Meet the Speakers

The Friends of Kennard Park and The Newton Parks and Recreation are hosting a Speaker Series at the Kennard House, 246 Dudley Road, Newton, MA. The talks are relevant to the Sculpture Trail Art Show and the Kennard Estate and abutting Newton Conservation land.  




Brita Renée Heimarck

Brita Renée Heimarck. PhD in Music, Cornell University; MA in Ethnomusicology, UCLA; BA Magna Cum Laude with Honors in Music, Brown University. Dr. Heimarck is Associate Professor of Music at Boston University, where she teaches graduate and undergraduate seminars in ethnomusicology, world music, and theoretical or interdisciplinary topics, including Music and Mysticism, Music and Ritual, and Music, Politics, and Identity. Heimarck specializes in the shadow play music of Bali, Indonesia and Indian classical music, with an interest in modernization, music and politics, and theorizations of the sacred in music. She is the author of Balinese Discourses on Music and Modernization: Village Voices and Urban Views (Routledge, 2003), and Gender Wayang Music of Bapak I Wayan Loceng from Sukawati, Bali: A Musical Biography, Musical Ethnography, and Critical Edition (A-R Editions, 2015). She combines knowledge of music in its cultural and historical context with critical theory, non-Western discourses, and performance. She composed a number of songs while living in Bali, Indonesia on a Fulbright Fellowship and upon her return to the States. She will perform two original songs for this event entitled, “You are Sacred So Am I,” and “Your Love is So Sweet.” These songs reflect her eastern music training and are akin to a meditation or contemplation of spiritual truths.


Jennifer Goodman

Golden moments in nature

Come and connect with the nature-loving part of yourself and open pathways for your kids to tap into the learning, healing, and joy of the natural world.

Jennifer Goodman, M.Ed., is a certified Waldorf Collaborative Counselor , Simplicity Parenting Counselor, and Special Inclusion Coach. She offers family counseling, workshops, and parent coaching in the Boston Area. 


Jennifer Steel

The value of open space land

Jennifer is currently the Senior Environmental Planner for the City of Newton and a board member of the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions. She is a graduate of Wesleyan University (B.A. in Environmental Science) and Duke University (Masters in Environmental Policy). She began her career as a teacher, then, after getting her Master’s Degree, she worked with EPA and NOAA on large-scale marine research and management programs. After 4 years with the feds, she quit and took a position as Interim Conservation Agent in her home town of Wayland. There found her niche, where natural resource regulation and education converge. For 5 years she worked in Mass Audubon's Advocacy Department and for 2 years she consulted, but she keeps returning to local Conservation work and has been a Conservation Agent for 18 of the last 25 years, serving the towns of Maynard, Framingham, Uxbridge, and Newton.


Shin-Yi Lao

Mosquito and tick education program

Shin-Yi Lao is the Public Health Nurse Educator for the City of Newton.  In this role she conducts health promotion and illness prevention activities to improve the overall health of Newton residents.  Shin-Yi graduated with a Master’s Degree in Public Health from Boston University in 2014.  Before starting with the City of Newton Department of Health and Human Services in March 2016, she worked as a Program Coordinator at Hebrew Senior Life in Roslindale, MA, and as a clinical nurse at UNC Healthcare in Chapel Hill, NC.

Elizabeth Wilkinson

Preserving newton's open spaces: the work of the newton conservators

 Come to learn about some of the projects that the Newton Conservators are doing to preserve conservation land and other open spaces throughout Newton and to explore ways that similar work could benefit Kennard Park.

 Beth Wilkinson is the president of the Newton Conservators and a member of the Newton Tree Commission. She’s also the editor of Newton Conservators' quarterly newsletter. She has certificate in Native Botany from New England Wildflower Society, is a Plant Conservation Volunteer for NEWFS and is a Master Gardener.

Sheryl white

Peaceful baby

 Sheryl White is a Certified Infant Massage Instructor, Baby Signer, Reiki Master, Child Development and Growth Educator, Child Meditation and Mindfulness Teacher and mother of three. Sheryl's background includes a BA in Psychology and Corporate Classroom Trainer. She has been teaching classes to parents, teachers, professionals and caregivers since 1999. Sheryl has received specialized Infant Massage training from the International Association of Infant Massage and she is a Certified Instructor of Joseph Garcia's 

Come and listen to founder of Baby Kneads Sheryl White discuss her Peaceful Baby/Toddler philosophy based on the work she has done with families for 18 years.  Topics will include baby massage, baby sign language for hearing babies, meditation, relaxation, and overall creating a deep connection with your baby.

Parents have named Sheryl the "baby whisperer" and "baby magnet" for she has an uncanny sense of what a baby needs as well as a deep understanding and connection to all babies.  With 18 years of experience working with families, along with her gentle ways, she is sure to give you some pearls of wisdom in your parenting journey.  Babies love her presence.  

Can I come if my child is older?  During the question and answer period following her talk, Sheryl will be happy to answer any questions that you may have about children of all ages.  She will be eager to share the work she has been doing with children in her Child Mindfulness and Meditation Class series at the Boston Public Library as well as other locations.

Check out Sheryl White's website here!

Lawrence Kessenich


Lawrence Kessenich won the 2010 Strokestown International Poetry Prize. His poetry has been published in Sewanee Review, Atlanta Review, Poetry Ireland Review and many other magazines. He has a chapbook, Strange News, and two full-length books, Before Whose Glory and Age of Wonders. Three of his poems were nominated for Pushcart Prizes and three read on Writer’s Almanac. Kessenich has also published essays, had short plays produced at festivals in Boston, New York and Durango, Colorado, and his first novel, Cinnamon Girl, was published in early September. He also has a blog, "Writing as a Habit of Being" on his website: 

Keith Tornheim


Keith Tornheim is a biochemistry professor at Boston University School of Medicine. He was a cowinner of a Great Lakes College Association poetry contest in 1967 and is now a relapsed poet, with poems appearing in Poetica, Ibbetson Street, Boston Literary Magazine, Muddy River Poetry Review and Lyrical Somerville (The Somerville News/Times). His poems have been a part of High Holiday and other services of his congregation (see In recent years, conversations with dancer/choreographer Wendy Jehlen on her developing Lilith composition led to the writing of a poem cycle on the story of Lilith, the first consort of Adam, to be published shortly. This instigated another poem cycle, Spoiled Fruit: Adam and Eve in Eden and Beyond, published by Poetica Publishing. A second book has recently appeared, Fireflies: Poems of Love and Family (Big Table Publishing).  He lives in Newton Highlands, Massachusetts, with his wife, Susan, a fiber artist and his primary critic and copy editor.

Tom Daley


Tom Daley’s poetry has appeared in Harvard Review, Massachusetts Review, Crazyhorse, Fence, Denver Quarterly, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere. His book, House You Cannot Reach—Poems in the Voice of My Mother and Other Poems, was published by FutureCycle Press in the summer of 2015. He leads writing workshops in the Boston area and online for poets and writers working in creative prose.  

Maurice Gilmore

Guide for bird walk

 I am a retired mathematician. Ph.D. At UCal, Berkeley, 1967, mathematics Department at Northeastern U. 1967-2008.

Chairman 1975-1988. Board member of The Newton Conservators, lead bird walks for the Conservators, and have done that for the Newton Senior Center. Have taught a History of Mathematics course for senior citizens on 4 occasions. Live in Waban. I usually lead a group of folks for "owling" and then the daytime Christmas bird count in Newton each year.

John Maguranis


John Maguranis served as a United States Army veterinary technician for more than twenty-years, caring for a wide range of animals from bald eagles to bison. Upon retiring from the army ten years ago and following his love for animals, John became an Animal Control Officer for a small town near Boston, Massachusetts where he has been able to put his veterinary skills to work for wildlife. John quickly recognized the unfair press regarding coyotes and started a campaign to educate the community about why coyotes matter ecologically and why they deserve respect and appreciation. John has since provided over 100 public and private presentations about living with coyotes, empowering communities and Animal Control Officers (ACOs) with the tools, information, and resources they need to coexist with coyotes. His presentations have been requested from organizations that include the National Park Service, the Appalachian Trail Association, and the Boston Park Rangers. He has provided classes to the Animal Control Officer Certification School for Massachusetts and working with Project Coyote will expand our outreach to the animal services community.


John’s love for the environment, wildlife, and ecology has driven him to become a strong advocate for America’s Song Dog and conservation issues. He has worked collaboratively with many organizations and researchers throughout New England on policy related issues and field research while advocating for better treatment of coyotes and all wildlife. John’s passion and engaging personality have been instrumental in helping to foster educated coexistence and compassionate conservation throughout New England. His ability to distill information from scientists, researchers and biologists and present it in a way that is meaningful and memorable has earned him recognition throughout the North East.