Emerald Ash Borer

Creeping, Crawling, Chaos! Invasive Insects in NE

New England is currently under attack! Thousands upon thousands of wood-boring invaders are coming in through our ports, intent on destroying the trees we hold dear. Yes- Invasive wood-boring pests are on the move and they could be coming to a backyard near you!

The introduction of invasive wood-boring insects is especially threatening in New England. Why you might ask? New England is a trade port center which means lots of shipments from other countries. Insects can burrow into the goods and shipping packing materials and hitch a ride to New England. Every year, between two and three new invasive pest species are introduced. New England is also more susceptible to invasive insects because of our lush forests, which are the perfect habitat for hungry insects.

Who are the main culprits that threaten Massachusetts’ forests? Well, there’s the Emerald Ash Borer which can cause Ash trees to die within three to five years. The Emerald Ash Borer has killed more than 50 million trees and threatens more than eight billion. Another wood-burrowing pest harming New England trees is the Asian Longhorn Beetle which has 12 different host plants and can go undetected for years. There is also the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid which is decimating northeastern Hemlocks, a critical tree species for stream and river ecosystems.

Besides the harsh ecological impacts these insects have, they also do serious harm to local economies. Every year, invasive insects cost two billion dollars for local governments and two-and-a-half billion dollars in damage and lost property value for homeowners. Tree deaths from these invasive insects can lead to trees falling on power lines and houses, which is not only very costly, but very dangerous.

However, there are a number of organization and agencies fighting this menace and they are coming up with new strategies and means to manage and defeat invasive pests. For example, the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has adopted protocols for inspecting agricultural imports specifically for invasive pests. APHIS has also instituted a Plant Protection Quarantine that stops the transport of lumber and wood products from areas where the invasive pests have been found to new regions. However, there is always more to be done. Citizens can also help prevent future invasions and help manage the ones that have already happened– report signs of infestation on neighborhood trees and support greater inspection measures and better trade practices such as inspection of good before export, and the use of plastic or metal packing materials instead of wood. Through local support and raised awareness, we can fight the destruction of our local forests and protect ourselves from later financial costs.

Blog post by Micah Jasny, Stewardship Manager, the Esplanade Association

Emerald Ash Borer

Emerald Ash Borer

Asian Longhorn Beetle

Asian Longhorn Beetle

Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

treework

Pedestrian and Bike Traffic Diverted as Boston’s Backyard Gets Some TLC. | February 17, 2017

The Esplanade Association, is pleased to announce that an anonymous donation came in for tree care on the Charles River Esplanade Park. In partnership with the Department of Conservation and Recreation, we have scheduled tree work to be completed this February. The work being done by Bartlett Tree Expert, will take place on the south side of the park between Dartmouth Street footbridge and Fiedler Street Footbridge.  Due to the nature of the work, pedestrians and cyclist will be diverted away from the active crew and directed through a safer path way, keeping them out of harm’s way.  The work will last approximately two weeks, weather permitting.  Signage will be posted to direct pedestrians and bikers to a safe path. Please note, they will be doing tree crown pruning and potential heavy tree limbs will be falling and safety is our priority. Please follow ‘detour’ signs for your safety.

The Charles River Esplanade is home to over 1,700 trees, many of which are mature and contribute substantially to the urban tree canopy of Boston.  Tree care, or pruning is an essential part of preserving this historic canopy for generations to come.  We will be pruning, removing dead and diseased branches, more than 172 trees.  They will also be removing three trees which are failing.  Removal of these three dead trees is an imperative, ensuring the safety of park goer is a priority as is preventing tree diseases from spreading. It is our goal to replant these trees this year.

The trees were selected to be cared for through a collective process involving DCR arborist Jeff Enochs and EA Horticulture Manager Renee Portanova.

Bee Mine for Website

Bee-Mine: Sponsor-A-Pollinator | February 10, 2017

Looking for a special valentine’s day gift for that special someone? Just want to help the environment? Well EA’s Bee-Mine: Sponsor-A-Pollinator is here for you!

Populations of native bees, and other pollinators like butterflies, moths, and humming birds are declining around the world due to loss of habitat. U.S. honeybees have recently been added to the endangered species list. Without pollinators, you’d have a third less food on your plate, and many less flowers blossoming along the Charles River.

Luckily, the Esplanade Association, and friends like you, are here to help! Your donation will help the Esplanade create lush and diverse habitat for our imperiled pollinators while beautifying the Park for you and your loved ones for years to come. By selecting native species that provide essential habitats for pollinators, we can increase their presence on the Charles River.

At the $100 level, pollinators include Button Bush Cephalanthus occidentalis, Aronia arbutifolia, and Elderberry Sambucus.

At the $50 level, pollinators for you to sponsor include the New England Aster Symphyotrichum novae-angliae, Bergamot Monarda fistulosa, Goldenrod Solidago, Autumn Brilliance Sedum, Blacked-Eyed Susan Rudbeckia, and Coneflower Echinaeca.

For your donation, you or the person(s) you are honoring will receive letter from the Esplanade Association describing your gift, as well as information about several types of pollinator plants and their benefits for bees and other species.To Sponsor-a-Pollinator on the Esplanade, please pay online. For more information or to sponsor a pollinator today, please contact Abigail Fischer at AFischer@esplanadeassociation.org.

SkyPic

A Visit to Skylight Studios by Wendy Pearl | February 8, 2017

Walking into Skylight Studios in Woburn is like stepping back in time. Plaster casts of classical sculpture, clay models, working sketches, and new work fill the old warehouse-turned-studio where Robert Shure and his staff make art. Skylight will be creating bronze elements for the Lotta Fountain restoration project. The studio is the newest leaf in the family tree of Boston artists who created some of the most memorable works of public art in the City.

Robert Shure apprenticed at the commissioned sculpture studio of Casieri DiBiccari, Inc., founded in 1952 by Arcangelo Casieri (1902-1997) and his brother in law, Adios diBiccari (1914-2009). Cascieri was born in Italy, and his father relocated the family to East Boston in 1906. Forced to leave school to work, Cascieri became skilled at woodcarving and was eventually asked to be an apprentice to Johannes Kirchmayer, chief sculptor at W.F. Ross Studio in Cambridge. Cascieri eventually graduated with a sculpture degree from the Boston Architectural Center, where he later served as Dean from 1943 until his death in 1997.

Adio diBiccari, Cascieri’s partner, connects the studio to some of Boston’s greatest artists and to the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, where Katherine Weems, sculptor of Lotta Fountain, would later train. Beginning in 1932, Adio studied under Frederick Allen, who had trained at the Museum School under Bela Pratt (1867-1917). Pratt’s most notable works include the bronze figures of Science and Art outside the Boston Public Library. Pratt’s teacher and mentor was Augustus Saint Gaudens (1848-1907), one of America’s most famous sculptors and creator of the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial on Boston Common.

Shure and his team will create the new basin, activator, and bronze caps using the same craftsmanship and care that produced some of Boston’s most beloved sculptures. As Lotta Fountain enters her next phase of life, she remains linked to Boston’s sculptural heritage through the traditions and techniques curated at Skylight Studios.

For a complete history of the studio, visit http://skylightstudiosinc.com/studio-history/.

– Written by Wendy Pearl, Preservation Planner for DCR

CrosscountrySkiing

Enjoy Winter on the Esplanade | January 17, 2017

No matter the season, there are always plenty of ways to enjoy the Esplanade! During the winter, the park is full of wonderful reasons to bundle up and head outside. Browse some of our ideas below, or come up with your own unique ideas to enjoy winter fun on the Esplanade.

Snowshoeing

Don’t let the cold weather stop you from enjoying the park. Once the snow falls in Boston you can enjoy a beautiful day of snow shoeing along the Esplanade’s 3 miles of parkland.

Cross-Country Skiing

Feel the swoosh and glide of the snow as you cross-country ski through the Esplanade park. Though there are no defined trails, the park is a wonderful venue for cross-country skiers who don’t mind creating their own path.

Bicycle Riding

The Esplanade provides cyclists of all ages the opportunity to enjoy a pleasant, scenic bike along its Paul Dudley White Bike Path, an 18 mile loop that starts at the Museum of Science and runs along both sides of the Charles River to Watertown Square. You can ride on your own or take part in one of Boston’s scenic bike tours through the park.

Running and Jogging

As the City’s most used running path, the Esplanade is home to 5 1/2 miles of pathways. The Healthy Heart Trail on the Esplanade begins at the Lee Pool parking lot, is 1.5 miles long, and has an easy activity level designation. For runners seeking more distance, connecting paths continue into Cambridge and Boston.

Playgrounds

The Esplanade’s three playgrounds continue to be open and operating throughout the winter months.  Weather permitting, you can continue to take advantage of outdoor play in the park. Just remember to bundle up!

Exercise Course

The Exercise Course provides basic outdoor gym equipment for the benefit of park visitors. Course includes equipment for body weight exercises such as pull ups as well as equipment for stretching. It is located by the Silber Way Footbridge between the Mass Ave. Bridge and BU Bridge.

Photography

During the winter, the Esplanade can provide some of the most beautiful scenery in the city.  You can visit during the day and snap some wildlife or head over in the evening to get a shot of the beautiful winter sunset.  Don’t forget to share your photos with us using #EsplanadeAssn.

phragmites

Don’t Feed the Reed | January 12, 2017

By Micah Jasny, EA Stewardship Manager

If you have walked through the Esplanade recently, you may have noticed patches of densely growing reeds hugging the waterline. While they may be nice to look at, these reeds are actually the invasive species Phragmites australis, and they pose a serious threat to the Esplanade and the Charles River.

Phragmites, also known as common reed, was common in Europe and was gown to be used as thatching for roofs and food for livestock. In the late 18th or early 19th century, Phragmites made its way across the Atlantic to establish in the United States. Many speculate that the plant was transported here accidentally through ship ballast (the water taken on by ships so that they lay lower in the water). Once the invasive Phragmites established itself, it then quickly dispersed across the U.S. through the 20th century.

Phragmites is a perennial grass that can grow up to 18 feet high and is often found in dense colonies along shorelines. In a single growing season, Phragmites roots can spread up to 10 feet or more and grow several feet deep. Not only do they grow fast, but Phragmites are also prodigious produces, with each plant releasing thousands of seeds each year. Phragmites can also spread by root fragments that break off from the original colony and begin growing elsewhere.

With this in mind, it is not surprising that Phragmites can have some seriously negative impacts on the Esplanade ecosystem. Once introduced, Phragmites spreads quickly and outcompetes native species, forcing them out of the Esplanade. Phragmites also provides little food or shelter for the Esplanade’s wildlife. Finally, when Phragmites does die-off, the reeds dry out and become brittle which can become a serious fire hazard. Not to mention, dense colonies will block Esplanade goer’s view of the Charles!

So how can we manage this threat to the Esplanade? A variety of techniques have been used to try and control Phragmites. One method is manual removal where we cut the reeds down to the root. However, this method usually just slows the spread of Phragmites and doesn’t actually stop them. Herbicide treatment has proven to be a more successful control method for Phragmites and is often sprayed, painted, or wiped over the stems and leaves of the plants. Finally, in areas where Phragmites are dominating the area and have already forced native species out, controlled burning has been used to manage the invasive population. To truly control the Phragmites population, it is best to use a combination of treatment methods over a number of years to ensure that the invasive will not grow back. We at the Esplanade are working to protect the Esplanade and its native species from the threat of Phragmites and will be employing a variety of techniques while minimizing harm to the surrounding environment.

EA Names Alexi Conine as New Board Chair

EA Names Alexi Conine as New Board Chair | Jan 5, 2017

EA Moondance

By Esplanade Association – January 5, 2017

The Esplanade Association Board of Directors is proud to announce that Alexi Conine has been elected to serve as Board Chair, beginning in 2017. Alexi has served as a member of the Esplanade Association’s board for the past year and has been deeply involved with helping to move the organization forward through her service on the Executive Committee and Project Planning Committee of the organization.

Alexi was an Engineer and Product manager at Rohm & Haas for 10 years and more recently has been focused on her family, parks and outdoor recreation.  She previously served as the President of Friends of Titus Sparrow Park in the South End for six years. A Back Bay resident, Alexi can often be found running or biking on the Esplanade with her family.  She has a chemical engineering degree from Cornell and an MBA from Simmons.

“We are extremely fortunate to have Alexi taking on the role of Board Chair for our organization. We know that her breadth of experience and passion for the park will make her an incredible leader”, noted Tani Marinovich EA’s Executive Director

Alexi will be replacing Margo Newman, who after serving for 6 years, is stepping down at the end of 2016 as the Chair of the Esplanade Association’s Board of Directors. Margo was heavily involved in the search for her replacement and has been working closely with Alexi to transition her into the new role.

Margo, in summing up the board decision, stated, “The board was looking for the right person to take on this position and after working closely with Alexi this year we all agreed that she would be an excellent candidate. Alexi has been a great asset to the organization and we are excited to see her take on the role of Board Chair.”

2016 Volunteer Spotlight - Boston Cares

2016 Volunteer Spotlight – Boston Cares | Dec 16, 2016

Esplanade Association would like to recognize Boston Cares as our volunteers of the year for their continued commitment to improving the park in 2016. We are pleased to have Boston Cares Volunteer Leader, Anthony Rufo accept this honor on behalf of the group and share his experience below.

My name is Anthony Rufo, a Boston Cares “Volunteer Leader” who coordinates between the wonderful Boston Cares organization and the eminent Esplanade Association. I began volunteering to offer my hand to help my adopted home of Boston while I was a student at Northeastern University and post-graduation volunteering has remained a very important part of my life. I enjoy relaxing, running and the like in our great parks, so it seems only right that I spend some time cleaning them up a bit. Some of my best experiences helping out have been with the great crew of skilled employees at the Esplanade Association. I highly encourage EVERYONE to get involved in their communities and lend a hand in any way they think helps. I am inspired by former governor of Massachusetts Michael Dukakis who picks up and throws away the litter off the ground as he walks to work every day.

Boston Cares is very grateful to accept the Esplanade Association’s designation as their volunteers of the year. The year was filled with excellently planned projects and Boston Cares was always able to provide energetic volunteers to keep the Charles River Esplanade looking absolutely gorgeous all year round. In 2016 Boston Cares volunteers spent 16 Saturdays with the Esplanade Association, helping to weed the greens, clean litter, remove invasive species along the river banks, lay playground safety fibar chips, and assist with planting some of the park’s awesome annual flowers. The Esplanade Association’s amazing horticulture team, Renee, Shiann and Meredith, and the DCR always made the work easy by providing us with the tools and guidance we needed. Boston Cares is the city’s largest volunteer mobilizing organization providing Greater Boston with thousands of hours of community service each year. Each Esplanade Association’s Park Cleanup and Restoration Project has a Boston Cares team of up to ten volunteers who sign up on www.bostoncares.org to participate in the project. Volunteers showed up for each project eager and prepared to help beautify the park.

To learn more about Esplanade Association volunteer opportunities visit http://esplanadeassociation.org/volunteer/

2016 Volunteer Spotlight – Boston Cares

Planning for Spring Blooms | Nov 20, 2016

As the leaves begin to fall and winter slowly presses in upon us, it is important to think towards warmer times and the return of spring. We here at the Esplanade Association are already looking forward to spring and planning on how to celebrate spring and enhance esplanade-goers experience. Over the last few weeks, the EA horticulture staff along with the help of several volunteer groups have been digging, fertilizing, and planting roughly 42,000 flower bulbs throughout the Charles River Esplanade. Among the thousands of flower bulbs are different species of Tulips, Daffodils, Crocuses, Muscari, snow drop, spring beauty and many more! Depending on what type of flower, a hole is dug anywhere from 2 to 8 inches down (typically the depth is about twice the height of the flower bulb). Between 7 and 15 bulbs are then placed at the bottom of the hole, sprinkled with fertilizer, and then covered with soil. Sometimes multiple layers of flower bulbs are planted in a hole with a layer of larger ones at the bottom and smaller ones sitting on top.

These bulbs have been planted in patches and waves throughout the esplanade including in front of the Hatch Shell, along shorelines and bridges, and near exercise courses and scattered across open spaces. Different flower species will bloom at different times. Some flowers such as Crocus and snowdrop are early spring bloomers and can be seen from late January to early March. Others such as Scilla and Daffodils can be seen in the esplanade starting in March and April. Then we have planted some late bloomers such as our Tulips and Lilac. So when the snow finally starts to melt, be sure to head down to the esplanade to enjoy the vibrant waves of purples, golds, whites, and reds when spring comes.

Regatta Ready | Oct 14, 2016

On Wednesday, October 5, the Esplanade Association hosted 35 volunteers from Pierce Atwood for a corporate volunteer day. The spent the day working in the upper park area near the Esplanade outdoor exercise course. This worksite is one of the most popular gathering places for viewing the upcoming Head of the Charles Regatta. Unfortunately, it is also one of the areas in the park most plagued by invasive species, especially False Indigo bush. Volunteers cleared nearly a quarter mile of the shoreline of these dense invasive plants, ensuring that park spectators will have a clear view of the regatta come the event.

The Head of the Charles, is the world’s largest two-day regatta.  This year the event will be taking place on October 22 and 23, 2016. The regatta welcomes top crew teams from all over the world who come to compete on the Charles River.

Thank you to Pierce Atwood for clearing the view for the tens of thousands of spectators expected to flock to the shores of the Charles for the race. As you finalize your regatta viewing plans, consider watching from the banks of the Esplanade!