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July 25th, 2013 by Samuel Mix

Hadwen Arboretum# 8: More Meetings

6/26/2013

Since my last post I met with Colin Novick , Jack Foley, and Walter Crocket. I also had a quick phone call with Matt from the Fairlawn Hospital. This week and last week, Jenny Isler is on a vacation, and thus I had a few meetings with Mike Dawley, Director of Clark’s Physical Plant, for guidance.

Colin Novick is from the Greater Worcester Land Trust, an organization dedicated to maintaining open spaces. When I met with him at the Hadwen Arboretum, he brought another GWLT member, Nicole Apiotie who also likes the Arboretum. They both had an impressive understanding of open space laws. When we passed a spot where a neighbor had built illegally on the Arboretum, Colin and Nicole told me about squatter rights. If the person claims a section of land that is not initially his, but his ownership goes unchallenged for a period of time, he can become the legal owner of the land section. Another thing they told me was that because the Arboretum has no access restriction (i.e. has no “Open From… “ signs), Clark University is not liable for any person’s injury. In other words, if a person goes into the Arboretum and gets hurt, this person can’t sue Clark. The GWLT also is working East-West Trail, which was mentioned before in my previous blog. Apparently the GWLT hopes to have the trail go through the Hadwen Arboretum. No new trails are needed. Near the end of our meeting/walk, Nicole said her husband knows a lot of about trees, and that they are willing to catalog some of the trees growing in the Arboretum.

Jack Foley is a Vice President of Clark, as well as the head of community and government relationships. Like any Clark student, I have gotten his group emails and heard his name thousands of times. However this was my first time personally meeting him. He was eager to hear whom I had talked to. When I mentioned someone who he did not know, he almost immediately looked to his computer to see if he could find the individual I mentioned. I liked his enthusiasm. He said that education should be a priority and physical improvement should be a close second for the Arboretum. He said that educating people about the Arboretum is the first thing one should try to do, and then, once people know of it and understand its value, they will want the see an improvement in the arboretum. I need to make a case that Clark should invest time and money into the Hadwen Arboretum. To this end, I mentioned the idea of an amphitheater in the Arboretum. In response, Mr. Foley pointed out how the locals may complain about the noise, and that having more people in the Arboretum may upset parts of the neighborhood. This was a good point and finding a way to bring more attention to the Arboretum without attracting negative activities is important. He also gave me a few names of people who I should contact. One name at the top of his list was Walter Crockett, who I had planned to meet that afternoon.

I met Walter at his house and we walked with his two lovely dogs to the Arboretum. He showed me some of the issues he values, such as trails. A really important note that I got from Walter was that the service projects executed by Clark can be counterproductive, if well meaning. Walter showed me some trails that were blazed by Clark students that spring, which were not maintained and remained unused. It would seem more reasonable that if Clark choses to make new trails in the Arboretum, Clark should also make sure they will be used and that there is some plan for maintaining it. Near the end of our walk, he gave me tickets to a concert, for a local band called Zonkeraz which he is part of. I plan to go soon and will talk about it in the next post.

My conversation with Mike Dawley was mainly about how to approach some individuals and some technical questions. I asked about one of the contacts Jenny had given me. Pare Corporation is an engineering and design firm that did some pro bono work for the Hadwen Arboretum last year, making some maps. I also asked about protocol for hosting a service project. I am thinking of getting the Boy Scouts interested in doing such an activity in the Hadwen Arboretum, and I wanted to know what paperwork would be necessary to initiate such an endeavor.  Mr. Dawley explained that all projects regarding the Arboretum go through him and there is not much paperwork needed on his end.

Jenny Isler, my project mentor, will be coming back soon. I think I have made a lot of progress while she was away.  We will meet soon and see what direction we need to go next!

Read more from Sam Mix, Social Sciences

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