A Spectacular Day for Ducks

More than 1,000 people enjoyed a Mother’s Day full of feathers, frolicking and fun at the Friends of the Public Garden’s annual Duckling Day event, presented in partnership with the City of Boston Parks and Recreation Department. Duckling Day celebrates the classic children’s book Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey. Children, many dressed up in duckling garb, enjoyed a morning of family-friendly activities followed by a reading of the book before joining a spirited parade through the Boston Common and Public Garden, led by the Harvard University Marching Band.

“It is heartwarming to meet families enjoying Duckling Day and hear thoughts from first-time participants as well as people attending because it has been a family tradition for several generations,” said Elizabeth Vizza, Executive Director of the Friends of the Public Garden. “We appreciate how much enthusiasm people express for this event as well as for our mission to care for the parks where it is held.”

Rhondella Richardson of WCVB Channel 5 News was the emcee of the event, kicking off festivities at Parkman bandstand on Boston Common. Little ducklings waddled from one activity to the next while enjoying a day in America’s first public park. Moms were treated to mini massages. Little ones decorated Mother’s Day cards using stamps crafted from carved fruits and vegetables at the Whole Foods sponsored booth; enjoyed performances by Jenny the Juggler and Peter the Magician; were entertained by puppet shows; got their faces painted; walked a tightrope set up by Esh Circus Arts; and had their photos taken with duck mascot Kilroy who was on loan from Boston Duck Tours. Boston Duck Tours also donated “quacking” sound makers for attendees. Not only did children dress the part; thanks to Boston Duck Tours they sounded it too!

Following the much-anticipated reading of Make Way for Ducklings by Wheelock Family Theater with the historic Parkman Bandstand as the backdrop, Elizabeth Vizza and Mayor Martin J. Walsh greeted the crowd before directing everyone to line up for the parade. Little feet, big feet, and quite a few feet that appeared to be duck feet paraded behind the Harvard Band through the Common and into the Garden, ending near the Ducklings statue to enjoy a few final songs before wandering off for a picnic or other family activity. .

The Motor Mart Garage was the lead sponsor of Duckling Day. Cambridge Trust and Boston Parents Paper were also sponsors. Proceeds from the event support the Friends of the Public Garden, a non-profit citizen’s advocacy group formed in 1970 to preserve and enhance the Boston Common, Public Garden and Commonwealth Avenue Mall in collaboration with the Mayor and the Parks and Recreation Department of the City of Boston. A model public-private partnership and the first in the region, the Friends membership is open to all and numbers over 2,500. For more information visit www.friendsofthepublicgarden.org.

(Photos by Chris McIntosh)

And the FOPG Instagram Contest Winner is…

Photo by @brianmcw from Instagram
Photo by @brianmcw from Instagram

Congratulations to the winner of our #FOPGContest, @brianmcw!

The attendees are our Meet the Friends reception on April 30th voted, and while all the photos impressed the crowd, Brian’s shot in the Public Garden was chosen as the winner.

Brian will receive a one-year membership to the Friends and two tickets to our Summer Party!

To see the other entries to the contest, search #FOPGContest on Instagram. For more of Brian’s gorgeous photos, search for @brianmcw.

Thanks again to everyone who entered!

FOPG Instagram Contest Finalists

The finalists for the Friends of the Public Garden’s Instagram contest have officially been announced. The contest, honoring the Friends Membership Month, received a total of 167 entries, 41 participants, and a combined total of 15,568 photo “likes.” Though we had many beautiful, interesting, and creative pictures submitted into the contest, these five participants received the highest amount of “likes” on each of their individual photos in order to become finalists.

One photo will be chosen at the Meet the Friends reception on April 30th. Attendees will vote for their favorite picture and the person whose photo receives the most votes will win a one-year membership to the Friends and two tickets to our Summer Party slated for July.

The finalists:

-@brianmcw

Photo by @brianmcw from Instagram
Photo by @brianmcw from Instagram

-@hughinboston

Photo by hughinboston on Instagram
Photo by hughinboston on Instagram

-@burnashburn

Photo by burnashburn on Instagram
Photo by burnashburn on Instagram

-@annahuizi

Photo by annahuizi on Instagram
Photo by annahuizi on Instagram

-@jcio

Photo by jcio on Instagram
Photo by jcio on Instagram

FOPG Launches Photo Contest

FOPG_Contest640The Friends of the Public Garden is inviting Instagram members to visit the Boston Common, Public Garden, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall to take pictures of these remarkable historic greenspaces in honor of Membership Month. Photos can be entered into a contest for a chance to win a membership to the Friends and two tickets to the Summer Party*. It is as easy at 1-2-3:

  1. Take It
  2. Tag It #FOPGContest
  3. Share It on Instagram

Five pictures with the most “likes” by Noon (EST) on April 27 will be declared finalists. They will be announced on social media on April 28th and the finalists will be invited to attend a reception for prospective members taking place at the Friends office on April 30th. The finalists’ images will be on display at the event and attendees will vote to select the winning photo.

How to enter
Tag pictures of the Boston Common, Public Garden, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall with #FOPGContest on Instagram for a chance to win a one-year of membership to the Friends of the Public Garden and two tickets to FOPG’s annual Summer Party on July 22.

Timing
The contest begins on April 13. Five photos will the most “likes” by April 27 at Noon will be contest finalists. They will be announced on the Friends Instagram, and other social media channels by April 28.

Rules
Participants may enter as many photos as they like.

Any photos with inappropriate content, as determined by the Friends, will not be considered. A person may only have one photo in the final five.

If more than one photo belonging to the same person ranks in the final five based on the number of “likes”, the photo with highest number of likes will be considered. Other entrants will be added to the final five based on the highest number of “likes”.

*Must be 21 plus to attend Summer Party.

Questions
Email info@friendsofthepublicgarden.org.

April is Membership Month at the Friends

Photo: Elizabeth Jordan
Photo: Elizabeth Jordan

April is the perfect time to help improve and care for the parks, as it is Membership Month at the Friends! Anyone who joins the Friends this month is entered into a drawing to win dinner for four at Toscano. “Every new member increases our influence and gives us more strength to protect the parks we all love so much. We look forward to welcoming many new members this month,” said Alli Achtmeyer, who is co-chairing Membership Month with fellow Beacon Hill resident Katherine O’Keeffe. Prospective members are invited to a Meet the Friends reception on April 30th to learn more about the organization and its mission while enjoying a wine and cheese reception.

In celebration of Membership Month the Friends launched an Instagram Photo Contest. The Instagram community is encouraged to take pictures of the Boston Common, Public Garden, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall and tag #FOPGContest in the caption. Five participants who get the most “Likes” on their photos on Instagram will have the chance to win a year-long membership to the Friends, as well as two tickets to the annual Summer Party—held at the Taj Hotel rooftop in July. Five finalists with the top number of “likes” will be invited to the Friends reception on April 30th where attendees will cast their vote for their favorite Instagram picture.

Those interested in becoming a member of the Friends can join online, by mail, or by attending the April 30th reception and all will be entered into the drawing for the Toscano dinner. For more information about the Friends, the reception, and the Instagram competition, visit www.friendsofthepublicgarden.org or email info@friendsofthepublicgarden.org.

Friends Skate on Frog Pond to Support Parks

February 11th was a cold night for a heart-warming gathering. The Young Friends of the Public Garden hosted their third annual private skating night for all ages on the Boston Common Frog Pond. Attendees were all smiles, despite the freezing temperatures, while mingling with other skaters, drinking hot chocolate, and enjoying skating with fellow park supporters. Despite more than a foot of snow falling just days earlier, the Frog Pond was miraculously cleared of snow in time for the event, and the great work of the Boston Parks and Recreation Department in clearing paths in the Boston Common made it possible for would-be skaters to reach the rink. Nearly 50 people braved the snowy landscape and chilly weather, united by a love for Boston’s greenspaces and a chance to enjoy a fun evening together. All of the proceeds from the event will benefit our work in the Boston Common, Public Garden, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall. The event was organized with the help of Young Friends leadership: Chair Kate Gundry, event Co-Chairs Rich Hornblower and Anne Mostue, and host group members: Nazli Kfoury, Lara Maggs, and Katherine McCord. The Young Friends group hosts several social events throughout the year in order to raise funds for the Friends work. The Young Friends offers an opportunity for community members to enjoy festive gatherings while helping better the parks. If you are interested in becoming involved with this group or attending an upcoming event, please email info@friendsofthepublilcgarden.org or visit www.friendsofthepublicgarden.org to learn more.

Friends Gather to Explore Public Garden History on a Winter Evening

Friends of the Public Garden Executive Director Elizabeth Vizza, Liz Morgan, Boston University Professor Keith N. Morgan, and Bobby Moore
Friends of the Public Garden Executive Director Elizabeth Vizza, Liz Morgan, Boston University Professor Keith N. Morgan, and Friends Public Garden Chair Bobby Moore (Photo by Caroline Phillips-Licari)

On February 4th, the Friends of the Public Garden presented “Searching for the Histories of Boston’s Public Garden,” a lecture by Boston University Professor Keith N. Morgan. The event, attended by 75 people at Suffolk University Law School, explored the origin, early designs, and evolution of America’s first public botanical garden.

Morgan traced the Public Garden’s development from its original submersion under tidal marshland through the highly embellished Garden of the Victorian era to the design we know today. He explored the historical significance of the Garden’s most famous statues and shared images of art that was inspired by the Garden, such as Maurice Prendergast’s “Large Boston Public Garden Sketchbook” and Robert McCloskey’s children’s book “Make Way for Ducklings.”

Seventy five people turned out on a brisk February evening to hear Keith N. Morgan discuss the histories of the Public Garden
Seventy five people turned out on a brisk February evening to hear Keith N. Morgan discuss the histories of the Public Garden

More than a dozen audience members were attending the lecture as part of a training program. In spring, Friends of the Public Garden volunteers will be leading tours in the Public Garden and sharing highlights on its history, horticulture, sculpture, and other significant elements. Tours will provide community members with an opportunity to learn about the rich history of one of Boston’s most cherished greenspaces from other members of the community.

Morgan teaches History of Art and Architecture at Boston University where he has taught for over 30 years. He has been published numerous works over the past few decades, including his most recent co-authored book: “Community by Design: the Olmsted Office and the Development of Brookline, Massachusetts, 1880-1936.”

For more information on upcoming Friends of the Public Garden events and the launch of the Public Garden Tour Program, stay tuned to www.friendsofthepublicgarden.org.