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The Daily Plant : Wednesday, February 21, 2001

STUDENTS OF CENTRAL PARK GRADUATE FROM A FIRST SEMESTER

From February 5 to February 16, 2001 Central Park was filled with students, also known as employees of the Central Park Conservancy. In the pilot semester of the Central Park Academy, the Conservancy offered 14 subjects. Students were invited to take as many as five free daytime courses from public relations to soil sampling. 215 people jumped at the opportunity.

Within Parks and the Conservancy's networks of specialized knowledge exist a range of subjects, diverse as a college catalogue. The Central Park Academy was designed to tap into that range and allow employees to explore the park, meet each other, and exchange expertise. Judging from the turnout, employees were eager to accept the offer.

Classes were packed to capacity and students arrived with notebooks and questions, enjoying a moment out of the office or outside their zone of the park. Snacks were provided and a high level of instruction was presented in an interactive format.

The opening event, a lecture and slideshow entitled, An Illustrated History of Central Park, was timed for historical congruity. February 5, 1856, 145 years from the day of the opening, marked the anniversary of the day Judge Ira Harris of the New York State Supreme Court approved and finalized the report of the Commissioners "in the matter of the application of The Mayor, &c., of the City of New York, relative to the opening and laying out of a Public Place between Fifty-ninth and One-Hundred and Sixth streets and the Fifth and Eighth avenues, in the city of New York." With this, the city was legally entitled to take the 759 acres of land for Central Park.

A glance at the Academy's course titles reads as follows: Put on a Happy Face, How to Read a Blueprint, All About Groundcover, Oh, My Aching Back, Neck, Knees..., Soils and Their Properties, The Insider Tour of Central Park, Manage Your Time to Achieve Your Goals, First Aid in the Field, Money Talks, Putting It Together: Your Piece in the CPC Puzzle, Take a Walk on the Wild Side, and Top Ten Trees of Central Park.

Congratulations to the advisors and instructions who organized a great test semester.

WITH SCHOOL ON PAUSE RECREATION MOVES IN FAST FORWARD

Every day this week there's a different festival for schoolkids on vacation. Kids, and the Parkies organizing a week of winter festivals, can borough hop from Brooklyn to Queens, to the Bronx, and to Manhattan. With structured activity from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., snacks, and social time, the program might look like a school's. But the subjects are altogether different. They include giant twister games, moon bounce, and dance contests. At some sites, a magician will keep kids entertained. Debbie (Polyester) Weiss Afterschool Coordinator for Central Recreation is organizing the week. Gregory (Jocko) Jackson, Center Manager at Brownsville Recreation Center in Brooklyn, Bernard (Sandman) Robinson, Center Manager at Sorrentino Recreation Center in Queens, Leanne Scaduto, Center Manager at Mullaly Recreation Center in the Bronx, and Steven John, Center Manager at Hansborough Recreation Center in Manhattan are hosting the festivals.

THIRTEEN YEARS AGO IN THE PLANT
(Wednesday, March 2, 1988)

CENTRAL PARK RESTORATION CREW TRAINED TO SURVEY, READ MAPS

Last week Central Park Administrator Elizabeth Barlow Rogers and Commissioner Stern took a short trip uptown to Arsenal North at 1234 Fifth Avenue (at 104th Street). Awaiting Stern and Rogers were members of the Central Park Restoration Crew who recently completed a new four-week training program, geared to familiarize workers with the proper procedures for restoring the park. The in-house month-long Technical Training Seminar met weekly and instructed students in surveying and reading plans, scales, layouts and units of measure.

QUOTATION FOR THE DAY

"A school is not a factory.
Its raison d'etre is to provide opportunity for experience."

J.L Carr (1912-1994)

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