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HII Volunteer Diaries: Anna Poon

July 9, 2013

Every week, the Human Impacts Institute invites volunteers to join us for Tree Care Tuesdays from 10-12PM to give out some sorely needed TLC–Tree Lovin’ Care. Volunteers from the Brooklyn Day Habilitation Center are regular attendees, and now experts at weeding, aerating, and mulching street trees in Brooklyn.

This Tuesday was particularly special because students from a synagogue all the way from DC traveled to join us for some garden cultivating in the McCarren Park Skatepark. Everyone grabbed a rake, a wheelbarrow, or a shovel and got to work bringing back to life a garden that was imminently drying out in the hot summer sun.

 

The first order of business was to wheel over piles of mulch and begin spreading it over the garden. A simple enough task quickly became hilarious to watch volunteers and HII Crew navigate the twists and turns of the skatepark, wheelbarrows nearly tumbling over the tiniest steps and leaving little piles of mulch in their wake. The joke quickly turned on me, though, when we switched shifts and I joined the mulch-bearing team. Thank goodness the Skatepark wasn’t too crowded, or I might have crashed into someone instead of some stairs.

Once we covered the garden with mulch and the volunteers began planting sprouts and native plant species, the garden really started to liven up. As beautiful as the word ‘mulch’ sounds, after spreading it over the garden, it really added a rich new layer of earth and wood over the area. Throw in some newly-planted sprouts and the McCarren Skatepark suddenly had a much greener (and picturesque) future.

 

It was a hot day but we took frequent water breaks and best of all, made a bunch of new friends and expanded the HII Community. By the end of the Tree Care Tuesday, I even had a new BFF, Maya, who tends to make friends with people named Anna. What can I say? It’s a good name (Though I may be biased).

 

The volunteers were so much fun to work with and they reminded me today about the value of hands-on education and engagement. Just when I thought weeding and raking out in the hot sun every Tuesday might start to become a pain, I saw how much a group of volunteers could accomplish and gain in just two hours. I realized how rare it was for some individuals to get a chance to literally bring something to life in their own two hands, and how fulfilling that experience is.

 

We celebrated the occasion by picking up the nearest garden tool, raising them up, and putting on our best battle faces in the fight for a greener world.

 

If you’re interested in participating in Tree Care Tuesdays or other HII volunteer opportunities please visit our website for more info!

 

By Anna Poon, Education Intern, Human Impacts Institute

 

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