bFLO Times e-newsletter: March/April ’16 Issue
Welcome to the second bi-monthly issue of the bFLO Times.
The second edition of our bFLO Times e-newsletter is here and so is the warmer weather! It is great to see so many park users out enjoying these historic and free amenities. Did you know the parks receive over 2.5 million visits annually? As you can imagine with the increase in outdoor activity, the calls are coming in about needs in the parks. The Conservancy’s seasonal team is working hard to keep up with our sooner than usual spring, our mowing squad is out on the golf courses right now, but we’ll be mowing other areas as soon as we can. The city will have the shelters open by May 1 with running water, plus extra trash totes and porta-lets delivered. You can help us by renewing your level of park pride: put your trash in a receptacle or take it home, keep cars off the grass and drive slowly in park zones, put dogs on a leash and clean up after them, and call 3-1-1 when there are porta-let or sanitary issues. Progress abounds as you will also see construction and improvements finalized this summer across our 850 acres, especially at the Rose Garden Pergola, the shelters at Delaware and Cazenovia Park, and various trail repairs and restorations. As you know, the Conservancy is a non-profit organization and stewardship is a key element of our mission. Love your parks and help us care for them, as we head into a busy and beautiful Buffalo summer!
Meet Janis Dunworth (JD) & Christine Wiktor (CW), co-chairs of the 2nd Annual Spring into Summer Fundraising Luncheon
We want to thank Janis and Christine for co-chairing our inaugural luncheon last year and for having a spring in their step again this year. Because of their hard work and dedication, our second annual luncheon is sold out! The bFLO Times took a few minutes to ask these two remarkable women why they volunteer for the Conservancy and why they support their Olmsted parks.
bFLO Times: Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you became involved with the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy?
CW: I grew up on a country road in Falconer, N.Y., a rural town outside of Jamestown. The end of the road was dirt, but I was raised on the fancy paved part! I had a plethora of green space around my home. I spent the better part of my childhood exploring the woods, building forts and catching salamanders. I still enjoy the woods, can still make a mean fort, but the salamanders are now safe on my watch! Fast-forward many years and I now help the parks manage their risk through insurance products. After developing a relationship with the staff, they asked if I would want to help them plan the Olmsted Open. I was later recruited to co-chair the luncheon. I am lucky to have such great partners at the parks, my co-chair Janis, and our entire committee. I am proud to represent the parks!
“I have clocked hours and hours at Delaware Park. Once I moved to Buffalo, it became a sanctuary spot for me. It felt a bit like home.” – Christine Wiktor
JD: I have lived in the Western New York area my whole life and I have many fond memories growing up and visiting many of the Buffalo Olmsted Parks through the years. I have a very dear friend, Judy Dean, who has been involved with the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy for some time now and she suggested I attend a meeting and I became a believer. I believe in the mission of the Conservancy and the importance of preserving Olmsted’s legacy in our city.
bFLO Times: When someone asks, ‘Why do you volunteer for the Conservancy?’ what do you say?
CW: I have clocked hours and hours at Delaware Park. Once I moved to Buffalo it became a sanctuary spot for me. It felt a bit like home.
JD: I believe it’s important to preserve and protect the legacy that Frederick Law Olmsted bestowed our area. The design of our parks, our parkways and our circles enriches our community and we are so lucky to have this wonderful piece of history in our own backyards.
bFLO Times: What can you tell our readers about the purpose and goals of the upcoming Spring into Summer fundraising luncheon?
CW: People from all walks of life are welcome on the Olmsted landscapes. All in one day you could potentially have a hole in one, slam dunk, goal, personal best running time, or maybe even a home run in kickball — and this doesn’t even cover it all! The joy and freedom the parks give our community can’t be taken for granted. Our luncheon will help raise much needed funds to maintain the integrity of our beloved parks.
JD: The Spring into Summer fundraising luncheon is a perfect way to have the community come together and support the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy. As we Spring into Summer, our park season begins and the luncheon is a great way to kick off one of the busiest times in our parks. The idea of the luncheon was to have some fun, encouraging fun summer hats and festive bow ties as a throwback to represent the history of years gone by in the parks. Essentially we are asking the community to come together to support and celebrate the fact that we have 850 acres of beautiful Olmsted landscapes in the City of Buffalo to maintain.
bFLO Times: The theme of this year’s luncheon is, “What do your Olmsted Parks give you?” What do they give you?
CW: I have learned patience from a few errant golf balls. I have learned perseverance from that darn hill on the back side of Delaware Park. I have learned grace when passed on a run. I have watched sports teams win. I have watched them lose. I see families smile. I see friends laugh. I have met cute and quirky dogs. I have swapped stories with friends and strangers that felt like friends. The parks have made me a better person. They make Buffalo a better city.
“I believe in the mission of the Conservancy and the importance of preserving Olmsted’s legacy in our city.” – Janis Dunworth
JD: My Olmsted Parks give me a sense of joy, relaxation and beauty and an understanding of how valuable this historic gem is to our city.
bFLO Times: Do you have a favorite Olmsted park, parkway or landscaped circle, and why?
CW: Delaware Park will always have a special place in my heart. I was lucky to have it right in my backyard for 10 plus years.
JD: I have several favorite Olmsted landmarks that have history to me and my family. Gates Circle, a place where my dad sailed his first sailboat in the fountain back in the 1930’s; MLK Park where I learned how to ice-skate; Delaware Park, where I have watched Shakespeare in the Park, walked the ring and played golf; and Cazenovia Park, where I watched my husband play baseball for many years. All gems and all of them in our own backyard!
For complete Spring into Summer Luncheon details, click here
What’s Happening at Olmsted?
Self-guided Mobile Audio Tour of Delaware Park, presented by M&T Bank
13 mobile audio tour signs, and tour maps, were placed throughout Delaware Park last week. We invite our park users to learn all about our award-winning Delaware Park by listening to the historic points of interest from their mobile device. Preview the audio tour map here.
NEW Self-Guided Mobile Audio Tour of the Japanese Garden in Delaware Park,
presented by Wegmans
We unveiled our second mobile audio tour at the Cherry Blossom Festival press conference on Saturday, April 30. Visitors can enjoy the serene setting, learn about the history of the Japanese Garden in Delaware Park and the similarities of Olmsted’s designs. Preview the audio tour map here.
Special thanks to:
Audio narration: Linda Pellegrino
Audio production: Lemur Studios
Audio tour software: Tourwand
Audio scripts researched and written by historian and volunteer archivist: Jim Mendola
Here’s to another great season of golf for all. Courses at Cazenovia Park, Delaware Park and South Park officially opened on April 23. And back by popular demand, enjoy FootGolf, a hybrid of golf and soccer, at Delaware Park.
Featured Park: Japanese Garden in Delaware Park
The Japanese Garden is located at the western end of Delaware Park. Delaware Park was the first park in Buffalo’s masterpiece collection, which was founded in 1868. Unlike other Japanese Gardens in the nation, this garden is on public parkland and is freely accessible to all. To help promote and spread cultural awareness of the garden, the Friends of the Japanese Garden offer a wide variety of activities and special events. This beautiful garden is designed to remind people of what this space stands for: peace and friendship.
Currently in the works: Torii Gate
The torii gate was removed in 2014, having deteriorated due to harsh weather conditions. Plans to install a new one are underway and completion is expected in 2017. We want to thank the The Mentholatum Company, presenting sponsor of the 3rd Annual Cherry Blossom Festival, for their continued support of the garden.
Some fun facts:
- Two main events happen annually in support of the garden — the Cherry Blossom Festival every spring, and the Bunka no Hi Cultural Day every fall.
- In 1994, an ad hoc Friends of the Japanese Garden group was formed. With the support of Mayor Anthony Masiello, they submitted a grant proposal to Buffalo’s sister city, Kanazawa, Japan, to fund the redesign and construction of the garden landscape.
- The arched stone bridge connecting two of the islands, and a famous stone lantern with one foot out in the water, replicate a well-known feature of the Kenrokuen Garden in Kanazawa. The garden itself, completed in 1974, is a gesture of sisterhood between Buffalo and Kanazawa, Japan. Source: http://buffaloah.com/a/notting/25/jap/jap.html
Happy Birthday to Frederick Law Olmsted (April 26, 1822 – August 28, 1903)
“His legacy endures in the 6,000 landscapes he, Calvert Vaux and [Olmsted’s] sons designed across the United States and Canada. It endures as well in Buffalo, where Olmsted’s first attempt to create a city within a park, a concept later repeated in Boston and elsewhere, still shapes the city he … called ‘The Best Planned in America.’”
– Quoted from Frederick Law Olmsted: Designing Western New York
Thank you for giving us the first urban park system in the country 148 years ago. Your masterpiece is for us to treasure forever and ever.
Olmsted Angels: Our Buffalo Cherry Blossom Festival co-chairs
It is our pleasure to introduce Trudy Stern (TS), Paula Hinz (PH) and Atsuko Nishida-Mitchell (ANM), Friends of the Japanese Garden, co-chairs of the Cherry Blossom Festival and our Olmsted Angels! Click here for the complete Cherry Blossom Festival schedule of events.
All net proceeds raised from this festival will benefit the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy.
bFLO Times: Can you tell us a little bit about your background and the Friends of the Japanese Garden?
TS: I am a gardener and a former tea seller in Buffalo. Through our love of Japanese tea Paula, Atsuko and I became friends. A mutual friend, and Olmsted volunteer, left Buffalo and corralled Atsuko and me to “watch out for the Japanese Garden,” which we have done as the Friends of the Japanese Garden in Delaware Park. The Friends organized the first ever Buffalo Cherry Blossom Festival in 2014.
“I was born in Kanazawa, Japan. Kanazawa is a sister city of Buffalo and has a famous garden, Kenrokuen, which I walked through almost every day when I was a high school student. Now I have the garden in Delaware Park here in Buffalo.” – Atsuko Nishida-Mitchell
ANM: I was born in Kanazawa, Japan. Kanazawa is a sister city of Buffalo and has a famous garden, Kenrokuen, which I walked through almost every day when I was a high school student. Now I have the garden in Delaware Park here in Buffalo. I am a Japanese tea ceremony instructor, a Darwin Martin House docent, an Explore Buffalo volunteer, and a Niagara Falls tour guide. The Friends of the Japanese Garden was founded 10 years ago. Trudy will probably tell you the story. I met Trudy through tea and I met Paula through tea, too. So our friendship began with tea and has continued.
PH: I’m a Buffalo boomeranger. My roots are in Western New York. As a young adult, I packed my trunk and branched out to see the world. I’ve lived as far away as Japan, Germany, Nigeria and Botswana, and as close as Ohio. My husband and I brought our three children back to Western New York to enjoy good weather, schools, and friends. The Japanese Garden is a place that we like to stroll through, and admire the scenery.
bFLO Times: What is the Buffalo Cherry Blossom Festival and what can visitors expect this year?
TS: The annual Buffalo Cherry Blossom Festival is a week-long celebration of earliest spring in Western New York. We organize performers, tea ceremonies, boat rides and other programs to bring attention to the fabulous Japanese Garden, which was a gift from Buffalo’s sister city, Kanazawa, Japan. The blossoming cherries are the stars.
PH: The Cherry Blossom Festival is really a reminder of the seasonal fruits of a well-planned garden — so many cherry trees blooming at one time, stone lanterns, a statue of Lincoln and the reflection onto Mirror Lake. Four years ago during a cherry blossom viewing picnic, we looked around and noticed we were a pretty lonely party of picnickers. We knew that if more people knew about this springtime treasure, more people would be right here with us! That was the seed for the idea of a Cherry Blossom Festival. Last year, in its second year, we had thousands of people at the Japanese Garden, taking photos and enjoying music. It’s a dream come true to see so many people enjoying this gift from our sister city, Kanazawa, Japan.
bFLO Times: We think we know, but do you have a favorite Olmsted park, parkway, circle … or garden … and why?
TS: The dream of a restored Scajaquada Parkway is my favorite idea. This city is the beneficiary of Fredrick Law Olmsted’s plan to bring green space and dignity to all neighborhoods in Buffalo. The Olmsted plan is re-emerging with the city’s revival. I’d like to see continued planting of blossoming cherries throughout the parkways, and especially the restored Scajaquada Parkway.
ANM: My favorite parkway is Bidwell Parkway because there are so many interactions between people and people, and people and arts.
PH: The Japanese Garden of course! I love how the four seasons dance through the gardens. I feel like I’m channeling Claude Monet each time I pull my camera out and start capturing the garden with its changing light and seasons.
bFLO Times: You give so much to support the Japanese Garden in Delaware Park. What does the Japanese Garden give you?
TS: The Japanese Garden gives me six acres of peaceful space in the heart of the city. Since I work across Elmwood Avenue (at Buffalo State College), I pass the garden at least twice a day and stop often, just to be quiet. Since we have been actively volunteering to benefit the Japanese Garden, we have met friends who share our dedication to harmony and beauty in Buffalo represented by the Japanese Garden of Buffalo.
“The Japanese Garden gives me six acres of peaceful space in the heart of the city … I pass the garden at least twice a day and stop often, just to be quiet.” – Trudy Stern
ANM: The Japanese Garden in Delaware Park looks like my hometown garden. So I have two favorite gardens. The Japanese Garden in Delaware Park gives me friendship, growth and peace.
PH: For me, what makes a place memorable is always the people. When I lived in Japan, I was always treated warmly. The people I met helped to shape the person I am today. Volunteering in the Japanese Garden is my way of continuing that connection and sharing all the good that came my way from Japan.
“The Japanese Garden in Delaware Park should be number one on Facebook, with everyone taking pictures — it seems like everyone who got a camera at Christmas is here.”
– Abi Echevarria, Conservancy’s Foreman of the Japanese Garden
Earth Day 2016
From a composting demonstration in Cazenovia Park to sharing the emerald ash borer situation at the Buffalo Enviro-Fair, Earth Day 2016 was a busy one for the Conservancy. Thank you all who came down to show your support.
Special thanks to Buffalo Niagara Riverkeepers and all the volunteers who helped clean up Cazenovia Creek, South Park Lake, Hoyt Lake and other shorelines throughout Western New York.
To view more photos of Earth Day, click here.
April is the Month of the Tree
Did you know that ash trees make up approximately 12% of our Olmsted Park System? Our forestry team has identified 110 ash trees that must be saved from emerald ash borer* this year. With your help, and a donation in any amount, we can save these endangered trees. Please click here and donate today.
To learn more about ash trees and the emerald ash borer, click here.
Thank You for Loving Your Olmsted Parks
The parks are for everyone to enjoy, please continue to love our award-winning parks and remember to:
- Leash your dog and clean up after them too.
- Tote or take your trash.
Your support is greatly appreciated.
SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR 2016 SPONSORS
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