Soft-spoken and low key are not words one would use to describe an environmental activist, but 18-year-old Ed Cavallerano of Sudbury is all three and he has much to say about the town's Hop Brook. For three years, Cavallerano has canoed and kayaked his way along the 9.4-rnile stretch of water, stopping continuously along the way to document every nook in an attempt to pique public interest in the brook, which he describes as a "wonderfully diverse ecosystem." In December, Cavallerano, a senior at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School, compiled his findings and churned out a 50-page report titled, "Effects of Phosphorus Contamination on Species Diversity in Hop Brook," which gained the attention of Superintendent John Ritchie, local conservation groups, and Lesley College, which published parts of the report on its World Wide Web site.
It's interesting how much there is to see along the brook," said Cavallerano. "I didn't expect to see so many small animals, especially muskrats in the woods section."
The report assesses 'several aspects of the health of Hop Brook, according to Cavallerano. He also evaluates the levels of phosphates and the presence of various pollutants, as well as cataloguing the local flora and fauna.
The Sudbury-based Hop Brook Protection Association has been lobbying for years to force Marlborough's Easterly Waste Water Treatment Plant to reduce the amount of phosphorous nutrients it releases into the brook. The nutrients feed algae in the water system.
Cavallerano said his interest in the brook began when he was 13 years old. "Part of the brook runs by my home so I would always ride by and wonder what was in there," he said. "I don't think there are many people who take the time to see what is along the brook."
He said the high school science department nurtured his interests and guided his work as part of an independent study, under the direction of science teacher Steve Roderick. "I'm extremely impressed with his work," said Roderick. "The work is unusual for a high school student. It would be unusual for a college student to present this." Cavallerano's project was initially guided by former Lincoln-Sudbury science staff member John Birmingham, who has since moved to New York.
"He just got in his kayak, looked over everything he saw and put together this compendium of everything to be found in this brook," Roderick said. "He has the textual descriptions of every species down in the report."
Cavallerano plans to attend St. Lawrence University in upstate New York in the fall. He said he chose the college for its geology program, in which he plans to major. He is hopeful the conservation groups in town will put his project to use for educational purposes.
In his report, Cavallerano stated, "Despite the centuries of human influence, abuse and development, Hop Brook remains a wonderfully diverse ecosystem which-supports rich grasslands, wooded banks, mammals, waterfowl and insects. "I feel it is important not only to preserve this environment, but also to experience it. I compiled this report in the hopes that more individuals would take the time to look at what is around them and learn to respect, enjoy and protect Hop Brook and its environment," he said.
And while mid-April marks a time when most high school seniors are mentally unable to focus on anything other than graduation, Cavallerano is still hard at work: He's busy tagging and watching the movement of three species of amphibians in Concord with biologist Dr. Brian Windmiller.
Matthew Schuler, son of Chester and Jewel Schuler of Sudbury and a senior at Lincoln-Sudbury High School, has been chosen as the winner of the 1997 Hop Brook Protection Association Project Competition Scholarship. HBPA has awarded a scholarship for this Project Competition for the last three years in order to increase awareness of the 9.4 miles of the Hop Brook system and its role in the commercial and recreational life of the Sudbury community. Schuler, who has lived along or near Hop Brook all his life, filmed the Hop Brook in February over a three-day period. He began at the Grist Mill Pond and finished at Landham Road, then combined the video with the music from Mozart's Jupiter Symphony, a classical favorite of Schuler who has also made a few films with his friends. He plans to attend Purdue University, Indiana. According to Ken Abrams, HBPA Scholarship Coordinator, the video demonstrates a "creative, artistic approach which is quite inspiring; a look a Hop Brook with new eyes." Abrams will present Schuler his award at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School Awards Day on June 6th. Schuler's video will be shown at the next Hop Brook Protection Association meeting on Wednesday, June 11, at 7:30 P.M. at the Wayside Inn. Members and guests are welcome to attend.
Ursula Lyons, V-Pres.