April 22, 2019
Laura Jasinski Named ED of Charles River Conservancy

Laura Jasinski
April 13, 2018 — The Charles River Conservancy, a Cambridge-based nonprofit that was a driving force for cleaning up the Charles River, and continues to work to maintain and enhance the Charles River Parklands from the Boston Harbor to the Watertown Dam, this week announced the appointment of Laura Jasinski as its executive director.

Jasinski succeeds Renata von Tscharner, who founded the Charles River Conservancy (CRC) in 2000 and served as president since then, will retire in June.

Jasinski is an urban planner with 10 years of experience in development and activation of urban open space and community engagement. Most recently she served as associate director of the Boston Waterfront Initiative for The Trustees of Reservations, an effort to build world-class, resilient open space on the Boston Harbor.

Previously, she served as director of programs and planning for the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy where she managed several capital improvements and installations, including the design and construction of the Greenway Carousel at the Tiffany & Co. Grove, the installation of the Dewey Square Demonstration Gardens, and the monumental aerial sculpture by Janet Echelman, As If It Were Already Here. She also managed a team of six charged with facilitating over 400 free public programs per year and was responsible for earned income initiatives on the Greenway, generating more than $700,000 annually to support park operations.

Jasinski holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in architectural studies and a Master of Arts degree in urban and environmental policy and planning from Tufts University.

During von Tscharner's tenure, CRC recruited tens of thousands of volunteers to work on cleaning the Charles River, boosting its water quality from a "D"' rating in 1995 to an "A-" in 2013. In 2011, the Charles River won the Thiess International Riverprize for being one of the cleanest urban rivers in the United States.

She also spearheaded development of what is now called the Lynch Family Skatepark in Cambridge, which opened in 2015 and is now owned and maintained by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.

"The potential of the river is not fully used yet, so that’s what the conservancy will be working on — to make the river and parkland on both sides more accessible and attractive, to have places where people can sit in restaurants along the river. There are many improvements, and we’ve only just started," she was quoted in a recent Boston Globe article.

von Tscharner said she intends to remain an advocate for the parklands and Charles River, according to an interview published in Wicked Local Newton.

Since the settlement of Boston in the seventeenth century, swimming beaches were located along the Charles River in the city. However, growing awareness of pollution in the 1950s led to their closing. After years of work, CRC in 2007 hosted the first annual One Mile Swim Race. In 2013, it hosted the first Charles River Community Swim in more than half a century.

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