Parks Joins New Yorkers For Parks To Honor Daffodil Project Volunteers
This morning, Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe joined New Yorkers for Parks (NY4P) Executive Director Holly Leicht in honoring six New Yorkers for their participation and leadership in the Daffodil Project, NY4P’s annual citywide volunteer beautification program.
Founded in 2001 to commemorate September 11, the Daffodil Project began as a living memorial to raise the spirits of New Yorkers and revitalize parks and communities, and has grown into a year-round partnership with the Department of Parks and Recreation and volunteers in all five boroughs. More than 4.25 million daffodil bulbs have been planted since the Project began.
The Project unites neighborhood residents, elected officials, civic groups and businesses as stewards of their local open spaces. T hrough bulb distributions and plantings with students in the fall, a photo contest and annual breakfast honoring community volunteers in the spring, and park clean-ups in the spring and summer, the Project touches the lives of New Yorkers year-round.
The following volunteers and organizations were honored at the annual Daffodil Breakfast at Bryant Park Grill:
• Brooklyn: Maria Roca, Friends of Sunset Park
Roca founded Friends of Sunset Park in 1995 and has been active in the park ever since. She’s participated in the Daffodil Project since its inception, and her daffodil grove was chosen by the Parks Department and the U.S. Forest Service as one of five highlighted living memorial sites to 9/11 in NYC. She spends up to 40 hours a week in the park on cleanups and collaborating working with the NYPD on crime initiatives.
• Queens: Ina Brennan, Two Coves Community Garden
Brennan has been a leader at the Two Coves Community Garden since it was established with the help of the Parks Department in 2006. She has participated in the Daffodil Project since it began, and also plants flowers throughout the Long Island City area – especially at the Astoria Houses, Queensview Co-Op and the grounds of Queenboro Library. The Two Coves volunteer group began with just five members in 2006 and with Brennan’s leadership, reached 60 members by 2008.
• Bronx: Evelyn Davila, Bronxwood Home for the Aged
Davila, who has participated in the Daffodil Project for two years, works at the Bronxwood Home for the Aged, an assisted living and retirement community. Building upon the community’s mission of fostering individual dignity, she has made daffodil plantings an annual tradition for Bronxwood residents, who take pride in memorializing 9/11 victims and playing an important beautification role at Bronxwood.
• Staten Island: Ron Brown, Silver Lake Reservoir Dogs
Brown has spent the past four years planting flowers and maintaining gardens at Silver Lake Park. He spends up to 30 hours a month working in several community gardens, and has transformed the area around Reservoir Dog Run, which used to be in disrepair, into a large garden. His next goal is to expand the Daffodil Project throughout the park. He’s also a docent at the Staten Island/Barrett Park Zoo, and leads historic and zoological tours of the facility.
• Manhattan: Partnership Award to the West 55th Street Block Association and Friends of the High School for Environmental Studies
The West 55th Street Block Association (W55BA) was founded in 1978 and has participated in the Daffodil Project since 2010. The Friends of the High School for Environmental Studies, founded in 1996, is committed to providing environmental programs and private resources to support the students and faculty of the HS for Environmental Science. Under the leadership of Carl Bevelhymer – President of the W55BA – and Matthew Washington – Executive Director of Friends of the HS of Environmental Studies – W55BA planted daffodil bulbs in 38 tree beds on West 55th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues. The Project has given them a cost-effective way to beautify the block, and what the group calls a valuable opportunity to participate in a citywide remembrance program.
• Lynden B. Miller Citywide Daffodil Award: Penny Harvest: A Program of Common Cents
Penny Harvest is the largest child philanthropy program in the United States. The program grew from one child’s desire to feed the homeless, and since 1991, children between the ages of four and 14 have been converting their natural compassion for others into action by collecting pennies and turning those pennies into grants for community organizations – $8.1 million in grants donated by Children since 1991. For more than over years, NY4P has partnered with several Penny Harvest schools as part of the Daffodil Project’s Youth Plantings, and NY4P has received grants from Penny Harvest.
QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
“Many years have passed since those summer days
Among the fields of barley
See the children run as the sun goes down
Among the fields of gold
You'll remember me when the west wind moves
Upon the fields of barley
You can tell the sun in his jealous sky
When we walked in the fields of gold.”