PHILADELPHIA – The Emerald Necklace Conservancy today named Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell the 2019 Liff Spirit Award winner. The award, given in honor of the late Boston Parks Commissioner Justine Mee Liff, honors leaders who show innovation and vision in advocating for parks and public spaces. Justine Mee Liff’s leadership and dedication encouraged a new generation of park supporters and advocates committed to the continual restoration and enhancement of Boston’s historic Olmsted-designed Emerald Necklace.

Kathryn Ott Lovell was selected as the 2019 Liff Spirit Award Winner for her work modelling how successful public-private partnership can improve public spaces and provide much needed resources to the restoration and revival of urban park networks.

Through projects such as Reimagining the Civic Commons and programs like the annual Love Your Park Week and fall service days, the Parks on Tap traveling beer garden, and The Oval+ pop-up park, Ott Lovell’s example has set a gold standard for how municipal parks departments and privately funded nonprofit organizations can work together to create world class parks and programming for the benefit of all residents. Her successes in moving forward public-private partnerships in Philadelphia embody the spirit of Justine Mee Liff, who was a true convener and unifier.

“Public spaces have incredible power to uplift individuals and transform communities,” said Commissioner Ott Lovell. “It is a true honor to be considered for an award named after Justine Mee Liff, whose work as a champion of public spaces has influenced our contemporary approach to urban parks management and preservation.”

“The Liff Spirit Award is an opportunity to recognize the outstanding work of a green space champion, and to reflect on Justine’s enduring legacy of bringing public and private support together to improve our common space. Kathryn’s outstanding achievements exemplify that legacy, and we are thrilled to be able to recognize her at this year’s Party in the Park,” said Karen Mauney-Brodek, President of the Emerald Necklace Conservancy.

Philadelphia Parks & Recreation (PPR) advances the prosperity of the city and the progress of her people through intentional and sustained stewardship of nearly 10,200 acres of public land and waterways as well as through hundreds of safe, stimulating recreation, environmental and cultural centers. PPR promotes the well-being and growth of the city’s residents by connecting them to the natural world around them, to each other and to fun, physical and social opportunities. PPR is responsible for the upkeep of historically significant Philadelphia events and specialty venues, and works collaboratively with communities and organizations in leading capital projects and the introduction of inventive programming. To learn more about Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, visit us at and follow @philaparkandrec on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

The Emerald Necklace Conservancy is a non-profit organization founded in 1998 to steward and champion the Emerald Necklace, Boston’s largest park system. The Conservancy protects, restores, helps maintain and promotes the Emerald Necklace’s six distinct parks designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, and comprises 1,100 acres of meadows, woodlands and paths. In collaboration with its public partners – City of Boston, Town of Brookline, and Commonwealth of Massachusetts – the Conservancy provides maintenance of the parks and capital restoration projects, free cultural events, visitor services and environmental education. The parks serve as a respite from the city, a valuable commuting connector and a community convener for more than one million residents and tourists each year. Learn more at