the Mill River, everyone, welcome back from wherever you’ve been, even if you’ve only traveled a few miles from home!
This late summer newsletter is a teaser about what’s to come but first, we must give thanks for the gifts the river has received. Of all these gifts, none has been more meaningful than the work that Professor Susannah Howe and her engineering design clinic students at Smith College have done, most recently, in May of this year, the design of the MassCentral Rail Trail Connection that completes the connection from the rail trail in Northampton to the planned trail linking Haydenville to Williamsburg Center. Thank you, engineering graduates Beatrix Dalton, Kelsey Hammond, Serena Cattau, Jess McKnight and especially Prof. Howe, whose design teams have saved our local towns tens of thousands of dollars in project costs and given so generously of themselves – you are amazing people!
Our most exciting news: With the support of Historic Northampton, we are planning to incorporate lessons from the Mill River into the curricula of the schools in both Northampton and Williamsburg! We’ll have more substantial information for you next month, but we wanted to prepare you for what we’ll be calling the Mill River Curriculum Initiative (yes, MRCI)and to ask whether any of our MRGI members would be interested in becoming part of this project. The Williamsburg and Northampton school systems are, of course, independent of each other, but we’ll be coordinating our efforts to come up with projects and experiences that are effective for both.
- For Williamsburg: Contact Gaby Immerman at firstname.lastname@example.org. She and our good friend Nick Dines will be working closely with Principal Stacey Jenkins at the Anne T. Dunphy school.
- For Northampton: Contact Kathleen Bamford at email@example.com. Kathleen is a MRGI godsend, who contacted us this spring. She recently returned to the Valley from Vermont, knows our region intimately, and has expertise in environmental/place-based education and writing. Kathleen will be reaching out to a number of educators in the Northampton schools.
Our other major fall focus will be the Revamping of our Website. Yes, it’s been too long, way too long, and John will be reworking the contents while Neal oversees an update of the site itself. Please let John or Neal know your thoughts on the website – what we need to include, delete, embellish, and beautify. You can reach either of us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Great news from UMass: Professor Jack Ahern of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning will be using the Mill River watershed as the site for an amazing Designed Biodiversity Studythat his talented third-year students will conduct this fall. In Jack’s words: “The idea came to me after reading the shocking UN report this spring about the critical state of biodiversity globally. I plan to focus on biodiversity in designed/inhabited landscapes and making linkages between these landscapes and protected landscape core areas and corridors [in this case, the Mill River Greenway].” Jack is a superb scholar and teacher. We can’t wait to get the results!
Finally, check out these great events that MRGI is co-sponsoring
- Northampton Council Candidate Forum on Climate & Environment
Sept 11, 2019:
Location: Northampton Senior Center
6:30-7:20pm Ward 1 candidate forum
7:20-7:30pm Transition b/w forums
7:30-8:20pm Ward 2, 4 candidate forum
Sept 12, 2019:
Location: Lathrop Community Room, 1 Shallowbrook Ln
6:30-7:20pm Ward 5 candidate forum
7:20-7:30pm Transition b/w forums
7:30-8:30pm Ward 7 candidate forum
- Great Tree Bicycle Tour: A community bike tour of Northampton’s most notable trees
October 20, 2019, 11am-2pm Details and registration forthcoming at: FNTG.net
Here are the trees on the route:
START: Pulaski Park London Plane
Conz St American elm
Columbus Ave Champion Pin oak
Smith College Champion Ginko
Vernon St American Sycamore
Crescent St. Copper beech
Stoddard St–gas leaks/new trees
FSB–volcano mulching/Norway maple
Keyes St Champion Tulip tree
Bardwell White Oak
1 Corticelli–White Mulberry
End: Maines Field–summary of city’s tree program
- Devil’s Den to Lickingwater Book Events with John Sinton
Sept. 25 5:00-7:00Northampton Neighbors, Senior Center. How Nonotuck became the major New England crossroads for Native Americans and gained primacy of place in the Valley. How the river dictated Northampton’s shape and why we diverted it out of town. In the end, why does the Mill River matter?
Oct. 8 7:00-8:30Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary, Easthampton. The Mill River’s role in the creation of Northampton and how environmental transformations in this little watershed reflect those of the larger world.
Nov. 7 12:15-1:00 Springfield Museums Museum à la Carte Series, Springfield. “Devil’s Den to Lickingwater: How a Small, Little-Known River Shaped the Landscape and History of The Connecticut River Valley.”
Remember, the river runs through ALL of us!
John, Gaby, and Neal