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2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Environment, Environmental Beautification, Parks & Playgrounds

Mission: The Greenway Conservancy is the non-profit responsible for the management and care of The Greenway. The majority of the public park’s annual budget is generously provided by private sources. The Greenway is the contemporary public park in the heart of Boston and welcomes millions of visitors annually to gather, play, unwind, and explore.

Target demographics: to welcome millions of visitors annually to gather, play, unwind, and explore in the contemporary public park in the heart of Boston.

Geographic areas served: Boston

Programs: See sch o-maintenance, horticulture, and rangersthe non-profit conservancy is the designated steward of the rose kennedy greenway, a contemporary park in the heart of boston. The conservancy maintains, programs, finances, and improves the 1. 5-mile greenway on behalf of the public. The conservancy continued to make greenway improvements and bring public space innovations to boston:1. The conservancy continued its leading role in presenting rotating exhibitions of contemporary public art. For the first time, the public art has a unifying theme, "playful perspectives," with new commissions from mark reigelman, meredith james, and aakash nihalani; installations from the design biennial boston; alongside the mehdi ghadyanloo's spectacular mural. The conservancy again received recognition from americans for the arts' public art network for commissioning one of the country's best pieces of public art, the fourth greenway win in five years. 2. Crowds lined up for the trillium garden on the greenway, boston's first fully open-air beer garden, which was featured in bon appetit. We also partnered to bring a 220' zipline to downtown boston for the 2017 season. 3. Free programs hit another record, surpassing 450 in 2017. The carousel, wi-fi, and food trucks continued to be popular. Attendance reached 1. 4 million trackable visitors, making the greenway one of the most visited destinations in the commonwealth. 4. We kept the greenway in great condition, including upgrading light fixtures to led, making repairs from a broken water main, and restoring the fog feature at the rings fountain. Garden upgrades were made throughout the parks. Horticulturethe conservancy continue to improve the greenway's beauty through skilled, attentive landscape care and thoughtful improvements. The conservancy uses organic and sustainable landscape practices that are innovative, award-winning, and fiscally sound. The greenway is one of a handful of organically-maintained public parks in the united states. Greenway plants are healthier, more resilient, and better able to withstand the stress of public use and the demands of an urban environment because of our management practices. The conservancy's policy of not using herbicides and toxins also ensures that run-off from the parks will not pollute boston harbor or harm the delicate marine life. Children and pets can freely and safely play on our park lawns without the worry of pesticides. A harvard kennedy school team partnered with us and determined that our daily organic care is less expensive than a non-organic approach. The cornerstone of our organic approach is compost tea. Success with natural soil biology have improved plant health and root depth, allowing for decreased applications of compost tea and organic fertilizer over time. Our sustainability efforts have earned us a mayor's greenovate award, and the park is a national wildlife federation certified wildlife habitat. A walk down the greenway reveals lush, green grass and thriving garden beds. Our sustainable horticulture practices include weed management, overseeding and aeration, organic debris composting, organic fertilizer applications and efficient water usage. In addition, dewey square park features pollinator, edible, demonstration, and rain gardens. 83 planter containers throughout the park are changed out seasonally with arrangements consistent with their park surroundings. We continue our contracted care for the federal reserve bank of boston (specialty organic services) and the armenian heritage park (complete park care). In 2017, horticulture renovated numerous garden areas throughout the greenway including chinatown park, where we completely transformed a portion of the park into a viewing garden with increased plant diversity and improved four-season interest. We completed improvements to the beds near the highway tunnel portals in the north end parks by adding perennials and bulbs and we continued expansion of our greenway-wide pollinator ribbon garden theme in the financial district with an in-house design and installation of a new landscape near 125 summer st. For the central gardens between oliver and high streets, we began a conceptual design process with world-renowned garden designer, julie moir messervy, for a destination garden. We began the renovation process with landscape improvements that included tree transplanting as well as the redesign and installation of a small area featuring interesting varieties of japanese maple. Horticulture also created a living greenwall on the exterior of artist meredith james' ames room art installation. Designed by our own staff using an exciting variety of succulents, climbing vines and other interesting plant material the project was installed with the help of volunteers and at the end of the installation's duration, plants were repurposed to new locations throughout the greenway. Our volunteer program offers opportunities for individuals and companies for hands-on learning while they assist with park stewardship. Shoulder-to-shoulder with our horticultural staff, the community learns about our organic care in this roof-top garden. In 2017 horticulture welcomed 580 volunteers who contributed 2,601 hours for horticulture and more. On the strength of reviews from volunteers, the conservancy has won the top rated award from greatnonprofits. Org 6 years running. Maintenanceour maintenance team cares for seven water features, acres of granite paving, complex lighting systems, and more. The conservancy's maintenance staff handles repairs, fountain maintenance, vehicle maintenance, masonry, and other skilled tasks. Seasonally, the maintenance team sets out and removes moveable furniture, and supports infrastructure for winter lighting and public art. They also oversee our subcontractor, work inc. , a non-profit which employs individuals with disabilities. Work inc. Handles basic park care including lawn mowing, litter and trash removal, and snow removal. In 2017, maintenance made repairs and improvements throughout the greenway. In the north end, due to a water main rupture, an area of the granite pavement was removed, the leak repaired, the subsurface void filled, concrete slab replaced, and granite pavers reset. 60 granite stair treads, compromised by the water leak, were reset and the trench drain at the base of those stairs was repaired and sealed. Steel arm rests were added to the wood benches in the north end parcels. Stone dust paths were regraded. Part of the pergola that was damaged by an auto accident was replaced. Repairs were made to the leaning rail. In the wharf district, all 19 pencil lights between milk and high streets were upgraded to led equipment and bulbs. More repointing of the granite paving was accomplished. New power supplies for harbor fog were installed. Rings fountain basin was cleaned, repairs were made to the waterproofing membrane, new paver supports were installed and the fog system was restored by epoxy coating the inside of the high pressure lines. The rings fountain vault heater was replaced and the air conditioner was repaired. We replaced two modules in the fountain controller in rings and fixed several benches. The gravel access road at dewey square park was regraded, as were the stone dust paths in the fort point channel parks. A new footbridge was built and installed in the demonstration garden. Maintenance department assisted in the installation and oversight of the beer garden, including the addition of new bike racks nearby; also nearby, in-ground lighting was converted to led technology. Waterproofing repairs were made to the chinatown fountain and stream bed and the electrical timer for the chinatown park outlets was replaced. Subsurface drains were cleaned out, defective lighting was repaired, and electrical outlets were repaired or replaced. Stone, brick and concrete pavers that had become loose were reset. New floorboards for two kubota rtv vehicles were fabricated and welded into place. The payload beds of two john deere gator rtvs received new steel and paint as well. Many of the tables and umbrellas were repaired with new parts and/or repaired or new canopies. The department increased the engagement of volunteers, who helped on six days with masonry grouting and regrading of stone dust paths. Our grant-funded park rangers provide security and ambassadorship on the greenway. Two full-time rangers interface with the public, compassionately ensuring a safe and welcoming park experience for all visitors. Rangers connect a wide range of people with the information and services they need, from out-of-town visitors to families to the homeless. Rangers invest a significant portion of their time liaising with community-based organizations that assist with social services. In 2017, 5,364 interactions with the public were recorded in the mobile-device app the rangers use.

see attached schedule o - programsprograms and planningthe greenway is filled with activities for young and old, both passers-by and those seeking the unique programming the conservancy offers. Each year, 1. 4 million trackable visitors enjoy the events, wi-fi, carousel, and food/beverage offerings and millions more tourists, workers, and residents come to the greenway for the gardens, art, fountains, and more. In 2017, the conservancy hosted a record 470 free annual events, including festivals, markets, fitness classes, and concerts. Major events included the boston local food festival, the figment participatory art festival, african festival, my caribbean expo, brazil on the greenway, films at the gate, and chinatown main streets festival. Recurring events include the boston calling block parties, held weekly at dewey square park with outdoor music and drinks; the boston public market seasonal farmers market at dewey square park; the saturday greenway open market with artisan wares; and the berklee college of music concert series. We hosted 98 free fitness classes from yoga to crossfit all across the greenway. Our play program again offered community programming focused on underserved youth, including youth adventure day visits that engaged children from the boys and girls club of boston and other partners. We brought several innovative new programmatic ventures to the greenway this year. The trillium garden on the greenway brought boston's first fully open-air beer garden from june through october. Four-year-old fort-point-based trillium brewing company, which has been named one of the world's best breweries, helped draw over 100,000 visitors; the trillium garden was celebrated in bon appetit. We also partnered to bring the z, a 220' zipline to downtown boston for the 2017 season, offering a unique experience for our guests. We also saw continued success in our favorites like the carousel, mobile eats and free wi-fi. The greenway carousel at the tiffany & co. Foundation grove, a boston landmark, had another great year; over 100,000 people again took a spin on the sea turtle, rabbit, lobster, cod, peregrine falcon, skunk, and other characters, all inspired by the drawings of boston school children and brought to life by a local artist. Our nationally acclaimed greenway mobile eats program continues to expand with 35 trucks and trikes offering rosemary fries, wood-fired pizza, gourmet grilled cheese, and more. The free wi-fi network, which was upgraded to carrier-grade in 2015 at no cost to the conservancy, continues to be very popular. The greenway gala is the conservancy's largest annual fundraising event. In 2017, the gala was again hosted on the greenway, welcoming guests into a spectacular tent with decorations put together by the conservancy's horticulture team. The night was a glowing success - attended by approximately 400 representatives from the business community, nonprofit community groups, corporations, foundations and individuals. The gala provides the conservancy an opportunity to say thank you to our supporters and provides a platform for sharing our current and future initiatives. In addition, the conservancy produced its young professionals event, glow in the park, for the third year. This was the second year the neon themed event with live music, food truck vendors, and lawn games was hosted under the same tent following the gala. This fun event continues to grow year-over-year and saw over 500 attendees in 2017.

see attached schedule o - public artpublic artthe greenway conservancy has become a leader in contemporary public art in boston. Greenway public art gives residents, workers, and tourists a reason to visit, linger, and discuss. In 2017, the conservancy brought contemporary exhibits to the greenway from 10 artists: 1 international, 3 national, and 6 local. Matthew hoffman's may this never end was recognized in 2017 as one of the country's best pieces of public art by americans for the arts' public art network, the fourth greenway win in five years. Through a 2017 partnership with the city of boston, the artwork was permanently re-installed in allston. Playful perspectives was the greenway's 2017 exhibition, showcasing of large-scale, site-specific commissioned works by artists with rising careers whose works playfully and delightfully exposed the vulnerability of one's sense of perspective. These works manipulated visual perception through the use of scaled objects and optical illusions, blurring the boundaries between art and everyday life, and between expectation and reality. Mark reigleman's meeting house, a new england quaker-styled wooden home that looked to be singing and or rising from the ground, and meredith james' far from this setting in which i now find myself; a three walled trapezoidal room built with forced perspective; creating an effect where a person appears to grow or shrink while moving throughout the room. In early winter, two works entitled balancing acts i & ii by street artist aakash nihalani were installed. His use of bright, bold lines were impetus in his creation of 3d images and objects on two dimensional planes. They appear as suspended animations in time and require viewer interaction and participation. These artworks along with others along were staples of public interactions and photographable moments on the greenway throughout 2017 and into 2018. Mehdi ghadyanloo's spaces of hope mural was the first artwork in the playful perspectives exhibit. Originally installed in fall 2016 for a one-year run, it was extended through april of 2018. This mural, the fifth greenway wall commission, was the first "self-curated" without a museum partner. This was the u. S. Debut of iranian star muralist ghadyanloo and attracted in-depth coverage by newsweek, u. S. News & world report, bbc persia, juxtapoz magazine, and the associated press; ap called the mural, "a stunning expression of optimism. "the works by james, nihalani, reigelman, and ghadyanloo were joined by the four winners of the design biennial boston 2017. Design biennial showcases emerging architects, landscape architects, and designers who are developing innovative and inspiring practices in new england. This year's four designs responded to the playful perspectives theme in site-specific locations throughout the greenway. The four winning firms from this year - jennifer bonner of mall, rania ghosn & el hadi jazairy of design earth, daniel ibaez of margen-lab, and yasmin vobis & aaron forrest of ultramoderne. The greenway previously hosted the biennial in summer of 2015. The 2017 design biennial boston was a collaboration with autodesk, the boston art commission, the boston society of architects, the mayor's office, and over,under/pinkcomma gallery. Additionally, local artist mia cross produced a new mural titled we the people, ii, featuring the eyes of people who live/work/pass through the leather district; exploring questions of identity and belonging. This is the second mural produced in conjunction with a local artist and is located at the intersection of lincoln and essex streets; the previous mural was painted by kawandeep virdee. Chris templeman's make and take continued the annual curation based on the chinese zodiac; the 3d-printed rooster - dispensed for free by the installation - was adapted from 3d scanning a porcelain artifact from the museum of fine arts, boston. The chinese artisan(s) behind the porcelain is unknown, but now - through digital scanning and 3d printing - their work is shared with the world. This work became a staple for the community to gather, converse and make new and meaningful memories. The conservancy continued its arts education with a volunteer corps of 18 art ambassadors who engage the public. The ambassadors were stationed at the mark reigelman sculpture in shirts that read "what's your perspective? " the ambassadors contributed 515 hours, answering questions, staffing an art cart, and offering tours of the art exhibits.

outreachthe outreach department leads external messaging efforts to draw people to enjoy the park and understand our efforts. The team is in regular contact with the public, community groups, government officials, the media, and other stakeholders through direct outreach, in-park messaging, and electronic communications. There was 25%+ growth in our social media follower base in 2017. Facebook increased 40% to 11k, twitter 16% to 13k+, and instagram 40% to nearly 14k. Enews subscribers climbed 18% to 11. 8k, and we are now utilizing new interest areas for new subscribers. In 2017, the outreach department completed significant design work on signs and other materials. A comprehensive in-house rebrand of eight operational vehicles ensures that greenway vehicles are consistently recognizable when working in the park. The outreach department also reorganized the conservancy's website navigation and content based on 2016 webpage traffic to improve the user experience; back-end changes improved brand consistency. All of the signage and branding for the z, the boston zipline, was designed and procured by outreach; signage explaining the status of the site, known as "parcel 12," was also designed. The outreach department designed the invitations and all collateral for the greenway gala. All signage for public art exhibitions and operations, bi-annual developmental appeals, and general greenway print collateral is also in-house designed. New informational signage was designed for the chinatown park viewing garden and the pollinator ribbon areas of the greenway.

Community Stories

107 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered as part of a corporate group and had a wonderful time. I have lunch at the food trucks a few times a week and it was great to see another aspect of the park. We did some weeding and raked and laid gravel on the paths. Everyone was so nice and the experience was very positive for our staff. We look forward to doing it again next year

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had a wonderful time volunteering with the Rose Kenney Greenway Conservancy!

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a Play Ambassador at the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy since summer 2017. It truly is a pleasure and a privilege to be a volunteer at an organization with such important mission. The Greenway Conservancy not only manage a park but also help shaping the image of Boston through public open space. The park has become the heart of Boston serving both locals and tourists. Moreover, the Greenway Conservancy staffs are very dedicated and considerate. They work extra miles to support special programs during weekends and summer time. They also value volunteers and are very supportive on what I would like to do. It has been a very good experience being a Play Ambassador for me.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Because of the Greenway there is a relaxing place to sit and enjoy the outdoors, always beautiful art to enjoy, and delicious food truck meals to be had in downtown. Plus the fun events, beer garden, and Carousel...what else could you ask for?? This park makes Boston special!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

They always have lots of awesome food trucks which rotate throughout the week. Makes finding lunches super easy and with a great selection!

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Breckinridge Capital Advisors has been a long standing supporter of the Greenway Conservancy since 2009. Working alongside The Greenway’s horticulturists and groundskeepers, employees of Breckinridge have planted, weeded, constructed and learned so much about the 1.5 miles of greenspace that is our headquarters’ backyard. The Greenway continues to bring Boston a beautiful green space to enjoy and we couldn’t be happier to recommend them as a Great Nonprofit.

Volunteer

Rating: 5


As a recently retired history professor, I looked for a volunteer activity that was meaningful and satisfying. Working on the Greenway seemed ideal. It turned out to be even better than I had expected. Aside from the chance to care for a section of the Greenway, I thoroughly enjoyed working with the staff and other volunteers. Without exception, they were highly professional, dedicated, and hard working. I have been doing this since August and intend to continue.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been volunteering with the Rose Kennedy Greenway for 2 years now, and look forward to volunteering for many more! As an organization they value the volunteers that put in time and effort to ensure volunteers are set up to succeed at the tasks/roles given to them. Also, it's a great way to get involved in the Boston community and learn about how public art and green space can transform a community and bring people together.

The Rose Kennedy Greenway makes volunteering fulfilling and fun by being organized, communicating effectively and valuing each volunteer.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a zone volunteer on the Greenway since 2017. In that capacity I have worked side-by-side, on a weekly basis, with staff horticulturalists and other volunteers in every area of the park.
I have sampled quite a few other volunteer opportunities in Boston over the past several years. Here's what makes me stick with the Greenway:
*The work is always planned out ahead of time. I'm never just standing around while those "in charge" get themselves organized.
*I am always provided with the knowledge, skills, and tools I need to be successful.
*The staff always works with me, providing valuable and interesting information as well as constructive feedback.
*I always know why I'm doing what I'm doing and how my work contributes to the well being of the park.
*The staff are all smart, welcoming, and appreciative, and -- important to me -- a hoot to work with.
*Unlike many volunteer experiences that are targeted toward helping a specific group/cause, the Greenway makes life better for everyone in Boston and its visitors.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great nonprofit with a wide range of horticulture projects and volunteer opportunities. A huge asset to our community

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Amazing public art and a wide variety of activities to do in the park.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

What a wonderful place to volunteer this is! Through the Rose Kennedy Greenway art ambassador volunteer program I was not only able to learn about the public art, but had the opportunity to meet the artists who created the exhibits, and also teach the public about them. There is always something new and interesting to see, and yet, enough space and greenery to immerse into nature. I highly recommend visiting the Greenway every season and following its phenomenal transformation month by month.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Rose Kennedy Greenway park is the link that Boston needed between downtown and the waters edge. I've lived in Dorchester for 25 years now and watched the Greenway literally blossom into the thriving greenspace that it is today. I encourage visitors to start their city exploration walking the Greenway since there are so many connecting points to other city areas (North End, Seaport, Business District, Fanueil Hall, Haymarket, Chinatown). I've enjoyed volunteering and attending events that the Greenway offers throughout the year. When I need a city fix I'll take the T to South Station and stroll down to the North End, visit the Saturday market, or get lunch at a food truck, or grab a cider at Dewey Square. The flora and fauna changes with the seasons and I enjoy documenting it as a volunteer photographer. The art installations over the years have been wonderful, my favorite being the aerial sculpture near India Wharf a few years back, but the Harbor Fog installation is always fun to take in. I took my kids to the Rings fountain when they were young and they loved playing on the grass and in the fountains in the North End. I can't say enough about what a gem this park is in Boston!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Rose Kennedy Greenway is the twenty-first century garden jewel of our city. The 1.5 miles of open space and gardens are maintained to the highest quality through The Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy. The plants are maintained to high standards using organic practices, limited staff and a generous group of volunteers, although I'm sure more are always welcome. I have been a volunteer for the past two years and I am still amazed at how much takes place on The Greenway and how well it is kept looking its best. The Seaport area has become a hub of activity in the past decade and will continue for many years to come. The only open green space that can hold numerous outdoor events is The Greenway. People, pets, birds and bees alike have all found pleasure in this city oasis.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have lived in around Boston for most of my life. I have seen many changes in the city, but none more great than witnessing "The Big Dig" with the destruction of the Central Artery to create the new vibrant seaport area of Boston. Reuniting Boston to its seaport has brought a new vitality to the city. The jewel in the crown is The Rose Kennedy Greenway. "The Greenway" has not only connected the old city with the new, it is also a vibrant place in its own right with beautiful gardens, areas of respite and play and many activities for people of all ages to enjoy. Walking the various parcels of The Greenway, one has a chance to feel at peace with the surroundings, yet simultaneously feeling part of the city surrounding it. Watching children play in the splashing fountains, adults picnicking on the lawns and all ages riding the carousel or enjoying the rotating art exhibits is a pure delight. As a Bostonian, I wanted to do my part being involved in the scene. With my interest in plants and landscape design, I have volunteered, along with many others, helping to keep The Greenway pristine.

The Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy, a nonprofit organization with a limited staff, is solely in charge of maintaining the park's many vibrant parcels and organizing its activities. Darrah Cole, Senior Horticulturist and Designer is at the helm. Darrah and her small but highly skilled staff keep The Greenway humming year-round. I was impressed with how The Greenway Conservancy was able to utilize my plant knowledge skills to provide me with fulfilling and entertaining volunteer placements. My first placement was assisting with spring clean up earlier in the season but then morphed into helping the horticultural staff with plant phenology in the summer months . The Greenway Conservancy staff keeps detailed records on each individual plant along the 1.5 miles of open land space. I highly recommend strolling through The Greenway to discover the magnitude of the area and to understand the amount of work The Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy does to keep this green jewel so vibrant amongst the difficulties of being in the center of bustling city streets.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Greenway is a special place in Boston! I highly recommend spending some time there exploring the art, plants and spectacular events that the Conservancy hosts. Boston is extremely fortunate to have this park and I am lucky to have it in my backyard! Bravo Greenway Conservancy to do such a spectacular job maintaining this gift for Boston and it’s visitors.

Allison H.2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Greenway is a wonderful place to explore and unwind in Boston! There is truly something for everyone, whether you want to visit the beer garden, or if you want to bring your kids to play in the fountains. Be sure to check out the events calendar on their website because there are so many fun and interesting events happening all the time!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've done volunteer photography for the Rose Kennedy Greenway for 2 years and strongly believe they're an amazing organization. Staff are personable, easy to work with, and above all passionate about their mission. I've personally worked with a lot of non-profit organizations in the greater Boston area, but have almost exclusively volunteered for the Greenway as I feel my values align with theirs.

Jose A. S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This summer was my first time volunteering for the Rose Kennedy Greenway within their Public Arts and Art Ambassador program. Being able to meet and work with local artists and help the public engage with the installations has been deeply fulfilling- from hearing stories of people growing up with the historic Neon signs to seeing young children astonished by interactive installations, the Greenway facilitates culture and the imagination purely for the benefit of the community.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My living room window views The Greenway's Ring Fountain. It's the Happiest Place in Boston. All spring, summer and Fall peals of joy erupt out of the Fountain and children aged 2 to 80 play in the fountain. Beyond the fountain, The Greenway is the bond that holds our community together. There are multiple activities daily that bring people out of our homes and create a neighborhood in the middle of what could be an autonomous city.

Cindy A.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Rose Kennedy Greenway is a great non-profit in the heart of Boston! I'm currently volunteering as an art ambassador, and it's so wonderful to connect with visitors at the park. The park truly offers something for everyone, be it the gardens, the artwork, or just a nice escape into nature while walking to the T.

Emily B.2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering with the Greenway for 3 years and I hope to do so for many more. I think this organization does such wonderful things for the urban environment of downtown Boston, the public art installations in particular. They are taking excellent care of the backyard of Boston and giving residents the opportunity to give back and become part of that effort.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've only volunteered at the Greenway for one summer, but it has been absolutely lovely so far. It's exciting to be surrounded by innovative art, gorgeous plants, markets and food trucks. People really gravitate towards the Greenway because it's beautiful, it's always clean and well-maintained, it's dynamic, there's always something new to discover, and everyone who works for the Greenway is welcoming. It's a great organization and the Conservancy's work has improved the lives of tourists, Bostonians, and everyone in between.