Green Sanctuary Ministry Team Blog

The other day, while dutifully picking up trash in the wooded area by the lower UUCGL parking lot, church member Michael Celona saw something moving in the underbrush … what could it be? A snake?

From under the leaf cover, a snout appeared, then a prickly back … could it be a porcupine? It started to walk about seemingly lost and unperturbed by Michael’s presence (see photo). It shuffled over to the trash and started to nibble on a Dunkin Donuts cup and some Burger King wrappers. Searching online, Michael discovered it was a hedgehog! (What did we do before the Internet?) Sensing that this little creature could in fact be lost, and with the help of some other church members, Michael scooped it up, placed it in a box, and called the authorities to see if anyone had reported a missing hedgehog … No, no one had. Posting a photo on Facebook (again, what did we do before the Internet?), it wasn’t long before a woman with a thick English accent arrived offering to foster the little guy, which she explained was an African Hedgehog, a species she was familiar with as she had other “hogs.” Whisking him off, she gave him a bath (see photo) and declared that, aside from a chipped tooth and some ragged ears, he was in decent health. So, step lightly as you walk though the wilds of Forest Ave. … you never know what you’ll find lurking beneath the leaves!

The UUCGL will be holding an Animal Blessing on October 7th. All pets – dogs, cats, hamsters, rabbits – and, of course, African Hedgehogs – will receive a blessing!

Breakheart ReservationWalk – August 4

This summer take some time to reconnect with the “interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part!” Come join the Green Sanctuary Ministry Team for a walk at the Breakheart Reservation in Saugus on Saturday August 4th!


In keeping with the GSMT’s tradition of sponsoring outdoor activities in local woodlands, parks, and other open spaces, we’ll be embarking on an excursion to the popular Breakheart Reservation where we’ll see some colorful woodland wildflowers at the height of summer! John Benson and other members of the Green Sanctuary Ministry Team will be guiding this visit.

Breakheart Reservation is a 640-acre hardwood forest with rocky outcroppings, two fresh-water lakes, and a rambling section of the Saugus River. This walk will be an excellent introduction to the GSMT’s theme this coming Church year: Fresh Water – Wetlands, Rivers, and Ponds!

We’ll be on the trail no more than a two hours, starting at the headquarters building, walking along a shady paved loop road (the right-hand side of Pine Tops Road), and turn off onto a path that takes us down to the Saugus River Trail, where we will encounter a riverine wetland. Depending on time and people’s interest, we may then either (1) walk up Pine Tops Road to the Pearce Lake Bathing Beach or (2) return to the headquarters and walk up the lower loop road (Hemlock Road) as far as Silver Lake, for a short hike around a large pond with scenic views.

Getting There: For those who wish to carpool, we will meet at our church parking lot at 9 a.m.
Or, you can drive yourself and meet us at 10 a.m. at the park headquarters (located at the end of
Forest Street, just above the Kasabuski hockey rink).

Directions are on Breakheart’s website:
https://www.mass.gov/locations/breakheart-reservation.
And here’s a link to a map of the reservation:
http://www.saugus.com/images/stories/parks_recreation/breakheartmap.pdf

What to Bring: We suggest you wear light-colored “woods-walk” clothing: hats; long-sleeved
shirts or summer jackets; long pants; shoes suitable for walking in the woods (no sandals!); and
light-colored socks so you can tuck your pant legs in. Bring a bottle of insect repellent with
“DEET” in it (e.g., Deep-woods “Off” brand) as well as bottled water and a light snack. You
may even wish to bring a “brown bag” lunch.

RSVP: Please let John Benson know if you are planning on coming by e-mailing him at
[email protected].

Fun Fact: The name “breakheart” can be traced back to the Civil War era, when soldiers
training at this isolated location found it so lonely, it broke their hearts.

Only 3% of all the Earth’s water is fresh. That’s not a lot. Especially considering that fresh water is essential to all forms of life! Starting in the fall, the Green Sanctuary Ministry Team’s new theme will be: “Fresh Water – Rivers, Ponds & Wetlands.”Around the globe, fresh water is threatened by overdevelopment, polluted runoff and climate change. As the World Wildlife Fund website notes, “Despite their importance to life … freshwater habitats are disappearing at an alarming rate.” We’ll learn about the threats as well as what action we can take both as individuals and as a church. And although we’ll be thinking globally, we will be looking at our own back yard as well. The North Shore is primarily valued for its proximity to the ocean – that great salty sea – but it also has fresh water treasures including rivers (like the Forest and Ipswich Rivers), and ponds (like Breeds and Walden Ponds in Lynn) – we even have our own pond and wetland right on the church property! So, get ready to join us as we explore and celebrate fresh water bodies and their habitats!