Record Number of Volunteers Take Part in Community Clean-Up Projects at 125 State Parks and Historic Sites across New York
$450,000 in Grants Awarded to 20 Grassroots Organizations that Support State Parks
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that thousands of volunteers will participate today in the sixth annual “I Love My Park Day,” helping with community clean-up, beautification and stewardship events at more than 125 state parks, historic sites and public lands across New York. An expected 8,000 volunteers are participating in dozens of park and trail projects, including planting trees and gardens, clearing debris, restoring trails and wildlife habitats, cleaning shorelines and beachfronts and more. Additionally, Governor Cuomo announced the second round of $450,000 in state grants to 20 organizations dedicated to the stewardship and promotion of New York State parks and historic sites.
"New York is home to some of the most beautiful parks in the world and it is our duty to preserve and protect them for future generations," Governor Cuomo said. "'I Love My Park Day' celebrates our public lands and continues this state’s rich tradition of expanding access to our unparalleled natural resources. I thank all who volunteered to help make this year’s event another great success."
Held on the first Saturday in May, this year’s event, sponsored jointly with Parks & Trails New York, included partnerships with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the National Park Service, Excelsior Conservation Corps and the New York State Commission on National and Community Service.
Parks & Trails New York Executive Director Robin Dropkin said, "Saturday marks the largest I Love My Park Day ever with events at over 125 parks, historic sites and public lands. Over 8,000 New Yorkers are cleaning up parks, planting trees and flowers, restoring trails and removing invasive species. I Love My Park Day gives us a chance to do our part, and help out at the parks we love. We are grateful for Governor Cuomo’s support for I Love My Park Day and the Park and Trail Partnership Program grants, which maintain the long tradition of giving back to parks."
State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey said, "Friends Groups and volunteers are crucial to making our park system a success. I am grateful for all of the support from so many New Yorkers who came out to volunteer and show their support for New York’s wonderful park system. I’m grateful to Governor Cuomo for his steadfast commitment to our state parks and to Parks & Trails New York for helping to organize this inspiring initiative, which continues to grow every year."
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "Through Governor Cuomo’s leadership and historic commitment to environmental funding, New York continues to make great strides in upgrading our parks and economically important public lands, and I Love My Park Day is an great way for residents and visitors to augment our efforts. I applaud all the volunteers who came out to help advance critical habitat restoration and infrastructure improvement projects at our DEC facilities and State Park lands, and look forward to continuing to grow this vital program in the future."
In 2012, Governor Cuomo launched “I Love My Park Day” to improve and enhance New York’s treasured parks and historic sites and bring increased visibility to New York’s state parks system. Since its inception, 26,000 volunteers have contributed tens of thousands of hours to improving public lands on this day alone.
To leverage the grassroots support for State Parks, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo created the Park and Trail Partnership Program grants. Funded through the Environmental Protection Fund, 20 partner organizations will receive $450,000 to advance their work to raise private funds for capital projects; perform maintenance tasks; provide educational programming; and promote public use through hosting special events. Grants will be matched by over $200,000 in private and local funding.
The grants are administered by State Parks and Parks & Trails New York. The Park and Trail Partnership Program grants are designed to:
- Enhance the preservation, stewardship, interpretation, maintenance and promotion of New York State parks, trails and State historic sites;
- Increase the sustainability, effectiveness, productivity, volunteerism and fundraising capabilities of not-for-profit organizations that promote, maintain and support New York State parks, trails and state historic sites; and
- Promote the tourism and economic development benefits of outdoor recreation through the growth and expansion of a connected statewide network of parks, trails and greenways.
The awardees are:
- Friends of Schuyler Mansion: $30,000 for two reproduction Brussels carpets to be woven for two very significant rooms within Schuyler Mansion -- the Best parlor, in which Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler were married, and the Dining Room, at which table dignitaries such as Benjamin Franklin, John Jay and George Washington were entertained.
- Harlem Valley Rail Trail Association, Inc.:$29,710 to increase organization's capacity to reach out and increase membership and volunteer base in Columbia County.
Central New York
- Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum: $5,798 to study, document, research and host tours, produce a general Chittenango Landing tour, and create materials and videos for outreach and museum education.
- Friends of Fort Ontario, Inc.: $1,986 to create an indoor and outdoor Membership and Volunteer Recruitment Events booth.
- Friends of Lorenzo: $15,427 to develop an institutional plan that will effectively and strategically support the organizational mission over the next 3-5 years.
- Friends of Ganondagan: $19,239 to develop interpretive programming and events that feature Iroquois White Corn from an agricultural, traditional and food perspective.
- Friends of the Genesee Valley Greenway, Inc.: $41,310 to develop a new responsive website including an interactive Genesee Valley Greenway map with social media integration, and rack cards to help promote the Greenway and new website.
- Friends of Connetquot, Inc.: $17,535 to develop new educational programs for the Mill Museum, videos, and brochures to complement the completion of the Nicoll Grist Mill restoration.
- The Caumsett Foundation, Inc.: $25,000 to adapt the former carpenter's shop for use as two environmental/education classrooms.
- Walt Whitman Birthplace Association: $25,000 to modernize exhibit space by adding Walt Whitman themes, including Whitman’s formative years, gender equality, and Paumanok ecology, plus emphasize Whitman as the Poet of Democracy and add newly acquired artifacts.
- Friends of Philipse Manor Hall: $14,875 to purchase audio-visual equipment and launch an oral history project at Philipse Manor Hall State Historic Site. The collected interviews will expand the oral histories on view as part of the current Immigration Exhibit as well as supplement future exhibits and programs with first-person narratives to promote the understanding of history in a human context.
- The Little Stony Point Citizens Association, Inc.: $50,000 to replace an existing storage shed and create new space to support volunteer activities at Little Stony Point State Park. The accessory structure will provide space for meetings, event planning and support, equipment, materials, and volunteer amenities plus a covered porch for hikers.
- Walkway Over the Hudson: $12,500 to revise and improve organization’s successful Walkway LOOP map produced in 2009 to account for new important trail connections and features, and to place a spotlight on the exciting new multi-modal trails that are proposed for the Mid-Hudson Valley Region.
New York City
- Friends of Gantry Plaza State Park: $20,000 to refresh the signage system throughout Gantry Plaza State Park and to give the park's 20 year old signage a fresh and unified look.
- Friends of the Nature Center: $39,475 to build two new state of the art exhibits that will be located at the entrance of the Minna Anthony Common Nature Center. One exhibit will be dedicated to Minna Anthony Common’s contribution to the nature center and the second exhibit will be an interactive trail map that details the 13 trails located at the Nature Center.
- John Brown Lives!: $48,000 to strengthen the foundation of the organization and help cultivate sustainable, widespread and dedicated public and private support for John Brown Farm State Historic Site.
- Friends of Greater Two Rivers State Park: $7,500 to assist with the administrative and legal fees needed to secure 501(c)(3) status, along with the costs associated with completing a consultant-facilitated organizational assessment and resulting plan.
- Friends of Robert H. Treman State Park: $10,625 to restore and paint the exterior of the Old Mill, including the removal of paint, patching and light carpentry repair, priming and painting, and restoring wooden windows.
- Friends of Chenango Valley State Park: $11,020 to purchase 14 pairs of children’s snowshoes for winter activity programs and build a new backstop and fencing for a Field of Dreams.
Western New York
- Friends of Knox Farm State Park: $25,000 to replace the original slate roof of the 100 year old historic Main House at Knox Farm State Park, which is now used as an event center for weddings, public events and fundraising activities.
I Love My Park Day and The Park and Trail Partnership Program complement Governor Cuomo’s commitment to revitalizing and transforming the State park system through his NY Parks 2020 plan, a multi-year commitment to leverage $900 million in private and public funding for State Parks from 2011 to 2020.
The 2017-18 state budget proposal allocates $120 million toward this initiative. In addition, Governor Cuomo launched “I Love My Park’ Day,” an annual volunteer day on the first Saturday of May to improve and enhance New York’s parks and historic sites. For the fifth annual event last spring, 7,500 volunteers took part in over 200 cleanup, improvement and beautification projects at 110 state parks and historic sites, contributing 18,750 hours of volunteer service.
Parks & Trails New York is the leading statewide advocate for parks and trails, dedicated since 1985 to improving the health and quality of life of all New Yorkers by working with community organizations and municipalities to envision, create, promote, and protect a growing network of parks, greenways and trails throughout the state for all to use and enjoy.