Seeking Volunteers for Boston Common Study of Park Users

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Friends of the Public Garden Puppets on the Common Event (Photo: Caroline Phillips-Licari)

The Friends of the Public Garden is preparing to embark on an exciting three-season study of the Boston Common to better understand how the park is used, the numbers and intensity of various types of use, where park users come from, and what their interests and needs are to help inform planning and management of this important greenspace. We are working with an experienced research firm to conduct this survey and are in need of volunteers to assist. Volunteers and some Friends staff will be carrying out the survey including observing and recording uses and conducting interviews.

Who: Volunteers who are available to work occasional shifts, usually ranging from 3 to 4 hours.

What: Interviewing and counting people on the Common

Where: Boston Common and Friends of the Public Garden offices across from the Common

When: Spring, summer and fall, various times of day (some early morning, some evenings but only during daylight); we will not observe or interview during winter.

Skills needed: 

► clear speaking voice in English, able to be heard outdoors;
► enthusiastic and comfortable approaching park users and asking questions about their patterns of park use and opinions about park issues;
► attention to detail and following instructions about interviewing and observing;
► nimble in making quick counts of large numbers of people while walking around the Common.

  • Minimum commitment: 20 hours (training time + 5 shifts on different days, 3 hours /day)
    maximum commitment: 40 hours (training time + 10 shifts on different days, 3-4 hours /day)
  • Desired work times: flexible, weekdays and weekends, normal park-use times from early morning through early evening; we hope that people will often work together in pairs

Please email us at info@friendsofthepublicgarden.org if you are interested in volunteering for this project.

Monitoring Shadow Impacts on our Parks

Boston Common by Caroline Phillips-Licari
Boston Common (Caroline Phillips-Licari)

 

From the 1970s, our advocacy for the Common, the Garden and the Mall has included protecting them from excessive shadow and wind resulting from development near the parks that would have a damaging impact on these centrally important greenspaces and the people who come to enjoy them.

We believe that development is essential to the vitality of Boston. We also appreciate that it brings new life and positive activity to our parks, and have seen this benefit in the recent growth of the Downtown Crossing residential and college communities. Recently, a project has been proposed across the street from the Common (171-172 Tremont Street) that exceeds the height limit of the Boston Common and Public Garden Protection Zone of the Midtown Cultural District. We are advocating for compliance with both the 1990 Shadow Law and Boston’s zoning code’s provisions protecting the Common as well as the Public Garden. 

We wanted to provide an update to let our Members and supporters know that we continue to monitor projects and seek out information to understand their potential impact, including shadows, on the three parks that we advocate for. As always, we look forward to continuing discussions with our elected officials, residents groups, business community, and developers to speak on behalf of our parks. If you have feedback to share with us on this topic, please email us at info@friendsofthepublicgarden.org. As updates become available we will be sure to share them.

Anne Mostue: Walking into Blossoming Volunteer Opportunities

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Friends Rose Brigade co-leaders Carl Foster and China Altman with Anne Mostue (right)

Anne Mostue became a Member of the Friends of the Public Garden in 2013 when she moved back to Boston after several years away. She was born here and grew up nearby. Boston radio listeners may find Anne’s name (and voice) familiar. She works as an anchor for Bloomberg Radio in Boston, 1200 AM and 94.5 FM HD-2. Previously, she was an on-air reporter/producer for WGBH, the NPR and PBS station airing in all six New England states.

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We asked Anne how she became aware of the Friends of the Public Garden and this is what she told us: “I learned about the Friends when I became a volunteer rose gardener! One day I was walking through the Public Garden, admiring the flowers and missing the garden I had when I lived in Maine. It occurred to me that the city might need help, and wouldn’t that be an ideal volunteer opportunity? I made a few calls and found China Altman, who leads the Rose Brigade.”

The Friends of the Public Garden works in partnership with the city to care for the Common, Garden, and Mall. The volunteer Rose Brigade has worked for 28 years to care for the roses, including planting new bushes and weekly pruning, deadheading, and clean-up of beds. Anne says, “Working in the beds every week actually feels like an escape from the city. We’re dirty and completely absorbed in each bud and bush. I look forward to my time in the garden all week.”

Anne started with the Friends as a Rose Brigade volunteer and then began attending Friends events including those hosted by our Young Friends group. She has become a very active park steward who now also serves on our Council, and recently became co-chair of the Young Friends group.

We asked Anne to share something that she has learned from working with the Friends. She says, “People might be surprised to learn that the city can only do so much, so volunteers step in – to garden and also to advocate for the open space and its preservation.”

 

 

Boston Common Receives Lime Treatment

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The white dusting appearing on the grassy areas of Boston Common over the next few days is not made up of snowflakes that we traditionally expect to see this time of year. Warmer temperatures have made it possible for us to fit in one more needed treatment to help trees, turf and soil on the Common. The treatment will support better root growth and development, provide plant nutrients, increase disease resistance, and correct several conditions that are causing additional stress on the plant life in this heavily used urban park.

Give Back to Boston parks on #GivingTuesday

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#GivingTuesday is a global day dedicated to giving back. Charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give. Make a donation to the Friends on #GivingTuesday, December 1. to support care for some of Boston’s most historic greenspaces – the Boston Common, Public Garden, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall.  Each person who gives to the Friends on #GivingTuesday will be entered to win one of several prizes including, lunch for two at The Bristol at Four Seasons Boston, a $20 J.P. Licks gift card, and a $50 Maggiano’s gift card. We thank these community-minded establishments for giving to us to support this day of giving!

 

Imagine Parks, Imagine Boston 2030

Boston Common (Photo: Caroline Phillips-Licari
Boston Common (Photo: Caroline Phillips-Licari)

The future of Boston parks and public spaces is counting on your imagination!

The City of Boston is developing Boston 2030, its first citywide plan in 50 years. We are calling on all parks advocates to share your voices about the importance of parks for the City, and in particular ideas for protecting and enhancing the Boston Common, Public Garden, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall as the city grows. Boston 2030 is developing a vision and creating a roadmap to realize this vision in time to celebrate Boston’s 400th birthday in 2030.

How to participate?

SHARE your vision by answering a few questions at imagine.boston.gov.

  • This is your chance to let the City know that your life in 2030 will be better with great parks and public spaces!
  • If you have a big idea for our parks that will make Boston a better place to live in 2030, submit it!

ATTEND an Open House!

Boston 2030 Open House
Date: Monday, November 16
Time: 4:00 – 7:00 pm — drop in anytime
Location: Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building
2300 Washington Street, Dudley Square

For more information on Imagine Boston 2030, please visit imagine.boston.gov and follow @ImagineBos on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

2015 Members Reception Celebrates Trees and Friends Who Support Them

Thanks to all who joined us for the Friends of the Public Garden 2015 Members Reception at the Four Seasons Hotel! It was a night to celebrate trees and our Friends who support them.

Roughly 200 turned out to learn how they are helping 1,700 trees in the Boston Common, Public Garden, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall. The presentation, Digging In: Beyond the Roots of Urban Tree Care, was led by Lyn Paget, Swan Boats owner and Friends Council co-chair. Panelists Margaret Porkorny, longtime greenspace advocate and Friends Board Member; and Friends Project Manager Bob Mulcahy explained the trials and tribulations these trees face while living in the heart of Boston, and how the Friends efforts continue to help them persevere in a stressful city environment.

Friends of the Public Garden 2015 Members Reception
Margaret Porkorny holds up a beetle trap used to capture and track the elm bark beetle, a carrier of Dutch elm disease. She asks the audience to guess how many are on the trap. Comment on this post if you would like to take a guess.

Guests were invited to mingle over drinks and hors d’oeuvres following the presentation. Our special thanks to the Motor Mart Garage, our lead sponsor for this event.