project leader
Jennifer B
location
Parks across the Bronx
(The Bronx)
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the project

The Bronx is Blooming's Grow, Revitalize, Educate, Engage, Nurture (GREEN) community engagement program is a new program that builds on our past community work to encompass all of the education, outreach, and direct action that we undertake. 

The Bronx is Blooming’s Program for Leaders Advancing their Community's Environment (PLACE) youth development program empowers Bronx high school and college students to mentor their communities in the preservation and revitalization of local parks. This work engenders long-term stewardship and appreciation of local parks and environments, as well as building youth leadership skills.

Between 2011 (our founding) and 2018, BiB projects brought 89,000 volunteer hours to Bronx parks and employed more than 240 Bronx youth. In 2020, we plan to expand the PLACE program to employ 40-50 local students and steward 1,200 street and park trees. Additionally, with the launch of GREEN, BiB will steward over 2,000 trees total with the help of community advocates and volunteer days.

the steps

We accomplish our goals through direct action – working with communities to restore local parks and their habitat – and through education – teaching our PLACE leaders about these harms so they can teach volunteers and community members about the value of our work.

GREEN involves outreach and advocacy at community events, providing environmental information through our media channels, and getting residents out into their local park and working together alongside BiB staff to learn about the environmental harms that occur when parks are left untended.

PLACE has three stages: First, college mentors are trained in horticultural and project management skills to successfully mentor a group of high school students. Second, our program trains high school students to be project leaders. They work diligently; learning tree stewardship, invasive species removal and native restoration from their mentors and our partnering environmental organizations. Finally, our students lead groups ranging from 10 to 250 volunteers, in restoration projects that change their neighborhood parks.

PLACE trains our college and high school leaders to learn with intent, as they then teach everything they learned to others. This builds investment in understanding concepts and self- esteem as PLACE leaders successfully relay knowledge and take on leadership roles in their communities. It also allows our participants to empower Bronx residents, as they become caretakers of their parks.

why we're doing it

While the Bronx is 24% parkland, more than any other borough, much is consolidated in some large parks on the periphery of the borough, which are difficult to access for many Bronx residents. With a focus on smaller neighborhood parks, The Bronx is Blooming’s projects create more opportunities for communities to spend time in nature, including coming out to help revitalize their neighborhood parks.

Our projects not only help community residents to take direct action in their parks – as the stewards of young trees, the combatants of water pollution (through helping our open space absorb more rain water) and the planters and caretakers of new native gardens - but by beautifying and increasing exposure to neighborhood green space, we encourage regular park usage and physical activity.

Air pollution is an exacerbating factor for asthma, a critical and urgent issue in the Bronx, a borough with the highest asthma rates in the state, 43.5 asthma-related deaths per million residents in the Bronx, compared with the state average of 13.1 deaths per million (New York Environmental Report). Our work in community-driven horticulture is particularly suited to reducing air pollution, as many small steps (new plantings, park and street tree stewardship) can significantly enhance a community’s air quality. A mature tree absorbs more than 48 pounds of carbon monoxide each year and gives off oxygen (ArborDay).  Through the stewardship of 1,200 trees each year, 1,800 volunteers contribute to a denser, healthier canopy in our parks and on our streets for generations to come. As our members protect, mulch and prune our trees, they learn that these trees give back, by filtering pollutants, lowering summer temperatures and breathing life into their communities. 

We offer weekend community events, school service day partnerships, company team-building days, and University programming to connect students from different local colleges to one another and our work. Our work promotes an ethic of shared responsibility, spreading the message of how each community member can create change in their own environments, backyards, and tree-pits, and have fun while they are achieving these results. 

budget

Program coordinator - Summer PLACE program  - $3000

Mentors - Summer PLACE Program - $3000

Director - Summer PLACE Program - $4000

PROJECT FUNDING NEEDED = $10,000
ioby Platform Fee $35
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $310
TOTAL TO RAISE = $10,345

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donors

  • Fordham University - URBAN PLUNGE PROGRAM
  • Jacqui B.
  • YvonneTzimas
  • Seth Newman
  • Matt Burns
  • Jeff Coltin (shoutout to Aileen!)
  • Sarah R.
  • Adam and Leonora Gogolak
  • Shawn C.
  • carolyn s.
  • roberta
  • Anonymous
  • Shara B.
  • Christine Whelan