Eric Arnold, Executive Director of Hale Reservation in Westwood, will speak at the Dover Library, Lower Level Wednesday, November 14, at 7:30 p.m. This program is co-sponsored by the Dover Historical Society and Chicatabot Garden Club. Refreshments will be served starting at 7:00 p.m.
Hale Reservation is a 1,137-acre tract of largely undeveloped woodland straddling the Dover-Westwood line and directly contiguous with both the Trustees of Reservation’s 595-acre Noanet Woodlands and Dover’s 65-acre Larrabee-Whiting Estate. As such, Hale is not one only of the largest private landowners in either community, but also one of the largest tracts of open space in the greater Boston area.
Founded in 1918 as “Scoutland” by Robert Sever Hale, the property operated essentially as a Boy Scout Reservation for the first half of the 20th century. Over the second half of century, Hale significantly broadened the scope of its mission and now serves a wide variety of local and urban constituencies including the Greater Boston YMCA, Bird Street Community Center, the Watertown boys and Girls Club, and Massachusetts General Hospital’s Aspire Program for children with Asperger’s Syndrome. In addition, Hale offers a Membership Beach program for local families and seniors and provides largely unrestricted public access to its many hiking trails.
The land that is now Hale Reservation has a long and rich history of human occupation which includes multiple quarry sites from which Native Americans removed felsite with which to fashion stone implements, as well as extensive networks of stone walls and the remains of several farm sites dating from the late 18th to early 19th Centuries.
Eric Arnold has been with Hale Reservation since the spring of 2001. Prior to joining Hale, his professional experience included Director of Camp Thoreau in Concord, MA; teacher at Beaver Country Day School in Chestnut Hill; as well as director of Kennebec and the Crescent Lake School in Waterville, Maine. He served as president of the American Camp Association in New England and also served as an elected Board member for the American Camp Association’s national office. He has been a leader in the nationally recognized summer learning program in Boston.
At Hale, Eric has led multiple physical plant improvements and program expansions. This includes constructing nine buildings, many to replace old structures, beginning a dam reconstruction project and improving pond water quality through erosion control. Program development has included an increase in school year programs from 500 annual student visits to over 9,000, the addition of a summer learning academy for 150 Boston students, and most recently the addition of a semester school for urban youth.
As Hale celebrates its hundredth year, Arnold’s presentation will be an overview of the history of the place and programs, as well as a look at what’s ahead.
All are welcome to attend and there is no charge for admission.