Greenpoint Parks Community Stewardship Program
|Project Lead:||Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn|
|Project Partners:||McGolrick Park Neighborhood Alliance|
|Project Location:||Monsignor McGolrick Park, Transmitter Park, Newtown Barge Park, and Greenpoint and American Playgrounds|
|2017 Budget Addition:||$99,000|
|Fact Sheet:||Greenpoint Parks Community Stewardship Program PDF|
In 2015, the Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn received $99,000 in GCEF funding (and provided $34,000 in matching funds) to support a Community Stewardship Program Manager to oversee a program to promote the stewardship of Greenpoint parks. Major project activities include:
- Recruiting volunteers and managing volunteer events in the spring through fall of 2016 in Greenpoint parks. Events include planting new native trees and shrubs, and conducting cleanups in the parks
- Developing and delivering weekly educational programs for local youth, schools, and community groups on natural resources of the parks and how to care for them
- Working to develop self-sustaining “Friends of Parks” groups, and to identify community leaders who can ensure community stewards have a visible presence in their parks
- Publicizing events, and staying in contact with community members who attend volunteer and education programs to keep them engaged in what is going on in Greenpoint parks, to gather their feedback about park needs, and to maintain community interest and ownership of the parks
- Evaluating and adapting the program based on park and community needs identified during program delivery
In 2017, through a competitive process, the New York City Audubon Society was awarded $162,902 in additional funding to extend horticultural maintenance of the green roof and continue further programming, including the annual fall festival, lectures and presentations in the community space, school and camp visits to the roof, Newtown Creek canoe/kayak and public tours, a spring conference, and printed interpretive materials to complement this programming. Additionally, the project website and social media platforms will be enhanced and a strategic plan for the project’s continuation beyond the grant period will be developed.
October 2016: The Community Stewardship Program Manager is assisting in the continued development of the McGolrick Park Neighborhood Alliance, a “Friends of Parks” group, including assisting its efforts to build capacity. In addition, the Community Stewardship Program Manager has begun organizing “Friends of Parks” groups at Transmitter Park, American Playground, and Greenpoint Playground. In order to support these efforts, the Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn has held community cleanup and planting events, as well as 8 general community stewardship promotion events, at Greenpoint’s parks to date. At Monsignor McGolrick Park, over 130 community members participated in cleanup and planting events, and another 840 participated in general community events co-sponsored with the McGolrick Park Neighborhood Alliance, including a park concert, 2 movie nights and 2 kid’s days. At Transmitter Park, 2 gardening events drew over 20 participants, and a “Water Day” event, co-hosted with El Puente and Newtown Creek Alliance, brought in another 22 attendees. The “Neighborhood Play Day” at American Playground had 160 attendees, and 60 members of the community participated in “Pumpkin Patch Day,” a community stewardship event, at the Greenpoint Playground.
August 2017: The project has continued to support the community in activating and maintaining open spaces across Greenpoint.
Two newly founded groups, Friends of Transmitter Park and Friends of American Playground, won small park group grants and the Program Manager has been supporting grant activities, including organizing two educational workshops in Transmitter Park, attended by over 30 members of the public. Through a partnership with Eco Schools at P.S. 34 and The Domain Companies, a total of 90 volunteers realized two educational beautification projects in Greenpoint and American Playgrounds, installing 20 planters and planting native vegetation. In an effort to incubate a friends’ group in McCarren Park, the Program hosted a ‘leaf clearance’ event in January and a weeding event in July, as well as an inaugural meeting, drawing a total of 80 volunteers.
An event with the Northside School brought over 40 volunteers of all ages to McCarren to pick up litter, rake leaves, and plant flowers in celebration of Earth Day. The Program also co-hosted P.S. 34’s Eco Fashion Show, an upcycling event inspired by Greenpoint’s history and current transformations, enjoyed by 120 children, parents, and teachers. Several ‘learn and play’ days were held at Greenpoint Playground and in McGolrick Park, with over 400 attendees enjoying environmental programming in the summer. An August movie night in McGolrick brought out about 200 neighbors. In collaboration with the Horticultural Society of New York, the Program Manager has coordinated a Citizen Gardener Program, scheduled to begin in October to train over 40 volunteers in urban park gardening practices.
To ensure continuation of activities by self-sufficient park groups, the Program Manager has been developing a volunteer leader training program for each park, intended to create, develop and strengthen internal group organization and facilitate special event programming and day-to-day operations. The training is expected to begin in December 2017.
February 2018: In McGolrick Park, the Program Manager is working with the community, NYC Parks, and local organizations to identify parent volunteers to provide programming during the year-long closure of the McGolrick Playground, focused on creating a temporary play space through a NYC Parks-sponsored Imagination Playground. The Program Manager also collaborated with the Horticultural Society of New York on the Citizen Gardener Program, which held four sessions in the fall and will start again in April 2018. With assistance from the program, the McGolrick Park Neighborhood Alliance has planned a new volunteer orientation meeting to build capacity in preparation for the 2018 season, when the group will hold three Sunday play days in collaboration with the Down to Earth Farmers Market.
In American Playground, the project has supported Friends of American Playground in planning for a season of planting and events in collaboration with local businesses and educators. Additionally, the project continues working with Greening Greenpoint on a tree pit project adjacent to American Playground on Noble Street. In the spring of 2018, the tree pit project will remove bricks from tree beds to improve tree health and surface permeability. Friends of American Playground will adopt the tree beds and hold stewardship events throughout the season and beyond.
In Transmitter Park, the Program Manager has continued supporting and advising Friends of Transmitter Park with outreach and in-park programs, as well as financial and administrative management. The group is planning on holding six events in the 2018 season.
In McCarren Park, the project has been facilitating communication between the nascent Friends of McCarren and the groups that currently regularly volunteer in the park (Partnerships for Parks, Health for Youths, Good.Clean.Fun) to best serve the park and its users. It has also been communicating construction schedule and closures impacting the park while renovation of the track and workout areas continues.
The Program Manager has been involved in outreach regarding the new Box Street Park for the Greenpoint community, which will come online in the next three years and will be adjacent to Greenpoint Playground and Newtown Barge Park. The Program Manager is working with the community in north Greenpoint to ensure the three parks have thriving and engaged stewardship groups.
The Program Manager has continued developing a best practices guide for Greenpoint Friends of Parks groups, intended to guide new and existing groups through the processes of meeting and event organizing, environmental education, volunteer engagement, and community building. The guide will inform the structure of operations of the Greenpoint Parks Stewardship Program beginning in the fall of 2018 with a focus on group development and self-sustenance. The program has assisted in researching and applying for additional grants to benefit Greenpoint parks, is hiring a summer events intern and will be hosting a NYC Service Civic Corp member, who will serve as a Greepoint Parks Stewarship Program Assistant beginning in September 2018.