Blackstone Parks Conservancy

Toward Renewal

The heart quickens at the very thought of Spring as we huddle against sharp winds and way-below freezing temperatures in early March. And here at the Blackstone Parks Conservancy (BPC), we have another reason to be thrilled: the hiring of an executive director, Amy Larkin.

When it became apparent last fall that the BPC was unable to reach enough potential supporters to better fulfill our mission of caring for the Blackstone Parks, the board voted to find a part-time executive director with marketing experience. Our first survey, which was conducted last fall, brought this need home (see abbreviated survey outcome below).

In addition to being an enthusiastic user of both Blackstone parks, where she runs and walks with her young family, Amy Larkin brims with ideas for how to convey their value to Providence residents.

As a longtime marketing director for U.S. Sailing, and from her personal experience as a proud resident of Providence, Amy knows that many users are unaware of the BPC’s role in tending these historic parks. And she has many ideas for how to recruit the volunteers we need in order to continue the popular programs of the Education Committee, not to mention the activities of the Boulevard and Park committees.

The BPC is expecting to see considerable synergy between Amy Larkin and volunteer board member Amy Zinsser as well as a new recruit to the board, Allison Bryant. All three have deep experience in marketing and membership. So you will be hearing much more about the Blackstone parks in the months to come.

Survey Results

The BPC is indebted to Amy Zinsser for designing and collating the BPC’s first-ever survey of Providence residents. Bringing her experience as a marketer familiar with statistics to the task, Amy recently analyzed the survey results and explained them to board members eager to learn about an area unfamiliar to them.

A significant sample drawn from nearly 800 residents of Providence revealed that many people would like to participate in more activities in both parks, especially the Conservation District overlooking the Seekonk River. Also of interest to the Conservancy is peoples’ interest in participating in more hands-on activities. Helping people to fulfill this desire is where the new executive director and new volunteers will come in.

Winter Duck Walk

The Blackstone Parks Conservancy has just finished its second Winter Duck Walk, another major success for the Education Committee. The Seekonk River is Florida to many diving and dabbling ducks escaping the Canadian winter. The antics of the migratory birds delighted more than 70 participants on a sunny day in the high 50’s.

Lauren Parmalee, Senior Director of Education at Audubon Society of Rhode Island, led the walk. Her sharp eyes helped the group identify 17 different species.

The group, ranging from veteran to first-time birdwatchers of all ages, shared bird books, stories, binoculars, and tips for how to spot faraway birds in the wide river. Hot chocolate and coloring books at the Narragansett Boat Club completed the outing, which exemplified the kinds of well-organized events the tiny Education Committee has been staging for more than three years now.

Jane Peterson