Volunteers made a significant and visible impact on the Charles River Esplanade in 2018, helping keep the park beautiful, clean, and safe for the estimated 3 million people who visit the park each year.
Last year, 1,671 volunteers donated 4,757 hours of their time and effort, which is the equivalent of more than two full-time employees working an entire year. This service is invaluable to the work of the Esplanade Association in revitalizing, enhancing, programming, and maintaining the 64-acre park in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.
Working alongside Esplanade Association staff, volunteers participated in a host of park beautification and maintenance projects, including: planting, cutting back invasive plants along the riverfront, raking leaves, removing litter, and painting park benches. Some of the major accomplishments of volunteers in 2018 included eradicating 4,876 yards of invasive plants species (that’s 2.93 miles) to create room for natural ecosystems to return, assisting with the restoration of the “Patterned Behavior” art mural after a severe graffiti vandalism, removing 641 bags of litter, and planting over 31,450 bulbs (Snow Drop, Daffodil, Fritillaria, and more), which are expected to bloom this spring.
Corporate groups are the lifeblood of the volunteer program, providing large numbers of volunteers, as well as financial support for care of the Esplanade. A few of the local companies that volunteered on the Esplanade last year include Bose, CBRE, Dunkin’, Google, Intel, InterSystems, JetBlue, KPMG, Novartis, and Wells Fargo, with Novartis bringing the largest group – 120 volunteers. Group volunteers report that service days on the Esplanade foster team development and help their employees feel more engaged in their community due to the pride of caring for a civic space.
“We are so grateful to the thousands of volunteers who donate their time each year,” said Kelsey Pramik, marketing and events manager at the Esplanade Association. “Volunteer service effectively doubles our ability to care for the Esplanade, ensuring the park remains a natural jewel in the heart of Boston.”
In addition to group efforts that directly impact the park, the Esplanade Association newly launched two individual volunteer opportunities in 2018: a Docent Tours program and a Volunteer Photographer program. Docents led 13 tours of the Esplanade in this first year on the Esplanade’s history, photographing the Esplanade, horticulture in the park, and wildlife on the Esplanade. In year one of the photography program, 25 volunteers supplied over 1,500 new images of the park to the Esplanade Association for use in communicating with the public the range of exciting activities and stunning beauty on the Esplanade.
The Esplanade Association is currently accepting expressions of interest for the 2019 corporate volunteer season and will open registration for that opportunity on Feb. 11. If you are interested in learning more about hosting a volunteer day for your company or group or volunteering as an individual, please visit Esplanade.org/Volunteer.