Action alert: Gas leak bills need support


Dear Friends,

There is an important bill in the State House that needs to be moved out of committee by March 15, which will have a very important impact on getting gas leaks fixed in Boston. The bill is H2870, An Act relative to protecting consumers of gas and electricity from paying for leaked gas.” (We were pleased to see that H2871 “An Act relative to gas leak repairs during road projects” made it out of Committee.) The Friends of the Public Garden is interested in this as it relates to trees and the greenspaces we care for and the overall urban health of our community. The impact the leaks have on the trees of the Commonwealth Avenue Mall are of particular concern to us because they are at greatest risk of damage from the leaks.

We have reached out to our representatives and are urging you to do the same. We are pleased to be joined by the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay, Garden Club of Back Bay, and several other community organizations from across the city. Please feel free to use the template below.

Template letter:

Dear Representative XX:

I respectfully urge you to contact Representative Thomas Golden, the House chairman of the Telecom, Utilities and Energy Committee, and urge him to report out Representative Lori Ehrlich’s gas leak bill H2870 favorably by March 15. We were pleased to see that H2871 was reported out favorably but your support is still needed.

Gas leaks are a major concern in our neighborhood, throughout Boston and the state. One year ago a Harvard-BU study found that leaks from natural gas distribution pipes cost ratepayers $90 million a year in greater Boston. Gas leaks also cause explosions: they blew one Boston home off its foundation in 2014, displacing 11 residents, and another in 2015. Gas leaks contribute to asthma, a major health problem in Boston; kill trees by displacing oxygen in the soil; and they are probably Boston’s #1 greenhouse gas. Methane, the main component of natural gas, is 86 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide during its first 20 years in the atmosphere. Given that, the Boston Climate Action Network estimates that gas leaks are a bigger climate change factor than all the vehicles in Boston.

The Legislature acted on this issue in 2014. The gas leaks bill it passed that year required gas utilities to report all their known leaks to the Department of Public Utilities and to repair or replace hazardous leaks promptly. Unfortunately, those repairs are not keeping pace with new leaks in Boston’s century-old, leak-prone distribution system. Central Boston, including the Back Bay, started 2015 with 201 known leaks and it now has 232.

Rep. Ehrlich’s two bills would incentivize faster repairs and would fix all the leaks within a decade. The first bill, H2870, would require utilities to pay for the gas their pipes are leaking instead of charging their customers. The second, H2871 would require them to fix all leaks when a street is opened up for substantial repairs.

Please contact Representative Golden and urge him to report these two important bills out of TUE favorably before this session’s March 15deadline. Also please contact Speaker DeLeo and tell him of your concern about this issue.


Open Call for Public Garden Tour Guides


Flyer_tour_flyer_generic_2016.jpgThe Friends of the Public Garden is expanding its Public Garden tour program in 2016 and is actively recruiting new docents to lead the tours. We are looking for men and women who are passionate about the trees, plantings, sculpture, and history of the Public Garden and who would like to share that knowledge and enthusiasm with others. Training will be provided. An information session will be held at the Friends office at 69 Beacon Street on Wednesday, February 24th at 1:00 p.m. For more information or to sign up to attend the information session, email


5 Reasons to Attend Our Public Garden Lecture


Join the Friends and help care for three of Boston's most beloved greenspaces.

On February 4, the Friends will present, “Searching for the Histories of Boston’s Public Garden,” a lecture by Boston University Professor Keith N. Morgan. It will be a fascinating exploration of the origin of America’s first public botanical garden, the changes it has gone through, and the importance of the garden and its contents today. Need more convincing? Here are five reasons you should attend Keith Morgan’s lecture:

  1. There is much more to the history of Boston’s Public Garden than you might think.
    Did you know that the beautiful botanical garden almost didn’t exist? The space was nearly approved for residential buildings.

  2. The pictures you have taken of the trees, ducklings, bridge, and plantings are, well, more than just pretty pictures.
    Learn stories behind of some of Boston’s most photographed scenes, like the famous books and art inspired by the Public Garden, including Robert McCloskey famous children’s book “Make Way for Ducklings” and Maurice Prendergast’s immense collection of sketches of the Public Garden.

  3. Hear about this journey of this historic place through time from a passionate historian.
    The bridge we now love was criticized when it was first built, Henry James calling it “exaggerated.”

  4. Was the Public Garden under water before it was the Public Garden?
    View historical maps to find out what Boston looked like as the Public Garden came to be. Hint: The stories of finding shells beneath the surface are no urban legend!

  5. This lecture is great way to be entertained while learning about the historic city of Boston, and celebrating one of its prized gems – the one, the only, the original Public Garden.
    Keith N. Morgan has He has over 30 years of experience teaching History of Art and Architecture at Boston University. He has served as the Director of Preservation Studies, the Director of American and New England Studies, and the Chairman of the Art History Department. He is a former national president of the Society of Architectural Historians, as well as a noted author of various publications on art and architecture.

Reserve your ticket today!

Duckling Day Parade 2013 introduces a new parade route

duckling-dayThe Duckling Day Parade has become Boston’s most adorable Mother’s Day tradition, and that’s no lie. Children (and sometimes parents too) don duckling attire and retrace the route taken by Mama Mallard in Robert McCloskey’s classic Make Way for Ducklings. Each year our little ducklings flock to the Boston Common ready for an adventure. They are greeted by a magician, a juggler a face painter and others who are there to celebrate this special occasion. When the time comes the ducklings line up with their families and the parade begins. They march out of the Common down Beacon Street and take a stroll through Beacon Hill. If you haven’t seen it in person, just imagine waking up on Mother’s Day to hundreds of children dressed as ducks parading past your home. Did we mention this is Boston’s most adorable Mother’s Day tradition? It may even be the most adorable Mother’s Day tradition in the world. Others seem to agree.

Each year more and more families are participating in the Duckling Day Parade. In fact, we have outgrown our parade route. This year, for the first time, the children and families will not be retracing the steps of the famed Mother Mallard. Instead, the parade will take place within the Boston Common and Public Garden to minimize the disruption our ducklings cause to city traffic. We are delighted that so many have embraced the Duckling Day parade as the premiere Mother’s Day event in Boston.

At just $40 per family it is certainly an affordable adventure. We hope to see you there this Sunday!

Register in advance online for a $5 discount.


Duckling Day’s Special Guest

We’re so excited to celebrate Duckling Day this Sunday with families from the Boston area and our special guest Jane McCloskey! Jane is the daughter of Robert McCloskley, author of the book that is the inspiration behind our Duckling Day Parade. The parade has become a wonderful Boston tradition that allows families to come together and have fun in the Boston Common and Public Garden.

One of our favorite parts of this Mother’s Day celebration is the dramatic reading of Make Way for Ducklings, by The Wheelock Family Theatre. But this year we’ve got even more in store! Jane has offered to sign copies of a book she wrote about her father, she will also have copies of her father’s beloved story on hand. Jane will be there all day to enjoy the Wheelock Family Theater Performance and all the fun activities inspired by Make Way For Ducklings.

If you haven’t signed up yet, it’s not too late! You and your family can still register anytime leading up to the event, you can even register on the Common Sunday morning.  Check out our newly-designed website for more information on the event and register by clicking here. Don’t forget to get your duck costumes ready, too! It’s a tradition that children participating in the festivities dress like their favorite duckling from the storybook. Registration and entertainment (including face painting, magicians and balloon artists!) begin on the Common at 10:30 A.M. at the base of the Shaw Memorial, across Beacon Street from the State House. The parade will begin promptly at noon.

We can’t wait to see you at Duckling Day! And many thanks to Jane for sharing this special day with us!

Make Way for Duckling Day

Our favorite Duckling Day parade is fast approaching! This annual event, held on Mother’s Day each year, will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, May 13 on the Boston Common. We’re gearing up for a day of face painting, magic making and children dressed as ducklings—a fun and unique way of celebrating Mother’s Day.

Inspired by the popular children book, Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey, our Duckling Day parade is an enjoyable experience for children and adults alike.  We retrace the steps of the book’s adorable characters, Mr. and Mrs. Mallard and their eight duckling children. Led by the Harvard marching band, the parade begins at the Boston Common and runs through Beacon Hill.

We like to celebrate this event on Mother’s Day in recognition of Mrs. Mallard, the noble mother  duck who leads her children to safety in the Public Garden. Duckling Day gives mothers an opportunity to guide their own “ducklings” to safety as the parade winds through Beacon Hill and ultimately finishes near the Make Way for Duckling’s statue on the Public Garden.

It’s a wonderful afternoon for all children and parents who attend. Join us this year and help make this our biggest Duckling Day parade yet! Prior to the parade, we provide plenty of entertainment, including a face painter, a balloon artist and a magician. Mayor Menino will even greet families at the end of the parade, and actors from the Wheelock Family Theater will perform a dramatic reading of the book.

For more information take a look at the flier below!