This spring Human Impacts Institute (Hii) launched a partnership with East River State Park as part of their Experiential Education efforts. Through this partnership, Hii is providing a series of educational, beautification and sustainability programs geared toward benefiting the local community at the park.On June 18th, Human Impacts Institute (Hii) and East River State Park held their first volunteer gardening event with NY Cares. This event was part of Hii’s park beautification project aimed at bringing local members of the community to participate in weeding and maintenence of existing trees and native plants within the park.
East River State Park has been working on renovating the park grounds located on North 8th Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The park is unique because it was previously used as a shipping dock for rail cars in the 19th century. When the NYC Parks Department acquired the park in 2006, they chose the leave some of the original concrete slabs that made up part of the original shipping infrastructure. The northern side of the park, set to open next week, will have a meadow of solely native species and a playground built by the company, Juicy Juice.
At the event, East River State Park staff taught volunteers how to properly care for trees, and identify and remove unwanted weeds which compete with native plants within the park. With the help of volunteers from Bank of America, all the native berry trees and the meadow in the park were weeded and mulched. Many of the volunteers expressed their excitement in being able to work outside for the day and give back to the NYC community.
Hii looks forward to upcoming summer events at East River State Park further beautifying the neighborhood and fostering a healthy urban ecosystem within the park.
Melissa Mitchell, 2011 Human Impacts Institute Environmental Educator