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Rating: 5 stars   1 review 381


4 Brattle Street Cambridge MA 02138 USA


The Conservancy’s mission is to make the Charles River Parklands more active, attractive, and accessible for all. The Conservancy works closely with the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to enhance and renew the 400 acres of urban parklands from Boston Harbor to the Watertown dam. The Conservancy undertakes projects that focus on landscaping and maintenance, and structural improvements as well as creating more opportunities for festivities and recreation along the river. Since the inception of our Conservancy Volunteer program in 2002, we have recruited over 12,000 volunteers, and completed over 450 projects to improve the landscape of the Charles River Parklands and to restore the shoreline.  From pruning trees to clearing debris, volunteers are trained in groups and supplied with tools. While volunteering, they also receive an educational overview of the history and ecology of the Parklands and the Charles River and how their involvement can impact this natural jewel, preserving it for generations to come. As a result, the Conservancy has built a corps of landscape volunteers and parkland advocates who help maintain one of Boston’s most cherished open spaces. The majority return to participate in additional hands-on or advocacy and become long-term Parkland stewards. Other projects include tree stewardship, restoring pathways, service learning and environmental education, advocating for a return of public swimming to the Charles, hosting an annual community event RiverSing, and building a world-class skatepark under the ramps of the Zakim Bridge.


Conservancy volunteers - this program organizes 2,000 volunteers each year to improve the landscape, health, and safety of 400 acres of the urban charles river parklands. Projects include erosion control, debris removal, brush cutting, tree pruning, bench and rail painting, plantings, and the restoration of bridge embankments.

skatepark - the lynch family skatepark is the conservancy's largest project. With the help of many private, public, and individual donors, the conservancy will bring a world-class skatepark to east cambridge in the north point park area next to the charles river. The final design and construction is in partnership with the mass. Department of conservation and recreation, who will own the park upon its completion.

advocacy - one of the conservancy's main goals is to serve as an advocate for the charles river parklands. The conservancy has pushed to include pedestrian and bicycle underpasses at the anderson memorial, western avenue, and river street bridges along the river pathway on the boston-side of the river, encouraging greater use of these pathways and increasing safety for users. The conservancy also sends comment letters on development in the parklands, including tracking the progress of the mepa process for daly field and for ef education first, inc. , among others.

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

7 people found this review helpful

I wish I lived in Boston because of the Charles River Conservancy - the way they are bringing swiss style water infrastructure, safety, and enjoyment to the long underutilized Charles River is truly inspiring. I only hope we can do something similar in New York soon.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

changing attitudees toward urban swimming.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

their swiss flair - challenging Boston to rethink it's relationship to it's river.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

incredibly enthusiastic and knowledgeable.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Clean up this river in no time and buld a public bathing structure for Charles river swimmers.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?


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