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By Elliot Frank, retired Watertown High School science teacher.
I would like to draw the attention of The Gavel and of Boston College students to the conflict between Boston College and the City of Newton over the Webster Woods. This piece of land behind the former synagogue on Hammond Pond Parkway (which originally belonged to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts) bisects the two adjoining pieces of wooded public land and surrounds a vernal pond that nurtures a population of spotted salamanders. BC's failure to engage in preservation efforts while owning the land marks a threat to protected plants and wildlife living in the area.
I have been running and walking on this land for 50 years, and it is irreplaceable. BC has refused any attempts at conservation restrictions, and Newton feels forced to take the land by eminent domain to preserve this treasure, and is prepared to offer adequate recompense.
Boston College has admitted it has plans to develop this land, and is actively intervening in the Newton political process with misinformation, attempting to develop political opposition to the City's plans.
All this while students from BC and all over Boston for years have found this area an invaluable learning resource for biology, geology, ecology, and even art students.
As a teacher who stood with my students and so many others on Sept. 20 at Government Center for the Earth Strike, I ask you to further cover this story, and make the students of Boston College aware of this crime against the local environment in which your university is engaged.
More information is available at the Newton Conservator's website: newtonconservators.org.