New Wellesley Natural Resources Director comes by way of Brookline & NYC

Brandon Schmitt, NRCThe Wellesley Natural Resources Commission has appointed Brandon Schmitt as its new director, a job that includes stewardship of the town’s park, conservation, recreation and open space system.

He joins the NRC at a busy time, as the Fuller Brook Park restoration and improvement project really gets going. The commission recently reorganized, with former director Janet Hartke Bowser taking on a new role as Natural Resources Specialist.

A quick look at Schmitt’s background reveals that he knows a thing or two about the great outdoors. He was previously a park ranger in Brookline, where he also managed a “green dog” program that involves charging a fee to dog owners who want off-leash privileges for their pets in certain parks during specific hours.

Fuller Brook Park restoration underway

Fuller Brook Park restoration underway

Before that, Schmitt was a senior forester with the New York City Division of Forestry and Horticulture, where he was instrumental in the Million Trees Program. Schmitt has diverse field experience, and is familiar with wetlands biology and regulations. He is also a certified arborist and playground inspector. He has been a crew supervisor for Habitat for Humanity both in the States and in Belfast, Ireland, and has volunteered with various animal welfare organizations.

Schmitt’s educational background includes two advanced degrees from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University at Bloomington: a Masters of Science in Environmental Sciences (Concentration: Ecosystem Analysis and Management); and a Masters of Public Affairs ( Concentration: Public Policy Analysis). Schmitt did his undergraduate work in political science and environmental studies at Wittenberg University, Springfield, OH.

NRC Chair Heidi Kost-Gross says: “Of all applying candidates, Brandon’s impressive environmental education, technical skills and boots-on-the-ground experiences, particularly in the NYC parks system, make him especially suited for the role of NRC Director. In Wellesley, the role of Director requires hands-on abilities and a thorough understanding of natural eco systems.”

Not to mention, Schmitt has gotten after those dastardly Canada Geese with the Goosinator!Town Hall Canada Geese

Posted in Outdoors | Leave a comment

Dana Hall head explains why single-sex education is good for girls

Erisman, Dana HallDana Hall’s Caroline Erisman makes her case for the relevance of single-sex education for girls in Forbes’ online magazine.

The Head of School at the Wellesley all-girl’s independent day and boarding school for grades 6 – 12 says, “We need to continue to foster all-girls programs that provide an atmosphere where girls excel as leaders without a male presence, because research shows that girls are more engaged, and exude more confidence and competitiveness in single-sex environments.”

Check out the full story here.

ALSO: Wellesley College rethinks itself in age of “gender fluidity”

Posted in Education | Tagged | Leave a comment

Beautiful people to have another option to remain so in Wellesley


Follain, a skin care, hair care, and cosmetics store, is opening a holiday pop-up store November 1 through December 31 at 50 Central St., the former Twig location. The shop, which also has locations in Boston’s South End and on Nantucket, is known for its made-in-the-US ethos and highly curated approach to the product lines the owner allows to grace the shelves.

A quick look at my own bathroom shelves, uncurated and without much of an ethos at all, made me wonder what shop owner Tara Foley, who holds an MBA from Wellesley’s own Babson College, would have to say about the 3 things I currently never leave the house in the morning without using:

Yardley lavender soap 

L’Oreal cleanser

Scent: Jimmy Choo (the perfume is so much easier to walk in than the shoes, I’ve found)

Foley,  who looks like one of those effortless, sleek, French brunettes, broke the bad news to me gently.  Turns out the Yardley soap was the least offensive of the three.  Its worst crime is drying out my skin with sodium hydroxide and sulfates, which aren’t lethal ingredients, they’re just cheap ingredients.  She recommended I try  the shop’s Saipua-brand soap in a nice lemon geranium scent, made with an olive oil base and real lemon and geranium.

The real criminal in my beauty routine, according to Foley, is the L’Oreal cleanser.  Without even looking at the label, she told me that one of the first ten ingredients was sodium laureth sulfate, which according to the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database is a “moderate hazard” that has been linked to cancer, neurotoxicity, organ toxicity, skin irritation and endocrine disruption. Yikes.  That bad?  OK, maybe I will try that best-selling Shamanuti cleanser .  At $28 for 4 ounces, it’s a bit more expensive than the L’Oreal, but heck, I’m worth it.

Last on the list of my personal top three was the perfume.  But although the shop does carry scents with mysterious names like Lurk and Dreaming Oil, and maybe they are more natural than what I’m currently dousing myself in, the Jimmy Choo will have to stay.  I keep trying a different sort of fanciness every time I reach empty on that pretty bottle, but I always go crawling back to Mr. C.

Foley preaches safety and effectiveness in her products, which to her means, in part, staying away from product lines that have an endless list of unpronounceable ingredients. She even has a Director of Health and Safety on staff, Holly Moore, who is tasked with making sure each product passes a screening test before it’s even considered a candidate for the shelves.  The aesthetics of the the store are an essential part of the shopping experience as well.  Look for the new store’s decor to be light and bright with lots of gleaming copper and a super-clean feel to it.

Follain joins local shops Beauty and Main, also on Central St.; The Candy Bar on Church St.; and my personal favorite, CVS in Linden Square, in helping keep Wellesley so pretty.

Posted in Business, Health, Holidays | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Last call for Wellesley spelling bee teams



The Wellesley Education Foundation is gearing up to celebrate its 25th annual Spelling Bee on Thursday, November 6 at 7:00 p.m. in the Sprague School gym.

Sign-ups are open for all adult teams of three here.  The $500 entry fee per team goes to support excellence and innovation in the Wellesley schools.  But this is the last week to sign up, so hurry and get your team together. Registration closes on Friday, October 24.

We’re not sure, but we think local businesses are including misspellings on their signs on purpose just to get into our Spelling Bee posts

hiring sign








Posted in Education | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Kids take to the Wellesley trails

Kids Trails Day Morses PondThe Wellesley Trails Committee‘s annual Kids’ Trails Day drew 129 participants to the trails around Morses Pond on Sunday afternoon for a big treasure hunt topped with donut holes and cider.Kids Trails Day Morses Pond

The annual event, which which previously had been held at Longfellow Pond, sent kids and their adults seeking little treasure boxes containing ink stamps along the Pond trail and Pine Forest trail. Clues, in the form of rhymes, helped participants find the treasure boxes, hidden near landmarks such as trees once struck by lightening, a nest of pine cones and an empty hornets’ nest.Kids Trails Day Morses Pond


Posted in Kids, Morses Pond, Outdoors | Leave a comment

Zero arrests in Wellesley last week

Wellesley police arrests logWe’ve been getting the Wellesley Police Department arrests log in our email inbox for probably the past year or so, and the latest report is the first time I recall seeing no arrests listed. Usually there are at least a few.

This past week’s shutout is “maybe a little unusual, but not unheard of,” the police tell us.

So, either people were very well behaved in town last week (after all, Wellesley does regularly show up on Safest Places to Live lists) or just haven’t been caught yet.


Posted in Crime, Police | Leave a comment

Wellesley’s Heffernan makes first TV ad for Treasury run a family affair

Wellesley’s Mike Heffernan, the Republican candidate for state treasurer, has cranked out his first TV ad, dubbed “Cheap.” The whole family gets into the act.

Heffernan’s main competition in the Nov. 4 election is Democrat Deb Goldberg.


Posted in Politics | Leave a comment

Wellesley outdoor basketball court grand opening event on Oct. 25

New basketball courtThe Wellesley Youth Basketball Association is celebrating the opening of the two new outdoor basketball courts next to the Wellesley High School track/football field by hosting a variety of activities on Oct. 25 from 11am-1pm. This will include 3-on-3 games, free throw and around the world competitions, and more. All ages and abilities welcome.

As a courtesy to the neighbors in the surrounding area, please park only in approved spaces such as the high school parking lot.

Next month, lights will be added to the courts to allow nighttime play.

RELATED: Historic first hoop made at new Wellesley outdoor basketball courts

Posted in Kids, Sports | Leave a comment

New Wellesley Eagle Scout inspired by family’s military history

Wellesley Eagle Scout Max Morelli

Wellesley Eagle Scout Max Morelli

Here’s an early Veterans Day story with a local angle: 15-year-old Wellesley resident Max Morelli is being honored this month as a new Eagle Scout, a recognition earned in part through a service project that involved interviewing 10 military veterans.

The veterans’ stories were captured on video and have been archived as part of the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress, where they are now available for future generations.

Morelli, whose achievement of Boy Scouts of America’s highest rank, will be celebrated on Oct. 25 at a ceremony at the Italo-American Club in Wellesley. He received his official Eagle Board of Review recognition as an Eagle Scout in May.

For his Eagle project, the Troop 185 member conducted and recorded interviews of veterans who served in conflicts ranging from World War II to the most recent deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. Interview subjects included veterans George Ecker and Ronald (Chuck) Tiberio, both residents of Wellesley, as well as Bill Mills-Curran, who resides in Westborough but is actively involved with scouting leadership in Wellesley. The remainder of the interviews took place in St. Simons Island, Ga., where Morelli’s Eagle Scout grandfather helped arrange things during school holidays.

In his Eagle Scout application, the Beaver Country Day School 9th grader stated:

My project was inspired by important veterans in my family: my grandfather, Donald Morelli, a 2-star Army general; my great-uncle, George Kane, a World War II POW; and Buck Good, my grandfather and a Navy veteran injured in a blimp crash in 1956. My grandfather Good and my great-uncle Kane were both Eagle Scouts. George Kane attributed his survival of the Bataan Death March and four years as a prisoner of war during World War II to the training he received in Boy Scouts.


Posted in Clubs, History, Kids | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Lecture at Wellesley Library: History of Eyewear

Via Wikipedia (public domain)

Via Wikipedia (public domain)

The Wellesley Historical Society‘s first lecture of the 2014-2015 season will be on Thursday, October 23 at 7pm in the Wakelin Room of the Wellesley Free Library. Dr. David Fleishman, a retired eye surgeon, will discuss the history of eyewear since the invention of the first pair of eyeglasses 700 years ago.

Dr. Fleishman has done extensive research on this topic and is now at work on a PBS Documentary. This lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, call (781) 235-6690 or email

Posted in Health, History, Wellesley Free Library | Leave a comment
  • Upcoming Wellesley Fundraisers

    Upcoming Wellesley Fundraisers