Earth Day is celebrated nationally on Monday, April 22 but, at New York City’s parks, every day is Earth Day. Over the next few weeks there will be many opportunities for New Yorkers to get involved by engaging in sustainable programs, sprucing up their neighborhood parks and beautifying their communities.
“As we celebrate Earth Day, the Parks Department is working on many fronts to foster sustainability in New York City,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Veronica M. White. “From capturing stormwater on Greenstreets, to building Green Roofs, to establishing a green municipal fleet, to collecting pledges from Park employees to ‘Go Green’ in the workplace, to sustaining wildlife, we are striving toward creating a more environmentally friendly city. As spring and warmer weather arrive, we also encourage New Yorkers to join us by volunteering to ensure that our parks remain clean and green on Earth Day and every day.”
Here are just a few of the ways New Yorkers can “go green” in celebration of Earth Day.
New Yorkers can learn how to care for a New York City street tree at a MillionTreesNYC tree care workshop and then to make a tree officially theirs by signing up on our Adopt-a-Tree website and telling us which tree they’d like to adopt. NYC Parks provides all the training and tools you need to care for your trees. A MillionTreesNYC workshop will take place on Saturday, April 20 at 10 a.m. at 7th Avenue and 59th Street in Brooklyn.
New Yorkers can join NYC Parks as we cut the ribbon on new and renovated facilities in all five boroughs, such as the new ballfields at Sunset Park in Brooklyn. The new, multi-purpose synthetic turf field can be used year round for softball, youth baseball, soccer, and various other activities. Recreation lights have been installed, which increase the available hours for use. A ribbon cutting will be held on Monday, April 22 at 11:30 a.m.
New Yorkers can stop by a NYC Parks Recreation Center to celebrate Earth Day. There will be arts and crafts, volunteer projects, and recycling workshops at several Centers. A full schedule can be found on the NYC Parks Earth Day Events website. This is also a great opportunity to consider a Recreation Center membership which gives you access to New York City’s most affordable and extensive network of recreation facilities in the five boroughs.
New Yorkers can also engage in community volunteer projects at parks citywide including:
New York Cares Day Spring – Saturday, April 20
Four thousand New York Cares volunteers will revitalize 70 parks, gardens, playgrounds, and community centers across the five boroughs during the 19thAnnual New York Cares Day Spring, sponsored by HSBC Bank USA. New York Cares, the city’s largest volunteer organization, is mobilizing the volunteers to help in a massive “spring greening” project, with a special focus on areas damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
For more information, visit www.newyorkcares.org.
One Thing That’s Green – Saturday, April 20
At the 6th Annual “One Thing That’s Green” event, JetBlue will partner with the New York Restoration Project (NYRP) and the City’s MillionTreesNYC initiative to plant more than 2,400 trees, remove trash and complete beautification projects in Highland Park. This year’s program is dedicated to rebuilding New York and its communities. Highland Park straddles both Queens and Brooklyn at Elton Street and Jamaica Avenue and, for over a century, has been a recreational space for residents in the communities of Bushwick and East New York. Due to Hurricane Sandy, the 100-acre park lost a significant stretch of trees. The park also had extensive debris and obstructed pathways.
For more information, visit www.jetblue.com/trees.
MillionTreesNYC Spring Planting Day – Saturday, April 27
As part of MillionTreesNYC, Parks is reforesting 2,000 acres of parkland to create new, ecologically healthy, multi-story forests. New forests help expand canopy cover in NYC, increasing the host of environmental benefits already provided by our urban forest. Approximately 2,000 volunteers from all five boroughs will plant 20,000 trees in parks and natural areas during spring’s largest planting day.
MillionTreesNYC, a cornerstone of Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC vision to establish a healthier, more sustainable New York City, is a public-private partnership between the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation and Bette Midler’s New York Restoration Project, through which one million trees will be planted and cared for throughout the five boroughs by 2017.
For more information, visit www.milliontreesnyc.org.
It’s My Park Day – Saturday, May 4
More than 5,000 volunteers are expected to contribute their time to improve and to celebrate New York City’s parks as part of It’s My Park Day, the annual spring event produced by Partnerships for Parks, a joint program of City Parks Foundation and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. This spring, volunteers will come together to complete 150 community-led projects in locations across the city, working to clean, paint, weed and plant, as well as enjoy free fitness activities, arts & cultural events, and games. It’s My Park volunteer opportunities will be offered throughout the month of May.
For a listing of participating parks citywide, visit www.itsmypark.org. Follow us on Twitter at #itsmypark for updates throughout the day.
Be sure to check the NYC Parks website to learn about more Earth Day themed events taking place at a park or recreation center near you.