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Daily Plant Masthead

Volume XXIX, Number 6122
Monday, Jun 23, 2014

Natural Areas Volunteer In The Spotlight

David Gonzalez

Natural Areas Volunteers (NAV), part of Parks’ Forestry, Horticulture and Natural Resources division recruits, trains, and supports volunteers for ecological projects across the city. Natural Areas Volunteers help keep New York City’s forests, wetlands, and coastlines thriving by removing harmful invasive exotic vegetation; planting native trees, shrubs and grasses, caring for street tree beds and removing debris from our wetlands.

1. Why do you volunteer with Natural Areas Volunteers (NAV)?

I love parks and I love being active outdoors. Volunteering with NAV is a natural fit.

2. What do you like most about volunteering with us?

To choose just one thing is difficult. I think most important is a sense of community with those giving back to this city of ours. New York can feel so large and overwhelming, it’s a challenge to feel connected and feel like you can make a difference. With NAV, I can go into Van Cortlandt Park, my site, add my energy to the other Navigators and then we leave the park better than when we came.

3. What would you like to tell others about your experience?

I can’t recommend the Navigator program enough. To be outdoors working with others to improve our environment is a tremendously rewarding action to take. I remember thinking the first time I volunteered with NAV, “Wow, I really get to do this?!”

4. Is there anything interesting about yourself that you would like to share?

I grew up on the island of Jamaica where my father was an avid gardener. Today, in addition to volunteering and finding work when I can, I am an activist fighting for a world where we all get a fair share of society’s benefits.

5. Anything else you would like to add?

In New York City, one really gets to appreciate how much has been built and handed down to us. Through NAV I have been able to tap into that tradition of passing that forward.

If you or someone you know would like to volunteer with NAV, please visit our website, email us at, or call us at (212) 360-3318.


"Make all you can, save all you can, give all you can."

John Wesley

(1703 - 1791)

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