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Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy kicks off 'Olmsted-ucation Week'

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Fri, Apr 20th 2018 09:45 pm
Augmented reality wayfinding app launched; event schedule announced
The Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, the first nonprofit organization in the nation to manage and operate an entire urban park system, celebrated renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted's legacy, marking 150 years since he first visited Buffalo and forever changed the landscape of the community.
Joined Friday by dozens of dignitaries, park partners and community members, the Conservancy continued its yearlong 150th celebration with the launch of the first-ever interactive app for an Olmsted Parks System. It also announced a full schedule of events for Olmsted-ucation Week, April 21-28.
"We are very excited to reanimate Frederick Law Olmsted through our new app, which features a unique augmented reality component that will introduce Buffalonians and the world to the Quarry Garden, a lost landscape within Delaware Park," said Stephanie Crockatt, executive director of the conservancy. "Through our new app and Olmsted-ucation Week, we will inform and engage the community in celebration of the exceptional, historic Olmsted landscapes we are fortunate to have here in Buffalo. Thanks to partners like M&T Bank and the city, we will continue to be great stewards."
The app, available on both iPhone and Android, offers several different features to park users, including interactive wayfinding through 850 acres of the park system, comprised of six parks, seven parkways, eight circles and several smaller spaces; a trivia game with more than 100 questions on the past, present and future of Olmsted, the parks and their unique features within the landscape; and a calendar to keep up to date on all events in the parks, including those associated with the 150th celebration.
"It's always a good day when we celebrate our Olmsted Parks, and this morning we continue to enjoy a year-long celebration to commemorate and celebrate the legacy of Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed the nation's first urban park system in the City of Buffalo," said Mayor Byron Brown, as he highlighted the City of Buffalo's strong public-private partnership with the conservancy that was forged in 2010 to ensure these parks are enriched and well-maintained for all to enjoy. "With over $6.2 billion in new economic development activity since 2012, my administration has invested over $66 million in our parks citywide. We recognize the importance of our parks as a catalyst for future growth, and Olmsted-ucation Week, as well as this unique new app, will attract even more interest in our outstanding Olmsted Parks, keeping Buffalo's great network of parks in the global spotlight."
"M&T Bank is extremely proud to sponsor the new and cutting-edge app that will honor and support the Olmsted legacy," said Shelley Drake, Western New York regional president, M&T Bank. "Just like Olmsted and Vaux were innovators 150 years ago, by launching this one-of-a-kind app, the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy is following in their footsteps. This interactive and educational technology will truly change the way visitors experience our remarkable Olmsted Parks and put Buffalo on the map of exciting and new attractions to our region. Technology today has become an amazing 'green' tool to inform and inspire without wasting our natural resources, and we stand beside the conservancy as they embrace it to benefit Buffalo."
Olmsted-ucation Week, centered around Earth Day, Olmsted's 196th Birthday and Arbor Day, will have a full schedule of events, including:
  • April 21, 9 a.m. to noon: Volunteer Day at Delaware Park: On Earth Day, celebrate the beginning of another park season by spending a day in the dirt with the conservancy, helping prepare the park for spring
  • April 21 and 22, 11:30 am: Movie days featuring "The Lorax," based on the beloved Dr. Seuss tale about nature and the responsibility to protect it, at the North Park Theater
  • April 22, all day: 10 percent of all purchases at Western New York J. Crew stores will be donated to the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy
  • April 24, 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.: Tree Give-away by NYSDEC at Crotty Casino at Cazenovia Park, this event is first-come, first-served
  • April 26, 5-7 p.m.: Book signing at Rich's Atrium with historian Frank Kowsky, in partnership with the Library of American Landscape History, for the second edition release of "The Best Planned City in the World: Olmsted, Vaux, and the Buffalo Park System."
  • April 27, 8-10 a.m.: "Rooted in History, Growing the Future: What the Heck is an Arboretum?" Panel discussion at the Margaret L. Wendt Archives and Resource Center in Forest Lawn Cemetery, with a star-studded lineup of affiliated professionals
  • April 28: On Arbor Day, phase one for South Park Arboretum kicks off with a tree planting in honor of the South Park Arboretum Restoration Project in South Park
Ongoing events:
  • Library on Wheels bookmobile at MLK Jr. Park - Every third Saturday through Aug. 18
  • #Olmsted150 Exhibit at the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library Central Library - Explore the history of the Olmsted Park System, now through May 1
In 1868, Olmsted was invited by William Dorsheimer to design a centralized park landscape for Buffalo. However, he was so inspired by the city's radial street system and connection to the water, that Olmsted envisioned the creation of a full system of parks connected by green parkways and landscaped circles. Olmsted proclaimed Buffalo to be "the best-planned city ... in America, if not the world."
"When Olmsted came to Buffalo, he was inspired by our city and its potential. He did more than design one great park, he designed the first park and parkway system in the nation," said Kevin Kelly, president, travel hospitality of Delaware North and chairman of the 150th celebration. "We aim to recapture the authentic hometown and regional pride that originated from this groundbreaking vision through captivating and informational activities during Olmsted-ucation Week."

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