About Us

Our Mission

Protect the Past, Preserve the Present, Plan for the Future

The Friends of Buttonwood Park is an all-volunteer nonprofit organization that serves as stewards of Buttonwood Park, the largest and most visited public park in New Bedford, Mass. We are dedicated to protecting, preserving, and enhancing the park in the spirit of Frederick Law Olmsted, whose famed landscape architectural firm laid out the first plans for Buttonwood Park in 1895.

Our mission is to maintain a peaceful park where people can relax and escape the stresses of urban life. We focus on projects like tree plantings, gardens, and better recreational facilities that help improve the well-being of local residents who visit the park. We also support activities that preserve the park as a historic landscape.

The work of The Friends of Buttonwood Park is made possible by people like you. Because of your support, we can keep improving the park and providing you with a calm natural retreat to enjoy right here in the city.

Friends of Buttonwood Park board members

Board members for The Friends of Buttonwood Park volunteer their time to ensure that local residents have a peaceful and beautiful park to enjoy.

Our Accomplishments

Since 1986, we've made a difference to improve, protect, and maintain Buttonwood Park.

Preserving History

Preserving History

The Friends is responsible for placing the Buttonwood Park Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.

Planting Trees

Planting Trees

We’ve planted over 450 trees and shrubs, in accordance with the park’s master plan. Many of these are commemorative trees.

New Basketball Courts

New Basketball Courts

We started the Buttonwood on the Move health initiative and raised over $90,000 to help build three new basketball courts.

Getting Kids Outside

Getting Kids Outside

More than 3,500 New Bedford schoolchildren have participated in educational “Trees In Our Park” tree walks with us in the arboretum.

Creating Gardens

Creating Gardens

We created a lovely reading garden behind the Lawler Branch Library, as well as the wetlands buffer garden and the lilac garden.

Cleaning Up Trash

Cleaning Up Trash

Each May, we host a community-wide spring cleanup to rid the park of trash and teach people about the importance of a clean park.



We work together with other nonprofits and the New Bedford Parks Recreation & Beaches Department to improve the park.

Pulling Invasive Plants

Pulling Invasive Plants

We clear invasive plants and uncontrolled brush throughout the park, including at the future home of the park’s Nature Trail.

Buttonwood on the Move

We’re working to improve recreational facilities & encourage exercise in the park.

Basketball Courts

As our first Buttonwood on the Move project, we chose to restore the park’s basketball courts. These heavily used basketball courts had not been updated in 30 years. We raised more than $90,000 and built three new clean, safe basketball courts, which opened in 2014.

Nature Trail

Our next big Buttonwood on the Move project is to create a nature trail through 18 acres of woods that lie north of the pond. This area has been overgrown and neglected for years. Right now, we’re working to raise $50,000 by 2017 to develop a master plan for this trail.

Tennis Court

Tennis Courts

Down the road, we have our eyes set on restoring the tennis courts. Tennis players used to flock to Buttonwood Park, but these courts haven’t been maintained properly. They need our help so a new generation can safely play tennis in the park.

Board of Directors

The Friends of Buttonwood Park is guided by a dedicated, all-volunteer Board of Directors.

Richard Leary


Frank Farrell


Laura McLeod


Sharon Pinho

Recording Secretary

Susan Barnet

Robert Bromley

Sylvia Daley

Dan Goulart

Deborah Kelley

Dianne Logan

Lorraine Perry

Carlos Sarria

T. J. Thomas, Jr.


Every dollar goes to our park

Support the work of The Friends today! Your donation goes directly to projects that protect, improve, and maintain Buttonwood Park.

Take Action

Help us protect and improve Buttonwood Park

You can make a difference for Buttonwood Park. Become a member of The Friends, volunteer your time with us, or plant a commemorative tree at the park.