As I conducted my final round of interviews, I felt bittersweet—torn between the anticipation of finally being able to share my project with the public and the disappointment of missing out on so many potential insightful interactions. No longer equipped with an excuse to initiate conversation with perfect strangers, I now find myself seeking out interesting park users and then remembering with a wave of disappointment that I no longer have a use for their stories. Not only has this project taught me about the wide variety of unique qualities of Fort Greene Park but also about the value in getting to know people I might not typically encounter in my day-to-day life. I hope you enjoy this final addition to Humans of Fort Greene Park and find yourself having learned something over the course of the series.
I’m beginning to see a potential link between what Fort Greene Park means to park users and promoting environmentalism. The connection between spending time in nature and learning to appreciate both nature as its own entity in addition to the mental and physical health benefits of spending time outdoors is key to caring about the environment. However, other values less concretely linked to the environment such as family, community, and coexistence have been surfacing in these interviews. These findings have led me to believe that a potentially successful method of encouraging environmentalism could be framing environmental issues in terms of these seemingly unrelated values
As I get deeper into this project I’ve heard some thoughts that are consistent with expectations I had in developing the idea for this blog. As an environmental studies and psychology major, I’m very passionate about finding the intersection between how people feel about the “environment” as tangible, local green spaces along with more overarching views on protecting the planet and fighting climate change. I’ve found the common themes of individuals holding value in public spaces and urban green spaces exciting and as I move forward I hope to begin to see ways to connect other seemingly unrelated but equally prevalent park values like culture and community to environmentalism.
As I’ve continued to conduct interviews, the value of this experience has become increasingly apparent. I’ve been finding myself anxious for each workday to begin so that I can learn from the people with whom I might never have crossed paths were it not for this project. The lens through which I view the park has been shifting as well, with memories of conversations directing my eye to previously overlooked qualities. I hope your views on Fort Greene Park have been similarly affected, and if not, keep reading!
My second round of interviews did not disappoint. I never fail to be pleasantly surprised by how open and willing to chat Fort Greene Park users are. The passion they have for this space clearly comes across in a desire to share thoughts on the park with me, a perfect stranger. Some common threads are beginning to emerge regarding values that resonate with Fort Greene Park and parks in general, so consider whether these ring true with yourself as you read my next blog post.
One of most notable qualities of Fort Greene Park is the diverse and inclusive community of park users. The individuals who spend time here, both frequenters and newbies, truly paint the character of this space. With the hopes of getting a glimpse into the relationships visitors across all walks of life have with Fort Greene Park, I’ve set out on a "Humans of New York"-esque mission to interview randomly selected park goers. My objective is to encourage readers to discover meaningful connections with Fort Greene Park through the inspiring anecdotes of park community members that will in-turn improve environmentally friendly behavior and community engagement. I hope you as a reader find these blog posts both engaging and revealing about the values held by community members who all share an appreciation for Fort Greene Park.