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

“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 ( 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 ( 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,

For more information about Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, contact Amy McHugh, director of media relations 617 246 2311,

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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.

Volunteers Made an Impact on the Esplanade in 2018!

Volunteers made a significant and visible impact on the Esplanade in 2018, helping keep the park beautiful, clean, and safe for the estimated 3 million people who visit the park each year. Last year, 1,671 volunteers donated 4,757 hours of their time and effort, which is the equivalent of more than two full-time employees working an entire year! This service is invaluable to the work of the Esplanade Association in revitalizing, enhancing, programming, and maintaining the 64-acre park in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.

Working alongside Esplanade Association staff, volunteers participated in a host of park beautification and maintenance projects, including: planting, cutting back invasive plants along the riverfront, raking leaves, removing litter, and painting park benches. Some of the major accomplishments of volunteers in 2018 included eradicating 4,876 yards of invasive plants species (that’s 2.93 miles!) to create room for natural ecosystems to return, assisting with the restoration of the Patterned Behavior art mural after a severe graffiti vandalism, removing 641 bags of litter, and planting over 31,450 bulbs (Snow Drop, Daffodil, Fritillaria, and more), which are expected to bloom this Spring.

Corporate groups are the lifeblood of the volunteer program, providing large numbers of volunteers, as well as financial support for care of the Esplanade. A few of the local companies that volunteered on the Esplanade last year include Bose, CBRE, Dunkin’, Google, Intel, InterSystems, JetBlue, KPMG, Novartis, and Wells Fargo with Novartis bringing the largest group – 120 volunteers! Group volunteers report that service days on the Esplanade foster team development and help their employees feel more engaged in their community due to the pride of caring for a civic space.

“We are so grateful to the thousands of volunteers who donate their time each year,” said Kelsey Pramik, Marketing and Events Manager at the Esplanade Association. “Volunteer service effectively doubles our ability to care for the Esplanade, ensuring the park remains a natural jewel in the heart of Boston.”

In addition to group efforts that directly impact the park, the Esplanade Association newly launched two individual volunteer opportunities in 2018: a Docent Tours program and a Volunteer Photographer program. Docents led 13 tours of the Esplanade in this first year on the Esplanade’s history, photographing the Esplanade, horticulture in the park, and wildlife on the Esplanade. In year one of the photography program, 25 volunteers supplied over 1,500 new images of the park to the Esplanade Association for use in communicating with the public the range of exciting activities and stunning beauty on the Esplanade.

The Esplanade Association is currently accepting expressions of interest for the 2019 corporate volunteer season and will open registration for that opportunity on February 11. If you are interested in learning more about hosting a volunteer day for your company or group or volunteering as an individual, please visit

Esplanade 2018 Year in Review

As 2018 came to a close, we shared a few of the ways you helped us ENHANCE, PROGRAM, REVITALIZE, and MAINTAIN the Charles River Esplanade in 2018 and asked you to help us finish the year strong. Thanks to your generosity, we ended 2018 better positioned to care for the Esplanade than ever before in our 18-year history. THANK YOU!

Announcing the Esplanade Association Phragmites Study

In 2017 and 2018, the Esplanade Association partnered with SŌLitude Lake Management to study the impacts of four treatment strategies to eradicate Phragmites (Phragmites australis) from the Charles River Esplanade. Phragmites is an invasive plant species that appeared in the U.S. in the early 19th century. It is extremely prolific, causing significant environmental, recreational and economic harm. Since then it has spread throughout the US, outcompeting native species, resulting in damage to native ecosystems, and impairing recreation along waterways. Over the last few years, Phragmites have spread throughout the Charles River Basin. The grass will continue to spread, dominating the river’s edge, unless steps are taken to eradicate existing stands and reduce continued propagation.

To that end, the Esplanade Association Phragmites Study compared four management strategies among 7 different plot locations: cutting (1 plot), cutting and tarping (1 plot), two different herbicides (Clearcast and Habitat) applied with two different surfactants (4 plots). Surfactants are a solution used to help herbicides adhere to the target plant. A control site (1 plot) was also established for comparison. The researchers selected specific locations within the test sites to determine Phragmites density (percent cover and stem count) and cataloged non-target species and non-target plant abundance (percent cover).  This baseline inventory helped to determine how each treatment strategy affected the Phragmites, as well as non-targeted plant species.

The various treatments strategies were conducted in October of 2017. At each test site, quadrats were surveyed two weeks post-management, six months post-management and again one year post-management. Water and soil samples were also collected before and after the management strategies were completed.  This helped to determine if herbicide-surfactant plots had herbicide residue in their soil and/or water.

The study determined that cutting and cutting and tarping Phragmites had little to no impact on reducing the size or density of the stand.  These plots experienced regrowth within six months and rebounded stem density. Overall, all herbicide- surfactant pairings reduced Phragmites stem density with regrowth only occurring in a single quadrat of one plot.  There was minimal impact to non-targeted plant species. Soil and water herbicide residue was not significant.

The results of the Esplanade Association Phragmites Study will be shared with Department of Conservation & Recreation and other Friends group to preserve our native river ecosystems for all to enjoy.

Read the full study here

Esplanade Tree Pruning Work to Start Monday, December 3

Have you ever noticed downed tree limbs after a big storm? Strong winds and heavy rain/snow can damage trees, especially those that are older or structurally weak. An essential way to keep trees healthy and safe for Park users is pruning! Through a collaborative process involving the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), the Esplanade Association (EA) annually contracts with local tree care experts to complete pruning work in accordance with the most recent American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards for tree care.

Starting today, until Friday, December 14, one of our vendors will be in the park pruning trees on the Esplanade islands, moving east to west. There should be minimal impacts to use of the pathways. This vendor’s work will result in 188 trees being pruned in 2018.

Pruning is part of EA’s larger strategy to care for Park trees. During Fall 2017, EA hired Kyle Zick Landscape Architecture (KZLA), to develop a comprehensive Tree Care Management and Succession Plan. The plan builds off of an existing tree inventory completed in 2015 to create a multi-year maintenance plan and diversified tree planting plan. View the draft plan here: and look out for the final plan in early 2019!

Are you interested in supporting tree care? Donate here.

Together with your support, we are ensuring a healthy tree canopy for future generations!



MEDIA CONTACT: Kelsey Pramik; 617-532-0942

Unique partnership with local company Sh*t That I Knit Creates Gigantic Tribute

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (OCTOBER 10, 2018) – BOSTON, MA – To cheer on the Red Sox as they begin the American League Championship Series and to celebrate their franchise-record winning season, the Esplanade Association, nonprofit steward of the 3.2 mile Charles River Esplanade in Boston, has collaborated with local company Sh*t That I Knit for a monumental tribute: on the morning of Wednesday, October 10, the two groups installed a 17-foot-wide, 7-foot-tall knit hat on the Arthur Fiedler statue.

Arthur Fiedler, beloved long-time conductor of the Boston Pops, is honored with this statue for the role he played in bringing outdoor music to the Esplanade—a legacy that lives on today at the annual Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular, which attracts an estimated half-million people to the park each year. The statue is located a short walk from the Hatch Shell Oval, part of the Charles River Esplanade, over which the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) has care, custody, and control.

“Two of Boston’s greatest traditions—Red Sox baseball and the Boston Pops—have ties to the Esplanade through the Teddy Ebersol’s Red Sox Fields and the July 4th concerts at the Hatch Shell,” said Michael Nichols, Executive Director of the Esplanade Association. “We are proud to celebrate the Red Sox and send our wishes for a deep playoff run by linking the two traditions with an homage as grand as Arthur Fiedler’s legacy.”

“As a Boston-based company, we’re very excited to partner with the Esplanade Association and root for the Sox,” said Christina Fagan Pardy, Founder & Chief Knitting Officer Sh*t That I Knit. “This was a really fun, creative project – a great way to show off our (newfound) arm knitting skills!”

“My father was a Red Sox fan and I often joined him at Fenway Park for games. I’m sure he would approve of the donning of a Red Sox hat, especially this year,” said Peter Fiedler, son of legendary Boston Pops conductor Arthur Fiedler.

We wish the Red Sox well as they ‘Do Damage’ the rest of this postseason!

About the Esplanade Association (

The Esplanade Association 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 green space.

About Sh*t That I Knit (

Sh*t That I Knit is a knitwear company based out of Boston, MA. Each piece in their knitwear collection is of the highest quality and is knit with hand-dyed Peruvian merino wool, alpaca, or cashmere.


Esplanade Mural Experiences Major Vandalism

The revered and critically-acclaimed Patterned Behavior art mural on the Esplanade experienced a significant amount of vandalism sometime overnight on Thursday, September 20 into Friday, September 21. The mural, which has been installed beneath the Bowker Overpass on the Esplanade since July 2017, was commissioned by the non-profit Esplanade Association working in partnership with Now + There, MassDOT, and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. The Esplanade Association commissioned local artist Silvia Lopez Chavez to install the work on three pillars and an adjacent wall at the intersection of the Emerald Necklace and Charles River Esplanade, along Storrow Drive.

“We’re devastated that someone would choose to vandalize what has become a popular, uplifting and colorful addition to the Esplanade,” offered Michael Nichols, Executive Director of the Esplanade Association. “We’re working with Now + There and Ms. Lopez Chavez to assess the cost of repairs to the artwork, and we hope to restore the work as soon as possible.”

A police report has been filed with the Massachusetts State Police, who maintain jurisdiction over criminal activities on the Esplanade. The Esplanade Association encourages members of the public with information about the vandalism to contact the Massachusetts State Police.

The Esplanade Association has started a GoFundMe page to help cover the expense of restoring the mural and preserving it through the rest of its commission, which currently is set to expire in July 2019.