Connecting People and Parks. Conserving the Emerald Necklace. Developing Park Stewards.

Working out here in the parks made me realize how much work you have to put into taking care of the parks and how valuable they are. –Mario

Service to the parks, environmental education, relationship building, and connection to community are woven together to develop responsible park users and stewards.

Youth participants provide service to and use the Emerald Necklace parks, improving the ecological health and increasing parks-based engagement. In a community of peers, they learn about urban ecology, parks maintenance, and practice new pro-environmental attitudes.

Green Team work is aligned with the management practices of the Conservancy and their public partners. Building on the historical legacy of Fredrick Law Olmsted, Youth Programs at the Emerald Necklace Conservancy develop park stewards for today and the future by cultivating healthy social and natural communities.

 

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Green Team Summer In Review

This summer has been truly remarkable. We’ve met new people. We’ve seen and done new things. And we had a lot of fun doing it.

Without question, summer is the best time of year for Youth Programs. As summer fades into fall, enjoy some of the Green Team’s most memorable moments.

The Green Team employed 24 youth, and together they discovered the natural gems that the Emerald Necklace offers. This video kicks off our Summer In Review series. Look out for more snapshots of our summer accomplishments in the coming weeks.

Looking for a Spring or Summer job? Look no further!

Are you looking for an after school job this spring?  Or, have you gotten an early start on the summer job search?  If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you are in luck: the Emerald Necklace Conservancy is looking for applicants for two different job opportunities.  Please take a look below for information on the Youth Leadership Program (YLP) and Green Team.

YLP finishes up a busy work day of removing bittersweet

YLP finishes up a busy work day of removing bittersweet

The Youth Leadership Program is our academic year youth employment program.  We hire a total of 8 young people between the ages of 16 and 18.  Through stewarding the Emerald Necklace, youth develop a wide range of landscape maintenance and leadership skills that can be used in future jobs.

How to apply:  Please fill out the application attached below and return to Brittany Dunn, Youth Programs Coordinator, at 125 Fenway, Boston, MA 02115.

Please click here to download the YLP application: YLP Application_midyear_2014

Crew three learns about invasive plants

Crew three learns about invasive plants

Green Team is a 6 week youth employment program for 30 young people between the ages of 15 and 18.  We work from Monday to Thursday throughout the Emerald Necklace.  We complete landscape maintenance projects, such as weeding shrub beds and removing invasive species.  Through this process we also learn about urban conservation and the environment.

How to apply: Youth must have a Hopeline number through the Boston Youth Fund.  Registration is open from Saturday, February 1 through Monday, March 4 and you can register online here.   Once you are registered through BYF, you can fill out the application below and return to Brittany Dunn, Youth Programs Coordinator at 125 Fenway, Boston, MA 02115.

Please click here to download the Green Team application: Green Team Application 2014

 

A look back at 2013

January is a great time to reflect on the previous year and to take stock of accomplishments. 2013 was a productive year for our youth programs.  During these cold days of winter, we can take think back to the exciting, busy days of spring, summer and fall to get inspired for the year ahead.  Below is a list of numbers, pictures and anecdotes that capture some of the highlights of 2013.  Enjoy!

 For the 6th year in a row, the youth programs at the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, which includes Green Team (summer) and the Youth Leadership Program (academic year), have successfully engaged Boston and Brookline youth in park stewardship through completing important projects in the historic Emerald Necklace park system.    

Shrub bed work

Shrub bed work

44  The number of youth who took part in our youth programs in 2013.

Crew 3 in the Back Bay Fens

Crew 3 in the Back Bay Fens

In the past six weeks I have experienced and learned many new things. We learned about invasive species such as Oriental Bittersweet and how to remove them properly. Not only did we learn new things we also had fun while working.  Judy speaking about her experience on Green Team. 

The Youth Leadership Program has trained over 12 youth throughout the past year, 3 of whom have matriculated on to becoming Assistant Crew Leaders for Green Team.

Green Team 2013

Green Team 2013

We are all here to make a difference in the world. We make a visible difference when we change how the environment looks. Picking up trash, removing invasive species, weeding and pruning, creates cleaner, more beautiful parks. We also made a difference that cannot be seen. We built new bonds and confidence in each other. These friendships made a huge impact on my life. And looking around, I’m sure I’m not the only one.  Rory, speaking about his experience in Green Team.

Made it to the top!

Made it to the top!

2,800 The number of worker hours completed in Emerald Necklace by our youth programs in 2013.

Pulling bittersweet

Pulling bittersweet

5 The total number of outdoor field trips our youth have participated in.  Field trips included canoeing at Ponkapoag Pond in the Blue Hills and cross country skiing in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

And, with that, we all have plenty to look forward to in 2014!  

Removing multiflora rose

Removing multiflora rose (photo taken from behind a tree).

Removing multiflora rose (photo taken from behind a tree).

 

Removing invasive species sometimes can seem like hard, monotonous work until you see the significant impact your work can have on a landscape and an ecosystem.  In the following piece, Josh describes the process of removing multiflora rose.

On Saturday, November 9th we worked with volunteers from organizations in this area, including Boston Arts Academy, Arabs for Altruism, Temple University Alumni, and students from Boston University and Wheelock College as well as other independent groups.  Together we removed multi flora rose (Rosa multiflora), near Ward’s Pond in Olmsted Park.  Some people know it as wild rose; it is an invasive plant native to East Asia. From a quick glance you probably wouldn’t be aware of its prevalence in the forest because it blends in with the scenery.

The volunteers were all very hard workers and, equally, helpful.  I found an old multiflora rose plant. It was big and expansive and entangled itself into the branches of the tree it grew next to. After almost an hour of trying to remove the old multiflora, we cut the roots so we could finally remove it from the ground. After removing all of the leftover vines I could finally see the pond. This made me realize just what this pond use to look like before the multiflora and before the invasive species took over the area surrounding the pond.

 

Removing Bittersweet Takes a Team

YLP finishes up a busy work day of removing bittersweet

YLP finishes up a busy work day of removing bittersweet

By Joshua and Xiaoyan

Next time you are in the middle of Daisy field, taking a walk through Olmsted Park, or in the Back Bay Fens look at all the plant life around you. Invasive species are invading our forests but we just simply walk by it on a day to day basis. On Saturday the Emerald Necklace Conservancy did a joint project with the non-profit organization Gay for Good to remove the bittersweet that had covered up a lot of the Leverett Woods. It was a fun but tiring day as we spent most of our time scrutinizing the ground and any strangled trees of bittersweet, which wasn’t as easy as everybody thinks. The whole adventurous bittersweet removal process started in the morning and lasted well into the afternoon. But what got us through the seemingly tedious task was strong teamwork, small amusements such as games or small talk, and our long awaited lunch! It was a fun lunch time that seemed so short.

Working at the Emerald Necklace Conservancy these past weeks made us realize that preserving nature is very important. Through removing bittersweet we helped prevent invasive species from taking over native plant life. This relates to the Tragedy of the Commons because if we don’t preserve nature now, the next generation won’t have enough resources to enjoy it like we can. So all the trees and shrub beds that occupy the Emerald Necklace parks could be gone, all because small invasive plants like bittersweet are sapping out our resources and the things that bring out the beauty of nature.

Pulling bittersweet

Pulling bittersweet

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The Youth Leadership Program, 2013-2014

YLP at Mother's Rest

YLP at Mother’s Rest

The Youth Leadership Program is off and running!  We at the Conservancy have the pleasure of working with a hard working youth staff this year and look forward to the projects ahead.  We have already completed projects ranging from planting the Mother’s Rest slop remediation project, removing invasive species at Olmsted Park, and cleaning up around the Shattuck Visitor Center.

Please continue to check back to our blog about the program.

Sunset over the Muddy River at Mother's Rest

Sunset over the Muddy River at Mother’s Rest