This in from the Chief: GreenTeam has been featured in New York City Department of Parks & Recreation’s daily newsletter, The Daily Plant! Take a look below at the release, the featured a picture taken at Winter Jam on February 6th, 2011 (a link is posted after the story).

Daily Plant Masthead

Volume XXVI, Number 5381

Thursday, Mar 31, 2011

Join The Green Team!

As part of the New York City Parks Department’s Sustainable Parks initiative, we are working on all fronts to expand recycling on our 29,000 acres. Since 2009, the Parks GreenTeam has made a positive impact on Parks events by reducing their ecological footprint. At Citywide Special Events like Adventures NYC, Winter Jam, and Pumpkin Festival, GreenTeam volunteers make sure that recycling bins are available to attendees, ensure that all appropriate materials are recycled, and compete in teams to see who can collect the most bags of recycling. Now the GreenTeam is getting involved with education as well!

The GreenTeam was started by Parks’ Julie Raskin and former intern Joe Conforti in August, 2009. They saw a huge need for a recycling initiative due to the large amount of waste as a result of large events in the parks. Julie and Joe saw that simply putting out recycling bins was not making enough of a difference. The two Parkies found that recruiting groups of volunteers to actively monitor the bins and collect recyclables seemed to make the largest difference. Julie had witnessed the success of a model in which volunteers turned in recycling for prizes at the Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago.

With all of this in mind, Julie and Joe created the GreenTeam. By posting on http://www.NYCService.org and http://www.volunteermatch.com, the GreenTeam was able to recruit volunteers, many of whom have continued to volunteer throughout the two years. Recently many school clubs have heard about GreenTeam events and have been asking to volunteer as well. Even with many volunteers, none of this would be possible without the team effort of various units within the Parks Department. Citywide Operations provides the bins, bags, and staff to help transport the recyclables to a Department of Sanitation collection point after the event. Marketing & Special Events has given the GreenTeam a home and has provided signage and swag to give to the winning volunteers as prizes. Thanks to the Arsenal Maintenance staff, volunteers have plastic gloves to pick up recycling and sort through trash.

This year’s Winter Jam, on February 5 in Prospect Park, was a huge success for the Green Team. They had 60 volunteers and collected 30 bags of recycling. The volunteers are grouped into teams and compete during their shift to collect the most recycling. Teams get very involved in the competitive aspect and it is a fun highlight for volunteers. Sixty volunteers is a new record for the GreenTeam, and they expect even more at the larger events coming up this year. But that’s not all! For the first time there was composting at a Parks event. Working with “Compost for Brooklyn,” volunteers collected apple cores which they recycled into fertilizer for plants.

The GreenTeam also added an education component for this event. By partnering with different environmental non-profits and community groups, the GreenTeam created a scavenger hunt for attendees. It is not just any scavenger hunt, but an eco- scavenger hunt where participants were able to learn about all of the environmental issues and organizations in the local area. Winners of the scavenger hunt were inducted into the ‘GreenTeam Hall of Fame’ and also received some prizes. The GreenTeam is looking forward to continuing this programming at future events.

Submitted by Jamie Klein (Barnard ’11), Management & Budget Intern

The Sustainable Parks Task Force is composed of six working groups. The Public Recycling Working Group, led by Co-Chairs Julie Raskin (Management and Budget), Mahanth Joishy (Citywide Operations), and Stephen Koren (Capital Projects) is researching and analyzing ways to improve public recycling in parks. The three main goals of the working group are:

• Expand public recycling to 200 sites by the end of spring 2011

• Expand recycling at Parks events

• Incorporate recycling collection and storage zones into new park design

About Sustainable Parks

The Sustainable Parks Task Force was formed in 2010 to bring together employees across the New York City Parks Department to advance green initiatives related to 21st century park design and construction, innovative natural resource management, and the strategic reduction of fuel, energy, and materials consumption. Through agency-wide education programs and the quarterly release of a sustainability plan, we will reduce our carbon footprint and enhance the current and future livability of New York City.

Join The Green Team!

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