Yesterday evening, the Friends awarded the inaugural Parks Champion Award to Margaret Pokorny, a dedicated member of our Board since 1991. Margaret has spent many years chairing the Commonwealth Avenue Mall Committee. Mayor Michelle Wu joined us in presenting Margaret with a formal citation from the City of Boston, honoring her 30+ years of service to Boston’s iconic urban green spaces.

Margaret’s journey in Boston began in 1980, and prior to joining the Friends, she was actively engaged with her mentor and Friends board member Stella Trafford in the arduous task of restoring the Commonwealth Avenue Mall. This green space, once devastated by Dutch Elm Disease and neglect, now stands as a testament to Margaret’s dedication and love for Boston’s urban environment.

On the Mall, Margaret planted, watered, pruned, secured grants, and managed landscape contractors. In the early 90s, she enrolled in the Radcliffe Seminars Landscape Design Program, writing her thesis on the history and design of the Mall, which included a tree inventory.

She has devoted great time and effort to developing programs and raising funds for the restoration of the Mall. Her efforts include the following initiatives:
• Securing a Mass ReLeaf Grant to plant dozens of trees
• Creating the Adopt-a-Bench program to support bench restoration and care
• Leading the 30-year drive to design and fund lighting of the Mall’s statues
• Landscaping around several statues with the Garden Club of the Back Bay
• Writing the brochure “Commonwealth Avenue Mall, A Walking Tour” with her daughter, Kate
• Leading the Hereford block restoration, which was severely damaged from use as a dog park
• Securing funding through community benefits grants and tree and bench sponsorships
• Introducing the air spading technique to amend compacted soil

A 13-year member of the Women’s Memorial Committee, she worked hard to realize the vision of the project through a progression of committees under the umbrella of the Boston Women’s Commission. A wonderful example of Margaret’s commitment not only to the big picture but to all the details, she hired a nursery to grow hundreds of hyacinth plants for centerpieces at the major fundraising event at Park Plaza.

Then, she found a theatrical supply business, purchased 12-foot  swaths of lightweight fabric, and sewed them together to cover the Women for their dramatic unveiling.

Margaret has been an integral member of many other horticultural and parks organizations, including:
• Friends of Copley Square
• Clarendon Street Playground Advisory Committee
• Garden Club of the Back BayMargaret started street tree planting and tree fence projects —  She arranged for the city’s nursery to grow 50 magnolia trees to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the magnolia planting on Commonwealth Avenue Mall. She also consults on care of the 1400 street trees.
• Esplanade Association — Margaret served as a board member for 18 years. She led the initiative to inventory trees from the Longfellow Bridge to the BU Bridge, and along with Garden Club of the Back Bay, tagged all the trees.
• Charlesgate Alliance — Margaret is on the first board of directors. She has engaged in efforts to revitalize the Charlesgate area around the Bowker Overpass, and reconnect the Emerald Necklace and Esplanade across the Mall.