Dear Friends of the Blue Hills members and friends,

Now that Winterfest is behind us and spring in the Blue Hills is fast approaching, I am writing to share some exciting news with you all. It is with great pleasure that I announce the appointment of Jen Klein PhD as our new Executive Director, effective March 4th. Jen’s passion for urban green spaces, outdoor recreation, and environmental education, combined with her extensive leadership experience, make her the ideal person to bring the organization into a new era of conservation, engagement, and growth. A long time fan of the Blue Hills and an avid hiker, Jen plans to join the 125-mile club to orient herself to her new office!

Jen brings a unique background and a wealth of expertise, grounded in her upbringing in Detroit, where she developed a profound connection to nature in urban green spaces. From the Olmsted designed Belle Isle Park to the East Hancock Community Garden initiated by her grandmother, Jen’s early experiences shaped her commitment to sharing the wonders of nature with others. Her journey is a testament to the transformative impact that outdoor experiences can have on individuals, fostering ecological literacy and civic engagement.

Professionally, Jen’s impressive two-decade career spans various roles within state and county governments, municipalities, school districts, higher education, and non-profit organizations including The Trustees of the Reservation, Mass Audubon, and the Massachusetts Environmental Education Society (MEES). Most recently serving as the Director of Outdoor Experience at The Trustees, Jen has spearheaded significant growth in outdoor programming, forged crucial partnerships with organizations promoting diversity in outdoor spaces, and established innovative initiatives to reach underserved urban communities. 

Jen holds a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies, focusing on outdoor and environmental engagement within urban communities. Her dedication to improving her professional practice is reflected in her role as a faculty member at Lesley University and Johnson and Wales University, where she teaches courses in Outdoor Education, Environmental Justice, Urban Ecology Systems, and STEAM.

We are beyond excited that  Jen will join us at the Friends. Her leadership, passion, and commitment to fostering a connection between people and nature align perfectly with our organization’s mission.

I am confident that, under her guidance, Friends of the Blue Hills will continue to advocate for actions to protect and enhance the Park, and expand its efforts to engage the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts throughout greater Boston and beyond.

We are working to create opportunities during the remainder of the year for you to meet Jen. In the meantime, I encourage you to reach out and welcome her in the coming weeks. 

Before I close, I would also like to recognize Melissa Nelson, our Interim E.D., for her amazing contribution; likewise thanks to our Staff and the Board for their extra efforts during the leadership transition. 

Finally, thanks to all of you for your continued care and support for the Friends and for the park.


Matt Panucci
Board President
Friends of the Blue Hills

p.s. To read the official press release announcing Jen’s new role, click here.