The Duckling Day Parade has become Boston’s most adorable Mother’s Day tradition, and that’s no lie. Children (and sometimes parents too) don duckling attire and retrace the route taken by Mama Mallard in Robert McCloskey’s classic Make Way for Ducklings. Each year our little ducklings flock to the Boston Common ready for an adventure. They are greeted by a magician, a juggler a face painter and others who are there to celebrate this special occasion. When the time comes the ducklings line up with their families and the parade begins. They march out of the Common down Beacon Street and take a stroll through Beacon Hill. If you haven’t seen it in person, just imagine waking up on Mother’s Day to hundreds of children dressed as ducks parading past your home. Did we mention this is Boston’s most adorable Mother’s Day tradition? It may even be the most adorable Mother’s Day tradition in the world. Others seem to agree.
Each year more and more families are participating in the Duckling Day Parade. In fact, we have outgrown our parade route. This year, for the first time, the children and families will not be retracing the steps of the famed Mother Mallard. Instead, the parade will take place within the Boston Common and Public Garden to minimize the disruption our ducklings cause to city traffic. We are delighted that so many have embraced the Duckling Day parade as the premiere Mother’s Day event in Boston.
At just $40 per family it is certainly an affordable adventure. We hope to see you there this Sunday!
This month we launched our Spring membership drive to raise funds in support of the Boston Common, Public Garden and Commonwealth Avenue Mall. With your support we will keep these spaces beautiful, clean and continue to maintain the wonderful sculptures and monuments therein.
A little bit can go a long way. Here’s what we can do with just $100:
- Install 10 tree labels with information about the tree and the donor who made it’s planting possible.
- 1 DED treatment. Treating trees for Dutch Elm Disease is an important way to make sure all of our trees remain healthy. To learn more about DED read here.
- 4 tree root stress treatments
- Wash stone of Commodore John Barry
- Wash stone of papal Mass Tablet
Support Friends by becoming a member today!
1. Membership begins at just $25. Every dollar makes a difference.
2. It’s cheaper to maintain the grounds and sculptures than it is to repair and restore. Your support today ensures that beauty of these parks for generations to come.
4. It’s your back yard! Whether you live in the city or outside of it, the Boston Common, Public Garden and Commonwealth Avenue mall are places where you are likely to spend some time. Supporting Friends will help make sure these spaces stay clean and beautiful so you can enjoy them whenever the mood strikes.
5. Preserve Boston’s trees! The Friends work hard to make sure Bostons’ trees are healthy and thriving, by identifying and preventing the spread of Dutch Elm Disease, regular pruning and removal of pests.
7. Roses Roses Roses. Friends is responsible for maintaining the Public Garden’s rose gardens.
8. Keep those sculptures looking shiny and new. Since 2010, the Friends have worked to maintain
the 44 statues in the Boston Common, Public Garden and Commonwealth Avenue Mall. The cost of cleaning a sculpture is less than $1,000, while the cost of a full-scale restoration is upwards of $20,000. Your support now means we can keep costs lost while keeping these wonderful parks looking their best.
9. Duckling Day. The most adorable Mother’s Day Celebration there is.
10. Anyone who donates before May 1 will be entered into a drawing to win lunch for two at the Four Seasons!
Click here to join the Friends of the Public Garden.
The Friends of the Public Garden has launched its spring membership drive with an enticing incentive: Anyone who joins the Friends by May 1 will be entered into a drawing to win lunch for two at the Four Seasons Hotel’s Bristol Lounge.
“We look forward to welcoming new members to our organization, and we are grateful to the Four Seasons for its generous donation,” said Anne Brooke, president of the Friends.
A membership organization open to all, the Friends was founded in 1970 by concerned citizens. It works closely with the Boston Parks Department to protect and enhance Boston’s three historic parks: the Boston Common, the Public Garden and the Commonwealth Avenue Mall. For four decades, the Friends has funded the expert care of trees and plantings and the maintenance and restoration of sculptures and fountains, and it has been a staunch advocate to protect the parks from misuse and encroachment.
“None of this could have been accomplished without the support of our members,” Brooke said. To cap off the membership drive, the Friends will host a wine-and-cheese reception in the Friends office at 69 Beacon St. on Wednesday, May 1, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. President Emeritus Henry Lee and Executive Director Liz Vizza will speak briefly, and exhibits detailing the Friends work in the parks will be on display.
The drawing for the lunch at the Bristol Lounge will take place at the end of the May 1 reception. Those who join at the reception will be entered twice into the drawing. Those who cannot attend the reception can also be entered into the drawing by joining online before May 1 at http://www.friendsofthepublicgarden.org or by calling 617-723-8144 for a membership form. Membership starts at only $25.
Reservations for the reception are required due to limited space. R.S.V.P. to 617-723-8144 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the Friends of the Public Garden, visit http://www.friendsofthepublicgarden.org.
Click here to join the Friends of the Public Garden!
Since last year the Friends have been working with neighborhood organizations, the Parks Department and other interested parties to develop a plan that provides meaningful recreation for dogs in Boston Common, protects turf from overuse and that minimizes interference with other users’ quiet enjoyment of the park. Last week the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission approved a program that includes five rotating off-leash areas. Dog owners will serve as the stewards of the park by following and enforcing the rules regulating use of the space. Consistent with best practices in turf management, the designated space will be rotated to a new location every six-months, and dog owners will fund restoration of the previously used spaces.
Signs will be posted and trash cans added to the new off-leash sites. Park rangers can ticket pet owners for allowing their dog off-leash in non-designated areas or for not picking up after their pets.
“I know it’s a very challenging park to try to do this in, but it’s also a park many, many hundreds if not thousands of dog owners are using” Elizabeth Vizza, Executive Director of the Friends of the Public Garden, told the commission.
The sites range in size from 21,000 to 57,500 square feet. Three of the proposed sites are located near Beacon Street; two are near the Parkman Bandstand by Tremont Street.
While approving the plan, the commission raised concerns about enforcement of the rules and stipulated that it would review the success of the program six months after it begins.
“All of us are sympathetic to dogs wanting to run off-leash and have energy, and what not, but there is common courtesy, and the Common is for people without dogs as well,” said Susan Park, a Parks and Recreation commissioner.
“This is going to require the folks that have come to this agreement help us enforce it, and talk to dog owners and encourage dog owners to do the right thing,” Vizza said.
No date has been set for the program to begin.
Job One this fall will be to restore the turf below the Joy Street stairs that’s been used as a pilot dog recreation area. The Friends are currently working with the city to determine whether this restoration needs to be complete before the other spaces can be opened.
Job two falls in the hands of dog owners. A group of organizers called Common Canine also needs to raise money for signs, dog waste receptacles and other play perks for pooches, she said.
The Friends and Common Canine plan to operate the dog park between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and 9 p.m., eventually on five designated rotating spaces so that no one area gets beaten down by paw traffic.
With all of the snow we’ve been getting, some have been crying for help! But others have taken this opportunity to enjoy some of their favorite winter sports on the Boston Common, especially children who just enjoyed a full week away from school. A recent article in the Boston Globe compared winter activities then and now and found that the children of today enjoy many of the same activities as children from 80 years ago. The equipment may be different, but the spirit is the same. We’d like to take a moment to review all of our favorite winter sports. Speaking of winter sports, don’t forget to grab your tickets to join Young Friends of the Public Garden at the Frog Pond tonight for an evening of skating and fun all in support of your favorite Boston parks! Tickets available here.
Winter Sports Review
Snow shoeing is one of Boston’s oldest winter sports, dating back to the 18th and 19th century when hunters and lumberjacks would don this unusual footwear. Before them Native American’s had designed perhaps some of the most efficient snow shoes. Eventually snow showing became a leisure activity and snow shoes were worn for sport. The young ladies pictured below seem to be having a good time, but they probably won’t get very far like that!
Other winter sports tend to be a little more faced paced. Skating requires a smooth surface for sliding across while sledding, skiing and snowboarding tend to be downhill (the exception being cross country skiing, which is much more like snow shoeing).
Anytime there’s snow you’re sure to find children sledding in the Boston Common. That hasn’t changed much in the last 80 or so years.
Skiing became popularized in the Boston area in the early 1920′s with the rise of the Arlberg Technique. Rumor has it that one ski enthusiast, Otto Schniebs, who later became a legendary ski instructor, first gained notoriety when he skied across the Boston Common, causing a traffic jam that required law enforcement to respond. These ladies don’t seem like they plan to cause much of stir in their winter gear.
We don’t see much skiing in the Boston Common these days, but we sure do see plenty of snowboarding. When snow falls snowboarders flock to the Common to build jumps and try to catch some air. We don’t recommend trying these stunts yourself!
For the past week we’ve been hearing a lot about winter storm Nemo. Complaints about shoveling, excitement about sledding and even some apologies from the city for slow-moving clean up efforts. It seems we’re on Nemo overload. So instead of talking more about the storm, we thought we would share some of our favorite photos from the post-Nemo Public Garden, Boston Common and Commonwealth Avenue Mall. Thanks to everybody who posted. Enjoy!