News and Events Archive 2013

Emerald Necklace Conservancy celebrates National Historic Preservation Month of May with a Sunday Series of Free Walking Tours in the Back Bay Fens

To celebrate May as “National Historic Preservation Month,” the Emerald Necklace Conservancy is offering a special series of free guided walking tours of the Back Bay Fens on consecutive Sundays in May, beginning May 5 and ending May 26. 
All tours are free and open to the public. Tours start and end at the Shattuck Emerald Necklace Visitor Center, 125 The Fenway, Boston, MA 02115. Reservations are recommended. Register at or call 617-522-2700.

See topics and schedule, below:

A Walk with Mr. Olmsted through the Back Bay Fens, Sunday May 5, 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm
See the Back Bay Fens through the eyes of the man who designed and built it. Join Frederick Law Olmsted, as portrayed by Gerry Wright and an Emerald Necklace docent as they lead a walk through the historic landscape of the Fens. Learn how Mr. Olmsted transformed the area once described as, “The foulest marsh and muddy flats to be found anywhere in Massachusetts,” into the first link in his chain of parks we know today as the Emerald Necklace.   Hear the story of a remarkable life from the man himself. Tour starts and ends at the Shattuck Emerald Necklace Visitor Center, 125 The Fenway, Boston 02115.

Hidden Treasures of the Back Bay Fens, Sunday, May 12, 1-2:30 pm
What do a 17th-century Japanese Temple Bell, a historic bridge made of Roxbury puddingstone, the oldest continually operating World War II Victory Garden in the country and a tree once thought extinct have in common? They all reside in the Back Bay Fens. Learn about these and other treasures on a guided walking tour of the Back Bay Fens that is sure to bring out the history detective in you!  Led by Emerald Necklace docents.

Take the High Road—Circle the Fens, Sunday, May 19, 1-2:30 pm
Join Emerald Necklace docents as they lead a tour with twists and turns.  The story of the Fens and what grew up around it is told with lively anecdotes and interesting facts on this guided walk that circles the park on the “high” road.  Part history, part urban landscape, this brand new tour will be as eclectic as the Fens itself.

The History, Gardens and Changing Landscape of the Back Bay Fens, Sunday, May 26, 1-2:30 pm
From once-foul muddy flats to a recreated salt marsh to today’s gardens and parkland, the Fens has undergone many transformations in the last 130 years.   Join Emerald Necklace docents as they talk and walk the landscape, uncovering the layers of history from Olmsted’s 19th century sanitary improvement  and H.H. Richardson structures to the 20th century transformations that brought gardens, memorials and ball fields to the Fens.  You’ll visit the Kelleher Rose Garden and meander the paths of the oldest continually-operating WWII Victory Garden in America.  Don’t forget your camera for this one!

Read MASCO's Annual Report

We are pleased to post our 40th Anniversary Annual Report for your information. Read about the history of MASCO, from its inception in 1972 to the current projects and goals we are focusing on for the future of the Longwood Medical and Academic Area. Read the report here.

Curious about what is going on at the Sears Rotary?

In case you haven't noticed, (which is hard to do!) there's a major construction project going on at the Sears Rotary. The Muddy River Flood Risk Management and Environmental Project began the first phase of construction last month. The 3.5 mile long Muddy River used to flow through the heart of Frederick Law Olmsted's famed "Emerald Necklace," one of the most carefully crafted park systems in America and the oldest remaining linear urban park system in the United States. The river disappeared when it was channeled into culverts beneath the end of the Riverway under the traffic rotary in front of the Landmark Center, formerly the Sears tower and under Brookline Avenue and the Jug handle Road. The culverts that carry the Muddy under these areas are undersize and these constrictions contribute to flooding during heavy rains. In 1996, extensive flooding inundated the Kenmore MBTA station. Similar flood patterns have persisted, sometimes requiring the MBTA to close the Green D Line to protect the station and tunnels.

Today, a long-planned flood control project is restoring the river and historic park and simplifying traffic at this major gateway to the LMA.

HUBWAY is returning to the LMA!

A new and welcomed sure sign of Spring, HUBWAY bicycle share is beginning installation of bike share stations across the city. Over the coming weeks, approximately five stations per day will be installed, and when a critical mass of stations is reached, the system will relaunch. According to their website, HUBWAY officials are anticipating a late March launch, weather permitting. You can follow their progress on Twitter and Facebook. Here's to Spring!

LMA Transportation Information and Updates Available

It seems like each day there are new traffic projects, construction sites, and building developments coming to the LMA.  From the new Yawkey Commuter Rail Station to the Muddy River Daylighting Project, change and improvements are flowing into the LMA.

For a comprehensive look at present and future planning and transportation projects in the LMA, click here.

Gardner After Hours Returns February 21st

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum's popular After Hours social series returns on Thursday, February 21st at 5:00 pm.

Isabella Stewart Gardner had a cosmopolitan, globetrotting, and close-knit circle of friends, including artists, writers, musicians, composers, and scholars. This month, enter a modern-day version of that circle with cozy conversations in the galleries, Victorian parlor games, and sparkling drinks by the Courtyard.

“Gardner After Hours is a magical way to experience the museum at night," said Jessie Smith, Director of Program Planning for the Museum. "It has a young, social, lighthearted vibe – you can sip a cocktail with friends by the courtyard, explore the galleries, and do a fun hands-on project in our studio. It’s a great way to relax and socialize in one of the most beautiful places in Boston," she added.

“Every month, we have a different theme: on February 21st, our theme is ‘Social Circles,’ so we’re building our activities around Isabella Stewart Gardner and her different groups of friends – artists, musicians, poets, and socialites. People often say they wish they could somehow be transported back in time and be a part of Gardner’s social circle - in a way, this is their chance," she said.

For ticket information and a scheudule of events, click here.

Emerald Necklace Conservancy Announces Docents’ Winter Program

The Emerald Necklace Conservancy (ENC) 2013 Docents’ Winter Program kicked off on January 13 with “The Story of the Japanese Bell in the Back Bay Fens.” Docent Leila Heiler-Stillman led participants through the fascinating journey of how the 17th-century treasure came to reside in the Emerald Necklace. (See full program schedule below.)

The popular Docent Program is rapidly expanding, admitting a new class of accomplished docents who have worked in other venues, hailing from all walks of life, with varied interests related to the Emerald Necklace park system. Each one is delving into their own area of interest and expertise (park history, landscape design, and plant species, for example) to create a series of Sunday 'winter walks' and other seasonal tours. Join them for a tour at the Emerald Necklace Conservancy visitor's center (located in the park across from the MFA) and learn things you never knew about the parks!

Jan Henderson is a senior planner with MASCO and also serves as the Chair of the ENC Park Overseers. “Our partnership with the Emerald Necklace Conservancy supports MASCO’s dedication to sustainability and the environment, and we very much enjoy working with them to preserve and promote the green gems that are the parks,” she said. “The docent-led tours are another way to enjoy the beauty and history of the parks,” she added.

Upcoming tours:
(All tours start and end at the Shattuck Visitor Center, 125 The Fenway.)
Sunday, January 27, 1 pm.  Winter Walk in the Back Bay Fens
Sunday, February 10, 1 pm. Winter Walk in the Back Bay Fens
Sunday, February 24, 1 pm. "The Secret Life of Cones" Led by Emerald Necklace docent Barbara Balasa, this informal talk focuses on all things coniferous and will feature a hands-on exhibit of a variety of cones from North America, including the notorious "widow-maker."

Come join the fun and test your "cone-ology" knowledge! *Space limited, reserve online at   or call 617-522-2700
Sunday, March 10, 1 pm. Virtual Tour of the Back Bay Fens.  Docents Stan Everett and Lucy Robb will give a lively presentation of the history of the Fens accompanied by historic photographs. This is an informal talk that welcomes audience participation. To reserve your spot, please call 617-522-2700.
Sunday, March 24, 1 pm. Winter Walk in the Back Bay Fens.
Please note: All three of the “Winter Walk in the Back Bay Fens” docent-led tours are unique and will focus on different aspects of the park.

Incentive Program Brings New Benefits for Carpooling 

Every year, more LMA employees are using public transit, carpooling, walking or biking to work, and fewer are driving alone. MASCO’s CommuteWorks is offering a new incentive program to encourage more LMA employees to try carpooling, and to reward current carpoolers for making greener commuting choices. Employees of MASCO member organizations who register carpools with CommuteWorks are eligible, and benefits include:

• $50 gas card for each of the first 3 months of participation
• $100 gas card after 9 months of participation
• Access to up to 5 day parking passes per month for $5 each
• Enrollment in the free Emergency Ride Home Program

CommuteWorks’ new Carpool Incentive Program is designed to supplement the services of, the state’s designated ride-matching and rewards program for commuters. NuRide is a free program that allows commuters to quickly find carpool partners while also providing incentives to people who rideshare or use other greener modes of commuting.

Recent improvements to NuRide make it more useful for LMA employees who don’t work the typical 9 to 5 shift. You can now search for matches based on what time you start your commute. For second and third shift hospital employees with fewer public transportation options, carpooling is the perfect solution. After a long night of working the overnight shift, it is nice to know your carpool partner is there to help keep you safe and awake.

NuRide now has over 9,000 Massachusetts participants and the number continues to grow.

Be sure to take advantage and sign up for and find your carpool partner, then register you carpool with CommuteWorks’ Carpool Incentive Program to earn free gas!

Click here for more information about the Carpool Incentive Program.