Olmsted legacy:

The legacy of Frederick Law Olmsted provides insight into conservation and revival nature within the urban-suburban fabric of daily experiences. Olmsted’s linear landscape projects along streams have protected water quality and pollinator pathways for over a century. The Emerald Necklace in Boston and Rock Creek Park in Washington D.C. offer landscape design precedence that can conserve and revive nature within 21st century neighborhoods. Park Watershed is pleased to be a partner of the Olmsted Network.

The Park River regional watershed references the Park River, which once flowed through Bushnell Park. Although Jacob Weidenmann designed Bushnell Park, Weidenmann and Olmsted shared the aspiration of conserving incorporating nature into urban experiences.

Olmsted200 exhibit:
The Olmsted200 exhibit is available for display. The exhibit describes the extraordinary historical reach of Frederick Law Olmsted. Olmsted200, distributed freely in 2022 by the National Association for Olmsted Parks, was curated by Dr. Caroline Mesrobian Hickman of the University of Maryland in conjunction with the Oak Spring Garden Foundation. Also available online: see https://olmsted200exhibit.com/ this exhibit summarizes highlights in the history of American landscape architecture, as well as the emergence of American municipal, state and national park systems.

Park Watershed and Trinity College arranged for the display within the LOB/Capitol concourse in April 2022 and 2023. A modified version of the exhibit, arranged by Barbara Yeager, with support from the Connecticut Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) was on display at the Hartford Public Library History Center (downtown) April 2022. Landscape features unique Connecticut are included as custom panels on display at Hartford Public Library History Center and in concourse between the Ct LOB and State Capitol.

The formation of large scale municipal parks, a century ago, can inspires us today to respond to the climate crisis with a new, 21st century parks movement. As Frederick Law Olmsted was well aware, urban waterways are a convergence of dynamic ecosystem benefits, which offer essential nature-based solutions that if conserved will be an asset to future generations.

Hidden Gems: Revival of the Muddy River within the Emerald Necklace
presentation recorded April 1, 2021

Emerald Necklace Conservancy guest Karen Mauney-Brodek discusses daylighting the Muddy River; and Barbara A. Yaeger of the National Association of Olmsted Parks, who summarizes the celebration of Frederick Law Olmsted’s legacy.

The Muddy River segment offers valuable connectivity between parks within Boston’s Emerald Necklace. Aspirations of Hartford native, Frederick Law Olmsted, are being fulfilled by the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, which hosts a spectrum of activities along the irregular path of the Muddy River. Revitalization of Boston’s Emerald Necklace is rooted in ambitious conservation goals of the late 19th and early 20th century.

Why now?
See FLONOW.org for Emerald Necklace Conservancy’s summary of Olmsted’s currency: healing, unity, and empowerment.

Olmsted200 is an expansion of ideas that evolved through our work New England Landscape Futures project. Community appreciation of local nature is needed for spectrum of interests. Waterways in urban-suburban neighborhoods, whether “Hogs” or “Parks” or “Muddy” or a gem within the Emerald Necklace, are a vibrant convergence of water, woodlands, floodplains, and essential habitat and migration corridors for pollinators, migratory birds, and mammals as well as aquatic species, fish, frogs, and turtles.

The New England Landscape Futures project supports future-focused discussions with citizens and professionals who are interested in the relationship between environmental conservation and culture. New England Landscape Futures (“NELF“) supported a Park Watershed partnership with Trinity College, Ct River Conservancy and Sustainable CT to explore how urban-suburban riparian corridors offer vital ecosystem service benefits that deserve increased protections. Learn more about this research through the online map:
New England Landscape Futures Explorer

Strategic and comprehensive watershed planning is needed to protect and revitalize riparian corridors along the Lower Connecticut River. Sprawling 20th century planning often overlooked the impact of upstream development on downstream riparian zones. Now is the time to explore how woodland landscape fragments along inland riparian corridors offer aquatic arteries of ecosystem connectivity and community resilience. Contiguous forests, wetlands, and floodplains along waterways serve as essential wildlife and bird habitat and migratory pathways, and also provide valuable green infrastructure ecosystem services that benefit public health and mitigate damage from unpredictable precipitation.

For more information contact: MaryP (insert “at” symbol) parkwatershed.org
our project partners:
Ct River Conservancy, Lower River Steward, Kelsey Wentling
SustainableCT, Alyssa Norwood, Program Manager, Certification & Innovation  
Trinity College, Dr. Susan Masino, Vernon Roosa Professor of Applied Science