The Daily Plant : Monday, October 27, 2003
OVER 4,000 VOLUNTEERS NEW YORKERS CELEBRATE "IT’S MY PARK!" DAY
Going into our parks and helping improve them isn’t something that New Yorkers are required to do—but it’s certainly rewarding work that makes a difference. Twice a year, New Yorkers celebrate "It’s My Park!" Day, an all-day event organized by Partnerships for Parks, a joint program of Parks & Recreation and City Parks Foundation, to encourage volunteerism and promote stewardship in parks. On the 18th of October, 4,496 volunteers gathered in parks around the city to plant, clean, build and celebrate the City’s parks. More than 184 volunteer projects and 20 special events took place at 160 sites across all five boroughs.
"Every year on ‘It’s My Park!’ Day we see the spirit of New Yorkers come alive through volunteerism," said City Parks Foundation Executive Director David Rivel. "Ultimately, ‘It’s My Park!’ Day is about celebrating our shared spaces."
In addition to cleaning and caring for parks, "It’s My Park!" Day encourages New Yorkers to celebrate their parks. As a break from the day’s hard work, Parks & Recreation offered free and fun activities including flag football, Urban Park Ranger tours, and historic games in many parks, and City Parks Foundation hosted a teacher-training workshop to help encourage educators to use parks as outdoor classrooms.
At Red Hook Park, Added Value, in cooperation with Parks & Recreation, private and public partners, and dozens of volunteers continued a project to convert an underused cement recreation field into an urban farm. On this day, the group of volunteers raised a greenhouse that will extend the farm’s growing season into December and allow it to begin as early as February.
"This was another exciting step in an already great project," said Jeffrey Sandgrund, Brooklyn Outreach Coordinator for Partnerships for Parks. "They’ve taken great leaps at the farm and are moving more quickly on the path they laid out than anyone expected."
Elsewhere, other events also brought many different groups together to volunteer in parks. In the Bronx, for example, neighborhood children, parents and the Fordham Housing Complex Group re-seeded the lawn at Poe Park. At Clove Lakes Park in Staten Island, the Friends of Clove Lakes Park led volunteers in park cleaning, trail restoration, planting, and pond skimming. In Manhattan’s Christopher Park, volunteers revitalized the park’s gardens and planted daffodil bulbs.
In Flushing Meadows Corona Park, 94 hard-working volunteers performed a shoreline clean-up of Meadow Lake and planted 5,000 daffodil bulbs at the new cherry grove. Continuing volunteering efforts into the next day, Brownies, Girl Scouts, parents and troop leaders turned out in the park to plant daffodil bulbs and to maintain and beautify a grove of trees planted by the group 18 years ago.
"Tom Panzone, our northern Queens Outreach Coordinator, reported that the new and growing Friends of MacNeil Park were encouraged by all the Park staff on ‘It's My Park!’ Day," said Jenny Hoffner, Director of Partnerships for Parks. "Commissioner Benepe and Commissioner Murphy hauled out flotsam and jetsam alongside the dedicated volunteers. Everyone was pitching in to make the park and waterfront even better."
Each year, the number of park sites—as well as the diversity of projects—has continued to expand. "It’s My Park!" Day’s success can be attributed, in part, to a growing interest in volunteerism, to the many divisions of Parks & Recreation that provided opportunities to get involved, and also to more effective community outreach that has tapped into established volunteer groups and reached beyond to individuals. Across the City, people of all ages demonstrated their love of parks.
Volunteerism is at the heart of what makes New York such a great city. Thank you to all the Parks & Recreation and City Parks Foundation staff who helped organize "It’s My Park!" Day, as well as the thousands of volunteers who came out to celebrate and care for our shared spaces.
This fall’s "It’s My Park!" Day was sponsored by Snapple Beverage Group
QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
"I am the greatest."