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Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Environment, Environmental Beautification, Parks & Playgrounds

Mission: The Conservancy is the designated steward of the Rose Kennedy Greenway, a mile-and-a-half of contemporary parks in the heart of Boston that connect people and the city with beauty and fun. The non-profit Conservancy maintains, programs, and improves the Greenway on behalf of the public and in partnership with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Target demographics: connect people and the city with beauty and fun in a mile-and-a-half of contemporary and organically maintained parks

Geographic areas served: Boston

Programs: horticulture and maintenancesummary and accomplishments:the conservancy is the designated steward of the rose kennedy greenway, boston's mile-and-a-half of contemporary parks that connect people and the city with beauty and fun. In a public-private partnership with the commonwealth of massachusetts, the conservancy programs, maintains, and improves the parks. In fy14, the conservancy continued to make the greenway a joy-filled place for residents and visitors:- the greenway carousel at the tiffany & co. Foundation grove opened to the public on-time, on-budget, and with much fanfare. It has already become a new landmark in boston. - the horticulture continues to improve through our award-winning organic landscape care. We made upgrades and replacements across the greenway north end garden beds, installing plant signage, planting 27,000 additional bulbs. - we conducted/offered more than 300 free programs on the greenway. Due to the free events, our nationally-recognized mobile eats program, the carousel, and our free wi-fi network, we attracted over 800,000 visitors, plus millions more who casually enjoy greenway plazas, gardens, and paths. For these efforts, we won an arts & entertainment award from bostinno. - we expanded our public art efforts, announcing new initiatives and installing a new mural on the greenway wall at dewey square park through a partnership with the institute of contemporary art. - we completed a successful first year of contracted care for the armenian heritage park. - our maintenance team accomplished significant repairs to the light blades, harbor fog, chinatown fountain, and masonry, while continuing the daily responsibilities of maintaining a clean, functional park. Horticulturewe continue to improve the greenway's beauty through skilled, attentive maintenance and important, thoughtful improvements. The conservancy uses organic and sustainable landscape practices that are innovative, award-winning, and fiscally sound. The greenway is boston's only organically-maintained public park and one of a handful of organically-maintained urban parks in the united states; our sustainability efforts have earned us a mayor's greenovate award. 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 our compost tea operation. We have increased applications of our organic compost tea from 1,800 gallons in 2010 to 13,000 gallons annually. The depth of the roots on the greenway has tripled since the conservancy took over park operations and introduced organic methods. 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, top seeding and aeration, organic debris composting for fertilizer applications, and efficient water usage. In addition, the greenway's dewey square park features pollinator, edible, demonstration, and rain gardens. 59 planter containers throughout the park are changed seasonally with arrangements consistent with their park surroundings. An important project this year was the spring replanting in the north end park along the pergola between hanover and north st. We installed new plants, including evergreens and roses. Plants were selected to screen against the traffic on the adjoining surface streets, to provide four season interest, and for urban-hardiness. Daffodils and other flowering bulbs were replanted back into the garden bed, and other removed plants were transplanted elsewhere in the park. This project was based on input from community meetings held over the last several years. We made upgrades along the length of the greenway. In chinatown, we significantly filled in garden beds throughout the park. In the fort point channel parks, we added evergreens for winter interest and structure, a new garden bed to anchor a park entrance, and installed plant signage. In the wharf district parks, in conjunction with the new plantings around the greenway carousel, we filled in plantings along the promenade. Throughout the greenway, 21 failing street trees were replaced and an additional 27,000 bulbs were added. We have placed an increased emphasis on our volunteer program. Strategically, we have made hands-on learning through volunteering a focus for our educational efforts. Bringing people to dig in the soil shoulder-to-shoulder with our horticultural staff is a terrific way to tell the story of our organic care of this roof-top garden. Following another big increase in volunteer hours (up from 2,183 in 2012 to 3,118 in 2013), we hired our first full-time volunteer coordinator who has increased and diversified the opportunities and partnerships for the 2014 season. Already we have created a new collaboration with the united way for the care of the dewey square park gardens. On the strength of reviews from volunteers, the conservancy has consistently won the top rated award from greatnonprofits. Org. Maintenancein fy14 the maintenance department responded to the daily and seasonal demands of running a clean, green, and safe park. Our team cares for seven water features, acres of granite paving, complex lighting systems, and more. The conservancy's maintenance staff handles repairs, fountain maintenance, and other skilled tasks; our efforts are supplemented by our contracted non-profit partner, work inc. , which employs individuals with disabilities. Work inc. Handles basic park care-including lawn mowing, litter and trash removal, and snow removal-and helps provide an in-park presence 16 hours per day, 365 days per year. In addition, this was the first year of a three-year, competitively-awarded contract to maintain the beautiful fountains, labyrinth, and gardens in armenian heritage park. Regular work includes fountain care, welding repairs, re-lamping, vehicle maintenance, and more. We added a mason to our staff who reset loose pavers, repaired handicapped ramps, restored failed mortar joints and re-caulked several failed expansion joints throughout the greenway. Seasonally, the maintenance team sets out and removes moveable furniture; starts-up and then decommissions and winterizes the seven water features; installs and removes winter lighting; and supervises acres of snow removal. This year we accomplished numerous maintenance projects. Our team upgraded the failing light blade components, including the design, fabrication, and installation of a new mounting system. We restored the harbor fog water feature to fully operational, addressing problematic lights, speakers and controller. Following water intrusion into the chinatown fountain vault, we made necessary repairs to minimize fountain downtime and restore 100% operation; as part of this work we corrected a flaw in the original design and installation of the sump pump piping. We removed and reset 27 pieces of granite wall cap at one of the north end fountains; we discovered that the original park construction had failed to seal joints and sealed these to prevent future heaving. We painted no-biking signs on the pavement on all parcels. We re-graded, raked out and compacted the stone dust paths. The trash cans' rusting leveling feet were replaced. We removed the rust stains from the stone slabs in several fountains. To support the new "little free library" program, we installed footings, including welding, painting, and pouring concrete footings.

see attached schedule o - public activities - programs and artpublic activities - programs and art:the conservancy has brought vibrancy to the greenway. In addition to the millions of visitors who passively enjoy our fountains and gardens, the patronage at park offerings-events, wi-fi, carousel, and mobile eats-increased 23% to 801,000 in 2013, on top of a 66% increase in 2012. The greenway hosted more than 300 free events. Tourists, workers, and residents meet and play on the greenway, moving through the gardens from the fountains to the food trucks to the nearby attractions. This year, bostinno named the greenway one of its winners for arts & entertainment. We launched new programs and continued favorites. We introduced the boston calling block parties, held weekly at dewey square park with outdoor music and drinks. We hosted 7 pianos as part of the celebrity series' play me i'm yours, and solar-powered phone-charging benches through a partnership with the mit media lab. The twice weekly seasonal farmers market at dewey square park continued, and a new twice-weekly seasonal market was added across from the north end parks. We collaborated with organizations such as the boston public market association, national center for race amity, chinatown main streets, and sustainable business network. Many people flocked to the popular greenway open market, berklee college of music concert series, and race amity day. And we hosted scores of free fitness classes from yoga to crossfit. These efforts were complimented by the nationally acclaimed greenway mobile eats program and one of massachusetts' largest free wi-fi networks. The greenway conservancy has become a leader in contemporary public art in boston. Public art on the greenway gives residents, workers, and tourists a reason to visit, linger, and discuss. In fy14, funded entirely with private donations, we installed the second mural on the greenway wall at dewey square park. The mural, remanence: salt and light (part ii) by matthew ritchie, was featured on the front page of the boston globe. It continued the partnership with the institute of contemporary art that was begun with the award-winning mural "the giant of boston" by brazilian twins os gemeos. The conservancy announced a partnership with the museum of fine arts for the third iteration of the mural, to be installed in fall 2014. The conservancy also announced plans to hire a full-time public art curator and to bring in 2015 a dramatic aerial sculpture from renowned local artist janet echelman. We continued our partnerships with flash forward photography festival and the figment participatory art festival for programming on the greenway. The greenway gala is the conservancy's annual fundraising event. In fy14, the gala was hosted on the greenway for the second time, welcoming guests into a spectacular tent with decorations put together by the conservancy's horticulture team. The night was a glowing success - attended by 450 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.

see attached schedule o - planning and designplanning and design: on labor day weekend 2013, after three years of planning, design, fabrication and installation, the greenway carousel, at the tiffany & co. Foundation grove, opened to the public on-time, on-budget, and with much fanfare. Private donations covered 95% of the total project costs, with public support through a competitively-awarded grant. The one-of-a-kind, artist-crafted carousel features native creatures that seem to prance, swoosh and splash as they rotate around in their fanciful poses to the delight of children and adults. The greenway carousel features 14 different characters native to the land, sea and sky of massachusetts including a sea turtle, rabbit, lobster, cod, peregrine falcon, and skunk. The characters were inspired by the drawings of boston school children; classroom presentations and site visits kept the elementary school children updated on the progress of the carousel they helped design. The drawings were brought to life by the character sculptures of newburyport artist jeff briggs. The location of the carousel, across from faneuil hall, the armenian heritage park, and the aquarium, with the national park service harbor islands kiosk in the middle, creates a natural gathering spot. The carousel is close to the north end and wharf district neighborhoods, offering a new attraction to those who live or visit boston. The carousel provides connection to and between city neighbors, as well as strong partnerships with other boston attractions. The tables, chairs, umbrellas, and the gardens in the tiffany & co. Foundation grove that surround the greenway carousel create a beautiful, welcoming environment with four season plantings, comfortable seating and filtered shade. The carousel offers an inviting space for relaxation, and creates a place where people of all ages and backgrounds want to visit. The greenway carousel uses universal design principles to create access for people of all abilities. With the guidance of the institute for human centered design, the carousel was designed to subtly and effectively offer all riders delightful experiences. It is new england's most accessible carousel for adults and youth with physical or auditory disabilities, and in the first hour of opening alone, the wheelchair ramp was utilized seven times. Ridership has exceeded expectations and financial projections. The carousel, open seasonally, drew 51,902 riders in fall 2013 and 39,300 riders through the middle of 2014. Children who visit the aquarium and view a sea turtle, make a deeper connection when they ride on the carousel's sea turtle. Wedding, bachelor and bachelorette parties stop for photos on the carousel as well. The carousel is a significant net contributor to the conservancy's operations, helping support the 300 free annual programs on the greenway.

green & grow - youth workforce developmentfor four years, the conservancy carried out its educational efforts principally through the green & grow workforce development program. The program provided a pipeline to future studies/training or environmentally focused jobs. It combined job readiness training with career exploration, environmental education, academic support, team building, personal attention from mentors and attractive compensation. In the first two months of fiscal year 14, the conservancy continued to offer the green & grow internship program in which the participants gained on-the-job experience alongside our staff. After graduating the summer green & grow intern class in august 2013, the conservancy ceased its green & grow program. Based on the conservancy's revised approach to educational efforts, the remainder of fy14 was focused on expansion of the volunteer program as described in our summary of horticulture accomplishments.

Community Stories

90 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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

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

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.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

We moved into Boston six years ago to a unit that overlooks The Rose Kennedy Greenway. What a wonderful park we found right outside our door. The Rings Fountain is The Happiest Place in Boston with children’s peels of laughter filling the air that surrounds it. As the park winds it way though Boston from the North End to Chinatown it adapts to it’s environment, picking up the flavor of the each neighborhood it abuts. We didn’t move to our new home because of The Greenway, but I now highly value this pearl.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've had the pleasure to volunteer with the Rose Kennedy Greenway over the past few years, mostly working with their dedicated horticulture staff as well as fellow volunteers. The Greenway is an oasis in the heart of Boston and the organically maintained public park is a testament to their dedicated staff. I've done everything from cutbacks to bulb planting to helping re-caulk expansion joints in the granite hardscape and I always enjoy my work. The thank-yous we get from park users and passers-by is proof that the Greenway is well loved and well cared for by the great staff of the Conservancy

Donor

Rating: 5

I had been a volunteer at the Greenway from its inception. I moved from Boston one year ago, but it is still my go to place when I visit the city. The parks are meticulously maintained, there is always some new amazing art to view, and plenty of food trucks to have a delicious and reasonable meal. I have increased my membership level to continue to support everything the Greenway can bring to the citizens of Boston and beyond. Supporting the Greenway will provide the funds to maintain what has become a treasure in Boston!

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a long time volunteer , I find myself amazed at how far the Greenway has come! We had a large group yesterday, and were able to transform a beautiful parcel into a pristine parcel within 3 hours. The dedicated staff are informative, helpful, and extremely organized. Not to mention very hard working! We've come a long way to making the Greenway something to be very proud of and have developed a world class institution in the city of Boston!

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

I'm both a neighbor and a horticulture volunteer and I love the Greenway on both fronts. It's fantastic that the Greenway provides not just open lawns, but real plantings and green spaces that take you out of the city and refresh your soul. It's particularly important that the Greenway's approach is organic, so it's healthy for people and the environment.

The number of activities, vendors, and art installations has really increased, and it's wonderful to see how many propel find different ways to enjoy this great space. The vision of connecting the city after the Big Dig has definitely come to fruition.

As a volunteer, I appreciate that the Greenway team puts thought and care into their volunteer program. Each session is well organized, there is good background information, and lots of sincere "than you's", so I always feel good after a horticulture work session. and now when I walk through the Greenway I can feel addition pride when I can admire the wore we have done.

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

I am a 73 year old volunteer on The Greenway. After 50 years of working in Boston, much time spent at International Place and One financial Center, watching the subway station come down and the Big Dig completed. The Greenway is run by an absolutely incredible group of professionals and an equally incredible group of volunteers who are so devoted to this project. Because of The Greenway's proximity to the North End, City Hall Plaza, Faneuill Hall and the seaport, so many visitors stop me to thank us for our work and really love what the area offers. Boston is evolving into an even more amazing city, and we need to keep these areas of green to make our City more attractive to draw the best of the best to our City. I have lunch at the terrific food trucks located in that area as all the young workers come outside in the fresh air for lunch and a break in their workday. When you visit The Greenway, you feel as if you are in a living art studio, a venue for a myriad of artists to display works of all kinds. It is a very exciting place to be and it fills me with great joy when it is my time to volunteer. The gift I gave to myself when I retired was to join this incredible organization and help in whatever way I could to keep this beautiful living art and green space alive.

Susan Randall
Marblehead

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is my third season volunteering alongside the Rose Kennedy Greenway horticultural staff. Just last week, yes in February, we got out there and did some winter pruning. It was great!

This one and half mile stretch of parkland in Boston is an integral part of the city, not only for it's beautiful gardens and landscape, but for it's cultural richness, including art, music, mobile eats and special events throughout the year. Those of us who live in Boston are fortunate to have this gem and for those visiting from outside the city or outside the state, this is a must stop on your journey.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy on their Horticulture Projects for the last two years. I have loved every minute of being in this wonderful parkland with my hands in the dirt. It is a public green space that is more than just green, it is alive with art, music, food, activities for all ages and events that make Boston a better place.

I have a great deal of respect and admiration for the staff, especially the horticulture department, which I have worked with mostly. They are dedicated and wonderful stewards of this park. I have learned so much from them. Their knowledge has ended up in my own garden.

The Greenway is continually evolving and growing. It's a living thing that greatly enhances Boston and benefits it's people.

Plantsguy

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I moved to the Boston area in August and almost immediately I realized that the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy was ‘my kind of organization’. Operating at the highest level of professionalism in all departments means that volunteers are respected, are facilitated in their roles, and are relied upon to take care of all that makes the Greenway such a treasure. Whether it’s horticulture or art, social events or behind-the-scenes activities, the RKGC is fulfilling and fun.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteer for a number of organizations, and the RKGC provides the absolute best, most organized volunteer experience of any that I've been a part of. The work, which I really enjoy, aside, the staff is helpful, supportive, and works right along side the volunteers. You quickly really feel a part of something meaningful. Besides feeling appreciated by the organization, our visibility to the public while volunteering is also very rewarding. Strangers are constantly stopping to thank us for our work.

Because of the RKGC, the Greenway has become a very vibrant area of the city, and a popular place for spending a lunch hour, taking a walk, enjoying the increasing number of art installations, and, of course, enjoying the garden areas. I can't say enough about this organization!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have so enjoyed my first year as a volunteer on the Rose Kennedy Greenway. The staff is extremely friendly and volunteer activities are very well organized. Since my last regular time spent in the area was in the midst of the Big Dig, it’s a real treat to see the Greenway becoming a treasured public space. I look forward to bringing visitors to the Greenway and take pride in the work that the committed, talented staff and volunteers do to keep it always welcoming and beautiful.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Greenway is a great place to volunteer because you get to see your impact firsthand. When I walk through the park with my friends, I can point to bushes I helped prune and flowers I planted--in the middle
of downtown Boston. Pretty cool!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Rose Kennedy Greenway is truly special because it has something for everyone! It is a mile and a half ribbon of respite in the middle of the city. Each parcel has its own unique identity. You can relax in Adirondack chairs in Dewey Square Park, meander along cool , shady paths in the Wharf Distict Parks, entertain children on the Greenway carousel and the Rings Fountain, just to name a few. There are exciting new works of art each year, gorgeous plantings for every season, not to mention food trucks, play structures, and special events every week. For tourists the Greenway is steps from many of Boston's most popular destinations, for city workers it is a perfect place to break for lunch, for residents it is the ultimate back yard.

Jack62

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have worked with the Greenway Conservancy for two years now as a volunteer and I have always enjoyed my time with them. Everyone in the organization is friendly, helpful, and committed to doing the best job they can do for the citizens of Boston. The parks are perfectly and organically maintained, the programs they run are fun and engaging, and the public art is the best in the city.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Greenway is not only a beautiful space, but it facilitates learning as well. Whether it is through their children's or arts programs, or something else, there are always interesting ways to engage with the site.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Conservancy continues to address both public art and other means of entertainment and interests of both the residents of and visitors to Boston. The Greenway is continually "growing" into an outstanding example of beauty and organic planning. The Conservancy is making all this happen.