Riverside Park Builds Resiliency with 850 Flower Bulbs at November ConSERVE NYC Event

Next spring, a 600-ft section of slope along Riverside Drive in upper Manhattan — badly eroded by stormwater runoff — will burst into bloom again with 850 bluebells and daffodils planted by SCA volunteers at this weekend’s ConSERVE NYC event.

On Saturday, November 9th, over 50 volunteers gathered at Riverside Park, coming from all five boroughs of New York City as well as Westchester County. Working with the Riverside Park Conservancy, SCA volunteers cleared invasives from the slope, mixed compost, planted bulbs, and spread mulch to help the soil retain moisture for the winter.

Some of the volunteers at Saturday’s event had a long history with SCA, while others were serving for the first time. Heidi Untener (SCA alum ‘89) biked to the event via the West Side Greenway with her husband and sons Oscar and Owen (ages 11 and 7), whom she hopes will serve with SCA themselves in a few years. “These two are really doing all the work,” she joked, standing by with a handful of bulbs while her sons shoveled exuberantly. “They’re not going to want to go home — they love being out here!”

Jordan Chow and Julia Kaback — both of whom have served on SCA National Crews for the past two summers — brought their own friends and family members to the event. And Amosh Neupane, who attended October’s SCA ConSERVE NYC event on Staten Island, recruited two dozen of his classmates from Bryant High School in Queens to join in this month — many of whom will be returning for future volunteer events as part of the school’s newly founded Coalition of Students for Environment and Climate Action.

With volunteers old and new working side by side, the group lost no time in planting and mulching the entire 600-ft hillside along the edge of the park. “What they’ve been able to accomplish today is just fantastic!” said Diana LaMar, a longtime Riverside Park Conservancy volunteer who lives a few blocks from the park. “The erosion along this stretch has been so bad, and after every storm it gets worse. We never had time to get to it — but with fifty pairs of hands, it was no problem!”

— Ann Pedtke, SCA Marketing Outreach Coordinator

As part of the ConSERVE NYC initiative, SCA will host public service events each month to engage the New York City community and build resiliency in public lands around New York Harbor. Registration is now open for the next event at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx on Saturday, December 7th.