The Nature of Cities: Practice and Perception

The Friends of the Public Garden is pleased to be a co-sponsor of the following event. 

FRIENDS OF FAIRSTED LECTURE SERIES 2016-2017

The Nature of Cities: Practice and Perception – investigates nature and the urban environment from the vantage point of a landscape architect, and a cultural historian.

DECEMBER 2016 LECTURE

From the Granite Garden to West Philadelphia (with a nod to the Fens):
Restoring Nature & Communities

Anne Whiston Spirn
Professor of Landscape Architecture and Planning, MITanne-spirn-sm

Anne Whiston Spirn, our speaker on December 1st, has raised awareness of the segregation of ecology from urban planning ever since her publication of The Granite Garden: Urban Nature and Human Design in 1984.  For thirty years, Spirn has directed the West Philadelphia Landscape Project, an award-winning program dedicated to restoring nature, rebuilding inner-city communities, and empowering youth. She will describe this research-in-action, its impact on Philadelphia’s planning policies, and its lessons for more equitable and sustainable communities.

Thursday, December 1, 2016
6:00pm Reception | 7:00pm Lecture
Wheelock College, Brookline Campus
43 Hawes Street, orner of Hawes and Monmouth Streets, Brookline, MA
Seating is limited and reservations are required.
Reserve online or 617-566-1689, ext. 265

Meet Michael Fenter: Park Stewardship in Action

Michael Fenter

Michael Fenter has been a Member of the Friends of the Public Garden since 2010. He learned about the Friends through Board member Margaret Pokorny when they were working on community projects together. The Mall is special to Michael and he considers it to be his “front yard”. He has lived in many cities and believes there is nothing quite like the parks in Boston. He enjoys seeing the seasons change in them and says, “the parks are an ever-changing living canvas of nature right in the middle of modern living.”

The parks mean so much to Michael that he has helped care for them by volunteering in a variety of ways for Mall projects, including fundraising efforts for a sponsored tree in memory of people who died from AIDS and ongoing litter and graffiti clean up. He also participates in his employers’ match program, ensuring that his contributions and volunteer hours go even further with a match from Microsoft.  He explains the Friends and sometimes hands out informational materials, as he responds to people’s questions while volunteering or walking his dogs along the Mall

“One way to enhance and restore these parks is to educate the next generation of stewards,” says Michael. He started an annual “Keeping It Clean” day for his nephews’ school where the children come and clean litter on the Mall from Arlington Street to the Kenmore block. They are rewarded with pizza and bowling for their volunteer hours! He believes these parks are a legacy for past and future citizens to treasure. “The main reason to join the Friends is because it is our responsibility to preserve these living treasures for the next generation,” he added.

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.”

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

The Friends Support Skating in the Schools

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Coaches Mary Kathryn Maher and Alyssa Blackwell with 4th and 5th grade students from the Mather Elementary School in Dorchester, MA. Photo courtesy of Skating Club of Boston.

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.

For more information on Skating in the Schools, visit The Skating Club of Boston’s website.

45th Annual Meeting of the Friends

annual meeting final

Please join us at the 45th Annual Meeting of the Friends of the Public Garden.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

5:00 P.M.

First Church in Boston

66 Marlborough Street Boston, MA

Featured Speaker: Chris Cook

chris cook

A Conversation with Boston Parks Commissioner Chris Cook

Reception to follow. Please RSVP by April 1.

For more information, contact us at 617-723-8144 or info@friendsofthepublicgarden.org