We are very proud that the Friends of the Public Garden has been selected as one of two recipients for Preservation Massachusetts’ 2020 Frederick Law Olmsted Award.

We are honored to share this award with the Emerald Necklace Conservancy. This prestigious award recognizes organizations dedicated to the preservation and promotion of cultural landscapes. We sincerely thank Preservation Massachusetts for highlighting our essential work. We will be accepting this award at a virtual event on October 22 hosted by Preservation Massachusetts.

Thank you to Antionia Pollack for nominating our organizations for this award. She retired in 2014 as Boston’s longest-serving Parks Commissioner. “Both of these organizations have provided critical support for the historic tree canopy in their distinct parks to ensure that these magnificent historic design and environmental benefits continue. Working in tandem with the three public sector owners/partners and countless neighbors and organizations, these two not-for-profit organizations have increased the management, maintenance, and future of the tree canopy contained within the parks and parkways.”

Ms. Pollack goes on to say that “Friends started its tree program in the 1970’s when municipal budgets were declining and Dutch Elm disease was threatening the future of the elm population, causing the loss of up to 40 elms a year in the downtown parks.

Led by a number of incredible volunteers including Stella Trafford, Henry Lee, and Margaret Pokorny, they began the hard work of treating the remaining elms for the disease, prolonging their life and replacing those that could not be saved. Imagine Commonwealth Avenue, inspired by the French boulevards of Europe, without its majestic trees or the Boston Common or the Public Garden without the shade and beauty of the tree canopy. Given climate change and increasing heat and weather events, these clusters of trees are more critical today in aiding the off-setting of heat island effect in summer and the absorption of carbon and increasing rain all year. The Friends, working with the Boston Parks Dept. arborist, surveyed the trees and developed a management plan to protect the 1700 trees which are import natural resources.

Over the last decade alone, the Friends has expended over $6 million to preserve these important historic resources. The work continues today of soils treatment, fertilization, watering, invasive species removal, and pruning and planting. They have installed “smart” irrigation systems in the three parks that monitor the amount of water needed for the trees and turf, ensuring the right amount goes to each park area and conserving water in the process.”