About the Friends
The Friends of the Blue Hills (FBH) is a 1,000-member non-profit organization devoted to preserving and protecting the Blue Hills Reservation’s natural beauty, diverse natural habitats and many recreational opportunities.
The Friends of the Blue Hills was formed in the mid-1970s by a group of people that recognized the vulnerability of the Reservation. For over 40 years, FBH has engaged the public in activities that protect the park by preventing encroachments, increasing park resources and improving park management. FBH’s mission has remained intact for over 35 years: to protect and preserve the Blue Hills Reservation in its natural state. To accomplish this mission FBH acts to:
- Advocate for actions that will enhance the Reservation and serve as watchdog of activities that might adversely affect it.
- Guide enthusiasts in exploring the nearby remoteness of the Blue Hills Reservation through educational, historical, and nature hikes.
- Encourage involvement in the protection and preservation of the Reservation by all users.
- Work with the MA Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to maintain the quality of the Reservation and provide public input for its management.
Vision and Values
The foundation for all of our effort is based on our shared love for the Blue Hills Reservation, and our concern about maintaining healthy forests, beautiful views and wonderful opportunities for visitors today and for generations to come.
We have articulated our core values as follows:
We value an ecologically healthy Blue Hills Reservation. We want generations to enjoy its healthy forests and waterways, its natural vistas and its open and easy access.
We further refined our values as follows:
Our primary values:
- We value healthy, natural ecology.
- We value the entire Reservation as a gift to us and to future generations.
Our secondary values:
- We value visitors’ ability to enjoy the natural beauty and striking natural vistas of the Reservation.
- We value open and easy access to the Reservation.
- We value passive and active recreation and the infrastructure to support these activities.
Our shared vision reflects these values:
Current and future generations will enjoy, value, and preserve the Blue Hills Reservation. The Reservation’s diverse, healthy ecosystems will intrigue visitors, its scenic vistas will provide serenity, its well-maintained infrastructure will allow for easy access. Visitors will explore the Reservation, feel a sense of ownership of our natural inheritance and be willing to work to protect it.
Photo credit (left): Mark Milliken (Braintree)
(Right, top): Rick Marsters (Weymouth)
2020 Strategic Plan
As the Friends of the Blue Hills celebrated our 40th anniversary in 2019, we developed a strategic plan to ensure that the Blue Hills’ land and resources are here for future generations to enjoy, with the understanding that we can only accomplish this goal with the participation of those around us. Whether through membership, volunteerism, partnership or simply respectful use of the park, every individual in our region has a potential role to play in our continued success. We enter our forty-first year invigorated by the opportunity to more fully engage with the broader community in pursuit of a stronger, more sustainable legacy for the Blue Hills.
Photo left: Ashley Caparella (Canton)
Principles of Diversity
The Friends of the Blue Hills strives to consciously create an environment of respect, acceptance, and inclusion and to support ethnic, racial, religious, ability, and socio-economic diversity among all the organization’s constituencies. The organization affirms and values:
- Belief in the dignity and humanity of every person and a commitment to understanding individual and group differences.
- Generosity of spirit, thinking beyond one’s immediate self-interest and sharing talents freely with others.
- Fostering diverse viewpoints.
- Openness to new ideas and rejection of stereotypical thinking.
- Honesty, kindness, integrity, courage, humor, and empathy.
FBH is committed to recognizing the importance of communication and to encouraging dialogue among all constituencies; and to recognizing and responding to individual and institutional prejudices, both overt and subtle, based on gender, race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, and physical and mental ability.
The Friends of the Blue Hills is:
- Working internally and externally to consciously create an environment of respect and inclusion through diversity efforts
- Striving for ethnic, racial, religious, ability, and socio-economic diversity among all the constituencies of the organization
- Striving to increase awareness, build mutually rewarding relationships and foster collaboration with a broad range of business, community, and political leaders and other individuals from diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences
- Offering a variety of programs to include the wider community
Aware of the complexity of diversity issues, the Friends of the Blue Hills acknowledges a continuing need to evaluate and revise its diversity efforts. This process is critical to remaining relevant and developing sustainable solutions to our most pressing problems facing the Blue Hills Reservation. With a work plan in place stemming from our Strategic Planning Board Retreat in September 2019, we will move forward apace.
Photo credit: Laurene Ellis (Brockton)
Climate Action Plan
Climate change is the greatest crisis of our time, and the Blue Hills Reservation is at risk if the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and Friends of the Blue Hills (FBH) don’t find ways to protect it. Friends of the Blue Hills recognizes that urgent and bold action, in partnership with others, will create meaningful individual, community-level, and systems change in the effort to keep the Blue Hills healthy and vibrant.
Our Climate Action Plan provides a concrete road map to reduce our carbon footprint while maintaining a healthy landscape for people and wildlife. It will also support the Commonwealth’s efforts to reduce emissions and protect land held in conservation. We hope to meet goals 1-3 by Earth Day 2021 and meet the 4th goal by Earth Day 2025.
- Build an informed and passionate constituency of all ages that will have the knowledge and agency to implement meaningful climate solutions at individual and community levels.
- Conserve and steward the Blue Hills Reservation to mitigate the effects of climate change and enhance the connection between people and nature.
- Advocate for strong climate legislation from local to state levels and ensure these policies are effectively resourced and implemented.
- Eliminate FBH’s own carbon footprint.
Build our constituency: Our aim is to engage and inspire even more people to join the movement to take action and solve our climate crisis. We’ll accomplish this by increasing and diversifying our membership and offering programming that educates people on topics of science and stewardship.
Conserve and steward: One of the most effective climate change solutions is the conservation of land. Protected land will absorb carbon and provide wildlife corridors as species migrate to more suitable climates. We will continue to maintain the trails in the Reservation and work with surrounding landowners to preserve the buffer zone around the Reservation.
Advocacy: The challenge of climate change cannot be solved by a single entity. But, through strategic partnerships and bold, committed actions that leverage our organizational strengths and those of others, we can help. We will advocate for the Reservation through relationships with local and state-level decision makers and leaders.
Carbon footprint: As an organization, FBH needs to make our own footprint as small or nonexistent as possible. We must examine our practices for Board Meetings and events to eliminate as much waste as possible.
- Purchase paper that is FSC-certified.
- Cut down on what we print. Use secure electronic copies whenever possible.
- For Board Meetings, use screens to display agendas and other data including financial reports. Consider alternating between Zoom meetings and in-person meetings to reduce gas emissions.
- Purchase biodegradable cups for both the Fall Foliage and Winter Fest events.
- Use reusable trays for Winter Fest judges.
- For Peek-a-Blue hikes, use a check-in system that uses as few sheets of paper as possible.
- Brainstorm ways to reduce snack waste for Peek-a-Blue hikes.
- Use electronic volunteer waivers for Peek-a-Blue Hikes and Trail Maintenance.
- Revisit benefits of paper newsletter currently mailed four times a year.
Friends of the Blue Hills has already begun the work of battling climate change, but for it to succeed, we will need to be strict with our practices, adhere to our commitments, and pursue our goals with urgency.
Photo credit: Laurene Ellis (Brockton)