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.


                                    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MEDIA CONTACT: Kelsey Pramik; 617-532-0942 


15 runners will receive bibs from the Boston Athletic Association to support the Charles River Esplanade


September 10, 2018 – Boston, MA – The Charles River Esplanade has long been Boston’s most popular – and beautiful – running route for casual runners and elite athletes alike. Now, 15 runners will have the opportunity to give back to the park as they train for the 123rd Boston Marathon®. The Esplanade Association (, the nonprofit partner to the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) that helps maintain and improve the Esplanade, has been named an Official Charity for the 2019 Boston Marathon.

Through the Official Charity Program, the Boston Athletic Association ( supports select nonprofit organizations that strengthen the local community and provides these organizations with a significant fundraising opportunity. In 2018, participants running the 122nd Boston Marathon on behalf of the members of the Official Charity Program raised $19.2 million. As a member of the 2019 Boston Marathon Official Charity Program, the Esplanade Association will receive invitational entries that will help the organization raise awareness and funds for its work to provide free programs for the community; care for the park’s nearly 1,700 trees; encourage healthy lifestyles; promote arts and culture; and restore historic structures in the park.

“We are pleased to welcome the Esplanade Association as a member of the 2019 Boston Marathon Official Charity Program,” said Tom Grilk, Chief Executive Officer for the Boston Athletic Association. “We value the Esplanade Association’s work to strengthen our local community through programming, and their commitment to promoting healthy lifestyles throughout the park, particularly by creating a vibrant and beautiful setting for runners to enjoy.”

“We are honored to be selected as an Official Charity of the 2019 Boston Marathon,” said Michael Nichols, Executive Director of the Esplanade Association. “Rain or shine, snow or heat, you see runners out on the Charles River Esplanade every single day. This is a wonderful opportunity for the local running community to give back to the park and we are thankful to begin a partnership with the Boston Athletic Association.”

The Esplanade has long been a beloved running route in Boston. The Esplanade’s riverfront pathways run 3.3 miles from the Museum of Science to the BU Bridge, featuring breathtaking views of the Charles River and the Boston and Cambridge skylines. Data from Strava (a software used to track running activity via GPS) shows that the Esplanade is the regions’s most popular running route.

Applications for ‘Team Esplanade’ are due by November 1, 2018. Learn more at

About the Esplanade Association (EA):

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.

About the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.):

Boston Athletic Association, established in 1887, is a non-profit organization with a mission of promoting a healthy lifestyle through sports, especially running.

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The Romantic Story Behind the new ‘Fanny’ Appleton Footbridge

The new Frances ‘Fanny’ Appleton footbridge will open to the public at 6:00am on Saturday, September 1, 2018, providing a universally-accessible link from Charles Circle to the Esplanade. Part of MassDOT’s larger Longfellow Bridge Rehabilitation Project, the footbridge is beautifully designed by Rosales + Partners to offer views of the Longfellow Bridge, the Esplanade, and the Charles River (Learn more about the project and the rest of their portfolio at During the planning process for the Longfellow Bridge, representatives from the Esplanade Association successfully advocated for this vital connection to the park, in addition to suggesting the footbridge’s final name. The Fanny Appleton footbridge is named for the beloved wife of one of America’s greatest poets — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Their love story provides a colorful look at life in 19th Century Boston.

Fanny Appleton was a talented artist who enjoyed collecting art, was an avid reader, and corresponded almost daily with family and friends about her life in Boston. She was the daughter of the prosperous merchant and politician, Nathan Appleton (one of the founders of the City of Lowell) and lived at a townhouse at 39 Beacon Street in the Back Bay much of her early life.

Longfellow met Fanny during a ‘Grand Tour’ of Europe in 1836 and was immediately enamored by her intelligence, beauty, and love of literature. Upon their return to Boston, he walked 1.5 hours almost once a week for a year from Craigie House in Cambridge (formerly George Washington’s Revolutionary War headquarters; today a National Park Service property) across the West Boston Bridge (today the Longfellow Bridge) to visit her.  He courted Appleton with poetry and flowers and published a book called Hyperion: A Romance about his feelings for her. Her rejection left him so broken-hearted he had to take a leave of absence from his work as a professor of Modern Languages at Harvard.

In April of 1843 they were unexpectedly reunited at a party after many years apart and everything changed. She told him his feelings were returned in May of that year and they were wed within two months. The poem The Bridge (quoted below) describes Longfellow’s long-time misery with unrequited love as he crossed the Charles River to see Appleton, contrasted with his joy when he went to visit her after she finally agreed to marry him. Together, Appleton and Longfellow led a happy life on Brattle Street in Cambridge, raising five children together. “She never came into a room where I was without my heart beating quicker, nor went out without my feeling that something of the light went with her,” he wrote about their marriage.

Over 150 years later, in the early stages of the Longfellow Bridge planning process, MassDOT created a Task Force with representatives from the community to help guide the project. Representatives on behalf of the Esplanade Association included Herb Nolan (then EA-Board member, now Executive Director of The Lawrence & Lillian Solomon Foundation), Fritz Casselman (EA Board Member), and Margo Levine Newman (former EA Board Chair). They began to advocate for a new footbridge to improve connections to the park and the Paul Dudley White Bike Path. After sustained advocacy — including presentations to the Task Force, meetings with MassDOT project managers, and collaboration with other local advocacy groups — the new ADA-compliant pedestrian bridge was eventually approved.

The idea of what to name the bridge came soon after. Since the Longfellow Bridge is named for Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Nolan and Casselman suggested that naming the pedestrian bridge for Longfellow’s wife would be a touching way to honor their love. They believed it would also help address the disparity between bridges named for men and bridges named for women in Massachusetts. With the support of Representative Marty Walz, and eventually Representative Jay Livingstone, the bridge would officially bear Appleton’s name.

Appleton died in a tragic accident in 1861 when her dress caught fire. Longfellow was so badly burned trying to rescue her he was unable to attend her funeral. The pain of her loss haunted Longfellow for the remainder of his life. “These eighteen years, through all the changing scenes/ And seasons, changeless since the day she died,” he wrote about his unending mourning in the unpublished poem Cross of Snow.

Beginning this September, the two bridges—Longfellow and Fanny Appleton—will be open side-by-side near the entrance to the West End where their romance first began. The Fanny Appleton footbridge will undoubtedly carry many lovers across Storrow Drive to spend time walking the riverfront paths of the Esplanade together.

Yet whenever I cross the river

   On its bridge with wooden piers,

Like the odor of brine from the ocean

   Comes the thought of other years. 


And I think how many thousands

   Of care-encumbered men,

Each bearing his burden of sorrow,

   Have crossed the bridge since then. 

The Bridge by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Rendering by Rosales + Partners


100-plus-foot-long colorful mural commissioned by the Esplanade Association and painted by local artist Silvia Lopez Chavez


August 28, 2018 – Boston, MA – A bright and lively art mural will remain on a heavily-trafficked stretch of the Charles River Esplanade just west of the Massachusetts Avenue Bridge for another year, thanks to a recent permit extension granted by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT). Patterned Behavior, the Esplanade’s first privately-commissioned public artwork, was completed in summer 2017 by artist Silvia López Chavez. The Esplanade Association, an independent non-profit that works in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to revitalize and enhance the state park, hired Now + There to curate and produce the mural.

Patterned Behavior was intended to enliven a concrete-heavy portion of the park and reduce graffiti vandalism. The vibrant and playful design is enjoyed by the thousands of people who utilize this section of the Esplanade every day, including commuters on Storrow Drive, bicyclists, boaters, rowers, runners, and pedestrians.

The mural debuted to critical acclaim, both for its cheerful appearance and for the majority female crew responsible for its creation. “Bright aquas, yellows and oranges make a strong contrast to the solemn grays and subdued browns… And they bring a fresh look to this dark section of the bike path, often riddled with graffiti,” wrote Alexa Vasquez in WBUR’s the ARTery. As part of a larger series—Now + There’s Year of the Woman campaign—Patterned Behavior was named to Best of 2017: Our Top 20 Exhibitions Across the United States by popular art forum Hyperallergic.

“We are delighted that this vibrant piece of contemporary art can remain on the Esplanade for another year,” said Michael Nichols, Executive Director of the Esplanade Association. “Patterned Behavior is a highly visible representation of the Esplanade Association’s commitment to introduce new audiences to the Charles River Esplanade through engaging public art and musical performances throughout the three-mile stretch of riverside green space.”


Although the response to the mural from neighbors and park visitors has been overwhelmingly positive, the permit for the piece was set to expire in summer 2018. Had a permit not been granted by MassDOT, the area of Bowker Overpass which connects the Charlesgate area to Storrow Drive would be been reverted back to a gray, graffiti-ridden wall. Now, Patterned Behavior will be on view until July 18, 2019.


Patterned Behavior ties into the Esplanade Association’s broader efforts to increase arts and cultural programming in the park. In 2018, with funding from The Boston Foundation, the Esplanade Association launched GroundBeat: the Esplanade’s Free Riverfront Music Series to showcase art- and music- producing organizations throughout the region in a variety of thoughtful, flexible venues along the Esplanade. Next up in the series, Celebrity Series of Boston will produce Jazz Along the Charles: A Walkable Concert on Sunday, September 23 from 2:00pm to 4:00pm, featuring 25 jazz ensembles in 25 locations throughout a two-mile loop of the Esplanade.

For more information on the Esplanade Association’s arts and culture offerings, including more about Patterned Behavior, visit

About the Esplanade Association (EA)

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 a full list of Esplanade Association events and activities, visit

About Silvia López Chavez  

With roots in the Dominican Republic, interdisciplinary artist Silvia López Chavez has based her studio and social art practice in the Boston area for over fifteen years. Chavez’ work is informed by her personal experiences as an immigrant, a woman of color, an educator, artist and designer. Her work investigates the basic human need to connect with one another on multiple levels: socially, politically and culturally. She explores the intellectual and emotional narratives of joy, struggle, acceptance, and assimilation that affect one’s daily life. Chavez is motivated by the power of the creative process as an agent for positive change. Her collaborative works with community partners include mural commissions, site-specific installations and pop-up interactions within Boston, Cambridge, Newton, Chelsea, Lynn, Salem, Beverly, Danvers, and Marblehead. Chavez has supported the artistic development of high-school female artists through her work with them on public art projects, and believes mentorship can help shape young women’s lives. In addition to her fine art practice, she is an award-winning design professional, working with corporate and non-profit clients such as Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Boston Children’s Hospital; World Health Organization; World Bank; and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. (

About Now + There

Now + There is a non-profit organization dedicated to creating temporary, site specific and impactful public art projects in Greater Boston. Its mission is to deliver thought-provoking, public art projects that advance new definitions of public art, acculturate Boston to the cultural, social and economic benefits of art, and help define Boston’s essential public art identity (

# # #

Night Shift to Launch Riverfront Beer Garden on Boston’s Esplanade in Partnership with the Esplanade Association

City’s First Waterfront Beer Garden slated to open in Late July or Early August 2018

July 17, 2018 Boston, MA The Esplanade Association ( today announced a new partnership with Everett-based Night Shift Brewing, Night Shift Distributing and Night Shift Events to open the Owl’s Nest: The Esplanade Beer Garden. The newest addition to Boston’s burgeoning beer garden scene will be the most visitor-friendly yet, with a riverfront location along the Charles River, a beautifully landscaped interior under the lush Esplanade tree canopy, and a spacious, family-friendly set- up with lawn games and flexible seating. The opening date for the Owl’s Nest is yet-to-be determined, but is expected for late July or early August 2018.

“We couldn’t be more excited to launch our Owl’s Nest beer garden concept on the Esplanade this summer,” says Michael Oxton, Co-Founder of Night Shift Brewing. “We’re going to offer Bostonians a riverside experience that’s craft-focused, family-friendly, and consistently engaging.”

The Owl’s Nest was selected from a competitive RFP process run by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Recreation (DCR), who retains care, custody and control over the 64-acre Esplanade and other parklands in the Charles River Basin on behalf of the public. Together with the Esplanade Association, state officials have sought to identify innovative ways to heighten the food and beverage concession offerings on the Esplanade while preserving the unique characteristics of the park that attracts over 3 million visitors annually.

The Owl’s Nest is the product of a unique partnership between the Esplanade Association, a non-profit friends group that works exclusively in support of the Esplanade, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, through DCR, and the Night Shift collection of brewing, distribution and event production companies. Night Shift will contribute a portion of every beer and wine product sold to DCR to support ongoing operations in state parks while also making a contribution to the Esplanade Association to further its efforts to revitalize and enhance the Esplanade.

The Esplanade Association identified four objectives in seeking a brewery-partner to respond to DCR’s Request for Proposals: (1) Provide a high-quality experience that features craft beverages and food, (2) Present a thoughtful aesthetic design for the historic Charles River Esplanade, (3) Develop and execute an operations plan that seeks to protect the park and collaborates closely with DCR’s Operations Staff on best practices for activating the Esplanade, and (4) Create a revenue stream that would be dedicated to revitalizing and enhancing the Esplanade itself.

We are delighted to partner with Night Shift to produce a one-of-a-kind beer garden on the Esplanade,” offered Michael J. Nichols, Executive Director of the Esplanade Association. “We share DCR’s vision for enhanced concession offerings on the Esplanade and believe there will be no better place to gather in Boston this summer than along the Charles River at sunset enjoying the Owl’s Nest.”

Night Shift Brewing is a decorated six-year-old brewery and the recipient of various honors and awards for its diverse lineup of beers and an overall selection as Best Brewery in Boston Magazine’s 2017 ‘Best of Boston’ awards. Night Shift Distributing partners with more than two dozen beer, cider, wine and spirit companies, many of whom will be available at the Owl’s Nest this summer. Further, Night Shift has agreed to also partner with DCR on a beer garden this summer at Christian Herter Park in Allston, up the Charles River from the Esplanade.

Final planning is still underway for the Esplanade activation, but the Owl’s Nest is expected to operate on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4:00pm to 10:00pm, Fridays and Saturdays from 12:00pm to 10:00pm, and Sundays from 12:00pm to 8:00pm. Last call will be 30 minutes prior to closing on all evenings. The specific location on the Esplanade will be at the western edge of Fiedler Field, nearest to the Dartmouth Street footbridge. Final details are subject to state and city permitting regulations and a finalized license between Night Shift and DCR.

About Night Shift Distributing: NSD is a pioneering, Massachusetts-based beverage distribution company borne out of the success of Everett-based Night Shift Brewing. NSD’s priority is helping the craft beverage business community succeed within the MA marketplace. They offer fellow producers total brand control, excellent customer service, and a like-minded distribution partner. NSD has grown quickly since its 2016 inception, adding a wide variety of local and out-of-state partners to its beverage portfolio, which is anchored by the Night Shift Brewing brand.

About Night Shift Brewing: NSB was founded in 2012 by a trio of friends with a shared passion for homebrewing. Through culinary inspiration and determined innovation, they aim to create memorable craft beers that offer a wide array of unique, complex flavors. NSB has operated a successful 5,000 square foot taproom on a daily basis in Everett since 2012. They service 100,000+ guests a year and host private and special events, as well as regular programming for athletic clubs, charities and craft beer lovers.

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.

About the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR): DCR manages state parks and oversees more than 450,000 acres throughout Massachusetts. It protects, promotes, and enhances the state’s natural, cultural, and recreational resources.



Esplanade Association’s Healthy, Fit & Fun Program Returns for the Eighth Straight Year

July 5, 2018 – Boston, MA – Free fitness classes on the Esplanade will return for the eighth-straight year this summer! Beginning Tuesday, July 10, the Esplanade Association ( will again partner with some of Boston’s most respected fitness organizations to host the Healthy, Fit & Fun free fitness program.

Healthy, Fit & Fun consists of a variety of outdoor fitness classes— including professionally-led Zumba, Yoga, and Boot Camp— that are taught for a range of experience levels and abilities. People of all ages and fitness-levels are invited to get fit for free in the park while enjoying beautiful river views.

Classes will begin Tuesday, July 10 and will be held every week, Tuesday through Thursday, until Thursday, September 6th.  Whether park visitors want to get a cardio workout while dancing to the rhythms of Zumba, ease away the stress of the work week with a relaxing sunset Yoga session, or build muscle tone at a Boot Camp class, there are fitness offerings for everyone on the Esplanade this summer.

This year’s weekly class schedule includes:

  • Tuesdays at 6:00pm: Zumba led by Healthworks (meet at the DCR Memorial Hatch Shell).
  • Wednesdays at 6:00pm: Sunset Yoga led by Sarah DiVello (meet at Fiedler Field).
  • Thursdays at 6:00pm: Boot Camp led by Boston Fit Body Boot Camp (meet at Fielder Field).

Healthy, Fit & Fun classes are free and open to the public. Participants can visit to find a complete program schedule, learn more about the different class offerings, and pre-register for the summer.  Advanced registration is strongly encouraged. In the event of rain cancellation, a call will be made by 12:00pm the day of a class and shared via the Esplanade Association’s twitter (

These classes are made possible with help of the following sponsors: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Healthworks Fitness for Women, Polar Beverages, Boston Fit Body Boot Camp, and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR).

From seasoned athletes to those looking to try something new, everyone who joins these classes will discover the joy of exercising outdoors on the Esplanade

All fitness classes are hosted by the Esplanade Association, a non-profit organization that works in partnership with the State Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to provide free programming for the public, to organically maintain 12 ornamental garden beds and care for over 1,700 park trees, and to rehabilitate historic park features. For a full list of other Esplanade Association events and activities, visit

About the Esplanade Association (EA)

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.

# # #

Testimony re: Docket #0591 (Hearing Order to Discuss and Assess the Amount and Quality of Tree Coverage in the City of Boston)

My name is Michael Nichols and I am Executive Director of the Esplanade Association in Boston and also a resident of the Audubon Circle neighborhood here in the city. I wish to thank Councilor Pressley for her timely hearing order on this subject, Chairman O’Malley for calling this hearing, and each member of the Council gathered here today to discuss an issue that does not get enough attention in Boston and beyond.

The Esplanade Association (EA) is a 17-year-old nonprofit that is 100% privately funded and works to revitalize, maintain, program and enhance the historic 64-acre Charles River Esplanade in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Recreation (DCR). EA has grown to now contribute over $1 million per year into the park, much of it in organic horticulture, vegetative management, planting ornamental gardens, lawn maintenance, tree care, and – most recently – tree succession planning.

While the recent Boston Globe article on Boston’s tree canopy focused mostly on tree coverage on city-owned property, we need to be contributing to enhanced plantings throughout the City, regardless of who owns the land. The advantages of significantly more trees in Boston are numerous and I’m sure will be covered today, though its worth highlighting that every citizen of Boston benefits from fresher air, cooler temperatures, stored and filtered stormwater run-off, and so much more due to widespread tree coverage.

On the Esplanade, there are presently 1,694 trees plus an additional 150 in an area between the Esplanade and Charlesgate Park, for which the Esplanade Association has recently begun providing care. Our group’s care of the Esplanade’s trees largely began with two tree inventories, performed in 2004 and 2015, which has informed our annual tree care efforts since 2015. These inventories demonstrated that the condition of the Esplanade’s trees worsened significantly over those 11 years, with just 44% of the trees in our park rated  ‘Good’ just three years ago.

Since then, the Esplanade Association and several of our funders have partnered to commence semi-annual tree pruning efforts that improves the health of roughly 20% of the Esplanade’s tree canopy each year while also making the park safer for visitors. This and other care provided by EA has led to significant growth to trees throughout the Esplanade, which in turn heightens their ecological benefits to the public.

Still, our inventories also revealed that the majority of the Esplanade’s trees are considered ‘Mature to Over-Mature.’ Essentially, our 100+ year-old park would have trouble maintaining its current tree coverage levels absent an intervention.

Last year, the Esplanade Association commissioned a tree care management and succession planning study to understand what’s needed to continue – and grow – healthy tree coverage on the Esplanade for generations to come. The draft results of that study were released earlier this month and are available on our website, The study’s recommendations will lead the Esplanade Association (and anyone who would like to partner with us) to reinvigorate our tree canopy in the spirit of Olmstead’s, Eliot’s, and Shurcliff’s original intent, using modern technology and enhanced scientific knowledge of leading tree care practices. We will work to lessen foreseeable negative impacts on our trees, select diverse species of trees that are expected to fare better in our temperamental New England climate, broaden public education efforts aimed at tree protection and communicating the ecological benefits of our trees, and commit ourselves to providing the critical early-life care that all new trees require.

If there is one lesson from this story, it’s that there are willing participants out there beyond constrained public sector budgets to support this broader effort. Now, don’t get me wrong… the State, through DCR, and the City, through the Parks Department, should be leading the charge and each should take a much greater role in the equitable growth of tree coverage in parks and neighborhoods throughout Boston. But with public-private partnerships of the type the Esplanade Association enjoys with DCR, we have an opportunity to learn from one another and broaden the impact of a shared desire to build Boston’s tree population for decades to come. Thank you for your time and attention to this issue.