- Park maintenance can be completed while simultaneously providing social benefits
- Horticultural skills, environmental education, leadership building, and job training can be accomplished through well-designed programs for park maintenance volunteers
- Programs should be specifically designed for targeted groups such as youth or pre-release inmates to provide maximum benefits.
The Emerald Necklace Maintenance Collaborative provides two crews of 8 minimum-status inmates from the Boston Pre-Release Center to participate in a bi-weekly landscape skills training program and work in the parks four to five days a week. The program instructor and guest lecturers teach the crew horticulture techniques, plant and soil sciences, maintenance skills, and cultivation of flowers and vegetables. Daily supervision of the crew’s work, as well as tools, lunch, and transportation, are shared by the Boston and Brookline parks departments. The Massachusetts Department of Correction has provided crew supervisors and built a teaching garden at their pre-release facility.
The Conservancy’s Youth Leadership and Green Team Programs provide training and summer employment to youth interested in pursuing careers in conservation, landscape architecture and design, horticulture, and environmental studies. The Green Team completes landscaping work and organizes various community events in the Emerald Necklace park system. Crew members also enjoy a range of other outdoor experiences including sailing, kayaking, rock-climbing, and camping. Participants in the Leadership Program meet twice a week after school and on Saturdays during the Fall, Winter, and Spring for training that prepares them to lead and teach Green Team work crews during the summer program. These experiences prepare participants for entry-level employment and cultivate future leaders and park advocates, while simultaneously providing restoration and maintenance work for the Emerald Necklace Park System.
Program goals/issues addressed
- Maintain Emerald Necklace Parks
- Teach landscaping and horticultural skills
- Inspire ecological stewardship through environmental education
- Provide summer job opportunities and job training
- Create qualified leaders for parks-related work
The Emerald Necklace consists of a 1,100-acre chain of nine parks designed by Frederick Law Olmsted in and around Boston Massachusetts. The Emerald Necklace Conservancy was formed as a non-profit in 1998 in order to protect, restore, maintain, and promote these parks. Collectively, they organize volunteers and program participants to provide over 20,000 hours annually towards these ends. The Emerald Necklace Conservancy not only maintains the parks, but also provides a range of educational and advocacy programs- including the Emerald Necklace Maintenance Collaborative, Summer Youth Green Team, and Youth Leadership Programs.
- Boston Parks Department
- Brookline Parks Department
- Massachusetts Department of Correction
- Boston Youth Fund
- Action for Boston Community Development