Mystic-Minuteman Bikeway study. / Town of Arlington photo

UPDATED Dec. 9: It's cool out now and will be getting steadily colder -- but only three months ago, it was wicked hot, and that's a continuing and concerning problem. So Wicked Cool Mystic, a community project of the Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA), scheduled a free interactive educational workshop from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9, at the Arlington Community Center, 20 Academy St.

Clara Schneider, Wicked Cool Mystic ambassador and Arlington High School (AHS) senior, told YourArlington earlier that this free event for all ages aims to showcase recently collected data about extreme heat. 

"I have talked directly to town residents to learn about their experiences with extreme heat and changes they would like to see in Arlington to combat extreme heat," Schneider wrote to YourArlington. Arlington students tablingArlington Ambassadors tabling for the Wicked Cool Mystic campaign. Left, Elise Kempf; right, Clara Schneider.

She and another young Arlington ambassador in this program, AHS senior Elise Kempf, already have attended and organized tabling events aimed towards connecting with people in town interested in making a change. According to Schenider, interpersonal communication is at the forefront of this campaign.

Kempf wrote to YourArlington that she and Schenider have sent surveys to residents to get feedback about rising heat concerns. 

"That kind of data collection is really the first step in acknowledging and then ultimately finding solutions to the very real and very detrimental problems that arise due to climate change and extreme heat," Kempf wrote.

According to Schneider, the results of that survey are planned to be shared during Saturday's workshop. The data collected can be viewed here >> 

Attendees will be able to share their own concerns about summer heat and also learn how to stay cool and safe during increasing temperatures, Schneider said. RSVPs are requested; please see below.

Schneider asks that RSVPs be done here >> Anyone with questions can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information. Refreshments will be served.

"I know first hand that the climate crisis is anxiety provoking, but I find talking about achievable action steps helps ease some of the negative emotions associated with an uncertain future," she wrote. 

According to its website, Wicked Cool Mystic is a regional campaign to learn how communities experience extreme heat and implement residents-led cooling solutions. It includes ambassadors from Everett, Malden, Chelsea and Arlington. The campaign seeks to engage area residents to develop cost-effective projects to help people stay healthy during heat waves.  

Temperatures locally hit 90 in August, September


Heat is an issue in Arlington. Soaring temperatures coupled with lack of on-campus air-conditioning equipment necessitated temporary early dismissal of some public schools locally only three months ago.

A related project to this campaign, which sought to display the high levels of heat in the towns surrounding Boston, is Wicked Hot Mystic. For this project, volunteers from 21 cities created detailed heat maps. One of those maps measured last August's temperatures and how they increased drastically over the course of just 24 hours. For example, by late afternoon Aug.12, most of the participating towns (Including Arlington, Woburn, Medford and Everett among others) had hit high temperatures of more than 90 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Mystic River Watershed history/background

The 76-square-mile Mystic River Watershed stretches from Reading through the northern shoreline of Boston Harbor to Revere and is one of New England’s most densely populated, urbanized watersheds. Its name is an Anglicized version of the Pequot word missi-tuk (“large river with wind- and tide-driven waves”).

Per MyRWA, the seven-mile Mystic River and its tributaries was an early economic engine for colonial Boston. Ten shipyards built more than 500 clipper ships in the 1800s, before roads and railways replaced schooners and steamships. Tide-driven mills, brickyards and tanneries along both banks brought both wealth and pollution. 

In the 1960s, the Amelia Earhart Dam transformed much of the river into a freshwater impoundment, while construction of Interstate 93 filled in wetlands and dramatically changed the river’s course. Since then, many former industrial sites have been cleaned up and redeveloped into new commercial areas and residential communities.  

MyRWA says that the watershed is facing growing climate-related challenges: coastal and stormwater flooding, extreme storms, heat, drought and unpredictable seasonal weather.  The watershed is relatively low-lying and extensively developed, making it prone to both freshwater and coastal flooding. Its 21 municipalities are home to 600,000 residents, including many who are disproportionately vulnerable to extreme weather: environmental justice communities of concern, new Americans, residents of color, elders, low-income residents/employees, people living with disabilities and English-language learners.   

July 12, 2023: Resilient Mystic Collaborative receives $2.25m from Barr Foundation

This announcement was published Monday, Dec. 4, 2023, based on information from the Mystic River Watershed Association associates and YourArlington's files. It was updated Dec. 9, to add comments from the ambassadors and additional images. Brynn O'Connor, assistant to the editor, made inquiries, did the layout and otherwise prepared this piece for publication. It was updated Dec. 11, 2023, to indicate that the event was over.