Meet the Friends: Anne Swanson, a Passionate and Longtime Friend

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Anne Swanson has been a member of the Friends almost since the early 1980s.  Before joining, Anne volunteered picking trash up in the Public Garden. Through this activity Anne met other people just as passionate about the parks and discovered the Friends of the Public Garden. She quickly got involved and used her editing skills by volunteering to help with programming for the Victorian Promenade, created in the 1970s by the Friends to bring attention to the parks with a positive and festive event. Anne remembers The Victorian Promenades fondly: people dressed in period costume, a croquet game played in whites, and one year Henry Lee dressed in his great-grandfather’s military uniform! History was brought to life with the Promenades.

One of Anne’s favorite things about the three parks the Friends cares for is their deep and rich histories that few parks can claim. The Public Garden’s origins as the first public botanical garden in the country, and the efforts of Bostonians to ensure that it would remain a public garden, make it special. The Boston Common boasts centuries of history, but the Shaw/54th Regiment Memorial stands out. Anne says, “One can’t look at it [Shaw Memorial] without thinking of its historic impact.” The piece created by celebrated American sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens commemorates the first regiment of African American soldiers who fought in the Civil War. The Commonwealth Avenue Mall is her backyard, an essential part of the Back Bay community. Another volunteer effort of Anne’s was creating cards for the Friends that featured historic etchings of the Mall. Anne has spent countless volunteer hours on behalf of the Friends and is a member of the Board of Directors. As a board member she loves working with a dedicated group of people sharing a common mission and finds the way it all comes together to be fascinating.

A sense of community is what inspired Anne to volunteer and to be committed to the preservation and enhancement of these parks. She wants everyone to know that anyone can be a part of this community that cares for the parks. She recalls one of her favorite memories that depict the passionate commitment of this group: elm trees were ailing, and back in the 1960s Ted Weeks, Dan Ahern, and Stella Trafford worked tirelessly to save them by injecting disease-fighting fungicide into the trees using bicycle pumps. These veteran park lovers mentored the present group of stewards who are now reaching out to educate future generations through events such as Duckling Day and Making History on the Common. For Anne, the preservation of these parks is essential for their “function beyond greenspace by fostering community filled with history that accumulates to a spiritual quality.”

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)

Mark Your Calendars for Duckling Day 2015!

2014 Duckling Day parade weaves through the Boston Common and Public Garden, led by the Harvard University Marching Band
2014 Duckling Day parade weaves through the Boston Common and Public Garden, led by the Harvard University Marching Band

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.

Quick Facts:

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

Register today!

For nearby parking, please consider the Motor Mart Garage, the lead sponsor of this event.

Motor Mart Garage

 

Thousands Flock to the Friends 2014 Duckling Day Event

The non-profit Friends of the Public Garden, in partnership with the City of Boston Parks and Recreation Department, celebrated Mother’s Day with Boston-area families during its annual Duckling Day on Sunday, May 11th. Duckling Day celebrates the children’s classic book Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey.

J.C. Monahan of WCVB’s Channel 5 News and Chronicle was the event’s emcee, and was joined for the festivities by her husband and two daughters. Attendance at the event broke a record with well over 2,000 people gathered to enjoy activities for children, mini massages for moms, and a spirited parade led by the Harvard University Marching Band.

“Duckling Day has been a Boston tradition for more than 30 years and the Friends of the Public Garden has been honored to host it since 2006,” said Elizabeth Vizza, Executive Director of the Friends of the Public Garden. “It is terrific to see families participating in activities on the Common, marching in the parade to the famous Make Way for Ducklings statue in the Public Garden, and coming together to celebrate our public spaces in such a delightful way.”

Family entertainment and activities prior to the parade included face painters, a magician, juggler, puppet show, and an active play area for children led by Knucklebones. Participants eventually nestled on the lawn of the Boston Common in front of the Parkman Bandstand as they waited in anticipation of Wheelock Family Theatre’s dramatic reading of Make Way for Ducklings. Following the reading, Mayor Martin Walsh and Friends Executive Director Vizza thanked the crowd for coming out to the event and kicked-off the parade.

The Motor Mart Garage was the lead sponsor of Duckling Day. 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 number over 2,500 members and many volunteers.

Visit our Facebook album to view more photos.

 

 

 

Get your quack on for Duckling Day – May 11

Two ducks enjoy a quiet day at the Parkman Bandstand on Boston Common. On Sunday, May 11 they will be joined by hundreds of people who will be on hand to celebrate Duckling Day.
Two ducks enjoy a quiet day at the Parkman Bandstand on Boston Common. On Sunday, May 11 they will be joined by hundreds of people who will be on hand to celebrate Duckling Day.  Photo: Elizabeth Jordan

Thousands of webbed feet will be flocking to the Parkman Bandstand on Sunday, May 11 for the 10:30 a.m. kick-off of Duckling Day. The non-profit Friends of the Public Garden, in partnership with the City of Boston Parks and Recreation Department, will celebrate Mother’s Day with Boston-area families during this beloved tradition. The event 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 iconic 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.

“Duckling Day has been a Boston tradition for more than 30 years and the Friends of the Public Garden has been its host for the last several,” said Elizabeth Vizza, Executive Director of the Friends of the Public Garden. “It is terrific to see families participating in activities on the Common, marching in the parade to the famous Make Way for Ducklings statue in the Public Garden, and coming together to celebrate our public spaces in such a delightful way.”

Prior to the parade there will be plenty of family entertainment including face painters, a magician, and puppet show. The Knucklebones crew will be leading children in playtime, and moms are invited to enjoy a free mini-massage. 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 toys.

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Event highlights include:

10:30 a.m.                    Registration opens on Boston Common at the Parkman Bandstand

11:45 a.m.                     Mayor Walsh and Executive Director Liz Vizza greet families

12:00 p.m.                    Parade begins

For more information or to register, go to www.friendsofthepublicgarden.org or contact Karin Turer at (617)-599-8509.

Special thanks to the Motor Mart Garage for sponsoring this event. For parking information, please visit www.motormartgarage.commotor-mart-logo-300x231 

Five things you didn’t know about “Make Way for Ducklings”


Friends of the Public Garden Duckling Day

 

You’ve posed your kids for photos at the famous sculptures.  You’ve followed Mrs. Mallard through countless bedtimes and story hours.  You’ve shown your Boston pride by gifting the book at baby showers near and far…but here’s a few little-known facts that make a local favorite even more fun:

5. The author, Robert McCloskey, kept a family of ducklings in the bathtub of his apartment as he was writing the book. His tolerant roommate at the time, Marc Simont, also went on to become a famous children’s book writer.  And in case you were thinking that might be fun? McCloskey noted, ”Ducks start quacking at the break of day, very loudly and emphatically.”

4. The duckling sculptures that the Friends of the Public Garden had made and placed in the Garden in 1987 exist in just one other place – Moscow!  Raisa Gorbachev fell in love with the ducklings on a visit to Boston, and former First Lady Barbara Bush presented them to Raisa during a 1991 summit meeting.

3. Make Way for Ducklings is the official children’s book of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts….and it’s best enjoyed with some chocolate chip cookies – the official cookie of Massachusetts!

2. The mystery of how to pronounce “Ouack” has never been solved: some prefer “Oh-ack” and others “Oooh-ack”!

1. Registration is now open for Duckling Day, a beloved Mother’s Day tradition for over 30 years!  It’s a morning of fun for the whole family organized by the Friends of the Public Garden.  Dress up the kids in their duckling best and enjoy entertainment and games on Boston Common – with a free mini-massage for Mom!  The famous Harvard Band will lead a parade to the Make Way for Ducklings statues.  The event comes courtesy of the non-profit Friends of the Public Garden.

 

10 Good reasons to support the Friends of the Public Garden

1. Membership begins at just $25.  Every dollar makes a difference.

2. It’s cheaper to maintain the grounds and sculptures than it is to repair and restore. Your support today ensures that beauty of these parks for generations to come.

3.  Fun and Games: Enjoy daily entertainment at the Brewer Fountain during your lunch break in the summers. brewer fountain entertainment

4. It’s your back yard! Whether you live in the city or outside of it, the Boston Common, Public Garden and Commonwealth Avenue mall are places where you are likely to spend some time. Supporting Friends will help make sure these spaces stay clean and beautiful so you can enjoy them whenever the mood strikes.

5. Preserve Boston’s trees! The Friends work hard to make sure Bostons’ trees are healthy and thriving, by identifying and preventing the spread of Dutch Elm Disease, regular pruning and removal of pests.

duck6. Make way for Ducklings and other sculptures like it. Installing this sculpture is certainly one of our cutest accomplishments.

7. Roses Roses Roses. Friends is responsible for maintaining the Public Garden’s rose gardens.

8. Keep those sculptures looking shiny and new. Since 2010, the Friends have worked to maintain

A dog dressed up on Duckling Day 2010
A dog dressed up on Duckling Day 2010

the 44 statues in the Boston Common, Public Garden and Commonwealth Avenue Mall. The cost of cleaning a sculpture is less than $1,000, while the cost of a full-scale restoration is upwards of $20,000. Your support now means we can keep costs lost while keeping these wonderful parks looking their best.

9. Duckling Day. The most adorable Mother’s Day Celebration there is.

10. Anyone who donates before May 1 will be entered into a drawing to win lunch for two at the Four Seasons!

Click here to join the Friends of the Public Garden.