Last October, The Student Conservation Association (SCA), a member of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps, launched the ConSERVE NYC initiative on the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy. The initiative has already rallied over 650 volunteers to enhance the storm resiliency of New York City’s public lands. As summer approaches, the volunteer momentum builds.
ConSERVE NYC brings together SCA members, partners and alumni, as well as students and members of the public to participate in large-scale weekend service events at locations around the city. After seven months, ConSERVE has touched all five boroughs of NYC. Volunteers have built erosion control fencing at Great Kills Park in Staten Island, planted flower bulbs at Riverside Park in Manhattan, improved trails at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, mulched beds at Morningside Park in Manhattan, cleared debris from the beaches at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in Queens, and removed invasive ivy from the Brooklyn Greenway. In celebration of Earth Day, 150 volunteers gathered at Hudson River Park in April to plant native shrubs.
Volunteer groups include students from colleges and local high schools in all five boroughs; members of youth groups like BuildOn and Global Kids; AmeriCorps members from programs like FEMA Corps and Green City Force; and people from large community organizations, like the Coalition of Progressive Hindus and the Red Cross. Over 20 percent of volunteers have returned for future events, bringing friends, classmates, and family members.
SCA’s ConSERVE NYC site partners — including the National Park Service, NYC Parks, and local park conservancies — see results.
“I am so grateful that SCA chose our park and helped us to realize our project,” said Terese Flores, Manhattan Park Manager for NYC Parks. “My staff were surprised that the volunteers achieved as much as they did, and honored that SCA attracted so many people who enthusiastically contributed their time.”
Keith White, NPS Volunteer Coordinator at Gateway National Recreation Area, agreed:
“We want these students to see the challenges here, and hopefully they will want to come back and keep helping in the restoration process,” he said. “The areas the volunteers covered look fantastic. The beach and the trails are looking even better than they did before Sandy!”
-Submitted by Student Conservation Association