Urban green space across Massachusetts – and, indeed, across the country – is disappearing.
Safeguarding the open space we already have is absolutely critical to the health and well-being of our city neighborhoods. We are also witnessing the troubling trend of our children spending more time indoors in front of screens and much less time outside in the natural world. The future Allen C. Haskell Public Gardens seeks to address both of these pressing issues by creating an urban reservation – a community resource with unique programs designed to engage children in the natural world and that also capitalizes on The Trustees’ legacy of protecting and bringing to life the special places of Massachusetts.
To explore and create a shared vision for the Allen C. Haskell Public Gardens, The Trustees have engaged a wide range of organizations and individuals – including local conservation groups, garden clubs, social-service groups, educational institutions, neighborhood groups, government agencies, departments within the City of New Bedford, individual donors, foundations, and local farmers.
Our shared vision has evolved to encompass four guiding principles:
- The Haskell property is a unique landscape with beautifully designed gardens and one of the oldest homes in New Bedford. It is critical that the gardens be preserved and celebrated in order to honor the Haskell horticultural legacy, serve the community, and advance The Trustees’ mission.
- As a lifelong New Bedford resident, Allen Haskell’s legacy of excellence in one’s chosen field is powerful and relevant in a community that suffers from educational underachievement and high unemployment.
- The Trustees must bring our own legacy of exemplary stewardship combined with a commitment to engage many more people in our work of land conservation. Our care of the property will be the foundation on which the community engagement is built.
- To succeed, this project must be highly relevant to the community. In a city with a rich history (particularly in horticulture) and a population beset with numerous social issues, this new public park will provide opportunities for a wide range of programs and services to celebrate that history and to counter the social challenges.