Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Essex Heritage Evaluation, Camp Denison, Georgetown, Essex Heritage Travel Program, North Shore Elder Services Board, Vote Today


Preliminary Results of ENHC Evaluation Released

As the National Heritage Area program matures, the National Park Service was obligated to complete an evaluation of each of the Heritage Area’s that would ultimately be delivered to the United States Congress for their information. The leadership and the Board of Trustees of Essex Heritage made the decision to volunteer to be the first such Heritage Area to be examined and evaluated. The process was a most participatory one and many in this region were contacted and asked to offer their observations on the success of this particular effort. The compilation of the findings has been a long process, but the final evaluation seems to be closer than ever to becoming complete. As a result of the ground that we broke to set up this process, the second two Heritage Area examinations are going along quite a bit more efficiently. Just before the final document is released the National Park Service has shared some very important and vital information from the evaluation. We have been allowed to share six observations that will be in the final report, and we are particularly pleased with the findings and the tone of the presentation. These observations are “stand alone” results and we trust that when they are presented in the final format that they will continue to be most positive. The six observations are as follows:

· “Essex Heritage has played a key role in encouraging regionalization”

· “Essex Heritage has enabled the National Park at the Salem Maritime and Saugus Ironworks park sites to really connect with these communities”

· “And Essex Heritage has increased the capacity of these NPS sites to engage and educate the public”

· “Essex Heritage has been an important catalyst for preservation in the Essex National Heritage Area”

· “And the work of Essex Heritage has been very beneficial to the region’s heritage preservation groups – and especially to some of the smaller museums and historical societies – improving their visibility, outreach, and sustainability.’

· “Essex Heritage has promoted model partnerships that others have been able to use and apply to foster their success.”

Visit to Camp Dennison

During a recent informational visit at the Georgetown Savings Bank we spent part of the time that day discussing with bank officials a wonderful Georgetown recreational resource that is of particular interest to many in that community. We followed up on what we learned at the bank with a visit to Camp Denison on the shores of Baldpate Pond, a 66 acre water resource in neighboring Boxford. What we discovered on our visit was a spectacular forty-four acre conservation site owned by the Town of Georgetown and managed by a group of committed local volunteers. The site was acquired by the Town of Georgetown about a decade ago in a partnership with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that provided funding matched by the Town to preserve this special piece of land into the future. Since the acquisition of the site, the group that helps to manage the camp has completed some modest improvements that continue today. The property that is open to the public during daylight hours provides passive recreational and environmental opportunities for both individuals and families. There are opportunities to walk trails, picnic, bird watch, tent camp, and fish and enjoy some of the other pastimes like horseshoe pitching, shuffleboard, small “carry-in” boating excursions and just plain sitting and enjoying nature in all her glory. There is a comfortable lodge complete with fireplaces that can take the chill off the coldest New England day, and in the winter months cross country skiing and snow shoeing are available. The volunteers have completed work on an on-site nature center, and work continues today to improve some cabins on the property for camping.

The day we visited the camp was one of the most beautiful Indian summer days one could imagine and it was a pleasure to just be outdoors and enjoying the kinds of landscapes that one can find here and in other similar locations in Essex County. During our visit we discussed a number of opportunities to partner with Essex Heritage in the future that could in many ways make more residents of Georgetown and the county aware of this wonderful resource. Camp Dennison is a perfect example of the spectacular resources that exist in this region, and how working together with Essex Heritage can be so valuable and rewarding to both the resource and the residents of the region. We outlined several options for cooperative efforts, and I would expect that at the very least we might all enjoy an organized 2011 Essex Heritage Trails and Sails event at the site next year. We spoke of the site as a possible location for an Essex Heritage member’s only event and even as a possible photo safari location. We provided information on the Essex Heritage Partnership Grant program and our special Tom Leonard Grant Program for Youth Education and how those opportunities might be utilized. I would expect that in the near term, you might hear more of this wonderful location, but for now we wanted to be sure that you knew about the opportunities that abound on this special site. For more information on the site, directions and the camp’s history visit their web site at www.campdenison,com. We are certainly glad that the leadership at Georgetown Bank made us aware of this location, and a visit to the site in any season of the year will be worth your effort.

Essex Heritage Travel Program

It is not too late to make a reservation for the presentation on Wednesday evening, November 3, 2010 at 6; 30 pm at the National Park Service Visitor Center in Salem to learn more about the joint travel venture we have established with Collette Travel. In August 2011 we are traveling for 8 days to the Northern National Parks in Utah and Wyoming. My wife and I are committed to making the trip and I invite you to join me on what we are sure will be a spectacular vacation. For more information contact Mary Williamson at 978 740 0444 or by e mail at maryw@essexheritage.org. There is also information that can be found on the Essex Heritage web site at www.essexheritage.org.

First Board Meeting of North Shore Elder Services

I was recently nominated to serve and have accepted a position on the Board of Directors of North Shore Elder Services located in Danvers. The first meeting of that organization that I attended as a member of the Board was held at the agencies headquarters in Danvers last Thursday evening. The agency serves the communities of Middleton, Danvers, Peabody, Salem, and Marblehead. Each of the communities is represented by two representatives and there are also an additional seven at large representatives. I along with Board President Joseph Palmer represent the Town of Danvers, Joe and I also serve on the Advisory Board of the Danvers Council on Aging.

North Shore Elder Services connects older adults, caregivers and professionals with the resources and services needed to help solve simple or complex aging issues. Each elder and family situation is unique, and the staff of trained eldercare experts is ready to offer help tailored to the individual needs of elders. The agency offers a wide variety of services, programs and information, from case management to home care services, to housing issues. Help is provided to elders to set up services appropriate to specific needs, and to provide knowledge and assistance to help elders and their families make confident decisions, which will allow many elders to continue to live with dignity and independence. The first meeting was most information and I spend the vast majority of the evening listening and absorbing the material provided. On Wednesday, November 3, 2010 at 9:00 am, North Shore Elder Services will hold its annual public meeting at the McIntosh Clubhouse at Brooksby Village in Peabody, and all who may have an interest are invited.


Today is Election Day 2011. I personally have found this election season to be one of the most contentious in recent history, but regardless of the dialog that has gone on up to today, it is important that we all cast our ballot for the candidate of our choice. Don’t forget to exercise one of the most important rights we have in this country. Most poling places are open until 8:00 pm so hopefully we will have a large turnout and you will be one of those that voted today.

As always we value your comments, questions and observations about the work of Essex Heritage. Please contact me with your thoughts or any questions you may have at www.essexheritage.org. We are always striving to make Essex Heritage work as effectively as possible and your input and suggestions are always welcome. We can always provide more information and better communication, and one of the goals of these postings on Essex happenings is to provide that opportunity. You can also contact me directly if you wish information on the August 2011 Travel opportunity to the Northern National Parks. I am signed up for the trip, and I hope that you will consider joining me on that trip. Thank You. Tom Leonard

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