Valentine’s Day is this week! It’s common knowledge that the Boston Public Garden is one of the most romantic places in the city. Even the Ducklings are ready to share the love! Whether your have a date or you’re planning an anti-Valentine’s Day celebration with Friends, the Public Garden offers a picturesque pre or post-dinner walk. If you’re willing to brave a little chill, it’s the perfect location for a picnic. Not to mention being ranked one of the best places to sneak a kiss! There’s a reason so many of Boston’s brides select this location for their wedding photos. Find out what all the hype is about.
Be sure to tweet your favorite Public Garden photos to @FOPG!
The Boston Marathon is just 11 weeks away! Team Friends is pumped and ready to tackle the challenges that come with running a race of this distance. In fact, many of our team members have had to overcome injuries or illnesses and navigate how time off would effect their training schedules. We’re happy to say that everyone is fully recovered and ready to train hard as we approach the home stretch of marathon preparations.
Team member, Allison Byrne suffered a foot injury that prevented her from running for 3 weeks. Allison used her time productively and hit the pool when she could not strap on those running shoes. She continues her training now with a better understanding of her body and feels confident she will be prepared to face Marathon Monday. Her goal is to build back up her mileage slowly to avoid risking another injury so close to race day.
Lori Shoemaker is a marathon pro. She’s been running since the age of 9 and has completed quite a few marathons over years. So she was not concerned when the “super flu” ran through her family, she knew training could wait until she was back in good health. Instead of stressing about how her performance would be affected by a break, she took a leisurely recovery and is back in the grind now. Lori feels confident that she will be ready by race day.
Brian Ladley was also out of commission for a few weeks with, what he calls, his “annual Christmas cold”. Brian is also no novice to marathon training. He knew he could afford to take a few weeks off in the early stages of his training and that he would benefit from allowing himself a full recovery before pushing his body too hard.
We’re happy that all the members of Team Friends are fully recovered and back on the road. This weekend was the longest run of the Fitcorp training program! We’ll be checking in with our runners soon to see how they felt after the run and any insight they’d like to share about training for a marathon!
Don’t forget to visit the Team Friends Fundraising Page!
The Young Friends of the Public Garden will be hosting a spectacular winter event! On Monday, February 25, join Young Friends for a night a skating on the Boston Common Frog Pond. Don’t worry if you don’t have skates, your ticket for admission includes skate rental.
Date: Monday, February 25
Time: 7:30-9:00 p.m.
Buy tickets here
Visit the Facebook event page
Last year the Skating Club of Boston piloted their Skating in the Schools program at the Boston Common Frog Pond. This wonderful after school activity gives children a positive outlet for energy while teaching a valuable skill. In the winter, the number of athletic opportunities available to school age children is significantly diminished, the skating club is offering a great opportunity by exposing children to a wonderful winter sport. When the program began last year only one school was invited to participate. In it’s second year the program has expanded to include two school groups.
“Most of the students are new again this year, there are two or three repeat students from Washington Irving, but for the most part it is an entirely different group,” says Cheri Rigby, Director of Programs at the Skating Club of Boston.
She hopes the program will grow to be more comprehensive, a program in which students enroll early and participate throughout their schooling, “But we’re not there yet.” It’s tough to say at this early stage whether students who return are improving in their abilities, but they do receive free season passes to use the Frog Pond whenever they’d like to skate for free. Skating is an expensive sport, the Skating Club provides the free passes to provide students who enjoy the activity with an affordable (free) opportunity to do so. Whenever they’d like. “We realize that kids 13 and under already have free admission at the Frog Pond,” Cheri points out, “our intention was that this free pass allows a parent or guardian to come in for free–thus the added assurance that they will get back to practice and enjoy skating in their free time.”
The program has more than doubled in size since last year and has plenty of support to continue to grow. If program success was measured solely in smiles, the Skating Club would have a very positive report. “The smiles are the best testimony [to success] at this point,” Cheri reports, ” [and] we have tremendous support from educators. We know we have tapped into something very good and really look forward to the expansion of the program“.
“I know from firsthand experience (I was a skater) the incredible feeling of freedom and personal strength you have when you are on the ice…When these kids are on the ice, they are 100% focused on the task at hand. They can only think about the present moment. That in itself is very therapeutic. In addition to the effort and concentration skating requires, it is also extrememey humbling. I enjoy watching the transformation of the kids when they step on the ice. It puts them in a place of vulnerability that opens them up to asking for help and for allowing someone to help them…Skating [is] a wonderful vehicle for children to learn life lessons.” – Cheri Rigby
Cheri’s plan for the future is simple and focuses on the following principles: quality programming with engaged students and supportive educators, administrators and sponsors and helping kids to develop the confidence and life skills they need in order to thrive and grow.
The application for a rotating off leash area in the Boston Common is complete and is pending approval by the city. Dog owners and other community members who are advocating for the space comment on the importance of this development for the city of Boston and respond to some public concerns.
Allison Byrne says,
“There is no question the off-leash area will be a big boon for dog owners. The parks are for the people to use and enjoy. And it turns out that for city dwellers with dogs, a growing population, the way they want to enjoy the park is with their dog. Dogs and people are social and thrive in a group setting. Having a designated area where dog owners can congregate and allow their dogs to safely run around together is the goal. Dogs need to run on a daily basis to be emotionally and physically healthy, and the interactions they have with other dogs are helpful for socialization, similar to how children benefit from play groups. The same can be said of the dog owners!”
She believes the city will benefit from the program because it creates goodwill and a enhances a growing sense of community. The Boston Common is our common back yard and all city-dwellers should be able to use it to mutual benefit.
This of course leads to the question of proper care. There is concern that overuse of these areas will be detrimental to the grounds. That is why the space will be rotating. Rather than one designated off-leash area the plan is for dog owners to rotate use of separate spaces to allow the areas to be reseeded and restored between uses. These spaces will be well marked with signs, dog waste bag dispensers and trash bins. The dog owners have agreed to a sort of self governance which will include outreach and education to encourage all dog owners to obey the rules, and enables them to become active stewards of the park. Dog owners are also financially responsible for restoring the off-leash areas on a regular basis. The money for this upkeep will come both from private financial contributions and through public fundraising efforts.
If you have questions about the off-leash area please email email@example.com.
On Thursday December 20th the Friends began the process of adding and changing the tree labels in the Public Garden with the help of a volunteer, Richard Williams. This is a first step in providing a valuable educational service to the users of the park. Each label will contain the following information: Species common name, botanical name, botanical family name, date planted (if known) and donor inscription (if the tree was donated in honor/memory of a loved one). Over the course of the day over 60 labels were installed with another 50 to go.
In this first installation we began with the trees located along the edges of the newly paved pathways and continued around the Lagoon towards the Japanese Bell. The next 50 will target the main walking paths that leads users around the Lagoon, past the Goody Flag Pole and towards the Hadassah Gate or the Charles/Boylston Street corner. Please look out for us over the next week as we finish this phase of the tree labeling project. Stop and say hello, give our volunteer a big thanks or pause to learn more about the amazing collection of trees in the Public Garden.
If you’re in town today for First Night and looking for something fun and exciting to do, Boston By Foot is hosting a special tour of the Public Garden and Boston Common from 2:30-4:00pm. Boston by Foot is having its own firsts today, with its first combined Boston Common and Public Garden tour, and its first time joining the activity on First Night.
We spoke with Michele Steinberg who volunteers as a guide. She got involved 7 years ago when she had a desire to venture back to Downtown Boston where she used to work. When Michele spotted a flyer at her public library in Newton, she decided to train to be a volunteer tour guide for Boston by Foot. The training consisted of 6 Saturdays of lectures, quizzes and one final exam. Michele was excited to learn more about the art and history of Boston and then teach it to others.
Boston by Foot’s regular tour season begins on May 1st and runs through October 31st. Their most popular tour, the Heart of the Freedom Trail is given every day, and sometimes more than once a day. Others tours include (and are not limited to) the North End, Beacon Hill, the Victorian Back Bay and another for children called Boston by Little Feet.
Volunteers with Boston by Foot are also given opportunity in other areas with the organization. In addition to giving tours, Michele assists the staff with social media and personally manages its Twitter account. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer and getting involved with a dedicated pioneer of Boston’s history, art and architecture, send an inquiry through Boston by Foot’s website. Volunteers begin training in April.
And don’t forget to join Boston by Foot today for their first ever First Night tour, which is free with your First Night button!
December 31, 2012 2:30-4:00pm
Meet at Park Street T station
$12/person or free with First Night button