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14th Annual FLO Gala | Meet Greg Robinson | South Park | Park Topics & Projects

By September 18, 2016September 22nd, 2016No Comments

bFLO Times: 14th Annual FLO Gala Special Edition

bFLO Times_FLO Gala Header

On a picture perfect Friday night last week, the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy held its 14th Annual FLO Gala at our majestic South Park. The event honored ten important park stewards with the distinguished Frederick Law Olmsted Award. These stewards were key contributors to our 2006 ReLeaf campaign following the October Surprise Storm. Through their commitment, along with hundreds of individual donors, we have been able to replenish nearly 5,000 trees in the last ten years. This is a tremendous accomplishment, and we are so grateful to those who have helped us in this ReLeaf effort. Whether it is snow and ice, or invasive insects and drought, we need help for our urban forests. Please remember this when making charitable contributions throughout the year — your assistance makes an immediate difference for the Olmsted parks.

As summer begins to slowly turn to autumn, we will be reminded of the splendor of nature, trees and birds with many colors, sights and sounds. A feasibility study for the proposed South Park Arboretum is in the making, and we will be offering an open air bus tour of South Park and the Arboretum area on September 23. If you are interested, please contact the Conservancy office (or refer below at “What’s Happening at Olmsted?” for more details). In the meantime, continue to enjoy your Olmsted parks, all 850 acres! We hope you will take the time as the seasons change to consider all your parks do to enhance our quality of life. Thank you for helping us make a difference for Buffalo.

Yours sincerely,

Stephanie Crockatt
Executive Director

Highlight of the quarter: 14th Annual FLO Gala, “A Park is a Work of Art”

The theme of this year’s gala, Celebrating the Year of the Tree, was in conjunction with the ten-year anniversary of the October Storm of 2006. In less than 24 hours, 90% of our tree canopy was damaged or destroyed. The aftermath was shocking and severe, and we remember mourning the loss. The Olmsted parks, parkways and circles were significantly scarred.

We were privileged to have Congressman Brian Higgins as our honorary chair. A South Buffalo native, Congressman Higgins is a sixth term member of the United States House of Representatives serving New York’s 26th Congressional District. In his message, Higgins wrote, “The Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy and the many volunteers that contribute to the preservation, care and maintenance of our Frederick Law Olmsted Park System should be commended for their steadfast commitment to our parks. Looking back at the ten years that have passed since the October 12, 2006, surprise winter storm that took such a toll on our city, it is the dedication of generous community members that has restored much of the damage to our beloved parks and green spaces.”

Download a PDF of the program book here or read on to find out more about the key moments of the evening. 


  • Congratulations to our FLO Award recipients, the top ReLeaf stewards of the 2006 October Storm. The FLO Award recipients are Clement & Karen Arrison Family Charitable Foundation, Peter C. Cornell Trust, Davis Family Foundation, HSBC Bank USA, M&T Bank, Lisa & Ted Pierce, Re-Tree WNY, The Buffalo News, Corinne & Victor Rice, The Western New York Foundation and The Cameron & Jane Baird Foundation. Click here to learn more about each award recipient.

    FLO Gala 2016 Honorees

  • Our award video. Once again, Lemur Studios filmed and produced a video that touched all of our hearts. Thank you, Jordan and team!

  • A NEW way to give — Text to Give!

At the FLO Gala, we launched a brand new way for YOU to give back to the parks! Via your mobile device, you can now text your gift to the Conservancy and help us keep our Buffalo Olmsted Park System beautiful. Simply follow these two steps:
1. Via your mobile device, text to 56512
2. Enter your message: BOPC <sp> pledge amount <sp> your name (E.g. BOPC 100 John Doe)

From now till November 1, 2016, text your donation (minimum $10) and have a chance to win a BOPC package that includes a BOPC baseball cap, a set of exclusive Buffalo Olmsted Parks note cards and a signed copy of The Best Planned City in the World: Olmsted, Vaux, and the Buffalo Park System by Francis Kowsky.


Hint: The more times you donate, the higher your chances of winning this attractive giveaway!

The winner will be selected at random. For every donation you make, your name will be entered into the drawing once. 


Presenting Sponsor:
Chase Bank

6, 7, 8 Club Sponsors:
BlueCross BlueShield of WNY | Delaware North | HSBC Bank USAM&T Bank | Rich Products | Wegmans 

Partner with the Parks (Platinum): 

Partner with the Parks (Gold): 
Hodgson Russ LLP | Phillips Lytle LLP

Media Sponsor:
The Buffalo News

Linda Pellegrino, host of AM Buffalo

Click here to view our in-kind, silent and live auction supporters who made the gala possible.

Meet Greg Robinson, Director of Park Administration, Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy

Meet Greg Robinson, director of park administration for the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy. Greg was recently named one of the 40 Under 40 honorees by Business First, and will be honored this November.


Staff Appreciation Picnic, 2015

bFLO Times:  Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you became involved with the Conservancy?
GR: With a degree in landscape architecture and becoming registered in the State of New York to practice landscape architecture, coming to work for a renowned organization whose mission is to promote, preserve, restore, enhance and ensure the maintenance of Frederick Law Olmsted’s masterpiece is a dream opportunity and I feel very fortunate to be part of such an amazing organization.

bFLO Times:  What are the roles and responsibilities of the park administrator for the Conservancy?
GR: There are many different aspects to the position and each of them presents some unique challenges that have helped me learn and grow as a professional in this community. I am responsible for overseeing the business aspects of operating the park system, including its policies, procedures and budgets. I manage the Conservancy’s capital improvement projects from grant applications through design, construction and grant fulfillment. I oversee and manage the Conservancy’s Design Review Committee and Safety Committee. All of these involve a number of responsibilities and ensure that there is never a dull day.

Greg Robinson shares about ash trees crisis alongside Sen Schumer & Andy Rabb

Greg Robinson shares about ash trees crisis alongside Sen Schumer & Andy Rabb

bFLO Times: What makes the Conservancy unique and what does the public need to know about the organization?
GR: I think the biggest thing that the public needs to know is just how much the Conservancy is able to do with the resources that it has available. The staff at the Conservancy is so talented, hard working, dedicated and passionate, from our executive director throughout the organization to our seasonal workforce. They love their jobs and care about the park landscapes, and it shows.

bFLO Times:  Since you joined the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy seven years ago, what would be a few career highlights?
GR: Some of the most noticeable highlights are the many park restoration projects over the years. We have been able to accomplish some pretty amazing things throughout the system. In Cazenovia Park, the current work restoring the Casino and Shelter buildings (see Park Topics Today to learn more), shoreline restoration efforts along Cazenovia Creek and the many volunteer tree plantings to reforest the park; South Park’s work to restore the bog garden and the lost traffic circle near the golf course clubhouse; MLK Jr. Park’s work at the basin and the greenhouse and the planting of more than 350 trees last fall and this spring; Delaware Park’s work restoring the pathways at Hoyt Lake, and gateway enhancements at the Delaware Park Terrace and Point of the Meadow; restoring a lost Olmsted landscape at River Rock Gardens in Riverside Park and improving the Crowley Shelter building and playground; Front Park Terrace and gateway enhancements including renovating the shelter building and installing a new playground.


Delaware Park, the view from outside the Parkside Lodge

bFLO Times:  What do the Olmsted parks give you?
GR: The parks and my job have given me the opportunity to meet, work with, and learn from amazing and talented people. Every day I get to work with a dedicated Olmsted staff. I get to learn from the passionate community leaders on our board of trustees. I get to work with various community groups to enhance their local parks. I get to work with our partners at the city. And the icing on the cake is that no matter how challenging a day may be, I can glance out my window and overlook Delaware Park’s meadow.

bFLO Times: Do you have a favorite Olmsted park, parkway or circle, and why?
GR: What I do have is my favorite feeling that can be experienced at so many great locations throughout the Olmsted Park System. It is the feeling of a connection with the natural environment that I get when I look around and all of the sights and sounds of the city just disappear and I feel immersed in nature.

What’s Happening at Olmsted?


Map of South Park_Courtesy of NPS/FLO NHS

Frederick Law Olmsted & John Charles Olmsted, Plan of South Park, c. 1888 (Courtesy of the National Park Service/Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site)

With a feasibility study for the proposed South Park Arboretum in the making, the Conservancy is offering an open air bus tour of South Park and the Aboretum this Friday evening.
Date: September 23, 2016
Meeting time: 5:30 pm
Venue: Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens, 2655 South Park Ave, Buffalo, NY 14218
Limited spaces available. Please contact Patty at 716-838-1249, ext. 10 or email to sign up and/or inquire more information.


WestSideBikeTour-SocialNEW! Thanks to Rich Products, friends of Olmsted can learn all about Front Park, Prospect Park, the circles along Richmond Avenue and more with the West Side mobile audio tour. Guided bike tours, approximately seven miles long, will be offered on Saturday, September 24. Tickets are $5.00 for Conservancy members, $10.00 for non-members, and can be purchased online here. For more information, contact Ciara Clemons at or call 716-838-1249 ext. 11.


  • Olmsted’s West Side, presented by Rich Products (COMING SOON!). Discover 11 points of interest around Olmsted’s West Side, from Front Park to the Richardson Olmsted Complex and the Jesse Kregal Trail. This self-guided mobile audio tour is expected to launch in mid-September. Stay tuned!
  • Japanese Garden in Delaware Park, presented by WegmansThe Japanese Garden in Delaware Park is a popular venue for informal and passive occasions, inspiring contemplative thought and reflection. The garden’s tranquil, flowing natural design makes it a desirable space to relax. It is one of the most photographed specialty gardens in the Olmsted Park System. The next time you visit the garden, put down your cameras and experience the self-guided mobile audio tour. You may be surprised to learn about the garden’s rich history amidst its elegance and serenity. Download the tour map.
  • Delaware Park, presented by M&T BankOne of Olmsted’s first three parks in Buffalo, Delaware Park is the focal point of the Olmsted Park System and today contains many of Buffalo’s cultural institutions. Named simply The Park by Olmsted, this 350-acre setting serves as Buffalo’s “Central Park.Download the tour map.


24th Annual United Way Day of Caring | Delaware Park | August 17, 2016

On August 17, more than 200 HSBC Bank USA employees participated in the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County’s Annual Day of Caring. This is also Olmsted’s largest volunteer event of the year. From beautifying the Ivy Bridge to ringing newly planted trees, adding plants to flower beds, removing invasive species and extending the historic bridle path, we thank all of our volunteers for the time and effort you devoted to our Olmsted Parks.

Featured Park: South Park

South Park

In early 1893, Frederick Law Olmsted provided the Buffalo Board of Park Commissioners with a design of South Park. It was intended to complement the new Cazenovia Park to its northeast and be connected with it by South Side (now McKinley) and Red Jacket Parkways. Both South Park and Cazenovia Park were also meant to be more convenient for the increasing number of South Buffalo residents who lived a significant distance away from the northern parks, such as Delaware Park and MLK Jr. Park, which had already been constructed.

In 1894, the revised Olmsted Plan of South Park was designed to include an arboretum with more than 2,300 types of trees, shrubs and plant life, and room for a large conservatory building that is today home to the Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens.


  • Historians believe that South Park Lake is one of the best examples of an existing Olmsted urban park feature
    South Park Lake_Spring 2016

    South Park Lake

  • Olmsted and Vaux anticipated that their park system would eventually be extended to benefit the southern part of the city, where most of the working-class population lived. In 1887, Olmsted proposed to build a parkway leading south from The Parade to South Park via Fillmore Avenue (named after Millard Fillmore, a resident of Buffalo who was also the 13th president of the United States).
  • The Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy has issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to assess and award an RFP for the development of a feasibility study for the restoration and management of the South Park Arboretum. Restoration of this historic feature provides a rare opportunity to consider the realization of one of Olmsted’s largest arboretum designs.(Information adapted from and the Buffalo Olmsted Park System Map & Guide)

Park Topics Today

Goal of project: To renovate and restore the Shelter House, provide handicap-accessible restroom facilities and offer an accessible entrance to the building. New replacement window sash and doors will restore the historic appearance of the shelter, as will the new roof which will be a replica of the original red slate roof. The exterior wood trim will be painted to match the colors of the original paint scheme.

Caz Bathroom shelter

Left: Historic photo of Cazenovia Park’s bathroom shelter / Right: Current photo of Cazenovia Park’s bathroom shelter

Background: The shelter house was built in 1902 and designed by Green & Wicks, perhaps the most well-known architectural firm of that time. Green & Wicks had just completed the Marcy Casino in Delaware Park for the Pan American Exposition and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery was under construction.

Duration of project: The construction period has begun and is scheduled to be completed within four months, with an aim to wrap up before winter.

Earlier this month, the Conservancy released An Executive Summary to the Marcy Casino Report, a comprehensive report that reviews the entire process, input, feedback, ideas and related history of the facility and parties to operation. Click here to learn more.

On June 6, 2016, we were honored to have Senator Charles E. Schumer with us at Delaware Park to share his stand on the ash tree crisis throughout Western New York and his plans to combat the emerald ash borers. Read the official press release here.

Read the Conservancy’s position statement here.

Earlier this year, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced more than $112 million for major transportation projects in Western New York, of which $30 million will be allocated to the Scajaquada Expressway and $6 million for environmental and design assessment along the Kensington Expressway. Read the full press release.

The Conservancy’s board of trustees is scheduled to review this proposal in late September 2016.

Thanks for loving your Olmsted Parks


Location: Delaware Park. Photo by Lisa Heffle


Location: Cazenovia Park. Photo by Katy O’Reilly



Location: Delaware Park. Photo by Mallory Arndt

The parks are for everyone to enjoy, please continue to love our award-winning parks and remember to:

  • Leash your dog and clean up after them too.
  • Tote or take your trash.

Your support is greatly appreciated.


Olmsted’s masterpiece is yours to treasure. 60% of our funding comes from you.
Please show your support by becoming a volunteer, a member, or by making donation to the Conservancy today!
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The Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy (BOPC), is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, membership-based, community organization that promotes, preserves, protects, restores, enhances and manages the maintenance of Olmsted parks, parkways and circles in the greater Buffalo area for current and future generations.

Special Thanks to Our 2016 Sponsors


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