Today the Central Park Conservancy Institute for Urban Parks joined together with NYC Parks to celebrate 20 gardeners who recently completed the Community Parks Initiative Gardener Training Program.
Since it launched in 2015, the program has provided training to nearly 100 gardeners and has helped to improve more than 200 sites in underserved neighborhoods across the five boroughs. The impact of the program can be seen in new and replanted garden areas, repainted playground areas, and refurbished basketball and handball courts in parks across New York City.
Led and funded by the Central Park Conservancy Institute for Urban Parks, the immersive five-day training program covers core urban park management skills, including site assessment, landscape management, horticulture, visitor experience and engagement, trash management, and volunteer management. The Conservancy continues to support the gardeners once they return to the field through its Five Borough Crew Program, which provides on-site technical assistance and capacity building in New York City parks.
A ceremony attended by NYC Parks First Deputy Commissioner Liam Kavanagh, Central Park Conservancy President & CEO Elizabeth W. Smith, NYC Parks horticultural staff, and Community Parks Initiative gardeners from across the city celebrated the third cohort of gardeners who completed the program. As part of the ceremony, participating gardeners presented horticulture projects that enhanced Wright Brothers Playground in Manhattan and Colden Playground in Queens.
“This program and the accomplishments of the participants clearly demonstrate the success of the continued partnership between the Conservancy and NYC Parks,” said Elizabeth W. Smith, President & CEO of the Central Park Conservancy. “The Conservancy’s commitment to caring for parks is citywide, and we look forward to continuing this work together.”
“Since its inception, the Conservancy has been an enthusiastic partner of the agency,” said NYC Parks First Deputy Commissioner Liam Kavanagh. “We are grateful that through the Community Parks Initiative, they share their knowledge and commitment to help develop quality gardeners and beautify some of our most underserved communities.”
The Community Parks Initiative Gardener Training Program is part of NYC Parks’ Community Parks Initiative, which brings greater resources to historically underserved parks in high-need neighborhoods. Funded by Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York City Council, the initiative has targeted physical improvements in 110 priority parks and playgrounds to date in underserved neighborhoods.