The Humans of Hyde Park series showcases members of our community who are volunteering time and effort to make Hyde Park a cleaner, greener, more beautiful place to live, work, study, and play. Lara Saavedra is a perfect example; by taking initiative in small ways she is making a big difference in our community.
How long have you lived in Hyde Park? What do you like best about our community?
I moved to Hyde Park last fall from Watertown and I apologize to locals that I still pronounce the ‘R’ in Park (I will learn to say it right)! I lived in Denver for 12 years, and California most of my life, but my parents are from Pittsfield, MA and I have always felt a belonging to Massachusetts.
What brought me to Fairmount Hill specifically was the luxurious sized yards that you can’t find in any other part of Boston. I have two hunting-breed mutts that need to run outdoors or they’ll go stir crazy, and they don’t do well in Doggie Daycare, so a backyard was a big must for our home. The Blue Hills trails nearby are also an incredible gift to dogs and dog lovers. I love the mixture of restaurants on Fairmount Ave. and Hyde Park Ave., and am eager to try Las Vegas Seafood, which was highly recommended. My husband and I are so glad to have the Fairmount Commuter Rail Line - a reliable, quick route into South Station.
Since I moved here, I have tried to get involved with local community efforts and causes. For the last 8 years I worked in Boston as a grants manager and operations professional in the nonprofit sector and I have been looking for a new job since December. During the transition I am volunteering for Hyde Park’s Southwest Boston Community Development Corporation, and using my time and skills to research funding prospects. I’m also happy to be a member of the Keep Hyde Park Beautiful group and support their initiatives.
What efforts have you made to keep Hyde Park clean, green and beautiful?
When I walk my two dogs daily along Truman Parkway, Brush Hill Road, Summit Street, Fairmount Avenue, and any number of the Blue Hills trails, I make an effort to bring a bag and pick up trash at least once or twice a month. One time, while walking Truman Parkway, I found empty bags along the route and ended up collecting three bags full of litter! I shared this on Next Door.com and received a lot of enthusiastic support from neighbors. Whenever I come across discarded trash near the Fairmount train station, I pick it up and throw it in the barrels by the train platform. It’s unbelievably easy and takes so little time and effort to make a difference in how our community looks. I also recycle dry cleaning bags and other plastic bags at Stop & Shop’s recycle room. My dogs asked me to mention that we always pick up our dog waste while walking the neighborhood, too.
When I saw that Neponset River Watershed Association was planning a clean-up of the river banks on April 28th, I emailed the event coordinator to see if they would be willing to add a Hyde Park section to the few sites. I’m happy to say they agreed. Now we are looking for volunteers to join the effort!
What inspired you to make these efforts?
So many things. I love the film WALL-E where Earth has become uninhabitable due to trash, and I often feel like its premise is a little too close to home. It devastates me to see ugly bottles, cans and styrofoam coffee cups along the side of the road, knowing that these are harmful to wildlife and unlikely to break down for decades, or longer. Full styrofoam containers of food are the worst and I can’t understand how anyone can discard these on the road. I was raised to not even throw a banana peel on the ground. My mom, who lives on the central coast in California, picks up trash on the beach daily, and usually comes back with a big pile of it, most of which is recycled. As a matter of fact, she raised a huge fuss when I wanted to throw hydrangea petals at my beach wedding because the flower petals are not native to the area, and, therefore, litter. That is how serious she is about not disturbing nature!
Tell me a little bit about the plan for the April 28 Neponset River Clean-up. What can people expect to be doing if they sign up?
The Neponset River Watershed Association is organizing this event and they identified a number of sites in different towns along the river. I am a team leader for the Hyde Park section of the clean-up that will start near the canoe launch at the intersection of Brush Hill Road and Neponset Valley Parkway and will collect trash from Paul’s Bridge and down Truman Parkway towards the Martini Shell. Depending on the size of my team, we may go as far as Fairmount Avenue, and a few folks may pick up litter along Brush Hill Road heading toward Fairmount Hill. The clean-up will start about 9:30 a.m. and finish by 12:30 pm. Gloves and large trash bags are provided. You may need to park at the Martini Shell and walk to our site from there (less than a mile). Bring your own water, hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, and wear a colorful shirt (not black) so you are visible to cars. If you would like to join us, sign up here, and bring a friend or loved one!
Nominate yourself or someone in the community for a future Humans of Hyde Park story; nominees can remain anonymous in the story or use their first name only if they prefer: https://goo.gl/forms/qgTj1Rh8t2bSbh973
Quiana first came to Boston as a college student, graduating from Wellesley College in 2002 and returned in 2016 to live in Hyde Park with her husband and two children.