Amidst Saturday’s torrential downpour, Program Manager Lena and Education Intern Ilana journeyed to Governor’s Island to celebrate and exhibit at City of Water Day. Organized by the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance (MWA), City of Water Day celebrates the “world-class potential” of the NYC and New Jersey waterfront through various water-themed activities at Governor’s Island and Maxwell Place Park. We knew that we just had to get involved!
While the day started with a little too much (rain) water, the bad weather thankfully cleared up just in time for the event to start—and we hadn’t even set up our booth yet! Our next-door neighbors at the Food & Water Watch and the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign kindly found us a towel to dry our booth and lent us much needed supplies to get our booth set up quickly. Due to the earlier weather, there was an understandably slow start, but by noon, the grounds were filled with event goers signing petitions, sampling food, and learning about New York City’s waterfront. Human Impacts Institute was well equipped with a rich variety of fun and educational activities, as well as delicious chocolate (Tabling Rule #1: Always be Chocolate-Giving-Away).
In order to educate fairgoers on the trees they see every day in NYC, we brought in HII office favorite, “What Tree is That?” by the Arbor Day Foundation. We asked our guests to use the guide to identify a nearby tree, which culminated in a raffle for those who could correctly identify the tree as a London Planetree. (by the way, congratulations to Margaret Borger, the proud owner of a new tea sub!).
Another favorite were our “fish-pledges.” In order to inspire and gently remind children to conserve water, we provided our youngest guests with fish-shaped paper cutouts. We printed water use facts on one side, and left the other side blank so that they could write their personal water conservation pledges. While the pledges ranged from the practical (“I pledge to bring a reusable water bottle to school”) to the hopeful (at least from an 7-year-old POV) (“I pledge to take a bath only once a month!”) to the artistically abstract, all were eager to hang their pledges on their refrigerator doors or bathroom mirrors at home.
We also took the opportunity to advertise our programming at the East River State Park (if you want in, register here) and share our mission—to encourage you to make a positive environmental impact in the way that works best for you—with all of New York.
It was truly inspiring to see so many New Yorkers of all ages showing their support for our waterfront, eager to solve the issues that plague it. Although we’ve a long road ahead, it is reassuring to know that the future of our waterfront is in safe, dedicated hands!