350 Volunteers Restore Urban Beaches at Find Your Park Day of Service
In honor of the MLK National Day of Service, SCA brought together 350 volunteers this weekend at Gateway National Recreation Area in New York City. The event was the first Find Your Park Day of Service of 2016, as SCA and American Express team up to celebrate the National Park Service Centennial.
Joshua Laird, Commissioner of the National Parks of New York Harbor, welcomed volunteers to historic Floyd Bennett Field to kick off the event. SCA Centennial Volunteer Ambassador Aurelia Casey, who will be serving at Gateway throughout the year to help increase volunteerism, thanked volunteers for serving:
“One of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dreams was that people who looked completely different from each other would one day be able to stand together for peace. My dream is that people who look completely different from each other can work together to make our environment healthier, and share a common passion for taking care of our planet.”
Volunteers set out to complete a grand-scale beach clean-up along the coast of Jamaica Bay, removing two dumpsters’ worth of debris that posed a hazard to local wildlife such as nesting osprey, piping plovers, and horseshoe crabs. Litter removed including shoes, crates, fishing line, birthday balloons, a paddle board, a kitchen sink — and a bottle with old photographs and jewelry sealed inside.
While cleaning up the beach, volunteers also recorded what types of debris were most prevalent in the waters of Jamaica Bay, logging the data to be contributed to the International Coastal Cleanup Project, which aims to collect global data to help understand and improve the health of the planet’s oceans.
Special thanks to all of our partners who joined us for service:
JOSHUA LAIRD of the National Parks of New York Harbor, KEITH WHITE of Gateway National Recreation Area, and LIAM KAVANAGH of NYC Parks; AMERICORPS MEMBERS from VISTA, FEMA Corps, and DREAMS/YouthBuild; US MILITARY VETERANS from The Mission Continues; EMPLOYEE VOLUNTEERS from American Express, American Eagle Outfitters, MUFG Union Bank, and Twenty Pine; COMMUNITY GROUPS from buildOn, CityServ, Global Kids, Key Club International, Kingdom Empowerment, the National Parks Conservation Association, and South Jamaica Cornerstone Community Center; and STUDENT VOLUNTEERS from Borough of Manhattan Community College, Brooklyn College, City College, College of Staten Island, Middlesex County College, Raritan Valley Community College, University of Delaware, Bronx Design & Construction Academy, Brooklyn Tech High School, Emma Lazarus High School, Frank McCourt High School, Garden City High School, High School for Public Service, International High School at Lafayette, John Dewey High School, LaGuardia High School, Maspeth High School, Millennium Brooklyn High School, NEST+m High School, Stuyvesant High School, and William C. Bryant High School.
See more photos from the event on SCA’s NYC Facebook page.
Save the date for SCA’s next Find Your Park Day of Service in NYC for Earth Day on Saturday, April 16th, 2016.