Blackstone River Watershed Association
Blackstone River Watershed Association
In This Issue


Your Ideas Are Important

Water Quality Monitoring Volunteer Appreciation Summit

Solar Hot Water Rebate Program



Upton To Buy Sweetwilliam Farm

Grafton Land Trust Winter Programs

Lake Nipmuc Ice-Out Contest


Kids Today

BRWA Online
About the BRWA


Issue 13 January 2011


Safe & Sound Wood-Burning
As we approach the mid-point of the heating season, it's a good time to review some basic tips for wood-burning practices that are both safe for our families and property and sound for our environment. The following is excerpted from the EPA Burn-Wise website where you will find additional important information for heating your home with wood.

SAFE Wood-Burning Practices
  • Keep all flammable household items—drapes, furniture, newspapers, and books—far away from the appliance.
  • Start fires only with newspaper and dry kindling. Never start a fire with gasoline, kerosene, charcoal starter, or a propane torch.
  • Do not burn wet or green (unseasoned) logs.
  • Do not use logs made from wax and sawdust in your wood stove or fireplace insert – they are made for open hearth fireplaces. If you use manufactured logs, choose those made from 100 percent compressed sawdust.
  • Build hot fires. For most appliances, a smoldering fire is not a safe or efficient fire.
  • Keep the doors of your wood-burning appliance closed unless loading or stoking the live fire. Harmful chemicals, like carbon monoxide, can be released into your home.
  • Regularly remove ashes from your wood-burning appliance into a metal container with a cover. Store the container of ashes outdoors on a cement or brick slab (not on a wood deck or near wood).
  • Keep a fire extinguisher handy.
  • Install & maintain Smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors.
SOUND Wood-Burning Practices
  • Use an EPA certified woodstove (Up to 20% lower emissions and 50% more energy efficient).
  • NEVER MOVE FIREWOOD. To prevent the transport of highly destructive invasive insects, avoid moving firewood more than 50 miles from where it will be burned or across state lines. Be sure that neither you nor your firewood supplier move wood within or out of a quarantined area.


Your Ideas Are Important
We are planning our activities for 2011 and welcome your ideas! Know of a venue or upcoming event where we should host a booth for outreach? Something you want to learn more about that would make a good topic for our Coffee and Conservation series? Is there a recreational activity you would like us to consider? Have any water body concerns we might help with? How about a story for a future eNewsletter? Send us your suggestions at


Water Quality Monitoring Program Volunteer Appreciation Summit happy scientist cartoon
It's that time of year again. The 7th annual Water Quality Monitoring Volunteer Appreciation Summit will be held on Saturday, February 12, from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm, at the Blackstone Public Library. Invitations along with an agenda will be sent shortly.

The Water Quality Monitoring Program is coordinated by the Blackstone River Coalition. For more information about the Program or to join a monitoring team, visit the BRC website.


Solar Hot Water Rebate Program
The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) unveiled a new rebate program to help residents finance solar hot water projects. Beginning in early February, MassCEC will begin accepting applications for a pilot version of the new program titled Commonwealth Solar Hot Water, which will help Massachusetts residents adopt solar thermal water heating technology. Rebates to qualifying Massachusetts residents will be awarded through a non-competitive application process for the installation of solar hot water projects by professional, licensed contractors. Visit the Commonwealth Solar Hot Water website for details.


1/29 MACOLAP 24th Annual Winter Lake and Pond Management Workshop 9-3 at Worcester State University   info
2/1-2/28 Library Lovers Month   info
2/5 Lake Nipmuc Ice Fishing Derby   info
2/10 BRWA Board Meeting 7pm 271 Oak St., Uxbridge   info
2/12 Water Quality Monitoring Volunteer Appreciation Summit 10:30 am to 12:30 pm at Blackstone Public Library  
2/12 Lake Ripple Ice Fishing Derby   article
3/26 8th Annual Land and Water Conservation Summit - RI Land & Water Partnership   info



Upton To Buy Sweetwilliam Farm Parcels
On January 11, Upton residents approved a Special Town Meeting article to purchase 60 acres of the 92 acre Sweetwilliam Farm. The Special Town Meeting was convened as a result of a successful citizen’s petition drive to place the proposal on a warrant after the Board of Selectmen declined to do so.

The purchase of this land protects a historic and ecologic resource and preserve it’s agricultural heritage. It also provides trail corridor between Upton State Forest and Warren Brook Conservation Area and connects to other open space beyond.

The land will be purchased with the help of a $500,000 state LAND grant and $74,000 from private donations. The remaining funds will come out of the town's Community Preservation Act fund. There is no additional cost to Upton taxpayers.

The following links provide more information on the issue:
Sudbury Valley Trustees
Town of Upton


Grafton Land Trust Winter Programs
The Grafton Land Trust (GLT) is hosting two family-friendly winter events.

On Saturday February 26th, follow wildlife tracker, teacher and naturalist, Paul Wanta on a guided wildlife tracking walk.

Then on Sunday March 6th, Animal Adventures will present New England Animals! This program features animals found in our own back yards and explores their impact on the habitat we share.

For more information or to register, visit the Grafton Land Trust website.

The Grafton Land Trust is a private, member-supported, nonprofit organization that preserves, maintains, and advocates for open space in Grafton, and promotes environmental education and stewardship.


Second Annual Lake Nipmuc Ice-Out Benefit Contest
Beginning in mid-January, Old Man Winter will once again take up his vigil on the ice of Lake Nipmuc in Mendon. Guess the date, and time you think the ice will melt enough for him to fall into the frigid waters and you could win a cash prize of $1000. Time entry tickets are $5.00 and are available on the Lake Nipmuc Association website and at the Mendon Greenhouse, Mendon Senior Center and Mendon Post Office. The deadline for the entries is February 15, 2011. A live webcam is set up to provide 24/7 viewing.

Proceeds from the contest benefit the Lake Nipmuc Association and the Mendon Parks Department. The mission of the Lake Nipmuc Association is to preserve and protect the aesthetic, recreational, and economic value of Lake Nipmuc and its watershed.



Kids Today
What’s wrong with kids today?

The answer may be “nothing”. Here are some examples of kids working to make a difference in the world.

First is an Earth911 story entitled Colorado Kids Push For Zero-Waste Schools. Middle school students, who were taught the virtues of waste stream reduction in elementary school, pressured officials to implement similar waste reduction practices with the goal of zero waste. Boulder area schools partner with non-profit recycler Eco-Cycle in their Green Star Schools program. As a result, many schools have reduced their waste by up to two-thirds. The kids are thinking about and acting on environmental issues and helping to educate others.

From the US EPA blog comes Finding the Time, the story of Alec Loorz who, after watching “An Inconvenient Truth” at age 12, found a calling to fight global warming. He developed climate change presentations aimed at youth and founded a non-profit organization, Kids vs Global Warming. The organization is “committed to creating opportunities for youth to learn about the science and solutions of climate change and then take action that will reduce dependence on fossil fuels and influence the Ruling Generation to make good decisions NOW that impact our future”. Visit the Kids vs Global Warming website to see what this 15-year-old is doing now.

Also from the EPA blog is a piece entitled Finding the Time. This is the story of Heidi Keller, 19, of Royalton, VT. Heidi founded a free magazine, Regeneration, which educates residents in her rural Vermont town and the surrounding area about important environmental and humanitarian issues. She designed the magazine, recruited teen writers, and ran an ad sales campaign to cover production costs. Through her work, she has raised over $12,000 for Change the World Kids supporting local and international service projects.

Finally, here is another Earth911 article profiling more young people taking action for a better environment.

Please visit all the links above and be inspired by the work and passion of these kids and renew your hope for the future.


Views & opinions expressed in linked websites do not necessarily state or reflect those of the BRWA.

Your input is crucial to this eNewsletter. If you have a local watershed-related story, information of interest to our subscribers, or comments about this publication, drop an email to the editor.

The Blackstone River Watershed Association (BRWA) has a mission to enhance and preserve the Blackstone River system and its watershed; its objectives are to:
  • Educate members, supporters, watershed residents on watershed protection strategies,
  • Engage the public in watershed stewardship activities, and
  • Improve the water quality and esthetics of the Blackstone River Watershed’s water bodies.
The BRWA eNewsletter is published monthly by the Blackstone River Watershed Association. BRWA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Editor: Michael Sperry
Mailing address: BRWA, 271 Oak Street Uxbridge, MA 01569
Phone: 508-278-5200  Web:

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