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 Friends of the Public Garden is a proud supporter of Skating in the Schools. The program, founded by The Skating Club of Boston in 2011, aims to help young students in Boston learn to ice skate while teaching them about the science behind skating. The students are able to take the lessons they learn in the classroom and apply them through real life experience on the Boston Common Frog Pond.
Skating in the Schools was created with the goal of improving local students’ science skills while also allowing them to stay active and participate in an activity they enjoy. Schools are able to choose one of three versions of the program: Skating Lesson, Skating Lesson and In-School Lesson, or Skating and School Lesson Field Trip.
The basic Skating Lesson option includes transportation to and from the Frog Pond, skating lessons, and extras like a year pass to the Frog Pond. The Skating Lesson and In-School Lesson pairs the basic option with a weekly class where students are taught the various sciences involved in ice skating, including physics and chemistry. And the third option, Skating in the Schools Field Trip, gives students a single day trip that includes skating lesson and in-class lesson.
Skating in the Schools is an important program that allows students to be challenged by learning a new sport and applying new lessons in science. The Friends helps sponsor the program led by volunteers at The Skating Club of Boston. They have worked with four local schools and hope to expand the program to all Boston Public Schools.
The Friends of the Public Garden Board of Directors voted recently to request that Olympic events and ancillary structures proposed by Boston 2024 for Boston Common and Public Garden be relocated.
The Board vote stated that plans to construct a 16,000-seat beach volleyball stadium on Boston Common constitutes exclusive use of what appears to be (according to Boston 2024 documents) three-fourths of Boston Common (calculating the area inside the security fence at 32 acres). The construction timeline estimates seven months, and most likely the areas impacted would be unavailable for as long as a year including post-event restoration. Approximately 35,000 people use this as their neighborhood park, and many thousands more from every neighborhood and beyond Boston use it for various forms of recreation and civic gathering. This use would reverse centuries of tradition in the spirit of Boston Common’s origins regarding public rights to use of the Common and non-privatization of public parks. The Boston 2024 plans also include ancillary structures in the Public Garden to support the Marathon and Road Cycling events, directing people to stadium seating through several gated entrance points, with one quarter of the Garden behind security fencing. The beach volleyball proposal would necessitate removal of over 50 mature trees on the Common, while the use of the Garden poses a threat of damage to this fragile botanical garden. The Boston Common and Public Garden need to be showcases for the international community of visitors, and welcome people as places of respite during this busy three-week event, not gated venues available only to ticket holders. They should be improved over the next nine years to the high standards of excellence we are advocating for them.
Based on an understanding of the materials that have been made available to the community, the Board vote requests that “Boston 2024 alter its proposal and move the Beach Volleyball event out of the Boston Common; and furthermore, that any ancillary structures proposed within the Public Garden or the Boston Common to support the Beach Volleyball event, the Marathon, and the Road Cycling events be relocated. Furthermore, we request that no Olympics-related venues or ancillary structures be sited on the Boston Common or Public Garden.”
The Friends of the Public Garden, in association with the City of Boston Parks and Recreation Department and Mayor Martin J. Walsh, will celebrate Mother’s Day with Boston-area families during its annual Duckling Day on Sunday, May 10th. A beloved tradition for more than 30 years, Duckling Day celebrates the children’s classic book, “Make Way for Ducklings” by Robert McCloskey. Every year, over 1,000 people meet up and parade through Boston’s most picturesque parks, dressed like characters from the story. Led by the Harvard Marching Band, the parade will begin on the Boston Common at the Parkman Bandstand and end in the Public Garden near the famous Make Way for Ducklings sculptures. Bring your camera – the parade is possibly the most adorable thing you’ll ever see!
Prior to the parade there will be plenty of family entertainment including crafts, face painters, a magician, and puppet show. Walk on a circus tightrope with Esh Circus Arts, or play on the Common with the Knucklebones crew. Moms are invited to enjoy a free mini-massage thanks to local volunteer Massage Therapists. All families are welcome to bring a picnic and enjoy springtime on the Common!
Mayor Walsh will greet families prior to the parade, and actors from the Wheelock Family Theatre will do a dramatic reading from Make Way for Ducklings. The registration fee is $35 per family in advance and $40 per family the day of the event. Each child who registers will receive a special goodie bag filled with Duckling Day themed items.
Sunday, May 10, 2015
Boston Common – Parkman Bandstand
Hosted by the Friends of the Public Garden
10:00 a.m. – Registration begins
11:45 a.m. – Mayor Walsh and Executive Director Liz Vizza greet families
12:00 p.m. – Parade begins
The registration fee is $35 per family online before May 8 and $40 per family the day of the event
A skater practices her moves. (Photo by Caroline Phillips-Licari)
Photos: Caroline Phillips-Licari
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 email@example.com or visit www.friendsofthepublicgarden.org to learn more.
As we enter 2015, we are excited to have much good news to share with you. At the end of 2014, we finalized purchase of our office at 69 Beacon Street from Santander Bank. Thanks to Santander, we have enjoyed three rent-free years at a perfect location for the Friends, directly across the street from the Common and Garden and easily accessible to the public. The bank worked out a very favorable purchase price for us that was significantly below market. Thanks to Santander’s generosity, we now begin 2015 from a much firmer foundation in our permanent home. We are also grateful to First Republic Bank for a very favorable mortgage rate.
Thanks to many generous supporters and the leadership of neighbors who started us down this road, we are $18,000 short of reaching our $700,000 fundraising goal needed to restore and establish a maintenance fund for the fountain at the George Robert White Memorial – known as the “Angel” – in the Garden. Plans are being developed, approvals will be sought, and our goal is to break ground in mid-July for completion early in the fall. After many decades as a dry basin, water will flow there once again!
We are working with the Parks Department to launch the Year of the Common. Together with the City we must enhance safety on the Common, improve the park’s condition and maintenance, and ensure that use is managed to allow all to enjoy this popular greenspace while safeguarding its long-term health. A Cultural Landscape Report is being prepared that chronicles the 380-year history and evolution of the park from pasture to versitile 21st century park.
Anne Brooke, Chair
Elizabeth Vizza, Executive Director