Celebrating a fountain’s return in the Public Garden

On June 7th, the Friends celebrated the completion of our latest capital project, the restoration of the George Robert White Memorial fountain. Joined by many friends, including City Councilor Josh Zakim and Parks Commissioner Chris Cook, new Friends Board Chair Leslie Singleton Adam thanked the generous donors who made this restoration possible.

Special thanks to Weston & Sampson, Zen Associates, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Boston Parks and Recreation Department for their contributions to the fountain restoration and landscaping work, making this a beautiful corner of the Public Garden again.

Remembering Anne Brooke

In tribute to our wonderful late Board Chair, Anne Brooke, we also dedicated a beautiful Horsechestnut tree for her inspired leadership of the Friends and this special restoration project.

Leslie Singleton Adam elected Chair of the Friends of the Public Garden

Leslie Singleton Adam, Chair, Friends of the Public Garden PROOF - 2

The Friends is honored to welcome Leslie Singleton Adam as the new Board Chair.

On June 1,  2017, the board of directors of the Friends of the Public Garden elected Leslie Singleton Adam as Chair. Adam has been on the Friends board since 2014  and is only its third chair, succeeding the late Anne Brooke.

First Vice Chair, Colin Zick said, “The Friends is tremendously fortunate to have someone of the astuteness, practical vision, and nonprofit experience as Leslie Singleton Adam stepping into the Chair position at this significant time in the organization’s life. Under her leadership, I know the Friends will continue to flourish.”

Leslie Singleton Adam said, “It is an honor for me to serve as the Chair of the Friends of the Public Garden and I am excited to help the Friends grow. This impressive organization has done so much for the Boston community by investing over $1.5 million each year in the care of our parks. I will continue to advance the Friends’ mission for excellence of care, active advocacy for park protection, and encourage a deepening partnership with the City in support of the Boston Common, Public Garden and Commonwealth Avenue Mall so that we can pass these treasures on to the next generation in better condition than we received them.”

Adam brings impressive credentials to the position. She spent many years in the management of professional service firms, most recently at The Boston Consulting Group.  She is currently working in real estate with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. Adam has been involved in a number of nonprofits here in the Beacon Hill community, including the Beacon Hill Nursery School, the Beacon Hill Civic Association, the Nichols House Museum and recently served as the President of the Beacon Hill Garden Club in which capacity she also was an ex officio member of the board of the Friends of the Public Garden. Born in Boston, a life-long park lover, Leslie and her husband Alastair have lived on Beacon Hill for 19 years, moving here from London. They live on Chestnut Street with their two children.

Adam takes the helm at an important time for the Friends continuing its primary mission of funding the expert care of trees, turf, and sculpture in all three parks. A major turf restoration and irrigation project is being implemented for the Common and the Mall, and the finishing touches for landscape improvements to the Boylston Street boundary of the Garden will be completed this fall. The $2.5 million campaign for the Henry and Joan Lee Sculpture Endowment is nearing completion.

 

Making History on the Common

Fishweirs, sheep, protests, dancing, and colonial punishments return to Boston Common

Despite the rain on June 5th, just under 1,000 Boston elementary school children (grades 3-5) enjoyed the Friends of the Public Garden’s Making History on the Common on Boston Common!

It was a fun-filled, action-packed day where they learned about more than 1,000 years of history through various interactive activities.

Making History on the Common was made possible, in part, thanks to a grant from The David P. Wheatland Charitable Trust.

Planting new trees in the Public Garden

We’re happy to welcome ten new trees to the Public Garden this month (two ginkgo trees, four tulip trees, one red bud tree, one sugar maple tree, and one sycamore tree). Click through the album to see the plantings, and be sure to visit them on your next walk in the Garden.

Elizabeth Vizza Statement on Winthrop Square Vote

Statement by Elizabeth Vizza, Executive Director of the Friends of the Public Garden on Boston City Council vote to approve shadow law exemptions for Winthrop Square tower.

April 26, 2017 – “The Council’s action today sets a precedent for future tradeoffs of money from developers for city approval of luxury skyscrapers that will cause damage to our landmark parks. It is naive to think that another developer won’t put millions of dollars on the table to entice the city into more exemptions to allow more shadows and cause more damage.

As stewards of the Boston Common and the Public Garden for the past 47 years, we have deep knowledge of the stresses on them. We find it disingenuous of the city to disregard our concerns and minimize the impact this building will have.

We support the revitalization of the Winthrop Square Garage site, but the proposed 775-foot skyscraper violates the shadow laws 264 days of the year on the Boston Common, and 120 days on the Public Garden.

The state’s shadow laws have worked for nearly three decades to strike an appropriate balance between allowing development to continue and protecting the Boston Common and the Public Garden. We will take our case to the State House to ensure this balance will not be jeopardized.”

Friends of the Public Garden 47th Annual Meeting

It was standing room only at the Friends Annual Meeting on April 12.  After the usual Board business, Executive Director, Liz Vizza gave an inspiring summary of the year’s accomplishments to the attending members. Thanks to the generous donations of the members, the Friends was again able to make over a $1 million investment in the maintenance of the Common, the Garden, and the Mall focusing on trees, turf, and sculpture while also pursuing notable capital improvements.

Continue reading “Friends of the Public Garden 47th Annual Meeting”

Winthrop Square Shadows and Impacts on the Parks

Sunlight-Sensitive Park Resources and Shadow Impacts

  1. Sunlight-sensitive park resources are those resources which are dependent on sunlight to maintain the overall usability and/or health of a park space, whether it be for human activity or horticultural needs.
  1. As the city develops, the extent and duration of shadows cast increases. Direct sunlight exposure becomes all the more important as a resource for people and nature, particularly in the city’s central greenspaces, the Boston Common and Public Garden, which are used by millions of people each year as places to relax, gather with the community, walk to work, and recreate.
  1. In considering the impact of shadows on these parks, it is necessary to assess how they affect the growth cycle and sustainability of the parks’ natural features, as well as the comfort and enjoyment of their users.
  1. The issue of human use and comfort is particularly important during the cold winter months when there is less available sunlight, especially during morning and afternoon commuting hours, when thousands of people pass through these parks daily. Human-related sunlight-sensitive resources during the warm months include use of the wading pool at the Frog Pond in the Common and the lagoon and Swan Boats in the Garden.

Horticulture and Shadow Impacts

  1. Trees and turf need 4 – 6 hours of direct sunlight.
  1. Less sunlight = less photosynthesis = less energy for trees and turf to grow
  1. Full day and yearlong analysis of cumulative shadows show that the Common and Garden are under significant shadow pressure
  1. The Tremont and Boylston edges of the parks in particular experience significant shadow pressure
  1. When trees and turf are in the shadows of buildings, soil surface temperatures may not reach normal levels.
  1. A lag time in warmth, and a shaded condition that can keep soil wetter, favor disease development. This is a contributing factor in the root rot some trees have suffered in the Garden, and the decline and removal of trees in the Tremont/Boylston corner of the Common
  1. Shade impacts the success of seed growth, with colder soil temperatures slowing and shortening their growing period.
  1. Grass is less tolerant of shade than trees. It is easy to grow grass, and easy to kill grass.