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Van Cortlandt Park

The Daily Plant : Friday, March 29, 2002


Marc Matsil, Chief of Natural Resources Group (NRG), will be crossing the Hudson River- permanently. Matsil has taken a position with the Department of Environmental Protection as the Assistant Commissioner of Natural & Historic Resources. In this position he will oversee New Jersey’s 1.1 million acres of parkland, also including parkland acquisition, natural resources restoration, and the maintenance of 100 historic houses.

Matsil had been with Parks since 1987 and was responsible for obtaining grants and public works mitigations during his tenure that exceeded $150 million. As the Chief of NRG, Matsil developed and implemented conservation, restoration, and management program’s to help the city’s natural resources. He was dedicated to protecting New York City’s 28,000 acres of parkland and recently was in Chicago as the keynote speaker at a conference named "Natural Spaces in Urban Places."

He served as a Natural Resources Specialist with the National Parks Service before becoming a Parkie During his career Matsil has received numerous awards during his career, including the Society of Ecological Restoration’s International Sperry Award and the Nature Conservancy’s Oak Leaf Award.

Though NRG and Parks will miss Matsil, his efforts in natural resources protection and restoration will have everlasting effects. The Daily Plant wishes him good luck in the Garden State


Michael Peluso

Ever feel like someone is watching you? Well, if you’re a New York City park, someone is. Michael Peluso is one of seven inspectors with the Parks Inspection Program, part of the Operations and Management Planning division. As an OMP inspector, Mike spends his days visiting parks of all sizes, from neighborhood playgrounds in Brooklyn and tiny Manhattan greenstreets to the trails of Van Cortlandt Park and the boardwalks in the Rockaways. To each park, he takes a digital camera and handheld computer to record the safety and cleanliness conditions of those sites.

"It’s a lonely job," Mike says. "The radio is your best friend." But inspecting has perks, too. One of Mike’s favorite parts of the job is "getting to know New York City, all five boroughs. We go everywhere. You get good at planning and picking places for lunch. The inspectors could write a book on the best places to eat around the city."

Mike grew up in New Jersey and began at Parks on September 28, 1999. In two and a half years with OMP, he has done 1,662 inspections and has been to 1,245 different parks citywide. The strangest thing Mike’s ever encountered while on an inspection? Well, there are a few candidates. He’s seen a washed-up dead sea turtle in Staten Island. Nude sunbathers in the Bronx. And once, turning the corner along a forested trail, he came upon two people, inspired by nature to enjoy each other’s company in the most instinctive of ways.

Written by Amy Tryon


"Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something

you want done because he wants to do it."

Dwight D. Eisenhower


Directions to Van Cortlandt Park

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