Emerald Necklace Conservancy Wants to Hear From You

The Emerald Necklace Conservancy wants to know about your parks experience and insights to help plan for its future. How do you use the Emerald Necklace? Do you bicycle, walk, play on athletic fields, walk your dog? Take this brief anonymous survey (about 5 minutes) to say what you want to see in the parks. Through the survey, the Emerald Necklace Conservancy is hoping to learn about how Boston area residents – ages 15 and older – use the park and how it can be even better. The Emerald Necklace Conservancy is a non-profit that works with communities, government and funders to improve the Olmsted-designed Emerald Necklace parks for all.

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Emerald Necklace Conservancy Receives Oversized $250K Check for Economic Development Initiatives

Earlier this month Emerald Necklace Conservancy President Karen Mauncy-Brodeck received an oversized $250,000 check for the organization's economic development initiatives. Mauney-Brodek received the check from state Sen. Mike Rush (D-Norfolk/Suffolk District) from the Commonwealth’s Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund, which is helping the areas of the state that were hardest hit by the pandemic. Rush remarked that the Conservancy continued to offer free programs and took great care of the parks, ensuring that residents and visitors had a safe and attractive space to gather, play and reflect during the pandemic and beyond.

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Jamaica Plain’s Gina McCarthy Receiving Emerald Necklace Conservancy Liff Spirit Award

The Emerald Necklace Conservancy will present the Liff Spirit Award at Party in the Park to Jamaica Plain's Gina McCarthy, the first ever White House National Climate Advisor and former U.S. EPA Administrator. Party in the Park, the Conservancy’s premier annual fundraising event for the EmeraldNecklace, will take place in Franklin Park on Wednesday, May 17, 2023. A career public servant in both Democratic and Republican administrations, McCarthy has been a leading advocate for common sense strategies to protect public health and the environment for more than 30 years. McCarthy’s leadership led to the most aggressive action on climate change in U.S. history, creating new jobs and unprecedented clean energy innovation and investments across the country. Her commitment to bold action across the Biden administration, supported by the climate and clean energy provisions in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act, restored U.S. climate leadership on a global stage and put a new U.S. national target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50–52 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 within reach.

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Lights in the Necklace Returns Throughout Emerald Necklace Parks

The Emerald Necklace Conservancy is bringing back the lighting exhibition Lights in the Necklace, which will light up Necklace parks every evening from dusk to 9 pm through March 31. There are more than 9,500 trees in the Emerald Necklace Conservancy’s tree inventory across this 1,100-acre park system, which stretches from Franklin Park in Dorchester to Charlesgate in the Back Bay. This winter, the Conservancy is lighting the way to spring and celebrating the incredible work of the Olmsted Tree Society, the Conservancy’s tree care program which provides maintenance work of pruning, planting and inspecting trees throughout the park system’s canopy. Lights in the Necklace celebrates the power of urban parks to bring people together year-round. In partnership with Boston Parks and Recreation and Boston Public Works, the Emerald Necklace Conservancy hopes everyone can enjoy the emerald glow in several iconic Emerald Necklace parks as they light the way through winter into spring.

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Emerald Necklace Conservancy Honors Olmsted Now Committee of Neighborhoods

The Emerald Necklace Conservancy honored the Olmsted Now Committee of Neighborhoods with the Olmsted Award of Excellence on February 1 at the Curley House in Jamaica Plain. The Olmsted Now Committee of Neighborhoods was formed to rectify a structural inequality in park decision-making in Greater Boston, on the occasion of Frederick Law Olmsted’s Bicentennial in 2022. Comprised of intergenerational leaders working across a wide array of disciplines in the Roxbury, Mattapan, Grove Hall and Dorchester neighborhoods, the Committee re-centers programming decisions in the communities that are impacted the most by them and distributed over $200,000 in grants to fund community-generated bicentennial programs focused on parks equity and spatial justice. The Olmsted Now Committee of Neighborhoods consists of Andrew Sharpe, Authentic Caribbean Foundation; Anita Morson-Matra, Baldwin in the Park; Ambar Johnson, Livable Streets Alliance; artist Barrington Edwards; Biplaw Rai, Comfort Kitchen; Jay Lee, Franklin Park Coalition/City of Boston; John Linehan, Franklin Park Zoo/Greater Grove Hall Main Streets; Karenlyn Bunch, Greater Grove Hall Main Streets; artist Karen Young; Nakia Hill, 826 Boston/City of Boston; Paul Willis, 826 Boston; Pat Spence, Urban Farming Institute; Shavel’le Olivier, Mattapan Food & Fitness; and Kay Savage, Mattapan Food & Fitness. “Last year was a moment for all of us to collectively reimagine how parks and public space could meet Olmsted’s legacy ideals NOW: how greenspace could be truly open and accessible to all, where all feel they can fully belong, express and be.

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Letter: Our Vital, Historic State Parks Need Champions

The following is an open letter to elected and appointed officials and park friends with numerous originators who wrote the letter, followed by organizations that signed onto support the letter. Representatives for the Arborway Coalition, Emerald Necklace Conservancy, Southwest Corridor Park Management Advisory Committee, and more signed the letter. Massachusetts state parks are in crisis. More than a decade of funding and staffing cuts have eviscerated the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s (DCR) ability to meet its mission “to protect, promote and enhance our common wealth of natural, cultural and recreational resources for the well-being of all,” while digging a $1.0 billion deferred
maintenance hole. The December 2021 Legislative Special Commission report on DCR (p.51) found that Massachusetts, one of the wealthiest states in the nation, nevertheless ranks last in per capita spending on state and municipal parks.

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First Emerald Necklace Parkfest Spanning Parks on Sept. 24

The first-ever Emerald Necklace Parkfest will be the year’s biggest event for Olmsted Now, which is Greater Boston’s Olmsted Bicentennial. This free event will on Sept. 24 will span across parks of the Emerald Necklace, and will include free performances, kids' activities, art, games, dancing, and more. There will be picnic zones, parade decorating, data "community listening boards", and Necklace-wide scavenger hunts to prompt exploring the parks. Community groups and organizations will also be showcasing the ways they make the Greater Boston a great place for parks and public spaces.

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Celebrate Frederick Law Olmsted’s 200th Birthday at Jamaica Pond on April 26

America’s great place-maker Frederick Law Olmsted—who created the field of landscape architecture and the Emerald Necklace park system turns 200 in 2022-- and we're celebrating it at Jamaica Pond on April 26. The event will kickoff Olmsted’s bicentennial and honor his legacy values of shared use, shared health and shared power in parks and public space. This event is being presented by Olmsted Now, Emerald Necklace Conservancy, Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site (Fairsted) and Friends of Fairsted partner with Olmsted 2022 and Friends of Jamaica Pond. There will be treats, toasts and local legend Gerry Wright, founder of Olmsted 2022, portraying the man himself. Olmsted 2022 will recognize and spotlight awardees for their leadership in parks access and advocacy.

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Olmsted Now Kickoff Events for 2022 Bicentennial

The bicentennial of the birth of Frederick Law Olmsted will be marked by Greater Boston with Olmsted Now, a collaboration to amplify the vibrancy and inclusivity of shared use, shared health and shared power in parks and public space. Initiated by Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site (Fairsted) and the Emerald Necklace Conservancy with more than 100 organizations within a 60-mile radius of the city, Olmsted Now explores these legacy values of America’s great placemaker and designer of the Emerald Necklace park system with a season of public events from April through October 2022. Olmsted Now aims to strengthen equity and community connection through a framework that centers decision-making for bicentennial programs with a Committee of Neighborhoods, Boston leaders trusted for their commitment to under-heard voices and under-served open spaces, especially those valued by their neighbors who identify as BIPOC. The initiative also fosters co-learning through monthly public dialogues to dive deeper into issues related to the themes of shared use, shared health and shared power in parks and public space. And the bicentennial is an opportunity to pilot cross-neighborhood collaboration to create in-park programming through the monthly series Parks as Platform in the Emerald Necklace parks.

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Art Curator Jen Mergel Appointed New Role at Emerald Necklace Conservancy

As the Emerald Necklace Conservancy prepares to mark the bicentennial of Frederick Law Olmsted in 2022, the non-profit looks to deepen and broaden its community impact with the hire of Jen Mergel in the newly created senior leadership role of Director of Experience and Cultural Partnerships. To expand the Conservancy’s foundational commitment to connect people to and through parks, Mergel will integrate work across the teams in visitor welcome, education and programs. In addition, she will build the organization’s capacity and trajectory to invite more inclusive and impactful park experiences through a diverse mix of partnerships that honor the intersecting wisdom of local elders, the know-how of passionate community organizers and the bold vision of cultural luminaries. Mergel is a nationally respected contemporary arts leader and curator dedicated to exploring Boston’s histories and collaboratively reimagining its futures. As a guest curator, she organized for the Conservancy’s 20th anniversary the landmark award-winning project Fog x FLO: Fujiko Nakaya on the Emerald Necklace in 2018. Since then she has been working with the Conservancy to steer next year’s Olmsted Now: Greater Boston's Olmsted Bicentennial. Named “Olmsted Now” to honor Olmsted's legacy and 21st-century relevance with, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "the fierce urgency of now," the 2022 bicentennial planning has been an important practice field for a growing multidisciplinary coalition to question what park experience is and should be. In her Conservancy position, Mergel is fully committed to building on groundwork laid with thought leaders in park equity, public-making and spatial justice to pilot neighborhood-led initiatives and cross-city collaborations for Olmsted Now.

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