he Hunters Point Parks Conservancy (HPPC) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to enhance and advocate for the green spaces and waterfront of Long Island City, and to ensure the parks remain an indispensable asset to the community.
Their main programming areas – volunteer projects and free community events – were disrupted significantly by the coronavirus pandemic, as they involved large groups of people gathering together in parks. In response, HPPC radically reinvented these programs in order to keep its community safe, while still providing high-quality programming and fulfilling its obligation to keeping Gantry Plaza State Park and Hunter’s Point South Park in top shape through facilitating volunteer cleanups.
Throughout the 2020 calendar year, HPPC hosted 100 virtual events attended by 3,000 people, and held 56 volunteer sessions attended by 514 volunteers. HPPC volunteers removed 856 bags of weeds, planted 1,206 plants and 13,000 bulbs, and pruned an additional 750 plants.
They also helped mitigate trash buildup on the LIC waterfront by purchasing seven Bigbelly trash cans for Hunter’s Point South Park (doubling the park’s trash capacity), created a 3,300-square-foot pollinator meadow with the Newtown Creek Alliance, worked with NYC Parks to remove graffiti in the parks and fix broken lights, and helped bring public art to the waterfront.
As the 2021 calendar year kicks into gear, HPPC is looking to build on their momentum from a strong 2020. A successful season of virtual events in 2020 prompted a new 2021 winter virtual program series (with another coming mid-April) featuring 20 events over Zoom, including yoga, Zumba, art, and kids STEAM programs. All events are free, but registration is required and all information can be found on HPPC’s online calendar.
The end of April will also see the launch of the season’s volunteer gardening days and HPPC is encouraging anyone interested to help. They will be working in Hunter’s Point South Park every Thursday morning at 10 a.m. and every Saturday morning in Gantry Plaza State Park at 10 a.m. Ten volunteers at a time will be allowed and registration is required.
Volunteers are required to wear a face covering through the duration of the session and follow other safety guidelines. The Conservancy is also bringing back its corporate volunteer program. Queens-based companies in particular are encouraged to bring their employees out for a day in the fresh air on the waterfront giving back to the community and its parks.
Corporate volunteer days are bespoke experiences that are tailored to fit the needs of each company and ensure a safe environment. If you are interested in learning more, please contact Casey Chamberlain, HPPC’s manager of Programming and Development at [email protected]
A minimum donation is required. Corporate sponsorship opportunities are also available for many other HPPC programs and corporate partnerships are vital to the success of the organization. For more information about the LIC waterfront parks, HPPC’s virtual events, volunteer opportunities and more, visit hunterspointparks.org.
You can also check out the Conservancy on Facebook, Instagram (@licwaterfront), and Twitter (@licwaterfront).