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Boston Marathoners race to support Friends of the Public Garden

March 14, 2014


Needless to say, 2013 was a tough year for the Boston Marathon. However, in true #bostonstrong fashion, we are looking forward to making the 2014 Marathon the best one yet! We are thrilled to be represented in the John Hancock Non-Profit Marathon Program by Team Friends of the Public Garden. Spurred on by the tragic events of last year, our team is determined to finish all 26.2 miles of the marathon while also raising money for care of the historic parks we support – the Boston Common, Public Garden, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall.

Team Friends of the Public Garden members are:  Brian Ladley, Kate Norris, Robert Rogers, Lori Shoemaker, and Kristina Vetter. This fabulous group of five will be running for their love of the race, their love of the city of Boston, and the strong connections they share with our parks. Whether they grew up in Boston or have just moved here, they are eager to lace up their running shoes to participate in what is expected to be one of the most historic marathons of all time.

The Boston Marathon takes place on April 21st, Patriot’s Day. Leading up to the main event, we will be highlighting each individual team member of Team Friends of the PublicGarden. Be sure to check back to learn more about our team members and support their Boston Marathon run and the parks! Contributions of any size are most welcome and will help the Friends continue to care for our treasured green spaces.

Sculptures to celebrate in honor of Women’s History Month

March 13, 2014

We asked Sarah Hutt, our Collection Care Manager at the Friends to give us a list of sculptures in the parks we support (the Boston Common, Public Garden, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall) that we might highlight in honor of Women’s History Month.  Visit these sculptures by women and sculptures of women to celebrate the month.  She also reminded us of this terrific video, Boston Women’s Memorial: A Story in Images from the Women’s Heritage Trail.

Boston Public Garden

  • Edward Everett Hale (1912) by Bela Lyon Pratt
  • Triton Babies Fountain (1922) by Anna Coleman Ladd
  • Tadeusz Kosciuszko (1927) by Theo Alice Kitson
  • Small Child Fountain (1929) by Mary E. Moore
  • Boy and Bird Fountain (1934) by Bashka Paeff
  • Bagheera Fountain (1986) by Lilly Saarinen
  • Make Way for Ducklings (1987) by Nancy Schon

Commonwealth Avenue Mall

  • Leif Eriksson (1887) by Ann Whitney
  • Samuel Eliot Morisson (1982) by Penelope Jencks
  • Domingo Faustino Sarmiento (1973) by Ivette Compagnion
  • Women’s  Memorial /Abigail Adams, Lucy Stone, Phillis Wheatley (2003) by Meredith Gang Bergmann

We hope you will enjoy these works of art to commemorate this month, and throughout the year.  If you have a favorite piece or a story to share about your experiences with these works of art, we would love to hear from you.


Tree removal planned for Boston Common and the Public Garden

March 4, 2014
Existing stump along the Marlborough Gate in the Public Garden scheduled for removal

Existing stump along the Marlborough Gate in the Public Garden scheduled for removal

More than a dozen trees will be removed from the Boston Common and Public Garden this week by the Boston Parks and Recreation Department. We wanted to let our members and larger community know that the Friends of the Public Garden is aware of this project and has been communicating with Parks and Recreation about it. The Friends is in agreement that the removal of these trees is necessary for the betterment of the parks.  The majority of the trees are Norway maples, an invasive species and are diseased and in a state of decline.  All remaining trees have structural defects that warrant removal. In addition to tree removal, stump removal of all these trees as well as several existing stumps will be taking place shortly after.

Emerson students visit Friends of the Public Garden

March 3, 2014

IMG_0758 Students from Emerson College recently made a field trip to the offices of Friends of the Public Garden. The group met with executive director Liz Vizza for a brief overview of the history of the parks, significant pieces of sculpture on display, and challenges associated with caring for these historic parks and their art.

Vizza explained the importance of collaboration with the City of Boston and how the public-private partnership makes it possible for the parks that the Friends works to maintain – the Boston Common, Public Garden, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall – to be well cared for, and in some cases enhanced significantly.  When she asked the students how many of them had visited the Brewer Fountain Plaza in warmer weather most nodded in the affirmative.  The Boston Parks & Recreation Department restored the fountain in 2010. The Friends of the Public Garden launched a privately funded, $4 million companion project to revitalize the plaza and the parkland leading up to the State House.  Vizza cited the project as an example of the positive things that can happen when the public and private realm work together to restore a significant piece of public art and create a vibrant public space, and said it’s a win-win for residents, visitors, the parks and art!

Special skating performance added – reserve your spot today for Young Friends On Ice

February 25, 2014

The Young Friends On Ice event is pleased to announce that guests of the private skating event to be held on Wednesday, February 26th, are in for a special treat -  Chynna Pope and Elin Schran, two Boston-bred skating phenoms, have choreographed a special piece that they will perform together that night.

The pair have strong ties to the Frog Pond on Boston Common which served as their neighborhood skating rink in their youth. From her early days skating in Boston’s oldest park, Pope went on to become an international competitive and professional figure skater.  Shran was a professional skater for the Ice Capades and continues to choreograph, direct, produce and star in local shows today. Both women are still involved with skating programs on the Frog Pond today.

Whether you are interested in sipping complimentary hot chocolate while you mingle with friends and enjoy the show or want to use this opportunity to get some professional advice on mastering your skating techniques, this is an event not to be missed!

Tickets to this event are $35 per person, and include skate rental.  To purchase tickets or for more information on how to become involved with Young Friends, visit


Mass Historical Society and Friends to co-present special event

February 20, 2014


The Massachusetts Historical Society (MHS) and the Friends of the Public Garden are co-presenting a special event of talks and exhibit tours related to the MHS Tell It with Pride exhibition. The event is in commemoration of the memorial designed by Augustus Saint-Gaudens that honors the 1863 Civil War battle of Fort Wagner led by Colonel Robert Gould Shaw and the men of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment. Unveiled on May 31st, 1897, and located on the edge of the Boston Common facing the State House, the Shaw/54th Memorial is an important landmark in Boston, a monument created in gratitude to Shaw and the 54th Regiment’s bravery in battle.

On Saturday, March 29th, visitors are encouraged to come and celebrate both the iconic statue and the people keeping its spirit alive. At 12:00 p.m. that day, you can meet the men of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment Company A, a group of civilian re-enactors who do living historical displays, educational lessons and Civil War period encampments and re-enactments. This group is also very involved in Making History on the Common, an event hosted annually by the Friends of the Public Garden.  

At 2:00 p.m. that same day, listen to a talk by Kathryn Greenthal, author of the book Augustus Saint-Gaudens: Master Sculptor, and Henry Duffy, the curator of the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site (located in Cornish, New Hampshire) about the creator of this landmark.

This event is open to the public and free of charge, but registration is required. If you are interested in attending, please register online at this link or call the MHS reservations line at 617-646-0560

Tell It With Pride: Special Event
Saturday, March 29
12:00 to 4:00 p.m. (approximately)
1154 Boylston Street, Boston

Help Boston protect its trees from invasive insects

February 20, 2014
Emerald Ash Borer Photo credit:

Emerald Ash Borer
Photo credit:

Did you spend a lot of time collecting insects and studying them in your youth?  It this something you enjoy today?  Whether you have a have a special interest in bugs or would like to take simple steps to protect ash tress in our area, your help is needed. Evidence of the Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive insect that has wiped out tens of millions of trees in the midwest has been found in at least two Massachusetts towns.  The Boston Natural Areas Network is hosting a Boston’s Urban Forest panel discussion on February 27th .  Panelists will discuss how to identify the insect and what can be done to protect Boston’s ash trees.

There are a total of 85 ash trees in the Boston Common, Public Garden, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall; please help us protect them.

Invasive Insects – Emerald Ash Borer

Thursday, February 27
6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Boston Natural Areas Network,
62 Summer Street, 2nd Floor, Downtown Crossing

Panelists: Nathan Siegert, Forest Entomologist, US Forest Service Ken Gooch, Forest Health Program Supervisor, DCR Mollie Freilicher, Community Action Forester, DCR Greg Mosman, City Arborist, Boston Dave Lefcourt, City Arborist, Cambridge Eric Seaborn, National Grid, EAB Response Program. Panel discussion followed by 15 minute QandA. Registration appreciated, but not required. Call BNAN at 617-542-7696 or email



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