Although Earth Day only comes once a year, the Esplanade Association cares for the soil, plants, and organisms that inhabit the Charles River Esplanade year-round. For over three years, EA has been working hard to be more sustainable and have a greater focus on conservation in our park care and public outreach efforts. We have updated our field practices, overhauled our Volunteer Day philosophy, and hired staff with backgrounds in horticulture, environmental science, organic land care, and ecosystem science.
The horticulture staff plant native, pollinator-friendly, and drought-tolerant species to prepare the Esplanade for future dry periods. This summer, with a grant from the Merck Foundation they will begin an evaluation of best practices for invasive plant species removal along the water. Additionally, the horticulture staff composts all of the leaves raked in the Park to use as mulch in the next season, which is complemented by brewing our own compost tea to ensure healthy soil. By pruning trees to keep them healthy, and planting new trees, we keep less CO2 from entering the atmosphere. We’re a fully organic park, along all three miles of the Esplanade.
Beyond these activities, the Esplanade Association is working to raise awareness about the ecology of and threats to the Esplanade. We are creating new programs and outreach materials, such as our Speaker Series, focused on informing visitors about the wide variety of life present on the Esplanade and how human actions are impacting it. Our first lecture in the series discussed Climate Change and Local Solutions, featuring two experts in the field. We hope recent changes to add educational components to our Volunteer Days will create a deeper connection to the park and give people a better understanding of this complex, dynamic green space in the midst of an urban landscape.
The Esplanade Association is also working to make our office environment and organizational practices more sustainable. We have implemented new recycling policies and cut down on the use of paper. Additionally, we are switching to green transportation by utilizing solar vehicles and bikes to transport staff and materials around the park.