2019 Year in Review

As our 19th year as an organization comes to a close, we’re reflecting on the incredible things we accomplished together last year. The numbers speak for themselves:


23,500 estimated attendees at Esplanade Association events (concerts, fitness classes, tours & much more!)

5,400 miles run by participants in EA-sponsored 5Ks in the spring and fall

5,100 bulbs planted to bloom bright come spring!

2,030 yards of invasive vegetation removed

1,077 bags of trash removed

1,604 volunteers spent 4,936 hours in the park (the equivalent of 2 full-time employees working a calendar year)!

527 yards of leaves raked

165 benches painted

70+ gallons of paint used in public art projects, including 3 new murals on formerly graffiti-ridden pumphouses

34 dogs joined us for the first ever Kentucky Dog Derby

20 trees planted and 41 trees received soil amendments (air spading, fertilizer, and/or mulch)

17 different subzones where trees can grow on the Esplanade

15 summer camps from across Greater Boston came to the Esplanade for free field days

5 layers of material in the Bruins helmet installed on the Fiedler head (which also measured 17-feet across!)


Thank you for all of your support!

There are so many ways you can enjoy the Esplanade in 2020, including checking out public art, picnicking with friends, taking a fitness class, volunteering, enjoying a bike ride, connecting to nature, going for a run, lounging by the river, playing, attending a concert, smelling the flowers, and much more. We can’t wait to see you in the park!

Spring 2020 Tree Care on the Esplanade

The Esplanade is home to over 1,700 trees, making the park a critical green corridor along the Charles River. These trees provide valuable ecological benefits, including storing carbon dioxide, filtering stormwater, and providing a home for small mammals and birds. They enchant visitors in the spring when the cherry blossoms bloom, offer shade in the hot summer months, and turn spectacular colors each fall.

Although the tree canopy may look healthy from a distance, data from a 2015 inventory commissioned by the Esplanade Association in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Recreation (DCR), as well as a recent assessment performed in a joint effort by the DCR’s arborist and our certified arborist on staff, shows underlying weaknesses that pose a threat to the long-term vitality of the canopy. Just four tree species make up nearly 60% of the park’s trees, making them vulnerable to insect deforestation and less attractive as habitat for diverse wildlife species. In addition, 15% of trees are dead or in poor condition, posing a hazard to public safety. These high-risk trees, which have deteriorated to a point where they can no longer be saved, will continue to decline, making them more susceptible to pests, diseases, and wood-decaying fungi. Trees suffering from these conditions can become structurally unstable, resulting in branches, or even whole trees, falling.

But there’s hope ahead! In order to ensure a healthy tree canopy along the Charles River Esplanade for generations to come, the Esplanade Association has established the first-of-its kind Lasting Esplanade Arbor Fund (L.E.A.F.). The first 20 new trees of several hundred to be added as part of L.E.A.F. in the next ten years were planted in fall 2019, with 32 more plantings to come in spring 2020. Planting new and healthy trees is the first step in creating a healthier and more resilient tree canopy along the Esplanade. The L.E.A.F. project and tree planting plan follow Arthur Shurcliff’s historic plan for the Esplanade and was approved by the Boston Landmarks Commission, the Massachusetts Historical Commission, and the Conservation Commission.

As part of this work, 32 of the park’s dead and dying trees will be removed in spring 2020. This work will be performed with the support of the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Partnership Matching Funds Program. DCR will lead and complete the tree removal process. For each high-risk tree removed along the Esplanade, another tree will be replanted, including more diverse species such as the American Sweetgum, Black Tupelo ‘Wildfire’, Red Maple ‘October Glory’, and several other types and cultivars.

The L.E.A.F. project is made possible by the Esplanade Association in partnership with DCR and the generous donors and organizations listed below. You can learn more about our tree care efforts at Esplanade.org/Trees. If you have any questions, please contact: Alison McRae, Capital Projects Manager at the Esplanade Association, at amcrae@esplanade.org or 617.227.0365 – Ext. 407 or Olivia K. Dorrance, Press Secretary at the Department of Conservation and Recreation, at olivia.k.dorrance@state.ma.us or 617-626-4967.

L.E.A.F. is Made Possible By:

Esplanade tree care is made possible with the support of:

Anonymous (2)

Boston Athletic Association

The Biber Foundation

City of Boston Community Preservation Fund

Beacon Hill Garden Club

The Garden Club of the Back Bay

Boston Planning and Development Agency

2019 Visionary Award Recipient Dan Mathieu

The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR)

American Association of Endodontists offering free endodontic care in Boston

WHAT: The American Association of Endodontists (AAE) is collaborating with endodontics departments at the schools of dental medicine at Boston University, Harvard University, and Tufts University to provide free endodontic care to patients, pre-qualified on the basis of need, in the Boston area.

 

WHY: This past March, AAE launched a contest to spotlight four beautiful natural landmarks from around the country and have people vote on which one they felt was most worth saving. The Charles River Esplanade, preserved by the Esplanade Association, won a $20,000 donation from AAE, as well as $30,000 in free endodontic care from Boston-area dental schools for the city of Boston.

 

HOW: It is estimated that the three schools combined will perform endodontic treatments on more than 60 patients, providing a combined total of more than $30,000 worth of endodontic care. Treatments will be done primarily on anterior and premolar teeth. Patients are being prescreened and scheduled in advance from community health clinics, and most treatments should be completed in one visit on that day.

 

WHEN: Monday, November 18, 2019

1 p.m. — 7 p.m. EST

 

WHERE:

  • Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine, Department of Endodontics
  • Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Division of Endodontics
  • Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, Department of Endodontics

 

WHO:

  • American Association of Endodontists in collaboration with:
    • Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine, Department of Endodontics
    • Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Division of Endodontics
    • Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, Department of Endodontics

 

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Priya Ramanathan at pramanathan@apcoworldwide.com or (312) 368-7537.

 

Testimony on Senate Bill 158

Michael Nichols, The Esplanade Association

  • Thank you, Nick and thank you to the Committee for having us here today.
  • I am here to urge the Committee not to advance Senate Bill 158, which would effectively legislate beer and wine gardens out of existence in Massachusetts.
  • In a former role as Chief of Staff at the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy, I worked with Nick and Trillium to open the Trillium Garden three years ago.
  • Currently, I am Executive Director of the non-profit Esplanade Association which directly invests over $1 million of private support per year to revitalize, enhance, maintain and program the Charles River Esplanade in partnership with DCR and many stakeholders, including the tireless work, support and advocacy of our State Representative, Jay Livingstone.
  • Last summer we worked with DCR and Night Shift Brewing to open two family-friendly beer/wine/cider gardens along the Charles River which have each returned this year.
  • These locations and others like them have jointly brought hundreds of thousands of neighbors, workers, and tourists together in public spaces throughout the Commonwealth.
  • These activations result from public RFPs that invite breweries, wineries, restaurants, hospitality companies, and individual operators to put forth creative ideas for how to enliven our state’s public spaces.
  • Usually these activations result in adding sorely needed amenities – think bathrooms and bike racks – plus enhanced seating and gathering spaces for patrons and park visitors alike.
  • Further, this successful formula has created a new, important revenue stream to support the on-going care of our treasured – but under-resourced – public spaces.
  • This is certainly true of our relationship with Night Shift where a portion of every drink sold goes to DCR and a portion of every drink sold goes to the Esplanade Association – each to ensure improved care and maintenance of the park.
  • But for a non-profit like ours, the current law as written has allowed us to solve challenges on the Esplanade and attract new visitors.
  • Our Owl’s Nest beer garden exists in a concessions dessert, nearly a half-mile walk from the nearest restaurant and without another food or beverage concessionaire available in the park. Our audience of over 3 million annual visitors regularly cite the lack of places to get food and beverage in the park as an obstacle to their enjoyment of the Esplanade.
  • Enjoying a visit to the Owl’s Nest is part of a quintessential urban experience, providing respite from the city and an opportunity to enjoy nature and scores of free programming. It’s an experience we’ve worked hard to cultivate and ask that you not eliminate it through adoption of this legislation as written.
  • The issues facing the restaurant industry in Massachusetts are real, but they are not best addressed by stamping out popular alternatives that are embraced by thousands of state residents every day and support dozens of non-profits and small businesses.
  • I appreciate your time and ask that you not advance Senate Bill 158.

 

Arbor Day 2019 Tree Work

In support of Arbor Day 2019 (26 April), the Esplanade Association is pleased to partner with Barrett Tree Service East for a second consecutive year to improve soil conditions for the trees in the park. Soil compaction, which restricts oxygen, water, and nutrient availability to tree’s roots, is a serious concern relating to overall tree health for Esplanade trees.

As part of a new Tree Care Management and Succession Plan, developed in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Esplanade Association has increased focus on soil health to ensure a robust tree canopy for generations to come.

Barrett Tree Service East has generously donated a day of work to Air Spade the areas beneath 15-20 trees, loosening heavily compacted soil. As a result, the bicycle path from Clarendon Street to the PlaySpace will be redirected over the Clarendon and Fiedler Footbridges to the Island pathways. We thank all who plan to utilize the bike path on Arbor Day for their patience with this temporary diversion.

Are you interested in learning more about the Tree Care Management & Succession Plan? Please contact Jo-Ann Lovejoy at jlovejoy@esplanade.org or 617-227-0365 x405.

 

Photo by Pat Arroyo

Frost Fit Fest Presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts will bring hundreds to the Esplanade for Multi-Faceted Morning Workout

March 31 event headlined by Boston Marathon Survivor Adrianne Haslet will feature
a warm-up workout, fun run, and silent disco

 

(March 18, 2019) Boston, MA – An outdoor celebration event on the Esplanade will bring locals out of hibernation to enjoy a heart-pounding, energetic, and fun workout on Sunday, March 31, from 9:00am to noon. Frost Fit Fest, presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, will be filled with a series of workouts for all backgrounds and experience levels, including a warm-up hosted by the November Project, a fun run kicked-off by Adrianne Haslet, and a silent disco with a live DJ. The first 400 participants will receive a free Frost Fit Series tank top.

 

First at 9:00am, the November Project will lead a warm-up workout on the docks at Community Boating, Inc.. Community Boating opens officially April 1, but they are hosting a special regatta on March 31, so white sails will serve as a backdrop to the morning’s festivities.

 

Then, at 10:00am, Adrianne Haslet will kick-off a “3K” fun run that begins and ends at the Hatch Memorial Shell. Adrianne is an athlete, an internationally-ranked ballroom dancer, a corporate executive, and a triumphant Boston Marathon bombing survivor. After losing her leg, she has become a globally-recognized speaker, sharing her story of resiliency, strength, and courage in the face of adversity.

 

Finally, at 11:00am, a live DJ will lead a Silent Disco on the pathways around the Hatch Shell Lawn. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts will serve as Presenting Sponsor of Frost Fit Fest, demonstrating the company’s commitment to helping the people of Massachusetts stay active and healthy all year long. Interested participants can find more information and register for the event at Esplanade.org/Fitness.

 

Frost Fit Fest is the final event in a first-of-its kind fitness series on the Esplanade– the Frost Fit Winter Series Presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. Every Saturday in February, instructors from the November Project led hundreds of participants through running loops, body-weight exercises, and other fun, energetic activities. These classes encouraged people to venture outside and experience the beauty of the Esplanade in winter while kicking off the year with regular workouts.

 

“We are proud to partner with the Esplanade Association on the Frost Fit Winter Series,” said Jeff Bellows, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts vice president of corporate citizenship and public affairs. “This series will remind people throughout Boston they can enjoy our city’s parks no matter the season and encourage them to safely exercise outside, even in the depths of winter. Participants will learn the value of year-round exercise, helping to build healthy habits that last a lifetime.”

 

“There is no better way to start your day than with fitness, and I can’t think of a more beautiful place to start the day than Boston’s own back yard, the Esplanade,” said Adrianne Haslet. “I can’t wait to see everyone there.”

 

“We are pleased to have Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts as the Presenting Sponsor of this incredible event which concludes a unique winter series,” said Michael Nichols, executive director of the Esplanade Association. “This builds on our partnership around the Esplanade 5K Presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, demonstrating our shared commitment to promoting outdoor fitness on the Esplanade throughout the year.”

 

Blue Cross is committed to helping Massachusetts residents lead healthy active lives. In 2017, the company and the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation contributed $10.5 million in financial grants and pro-bono volunteer service to over 500 nonprofit organizations across the Commonwealth. The company believes in addressing the inter-connectedness of healthy eating, active lifestyles, and positive environments, in order to influence behavior change and make a lasting impact.

 

The Esplanade Association is a nonprofit partner to the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation for the Charles River Esplanade, working to revitalize, enhance, maintain, and program the park. Some of the Esplanade Association’s other initiatives on the Esplanade include designing and planting 13 ornamental garden beds, caring for over 1,700 trees, hosting free musical performances, engaging nearly 2,000 volunteers each year, and the Children in the Park program which brings children from camps like local YMCAs and Boys and Girls Clubs to the Esplanade to enjoy active play.

 

 

About Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (bluecrossma.com) is a community-focused, tax-paying, not-for-profit health plan headquartered in Boston. We’re the trusted health plan for more than 25,000 Massachusetts employers, and are committed to working with others in a spirit of shared responsibility to make quality health care affordable. Consistent with our corporate promise to always put our 2.8 million members first, we’re rated among the nation’s best health plans for member satisfaction and quality. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn.

 

About the Esplanade Association

The Esplanade Association (esplanadeassociation.org) is a 100% privately-funded nonprofit organization that works to revitalize and enhance the Charles River Esplanade, sustain its natural green space, and build community in the park by providing educational, cultural, and recreational programs for everyone. Working in collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Esplanade Association is dedicated to improving the experiences of the millions of visitors who enjoy Boston’s iconic riverside park.

 

For further information: Kelsey Pramik, Director of Programs and Outreach, Esplanade Association, 617-532-0942, kpramik@esplanadeassociation.org

 

For more information about Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, contact Amy McHugh, director of media relations 617 246 2311, amy.mchugh@bcbsma.com.

 

# # #

Save the Dates for these Esplanade Events

During the month of February, buying our Esplanade Events Package gets you the lowest price ticket to all our signature events and other great benefits! Lock in your place at the Esplanade 5K Presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, the 9th Annual Summer Dock Party, and Moondance After Dark. Purchase the Esplanade Events Package!

Advice for Cold Weather Workouts

As seen in Boston Magazine, the Esplanade Association recently launched the Frost Fit Winter Series Presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts to encourage people to get outside and enjoy outdoor recreation in winter. During the first part of this series, the November Project Boston will host workouts at the Hatch Shell every Saturday in February.

To help attendees prepare for outdoor exercise during New England winters, we recently spoke with Jonathan Levitt (@jwlevitt on Instagram — photo above), a local runner who spends most of his commutes running or biking along the Charles River, no matter the temperature, and works at InsideTracker a Kendall Square-based company that provides personalized guidance on nutrition from blood analysis.

Here are his tips for cold weather workouts:

  • I always add 20 degrees to the actual temperature and dress for that. Once you get moving in the winter, you’ll warm up. The worst thing you can do is overdress, because then your sweat will freeze and that’s no fun. If you’re on a run, there’s less room to make a mistake with this, but if you’re taking a class in one space, you can always add an extra layer. I am a big fan of North Face and Nike’s cold weather gear, which can make a huge difference in bad weather.
  • I run in trail shoes if there’s snow/ice on the ground, and try to run on the tire track marks if it’s been plowed recently. There will be more grip on that surface than in between the tracks, which will be much smoother and more slick.
  • Tucking in your shirt to your tights/pants is a good way to start any winter runs, as it’ll hold in a bit more heat, and if you warm up, you can untuck without shedding any layers, and you’ll feel cooler!
  • When it’s really cold, another tip would be to breathe warmer air, through a buff/facemask or something like that!
  • If it’s below 10 degrees, add ski googles and toe warmers

 

We can’t wait to see you on the Esplanade this February and March!

 

Esplanade Association Announces Frost Fit Winter Series Presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

Series Will Include Free Outdoor Fitness Events on the Esplanade throughout February and March

 

(January 22, 2019) Boston, MA – During these long, cold New England winters, Bostonians may be tempted to ‘freeze’ their regular exercise routine and hibernate indoors until spring appears. A new outdoor fitness series encourages people to venture outside and experience the beauty of the Esplanade in winter while kicking off the new year with regular workouts. All are welcome to warm up, score cool swag, and get their blood pumping at the Frost Fit Winter Series Presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts with the support of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.

 

This is a first-of-its kind fitness series on the Esplanade! First, every Saturday in February (February 2, 9, 16, and 23, with snow dates on March 2 and 9), instructors from the November Project will lead participants through running loops, body-weight exercises, and other fun, energetic activities designed to keep them moving (and therefore warm). Anyone who attends these workouts, which run from 10:00am to 11:00am in front of the DCR Hatch Shell on the Esplanade, will receive a Frost Fit Winter Series fleece headbandbagels, coffee, and hot chocolate. Headbands are limited to the first 450 participants.

 

Then, to finish the series strong, the Esplanade Association is planning an outdoor celebration event in March (Date TBD). This will be a heart-pounding, energetic, and fun workout, with more information to be released soon. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts will serve as the Presenting Sponsor of all events in the series, demonstrating the company’s commitment to helping the people of Massachusetts stay active and healthy all year long. Interested participants can find more information and register for the series at Esplanade.org/Fitness.

 

“We are proud to partner with the Esplanade Association on the Frost Fit Winter Series,” said Jeff Bellows, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts vice president of corporate citizenship and public affairs. “This series will remind people throughout Boston they can enjoy our city’s parks no matter the season and encourage them to safely exercise outside, even in the depths of winter. Participants will learn the value of year-round exercise, helping to build healthy habits that last a lifetime.”

 

“We are pleased to have Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts as the Presenting Sponsor of this unique new winter fitness series,” said Michael Nichols, executive director of the Esplanade Association. “This builds on our partnership around the 2018 Esplanade 5K Presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, demonstrating our shared commitment to promoting outdoor fitness on the Esplanade throughout the year.”

 

Blue Cross is committed to helping Massachusetts residents lead healthy active lives. In 2017, the company and the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation contributed $10.5 million in financial grants and pro-bono volunteer service to over 500 nonprofit organizations across the Commonwealth. The company believes in addressing the inter-connectedness of healthy eating, active lifestyles, and positive environments, in order to influence behavior change and make a lasting impact.

 

The Esplanade Association is the nonprofit partner to the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation for the Charles River Esplanade, working to revitalize, enhance, maintain, and program the park. Some of the Esplanade Association’s other initiatives on the Esplanade include designing and planting 13 ornamental garden beds, caring for over 1,700 trees, hosting free musical performances, engaging nearly 2,000 volunteers each year, and the Children in the Park program which brings children from camps like local YMCAs and Boys and Girls Clubs to the Esplanade to enjoy active play.

 

 

About Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (bluecrossma.com) is a community-focused, tax-paying, not-for-profit health plan headquartered in Boston. We’re the trusted health plan for more than 25,000 Massachusetts employers, and are committed to working with others in a spirit of shared responsibility to make quality health care affordable. Consistent with our corporate promise to always put our 2.8 million members first, we’re rated among the nation’s best health plans for member satisfaction and quality. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn.

 

About the Esplanade Association

The Esplanade Association (esplanadeassociation.org) is a 100% privately-funded nonprofit organization that works to revitalize and enhance the Charles River Esplanade, sustain its natural green space, and build community in the park by providing educational, cultural, and recreational programs for everyone. Working in collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Esplanade Association is dedicated to improving the experiences of the millions of visitors who enjoy Boston’s iconic riverside park.

 

For further information: Kelsey Pramik, Marketing & Events Manager, Esplanade Association, 617-532-0942, kpramik@esplanadeassociation.org

 

For more information about Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, contact Amy McHugh, director of media relations 617 246 2311, amy.mchugh@bcbsma.com.

 

# # #

My Road to the Boston Marathon: Ashley Perkins

There are 15 dedicated runners on TEAM ESPLANADE, an Official Charity Team of the 2019 Boston Marathon. Over the next few months, we’ll be profiling them in our e-newsletter, as well as on our Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Up first, Ashley Perkins (third from left, above)! Ashley has been a supporter of our organization since 2015, and since then has been an enthusiastic advocate for the Esplanade Association, including co-chairing the 2018 Summer Dock Party.

About Ashley:

Ashley is a top-performer at Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty, and within the top 1% of all residential real estate brokers in Boston by sales volume, Ashley has secured her place as an innovative broker who works with a diverse clientele of buyers, sellers, and investors.

Why Ashley is Running:

“When I first moved to the city many years ago I really wanted a place where I could be outside and enjoy nature. The Esplanade has always been my sanctuary where I can run along the Charles, go rollerblading or just enjoy a sunset on the docks. As a realtor in the city my clients always request outdoor space when house hunting. I love introducing people to the Esplanade.

I can’t imagine running for an organization that means more to me than the Esplanade Association and am honored to have been chosen. We are so lucky to have such a beautiful park in our city. The Esplanade wouldn’t exist without the generosity of Bostonians.”

 

Follow along with Ashley’s journey.