Friends of the North 40
 Friends of the North 40   


Read about Wellesley College's historic Whitin Observatory, below.

Lighting's Effect on Wildlife and Vegetation

Light can interfere with nocturnal hunting, birdsong, vegetation.*

Just a few examples:

  • Many animals depend on darkness of night for their food supply. Their dinner hour is being shortened. More rodents are getting off easy.
  • Moths, an important food source for birds, bats, snakes, frogs - are exhausting themselves around lights and dying earlier, sometimes prior to reproduction.
  • Birds are having a hard time discerning dusk and dawn, they are unsure when to start and stop their singing. Robins have been studied - some are singing all night long.
  • Trees are dropping their leaves later in the season, unable to detect the subtle change of autumn's shortening days. Leaves "absorb" water, snow - this results in heavier limbs and more breakage, as well as other serious problems, see more, below.


Night Lights - Too Much of a Good Thing, New York State Conservationist

Apparent Effects of Light Pollution on Singing Behavior of American Robins - BioOne


Public shade trees and the special stress they face from street lamps:
Light and Leaf Abscission and Plant Dormancy - Calgary Center
The length of nighttime darkness is a critical trigger for many deciduous plants to start the process of losing leaves in the fall (abscission) and entering a period of dormancy. Phytochromes mediate abscisic acid, which is responsible for these two actions. Artificial nighttime light can "fool" a tree into retaining the chlorophyll in its leaves too late in the season when deep frosts kill the leaves. Instead, the tree should be turning the various compounds of leaves into sugars and bringing these nutrients down into the roots for storage prior to the leaves being killed off. Trees and shrubs continue growing into autumn because of artificial daylight and fail to harden properly before winter. To properly cope with winter extremes, trees need to create special leaf-like structures to safeguard next year's growth locales. We know these as buds. The protective covers on the leaf buds are actually highly modified leaves coaxed into growing that way by high concentrations of abscisic acid produced by the tree and controlled by phytochromes.

For more information on Lighting and its effect on the environment and us, please see our Wellesley Friends of Conservation Partner FRIENDS OF BROOKSIDE LIGHTING INFORMATION page.

Lighting Effects on Wellesley College Whitin Observatory


Wellesley College Whitin Observatory

Purchase and Sale Agreement Between Wellesley College and Town of Wellesley

Article 6 Permitted Exceptions: Future Development Conditions

6..02 (c.) Dark Sky standard lighting fixtures: low-impact lighting fixtures, light shielding, hours of operation and other operational management practices. Buyer and Seller will use good faith efforts to negotiate mutually acceptable restrictions and guidelines prior to the last day of the Inspection Period and the parties will agree to abide by the same from and AFTER closing.


The North 40 was purchased in part with $10 million dollars of funding from the CPA. The Community Preservation Committee has proposed the acreage to be under deed restriction to the Select Board. Watch the discussion from the November 14 Select Board meeting starting at 1hour 26minutes.

The Wellesley Trails Committee submitted a Statement on Protecting the North 40 to Town Boards. Read it here:

Trails Committee Statement on Protecting[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [219.9 KB]

Ribbon Cutting at the Vernal Pool

The skies cleared for a beautiful ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of the boardwalk at the North 40 Vernal Pool, which provides both access and protection to this important resource. 


Selectman Jack Morgan and NRC Director Brandon Schmitt addressed the large crowd in attendance, and lead volunteer Bill Giezentanner had the honor of cutting the ribbon. The boardwalk was funded by the Community Preservation Act (CPA), and built with over 500 hours of volunteer labor.


See the video about the boardwalk here.

Vernal Pool Cleanup

Thanks to all of the volunteers who help to maintain this important resource area. Learn more and see photos.

(Spotted Salamander photo courtesy of Joy Marzolf)

Weston Road Gardens will soon be in bloom and bounty! Have a look.

There's even a video:


Wellesley Selectman Barbara Searle and Wellesley College's Ben Hammond sign closing papers. Photo courtesy of Wellesley Townsman

Thank you!

Over 500 People Explored the North 40!

Raptors, Goats and You!

Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.

Frank Lloyd Wright

NRC's 10 Reasons to Preserve North 40
NRC N40 10 Reasons.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [4.1 MB]

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