Spring is here, and the park will soon be bursting with flora in vibrant hues. With all that beauty and new springtime growth, the park and its 35+ garden beds will need some extra TLC. That’s where our volunteers come in!
Volunteerism is at the heart of the Conservancy’s mission. Half of the 180 events that FGPC produces annually are in-park volunteer outings. Our weekly Friday Corps and bi-weekly Saturday Spruce-Up volunteers perform essential park maintenance work, while our twice-weekly Volunteer Gardeners tend our garden beds and delicate slopes.
Because our volunteers contributed more than 3,000 hours of labor in Fort Greene Park last year, FGPC would like to show a little love to these selfless workers! Their contributions help make the park more beautiful and keep it on a sustainable path for park users to enjoy for years to come.
One of our most dedicated groups of regular Friday Corps and Saturday Spruce Up volunteers in 2018 was the Brooklyn Technical High School Key Club.
“Volunteering in Fort Greene is an event I sign up for regularly. I consider myself an environmental advocate as I do anything that will potentially lead to the sustainability of our environment. In Friday Volunteer Corps, volunteers spend around an hour just helping out in Fort Greene Park; sometimes, we pull out weeds and other times, we rake. It's one of the many events that members can definitely fit in their schedule as it is located right in front of Brooklyn Tech and it happens every Friday. I recommend everyone to sign up for it!”
—Chijiun Su, Brooklyn Tech Key Club
“As for my experience helping clean up Fort Green Park, I enjoyed it a lot. I was raking up leaves and putting them in trash bags with my teammates. It was satisfying in a weird way because there were so many dead leaves in the ground that we filled up several trash bags. You could see the contrast of color between green and gray from the areas that were raked and the areas that weren't. I got to meet a lot of new people and it felt good to cooperate together.”
—Nikki Cheng, Brooklyn Tech Key Club
Volunteer Gardener Gold Medalists: Neil Glaser and “E” Itaya
Participants in our Volunteer Gardeners program dedicate Thursday and Saturday mornings from 9am-10:30am to helping maintain FGP’s 35+ garden beds. Neil Glaser, a committed Thursday AM volunteer, came in first place for number of hours logged in the program in 2018. Kat Itaya, a Saturday morning regular who likes to go by “E” — her Volunteer Gardener nickname, ranked in the top volunteers among the Saturday crew. Wicket, her loyal Norfolk Terrier, is the Volunteer Gardeners’ mascot!
“I’ve been a Volunteer Gardener since the program started, I think this would be my 4th year? I am a hands-on guy, and while I have done other work in regards to the park, I always feel that I can serve best by getting my hands into the project. I have loved learning about new plants, garden placement, native gardens, pollinator gardens, garden design.”
“This is my fourth season as a volunteer gardener. I love working outside, and like most New Yorkers, I don’t have a yard of my own. Fort Greene Park has gardens to spare, and there’s always something going down. Max, the head gardener, has taught me so much about plant and weed identification. She also taught by example a philosophy about gardening that I took to heart: ‘Don’t overthink it. Plants die and plants grow, and the work is never done. We’re just part of the process.’”
—”E” Itaya with Wicket
Studies show that spending as little as 20 minutes in green spaces can improve physical and mental well-being. So, becoming a Volunteer Gardener is not only good for Fort Greene Park; it is great for your health, too! If you love getting your hands dirty and being out in the sun and the early-morning air, Volunteer Gardeners may be for you!
If interested, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.