Being "Rooted In" means being committed to creating a greener future in your neighborhood, your community and your city. It’s a passion that comes from who you are and where you’re from.
Green spaces are vital to the environment and the places we live. Each space has its own story and its own heroes. We’re celebrating those who inspire us and are making an impact in our communities. What makes a green space important is personal. And these are your neighbors’ stories.
“Wetlands restoration doesn't mean going back. It means going forward.” I'm Chris Girgenti. I'm Rooted In NYC.
Randall’s Island is more than a place for sprinters, concert goers and ballplayers. It is also a place for Canadian geese, blue crabs and striped bass. The Randall’s Island Park Alliance (RIPA) has restored over 20 acres of natural habitats in the park including wetlands, forests, and meadows. They provide free educational and recreation programs throughout the year to engage and educate the public about the waters that surround our neighborhoods. Since RIPA founded the Waterfront Stewardship Program, they’ve removed thousands of pounds of trash from our waterways, created valuable wildlife habitats that in turn have helped remove CO2 and other pollutants, and have encouraged new generations of environmental stewards. See more about all the good things happening on Randall’s Island.
“It’s important to me. I’m retired, so I sit in the park a lot.” I’m Morris Grady. I’m Rooted In NYC.
Anibal Aviles Playground is situated on West 108th Street between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues. The playground honors the memory of Anibal Aviles, a gifted athlete who attended nearby J.H.S. 54, where he was captain of the basketball and track teams. Aviles later went on to serve in the United States Marine Corps during the Vietnam War where he was killed in action. Today, with help from the community volunteer group Friends of Anibal Aviles Playground/Amigos del Parque de Anibal Aviles, the park now serves as a remembrance of the community hero and a space for neighbors to come together. See more about what’s happening at Anibal Aviles Playground.
“I was raised knowing where my food came from. I want that for my children.” I’m Shannon. I’m Rooted In NYC.
There aren’t many urban farms around that allow children to have a hand in what happens in the garden. However, the South Brooklyn Children’s Garden was started to do just that. The urban farming and member-based cooperative seeks to encourage fresher and healthier foods planted and raised by children and their families. Whether it’s working to grow foods, participating in educational programs or hosting community events, neighbors and their families are invited to the green space to help grow both garden and community. See what else is happening at the South Brooklyn Children’s Garden.
“We adopted the park because we wanted to make it safe again.” I’m Britney Canales. I’m Rooted In NYC.
Some green spaces take a little work to become a community safe place. Hope Ballfield is a neighborhood park located in Bushwick. In recent years an influx of crime has driven neighbors from the park. However, after a tragic shooting took place, the El Puente Bushwick Leadership Center worked with the help of community volunteers to take back the green space. Together, the community volunteers have revitalized the park. Thanks to their efforts, Hope Ballfield has been cleaned up, replanted and reborn. See more about the great things happening at Hope Ballfield.
“We all share a common humanity. The park is the perfect space to share that spirit.” I’m Amy Long. I’m Rooted In NYC.
Along with fresh air and an escape from concrete, green spaces provide a space for self-reflection and community appreciation. Located in the Forrest Hills section of Queens, the Ehrenreich-Austin Playground unites its neighbors around the thought that we are all citizens of Earth. That’s the message that the Earth Citizens Club at Ehrenreich-Austin Playground seeks to spread. Along with caring for the park and raising environmental sustainability awareness the club brings together neighbors of various cultures, faiths and languages. Honoring the memory of local civic activist Leo Ehrenreich, the park serves as space for community wellness. See more things happening at Ehrenreich-Austin Playground.
“Sunflowers are my favorite plants and I like growing my own at the garden.” I’m Alyne. I’m Rooted In NYC.
The Wellful Environment-Callaloo Patch Community Garden is a green space located in Staten Island on York Ave. The garden works to sustain a green space that gives members a communal space to grow. From sunflowers to watermelon patches and callaloo plants, a Jamaican leaf vegetable giving the green space its name, the community garden introduces neighbors to local farming. The Callaloo Patch also offers educational programs on composting and demonstrations on starting seedlings of native species plants and edible organic plants in the area to promote healthy eating habits. See more about the Callaloo Patch Community Garden.
“It’s wonderful knowing that I can use the environment to enrich kids' lives.” I’m Emerson Nuñez. I’m Rooted In NYC.
Van Cortlandt Park is a green space cared for in part by the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy. The park is home to the largest body of freshwater in the Bronx as well as the last of the area’s native woodlands. As New York City’s fourth largest park, its 1,146 acres offer two golf courses, a museum, nature center and many recreational areas like sports fields, running trails, pools and more. Acquired in 1888 by the City of New York, the park was later named in honor of the Van Cortlandt family in 1913. It wasn’t until 2009 that the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy was formed, bringing with it educational and cultural programming including Barefoot Dancing, Painting Nature and Hike & Draw. The Conservancy is also responsible for Urban Ecology Teen Internship, a year-round, work-study program for Bronx High School students that prepares for college and future careers in environmental science and natural resource management. Committed to ensuring the long-term well-being of its natural areas and recreational venues, the Conservancy also works to provide staffing to enhance the park’s woodlands, fields, playgrounds and ball fields. See more about the great things happening in Van Cortlandt Park.
“If you’ve got twenty minutes, you can help out.” I’m Michael Marino. I’m Rooted In NYC.
Corlears Hook Park is located on Manhattan’s Lower East Side at the intersection of Jackson and Cherry Streets along Franklin Delano Roosevelt Drive. The green space is part of the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway and contributes to the 32 miles of connected parks along the shoreline of Manhattan. Connected by footbridges and winding paths to the adjoining East River Park, the community space offers softball fields, tennis courts, skateboarding areas and public performance space. Corlears Hook Park was completed in 1905 and named after the Van Corlear family and its geographic hook shape. Now a widely used green space, the park is cared for by the volunteer group Friends of Corlears Hook Park. The community group is responsible for park clean-up and planting events and community programming for the betterment of the park. See what other great things are happening at Corlears Hook Park.
“Dedicated to making Philadelphia the City of Arborly Love.” TreePhilly is Rooted In Philly
TreePhilly, an initiative of Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, is dedicated to making Philadelphia the City of Arborly Love. It was launched in response to Mayor Nutter’s Greenworks goal to make sure each Philadelphia neighborhood has at least 30% tree canopy coverage. Each year they give away 4,000 trees and help locals connect with the resources they need to plant and care for their own urban forests. And by helping Philadelphians plant and maintain trees on both public and private property, they hope to make the city landscape better for generations to come. Learn more about what they’re up to in Philly.
Photo Credit: Charles Bouril, courtesy of TreePhilly
“We don’t just save land, we save land for people to enjoy.” The Trust for Public Land is Rooted In Miami
The Trust for Public Land’s vision is to create parks, gardens, or natural areas within a 10-minute walk of everyone in America’s cities. In many Miami communities, obesity rates are disproportionately high and access to fitness facilities is limited. To create more opportunities for physical activity, they are outfitting neighborhood parks with Fitness Zone® installations. This custom-designed, easy-to-use outdoor gym equipment is free, and features health and fitness information in Spanish, English, and Creole. It’s all part of an effort to transform urban Miami into a green, livable, and healthy city. Learn more about what they’re up to in Miami.
Photo Credit: Allana Wesley White, courtesy of The Trust for Public Land
Green spaces happen by the dedication of volunteers, charitable organizations and people like you. To find out about green spaces in your area, visit our partners below.
See what others who are “Rooted In” have done to make a lasting difference in our communities.