December 2016
Are you dreaming of a white Christmas? Photo of the Weeks Bridge and Cambridge parklands covered in snow from winter 2015 taken by Conservancy staff.

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I-90 Project - Meeting tonight!
Several recent developments have significantly changed the context for the I-90 development project: (1) Boston University agreed to the use of a 10-foot strip of its land along the "throat" section of the project if the viaduct is replaced with an at-grade MassPike. (2) Houghton Chemical Co. reached an agreement with Harvard University to give up its rail spur that stretched through the project, and complicated highway and development plans. (3) Harvard University agreed to provide the land needed to relocate Soldiers Field Road away from the Charles River to allow construction of a new approximately 2.4 acre riverfront park. (4) The MBTA agreed to a smaller layover yard and fewer maintenance facilities within its property. For more information about the I-90 project click here.

A Public Information meeting will be held by MassDOT to discuss the Allston 1-90, Massachusetts Turnpike Interchange Improvement Project TONIGHT, Thursday, December 8, 2016 at 6:30 p.m. at the Jackson Mann Community Center Auditorium (500 Cambridge Street, Allston, MA 02134). Please come and show your support for more parks and transportation options with the improvements. (Stay tuned for details about a second meeting in Cambridge.)
Conservancy Volunteers - Thank You for a Wonderful 2016
A huge thank you to everyone who volunteered with the Conservancy in 2016! The Conservancy had 2,066 volunteers from the community work to remove over 1,000 bags of litter,  1,500 bags full of weeds and invasive plants from the Charles River parklands, and with the help of our  partners at Mahoney's Garden Center we were able to plant  10,000 daffodil bulbs. The Conservancy also continued our partnerships with YES to offer the Skateboarding for Good Program, teamed up with community groups and the Friends of Herter Park to rehabilitate the Herter Park Publick Theatre, painted park benches and picnic tables, pruned back low hanging branches, and helped maintain the garden beds.

A special thank you to MassDCR and all of the individuals, school groups, college students, businesses, corporations, organizations, and partners who helped make this work possible. We couldn't do this wonderful work without your support. For more information on the CV program click here. See you in 2017!

To schedule a work session for your group or business, contact Conservancy Volunteer Program Manager, Sasha at or by phone at (617) 300.8173. Open volunteer events will resume in February 2017.
Members of MIT's Phi Beta Epsilon fraternity helped to plant daffodil bulbs in Herter Park last month. Photo by Conservancy staff.
Please Continue Your Support this Holiday Season
Since 2000, the Conservancy has been dedicated to the stewardship of the Charles River parklands. This year, our determination has seen great reward, but we need your help to keep this work moving forward into a promising new year! 

Your generosity translates directly into more active, attractive, and accessible Charles River Parklands from the Boston Harbor to the Watertown Dam. In this season of giving, will you take a moment to continue your support so that we can continue to work for you? 

If you received our year end appeal and wondered where you can find our 2016 News, click here for a digital version. If you didn't receive our year end mailing, but would like to receive future mailings, please let us know by emailing

Please click here to make a donation online. Thank you!

For gifts of stock or questions about tax deductions, please contact S.J. Port at or by phone at 617-300-8172. 

Parkland News

Innoskate 2016
Watch a 3-min video with highlights of October's exciting Innoskate 2016 event. The Innoskate program was created to educate communities about skateboarding and explore the innovations behind it. The event was hosted by MIT's Lemelson Institute and the Smithsonian Institution and held at the Lynch Family Skatepark, with support from VANS. 

Community Preservation Act Passes
The Conservancy was thrilled that Boston and 10 other communities in Massachusetts voted to adopt the Community Preservation Act (CPA). This initiative will allow Boston to tap into $20 million per year in new revenue, including about $4 million in matching funds from the state. These funds will go towards affordable housing, helping to restore Boston's aging historic structures, and enhancing the public realm with green spaces. Read Renee Loth's Boston Globe article on the CPA here.

Imagine Boston 2030
The City of Boston has created a draft Strategic Plan for the future of the city. The plan includes input from Boston residents and community groups, who have indicated that they want "neighborhoods with vibrant open spaces and cultural life." After reading and reviewing the city's plan you can give feedback here

City of Cambridge - Participatory Budget Vote
If you live in Cambridge, make sure you vote on December 8 or 9 for the Participatory Budget projects. This vote will decide how to spend $700,000 of the city's capital budget! Residents can vote online here.

"Building Old Cambridge"
MIT Press published a beautiful and over 900-page oeuvre by
Susan Maycock and Charles Sullivan of the Cambridge Historical Commission. This comprehensive book about Cambridge's history and architecture also includes fascinating information about the Charles River, including maps and illustrations. If you love Cambridge, this is a must for your library and will serve as a standard reference for years to come. Click here for more information and to purchase.
Board Spotlight
Please join us in welcoming Robyn Reed to the Conservancy's Board of Directors. Robyn has over 15 years of experience as a landscape architect and is a Senior Associate at Richard Burck Associates.

1.Why did you join the Conservancy Board of Directors? I joined the Board to help enhance the parklands and to make stronger connections -- physical, ecological, social -- between the River and the communities it serves.

2. What is your favorite stretch of the Charles River parklands? Having spent several years working in Watertown, I am partial to the more natural areas around the Watertown dam and for all the flora and fauna that the River hosts there. I also enjoy walking along the Cambridge side of the Basin and taking in the amazing views of Boston and the Back Bay.
3. Which Conservancy program are you most passionate about? I think the I-90 development project represents a major opportunity to make direct and sustainable connections between the community and the River. To create a new park in the area that puts people first would be an amazing thing.

4. Interesting fact about yourself. I have not owned a car for the past several years, which means I experience the city mostly on foot. I really appreciate the slowed pace and perspective that it affords me.

- Jennifer Gilbert, Chair of the Conservancy Board's Swim Park Committee, gives an overview on the Swim Park project and why YOU should support it!

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Upcoming Events

For a more detailed list of events check out CRC's calendar.


The Phillip and Elizabeth Gross Family Foundation
for your generous and visionary support!

Thank you to

Mr. and Mrs. Alan J. Dworsky

for their generous leadership gift given in the month of November
Thank you to the Mass Cultural Council for their  support of our Youth Volunteer Program
To see a full list of foundations, business partners, and leadership corporate sponsors, please visit our  website .