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Forest Park

The Daily Plant : Monday, June 5, 2006

Scouts In The Park Day

On May 20, 2006, Forest Park had over 50 Boy Scouts volunteer for Scouts in the Park Day. Their efforts focused on invasive plant removal, wood-chipping trails and native plant plantings around Forest Park’s Strack Pond.

In 1966, the site now known as Strack Pond was converted from a glacial kettle depression pond into softball fields. However, constant spring flooding made the fields virtually unusable. This led to the site’s restoration back to a pond through a $550,000 grant from the New York State Clean Water/Clean Air Bond Act. Today, Strack Pond provides a unique habitat for a wide variety of plants and animals and is an interesting geological site.

However, Strack Pond is under constant siege from invasive plants, vandalism and general wear and tear due to its natural location and foot traffic. In order to help maintain Strack Pond and continue to keep the area safe, beautiful and healthy, the Strack Pond Stewardship Program was made possible through a $10,000 grant from the New York City Environmental Fund. The goal of the program is to maintain the pond’s natural areas through stewardship projects, utilizing volunteers, the Ranger Conservation Corps, the Green Apple Corps and a Summer Youth Crew.

Over 50 Boy Scouts of all ages volunteered to lend a hand and their time through the Strack Pond Stewardship Program. The Scouts broke up into their Packs and were given assignments throughout the area. One of the Scout Packs wood-chipped a trail leading from West Main Drive down to Strack Pond’s water’s edge. Another Pack planted marsh marigolds along the water and even more Scouts planted Virginia Creepers for erosion control along Strack Pond’s western hillside. The Packs also went into areas to remove invasive plants including garlic mustard, mugwort and porcelain berry. The final task of the day was to spread wildflower seeds in the Strack Pond Meadow that will eventually grow into a beautiful bed full of color.

It was a long and exhausting day for the Scouts who diligently accomplished all their tasks. Their work can be seen throughout Strack Pond and will leave a lasting impression on this unique and wonderful environment for all visitors to see and enjoy. We would like to thank Cub Scout Packs 309, 119, 233, 37 and Troop 96 for all their hard work and hope to see them back in Forest Park having fun.

Written by Jonathan Matt



Vito Locascio, a retired Parks PPS, passed away on May 4, 2006 after a long battle with cancer.

Born to Italian immigrant parents on October 28, 1935, Vito and his two brothers, Tony and Sal, were raised with strong family values. Vito earned good grades in school and graduated from high school with honors. Shortly after graduation, Vito was drafted by the United States military where he was sent to fight in the Korean War. He served with the Artillery Unit for four years and was promoted to master sergeant until he was wounded in battle. Vito received an honorable discharge from the military and returned to New York City.

In need of a job, he took the civil service exam for gardeners. As a gardener at the Queens Greenhouse, Vito always looked to improve himself. When he heard there was an exam to become a laborer, he took the test and was promoted to the Parkway Division. After passing the Park Supervisor Exam, Vito was assigned to Coney Island Beach for 12 years, and after passing the Principal Park Supervisor Exam, was assigned to Brooklyn’s District 2. During this time he trained numerous supervisors of their daily duties in the field. He also spent time as an instructor in the Olmsted Center’s training academy.

Vito had other interests as well. He loved the New York Yankees, Cadillac luxury cars, and good Italian food. Vito was also involved with DC 37, Local 1508, where he was elected President and served for 12 years. One of the many benefits he won for his members included weekend premiums for supervisors. Vito loved his Italian background and joined Parks’ Columbian Association where he also served as President for 12 years. He was instrumental in renaming a Queens playground for the late Deputy Chief of Operations Lenny Ingravello.

Although Vito was a very busy man, he always found time for his family. He is survived by his lovely wife Maria , and his four children, John, Andrew, Vito, and Joseph.

Vito truly made his mark at Parks and is missed deeply.

Written by Supervisor John Locascio



"To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it's about,

but the inner music that words make."

Truman Capote

(1924 – 1984)

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