Special Projects

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The Friends of Mount Auburn is currently raising funds to support a number of the Cemetery’s special projects and initiatives. Learn more below:

David P. Barnett Fund for Horticulture and Urban Ecology
Indian Ridge Habitat Restoration
Ecological Education and Biodiversity Studies
Horticultural Collections

Monument Preservation
Washington Tower Preservation


Dave wearing a blue shirt standing next to a small beech tree on green grass

With the retirement of President & CEO Dave Barnett in September 2021, we are establishing the David P. Barnett Fund for Horticulture & Urban Ecology to honor his 28 years at Mount Auburn Cemetery.

Dave’s impact has been profound, with a long list of innovations that showcase our horticultural excellence and offer a more sustainable landscape. Likewise, Dave has always believed strongly in giving hands-on training opportunities to young people. And so, it will be a fitting tribute to his legacy for us to create a fund for training and supporting emerging professionals as they embark on careers in the fields he loves.

The Barnett Fund will provide stipends for talented young women and men to receive hands-on training in horticulture, urban ecology, and climate action/sustainability work from senior Mount Auburn staff, as well as opportunities for research, travel, and professional development. The long-term goal is to train a new generation of leaders in these sectors.

Help us honor Dave’s legacy here at Mount Auburn by donating to the Barnett Fund.

Learn more about Dave Barnett’s retirement >>
Support the Barnett Fund >>


Man kneeling on ground planting new plants in bare earth

Already beloved by birdwatchers and history enthusiasts alike, Indian Ridge is being raised to new levels in our latest habitat project.

After years of planning, Mount Auburn has undertaken a three-year project to restore the landscape along Indian Ridge, one of our oldest and most iconic areas. With more than 15,000 new plants, the project will improve wildlife habitat and biological diversity, replace invasive plants with native ones, and enhance the beauty of the site for visitors. Indian Ridge will also connect with other areas in our landscape that we have already restored to bring us closer to our long-term goal of creating a contiguous wildlife corridor across the Cemetery.

Please help us make our vision for Indian Ridge a reality! Your gift will support the costs of these new plantings, plus special care in the critical early years to ensure that the landscape is established.

Learn more about Indian Ridge >>
Support the Indian Ridge Habitat Restoration >>


Citizen Science training

Birds, reptiles, amphibians, mammals, pollinators, and more – have you spotted any of these at Mount Auburn?

Mount Auburn’s 175 acres of green space make it an important wildlife refuge in the densely built-up Boston area. Today, the Cemetery has become a living laboratory for scientists studying how best to support and improve the habitat for a variety of species in this urban ecosystem, as well as reintroducing several native amphibian and reptile populations.

We also offer educational opportunities for community members of all ages to learn more about biodiversity and get involved in our habitat work through our Citizen Science Naturalist Program.

Please support our ecology education programs and help make our urban refuge a thriving habitat for this incredible diversity of wildlife. Your gift will fund the consulting scientists and educators who study our habitat and lead our Citizen Science Naturalist program.

Learn more about our wildlife >>
Support our Ecological Education and Biodiversity Studies >>


Mount Auburn has a long history of inspiring art and creativity, ever since it was founded in the early nineteenth century.

Since 2014, our two-year Artist-in-Residence program has supported the creation of new work by a contemporary artist inspired by their in-depth experience at Mount Auburn. This continues a long tradition of visitors experiencing our landscape as an outdoor museum and place for inspiration, as well as a place of burial.

In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have temporarily restructured the program for 2021 to offer a small group of grants to local artists to produce work inspired by Mount Auburn. Our participating artists are visual artists Zhonghe (Elena) Li and Ponnapa Prakkamakul, book artist/designer/publisher Ben Denzer, choreographer and dancer Jennifer Lin, and singer-songwriter Todd Thibaud.

Join us in supporting our creative community in new ways this year by making a gift to our Artist-in-Residence program.

Learn more about our Artist-in-Residence Program >>
Support our Artist-in-Residence Program >>


Flowers in front of monument

Since its founding in 1831 by the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, Mount Auburn has been maintained with the highest regard for horticultural excellence. Today, our landscape is an accredited arboretum and botanical garden, featuring a nationally-significant collection of more than 5,000 trees and 10,000 shrubs and groundcover plants. With specialized gardens showcasing a diverse array of plants, our 175 acres are also as much a study of landscape design.

Help our staff care for this world-class collection and keep it beautiful for everyone who visits. Your support also makes possible all of the behind-the-scenes research, cataloging, plant cultivation, and design work that allows us to expand the collection across the Cemetery.

Learn more about our horticultural collections >>
Support our horticultural collections >>


Man in yellow hat repairs white marble monument topped with delicate flower sculptureWhen you walk around Mount Auburn, you are surrounded by the evolving history of funerary art.

Our diverse collection of monuments from the early nineteenth century through today is the reason for so much of our landscape’s beauty, educational value, and historical significance.

By nature of being located outdoors, many of these monuments now require an extra level of care and maintenance to protect them after years of exposure to the elements.

Your support helps our preservation staff care for this fragile and unique collection. Donations also make it possible for us to work with sculptor conservators to preserve some of our most significant monuments.

Learn more about recent preservation highlights >>
Support our monument preservation work >>


Washington Tower

If there’s one spot people are most likely to remember about Mount Auburn, it’s Washington Tower. At 62-feet tall, the Tower provides a spectacular view of the Boston skyline, and has been one of the most beloved features in our landscape ever since it was built in 1854.

Today, the Tower is in need of preservation. If we want to guarantee that we can keep it open to the public for another century, it will require major work in the coming years.

Thanks to generous support from grants and individual gifts, we were able to complete a preservation assessment of the Tower in 2020. We now have a complete assessment, options for repair and improvements, and estimated budgets to support planning for restoration of this iconic structure.

Further planning will be needed over the next few years before the full preservation can begin. But already, the 2020 assessment has shown that there is significant work to be done on the Tower’s masonry. Fortunately, its large blocks of Quincy granite are extremely durable. However, as water has worked its way into the walls from upward-facing joints at the top of the Tower, the stones have shifted – creating opportunities for water to get in. Stopping this cycle of deterioration will require dismantling the top quarter of the Tower and rebuilding it using the existing granite. Additionally, the wood tracery windows will be repaired or reconstructed, new lighting installed, and safety improvements made to the stair rail. Finally, the architect presented potential plans for increasing the accessibility of the site, including a graded path and handicap parking along the road. Stay tuned for more updates on the launch of this multi-year preservation initiative!

Learn more about Washington Tower >>
Support the preservation of Washington Tower >>

For further information, please contact:

Jenny Gilbert, Interim Vice President of Institutional Advancement


Support one of Mount Auburn’s current special projects using the form below.

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