Charles Eliot founded The Trustees of Reservations in 1891 to benefit the public health of Boston residents by preserving and caring for natural and cultural resources in perpetuity, ensuring that residents and visitors could access the state’s shores, wetlands, forests, mountains, and other special places for respite and recreation. The Trustees is now the largest conservation organization in the Commonwealth, with 116 properties spanning thousands of acres and 75 owned miles of coastline, drawing 125,000 members and two million annual visits.
Though active throughout the state, The Trustees have deep and growing roots in Boston. With the affiliation of the Boston Natural Areas Network (BNAN) in 2008, and then merger in 2014, the organization grew its experience and involvement in preservation and expansion of open space in the city. In 1995, BNAN introduced an initiative, Greenways to Boston Harbor, which created the Neponset River Greenway and the East Boston Greenway. This effort leveraged $43 million in public funding for new parklands in the neighborhoods of Dorchester, Mattapan, Hyde Park, and East Boston. These two greenways now provide miles of walking and biking trails and almost 100 acres of parks in city neighborhoods that are underserved by open space.
Now, The Trustees seek to build on this legacy and usher in a renewed era of open space excellence in the city of Boston. The organization is focusing on the city’s dynamic waterfront, where there remains a lack of compelling public spaces, and where the decline of maritime industry, rise in redevelopment pressure, and looming threat of sea level rise create an urgent need for thoughtful planning and stewardship. If successful, The Trustees and their partners will help create waterfront areas that respond to community needs, attract visitors from around the world, benefit the region’s ecology, and increase the city’s resiliency to climate change.
The Trustees remain a vital part of the Boston Community.
Our community gardens—totaling 15 acres across eight Boston neighborhoods—are tended and cared for by local residents. These oases of green are sources of neighborhood pride that connect people and place. They turn neighbors into friends, strengthen family bonds and traditions, and inspire joy in the shared work of growing fresh, healthy, and delicious food.
Our work includes management of the KITCHEN at the Boston Public Market, a community gathering place that is restoring the craft of seasonal cooking in Massachusetts, New England, and beyond through hands-on classes and educational experiences that celebrate the farmers and artisans of this region. Partnered with the Boston Public Market, The KITCHEN embraces a whole-food approach to eating and promotes cooking as an essential cornerstone of a sustainable food system.
The Trustees Mobile Farmers Market provides a new way to get farm-fresh food out to the communities that want and need it. This innovative program on wheels helps make locally-grown food from Trustees and other Massachusetts farms available to people who live and work in Boston neighborhoods where access to healthy, fresh food can be a challenge. Our Seaport CSA brings fresh veggies to the booming Seaport area weekly, from June to October.