On November 8, the Emerald Necklace Conservancy honored former Board member and long-time volunteer and supporter Janet Atkins with the Olmsted Award of Excellence. The event was held at the Museum of Fine Arts’ Koch Gallery, which neighbors on the Emerald Necklace, with over 180 members of Conservancy leadership, civic leaders, the honoree’s friends and family, and representatives from Boston Parks and Recreation Department and Brookline Parks and Open Space Division joining in celebrating Atkins’ many accomplishments for the Emerald Necklace, the Conservancy, and Boston’s greens pace. From the restoration of the Kelleher Rose Garden fountain and statuary in the Back Bay Fens, leading the Conservancy in the creation and implementation of its first-ever integrated Emerald Necklace tree management plan, to founding the Heritage Tree Program to provide support for mature trees in the Emerald Necklace, Atkins has encouraged strategic growth and long-term vision for the Conservancy across a range of areas in her many years of volunteer involvement.
Janet delivered inspiring remarks to the group in her Olmsted Award of Excellence acceptance speech: “I want to see these 1100 acres gain their rightful place as the truly world-class park that Frederick Law Olmsted envisioned. The Emerald Necklace we strive for will be a 21st century vision of the 19th century park, but if it holds Olmsted’s promise of providing those ‘feelings of enhanced freedom’ to the users, and the sustainability principles he forwarded, we can ensure a park and a green future for Boston of which we can all be proud. I am counting on all of you, each of you, to do your part.”
Named for America’s first landscape architect and designer of the Emerald Necklace Frederick Law Olmsted, the Olmsted Award of Excellence biennially honors an individual or organization who demonstrates an unwavering determination to carry out Olmsted’s vision and commitment to urban parks. The award was presented to park supporter and advocate, Sarah Freeman, in 2013, former Governor Michael Dukakis in 2014, and Emerald Necklace Conservancy Board President Ben Taylor in 2016. Proceeds from An Emerald Evening support the work of the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, which focuses on capital improvements, advocacy, and public programs in Boston’s historic Emerald Necklace parks.