Tag Archives: Health

2016 Green Garden Tour Map

Front Yard Garden

You can do a lot with a front yard. Gone are the days of manicured lawns, English privet and the like. Design for drought and produce!

Down load and print the Green Garden Tour Brochure with Map or pick up a printed copy at the Beech Street Center, 266 Beech St. Belmont, MA.

Enter for a chance at a rain barrel or compost bin at the gardens or visit or the Beech St. Center.

You can follow along using Google Maps, too!

Thank you to Jeri Weiss, Nancy Forbes, Priscilla Cobb, Martha Cohen and Lucia Gates for their ongoing dedication in organizing the tour. Thank you to all the generous gardeners who opened their yards to our community. We welcome new volunteers and gardeners – please contact us to volunteer.

We hope you enjoy the 6th annual Green Belmont Garden Tour – a tour of varied organic and sustainable gardens that will inspire you to create an environmentally friendly, attractive and productive outdoor space of your own. These gardens, whether big or small, all make excellent use of the available space and sustainable practices.

Young chickens and their young chicken keeper.

Young chickens and their young chicken keeper.

What do we mean by “organic?” Organic landscapes do not use toxic pesticides and herbicides and instead focus on building resilient, nutritious soils that support strong, healthy plants and conserve water and other resources. The goal is to create a healthy environment for homeowners, children, pets and wildlife – especially birds, butterflies and our most important pollinators, bees.

You will see many types of gardens, some focus primarily on vegetables, others on ornamentals, and many on both. There are gardens with fruit trees and berry bushes, with sun and shade environments, rain barrels, compost bins, chicken coops and beehives. Please ask your garden host questions about anything you are curious about. We hope you take home some ideas you can use!

Belmont Begins Crosswalk Flag Pilot Program to Increase Pedestrian Safety

To increase the safety of pedestrians in Belmont, especially near our schools, Belmont is starting a crosswalk flag pilot program at four locations along popular school walking routes.

The project is being launched by Belmont Safe Routes to School Community Working Group, in collaboration with the Town of Belmont, including Belmont Public Schools, Belmont Office of Community Development, Belmont Police Department, and Belmont Department of Public Works.

Flags mounted to poleThe crosswalk flag program is a low-cost, low-tech tool designed to help increase pedestrian visibility and driver awareness in Belmont. Here’s how the flags work: A pedestrian picks up a brightly colored flag from a canister located near one end of a crosswalk and holds it in front of them, clearly signaling their desire to cross the street. When traffic has stopped, the pedestrian crosses the street while holding the flag, then places it in the bucket at the other end of the crosswalk. The use of flags does not eliminate a pedestrian’s responsibility to take all normal safety precautions. And the flags are not intended to replace crossing guards.

The pilot program is scheduled to begin the week of Sept. 21st at each of the four crosswalks. Volunteers will demonstrate how to use the flags at the following locations:

  • On Gale Road at Watson Road
  • On Lexington Street at Sycamore Street
  • On Cross Street at Broad Street
  • On Payson Road at Oakley Road

The crosswalk flag pilot program is funded with a generous grant from Be Well Belmont, a project of the Belmont Food Collaborative. Be Well Belmont LogoBe Well Belmont is a coalition of leaders in the Belmont community dedicated to the promotion of healthy lifestyles. The Belmont Safe Routes to School Working Group will monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the program over the coming months.

Belmont joins other communities with crosswalk flag programs, including Seattle, Salt Lake City, Lexington, and Arlington, which has been a helpful adviser. Formal studies and anecdotal evidence support the idea that crosswalk flags are effective in encouraging pedestrian safety. A report, available through the Transportation Research Board, describes research that shows flags to be an effective tool in prompting motorists to yield to pedestrians.

Special thanks goes to Abby Klingbeil (SRTS, Winn Brook) for initiating and developing this pilot program via the Belmont Safe Routes to School Community Working Group.

Questions about the pilot should be directed to Abby at  belmontcrosswalkflags@gmail.com

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 12.05.30 AM


About the Belmont SRTS Community Working Group

Safe Routes to School logo, a division of Mass Department of TransportationThe Working Group convenes community stakeholders to share best practices and to improve both safety and participation of student walking and cycling. It is co-organized by Kate Bowen (Chair, Sustainable Belmont) and Melissa Green (Regional Coordinator, SRTS). Representatives of each elementary school, Chenery, Belmont Police Department, the Office of Community Development, Belmont Health Department, School Committee, Traffic Advisory Committee, and Sustainable Belmont participate. Please contact Kate Bowen for more information about this community group. 

How to Use a Crosswalk Flag

To increase the safety of pedestrians in Belmont, especially near our schools, Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 11.34.42 PMBelmont is starting a crosswalk flag pilot program at four locations along popular school walking routes. The crosswalk flag program is a low-cost, low-tech tool designed to help increase pedestrian visibility and driver awareness in Belmont.

Here’s how the flags work:

  1. Take a flag to increase your visibility
  2. Stop at the curb or edge of the street
  3. Look left, right, left (and behind you and in front of you, if at an intersection)
  4. Wait until traffic is stopped, or there’s no traffic coming, before you step into the crosswalk.
  5. Hold the flag in front of you as you cross.
  6. Keep looking for traffic until you have finished crossing.
  7. Walk, don’t run across the street.
  8. Place the flag in the container on the other side.

If you see that a container is empty, please move a few extra flags from the opposite bucket to the empty container next time you cross. Always practice caution when crossing the road, with or without a flag.

The project is being launched on Tuesday, September 22nd by Belmont Safe Routes to School Community Working Group, in collaboration with the Town of Belmont, including Belmont Public Schools, Belmont Office of Community Development, Belmont Police Department, and Belmont Department of Public Works, with generous support from Be Well Belmont, a project of the Belmont Food Collaborative.

Logo of the Be Well Belmont program, a division of the Belmont Food CollaborativeLogo of the Safe Routes to School program, a division of Mass Department of Transportation

Green Burial Panel – Watch on BMC

If you missed it, you can now watch the panel presentation on Belmont Media Center!

Many thanks again to Stacey Hammerlind of the Belmont Health Collaborative for her endurance and vision in organizing the recent panel for Green Burials. Many thanks to Judith Lorei, Heather Massey, Ruth Faas, and Raya Gildor for bringing their expertise to Belmont.

Recycling Day – Special Collections!

Mark your calendar!

May 9th from 9 – 1 PM
Town Special Collection Recycling Day
Location TBA

There you can recycle items that CANNOT be taken curbside. They are:

  • Large Rigid Plastics (lawn furniture, storage bins, trash barrels, etc.)
  • Styrofoam (clean and dry)
  • Textiles – old clothing (ripped, worn, etc.) and shoes
  • Paper Shredding (a donated service)
  • Electronics – anything with a cord (*Note: these are taken at Butler Elementary School for a small fee as part of their PTA fundraiser)

Fed Up [!]

Free Screening and Discussion of FED UP in Belmont

Wednesday, March 4 at 7 PM
Chenery Middle School Auditorium

We all know that what we eat and what we feed our kids matters. But we also know that life is busy and convenience foods are all around us—the can of soup, the bowl of cereal, the microwavable burrito. Most of us reach for foods we think are healthful all day long, but are in fact laden with sugar, fat and salt. This is the premise of the film FED UP–many of the seemingly healthful food choices we make are actually harming ourselves and our kids. From Katie Couric, Laurie David (Oscar winning producer of An Inconvenient Truth) and director Stephanie Soechtig, FED UP takes a hard look at the food industry and the ways we are currently eating. BRADY_PIC_10 2

You can see this film for free on Wednesday March 4 at Chenery Middle School Auditorium at 7pm.*  This event is sponsored by the Belmont PTA/PTO Green Alliance, the Belmont Food Collaborative and Sustainable Belmont. The screening will be followed by a Q&A and discussion. During this enlightening evening we’ll talk about how and what we’re feeding our kids; learn from each other and from community experts; and share ways to prepare foods and inform each other about local resources.

Risa Lavizzo Mourey, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Risa Lavizzo Mourey, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The film and discussion are open to all, and middle and high school students are strongly encouraged to attend. Younger children are also welcome to attend; Common Sense Media suggests FedUp is appropriate for ages 10 and up.

The Film’s partners include the National Farm to School Network,Center for Science in the Public Interest, Farmers Market Coalition, the Small Planet Institute, among others.

*Any donations are appreciated which will go to covering the licensing fee relate to the film and the room rental. Thank you!

Safer Personal Care Products

Sustainable Belmont will again talk about Safe Personal Care Products at the Belmont High School this coming April. As part of the BHS Hallway Health program, a group of volunteers will present information on the most common chemicals of concern in these products and provide information on safer alternatives. Silent Spring Institute, among other groups, has helpful guidance for consumers. Major Endocrine Glands

Thanks go out to Nancy Forbes for spearheading this important contribution and to Marzina Bockler, Lucia Gates, Marha Cohen, Jeri Weiss and Judy Otto for their work on this event!

The concerns regarding chemicals, such as parabens and phthalates, in personal cares products range from harm to the water supply and ecological chain to hormonal disruption and subsequent non-communicable diseases related to those hormonal impacts. A Washington Post article, Are parabens and phthalates harmful in makeup and lotions?, explains the concerns.

Infographic from One Green Planet