Last weekend I visited the Freshkills Park in Staten Island. Freshkills Park was once better known as the Fresh Kills Landfill. Established in 1948, it was the largest landfill in the world and the cite remained operational till 2001. It is now being converted to a beautiful 2,200 acre park, the third largest park in the five boroughs. The project began in 2006 and will continue to develop in stages over the next 30 years. Freshkills Park is equipped with systems of drainage pipes, soil barrier layers, trenches and flare stations. The landfill gas is collected and purified while methane gas extracted from it is sold to power 22,000 local homes. The leachate (liquid byproduct of decomposing waste) is piped to an onsite treatment plant and the purified water is released into the Arthur Kill (a local creek). Some of the wild life is already making Freshkills Park its home. I saw an Osprey nest during the tour; white-tailed deer, muskrat, red-tailed hawk and many others have been spotted on the grounds. The city is hoping to make some of the recreational areas of the park open to the public as early as next year. Currently the city is offering free public tours of the park and I think everyone should take advantage of the opportunity to see Freshkills Park in its early stages. The landscape is filled with a mix of natural and industrial elements that provide gorgeous views and an opportunity to learn.
Sunday, August 22 – Pitch in, Clean up! at Highbridge Park, meet at W 174 St. and Amsterdam Ave. at 10 AM (Come help clean up Highbridge Park for everyone to enjoy. Cold water will be provided, but bring your own bottle)
Saturday, September 4 – Battery Park and Governor’s Island, meet at Battery place and State Street at 10 AM (Unfold the stories of Battery Park followed by a ferry ride to Governor’s Island for a journey through the forts)
Sunday, September 19 – Compost Workshop at Inwood Hill Park 10 AM – 12 PM (Meet at the Community Compost Center at the Inwood Nature Center to learn how to compost your own kitchen scraps. Bring your food waste to add to the composting bins)
Sunday, August 15 – Journey Through Time: Brooklyn Brews, meet at Bushwick and Montrose Avenues at 11 AM (view Brewers’ Row for some of the most architecturally interesting buildings in Bushwick)
Friday, September 17 – Family Camping, Prospect Park 6 PM, location TBA – to register visit nyc.gov/parks/rangers/register on September 8 (The evening includes a cookout dinner, a night hike, and a campfire. Bring your own sleeping bag, tents will be provided)
Saturday, September 25 – Volunteer Day, Fort Greene Park, meet at FGVC at 11 AM (Help keep Fort Greene Park clean)
Sunday, August 29 – The Great Bronx Bicycle Tour, Orchard Beach 11 AM (Take a leisurely bicycle ride from the Orchard Beach Nature Center to Van Cortlandt Park. Bring a helmet, sunblock, water and a bike)
Friday, September 10 – Family Camping, Van Cortlandt Park at 6 PM – Space is limited. To register, visit nyc.gov/parks/rangers/register on September 1 (Pitch a tent, make a campfire and go on a hike. Bring a flashlight and a sleeping bag)
Sunday, September 12 – Canoe up the Hutch, Pelham Bay Park 1 PM – Space is limited. To register, visit nyc.gov/parks/rangers/register on September 1 (Adventure through the water of the Thomas Pell Sanctuary. Experienced canoeists only)
Saturday, August 28 – Fort Totten Bike Tour at Fort Totten Park 11 AM, meet at the front entrance to Fort Totten, north of intersection of Totten Rd. and Cross Island Parkway (Pedal your way through Fort Totten’s history, dating back to the Civil War. Bring own helmet and bike)
Saturday, August 28 – Saltwater Fishing, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, meet at World’s Fair Marina, Pier 1, north of Citi Field between 126 St. and Grand Central Parkway at 2 PM (All applicable fishing regulations must be followed. Fishing equipment will be provided. First-come, first-served. Ages 8+)
Sunday, September 26 – Trolley Tour, Fort Totten Park, meet at front entrance to Fort Totten, north of intersection of Totten Road and Cross Island Parkway at 12 PM (Take a trolley through this historic military base and take a peek into the past)
Saturday, September 4 – Canoeing Basics, Clove Lakes Park 11 AM – 12 PM at Martling Pond (Equipment provided. First-come, first-served. Ages 8+)
Saturday, September 18 – Butterfly Safari, Blue Heron Park 11 AM, meet at BHNC (Learn how to safely capture, study and release butterflies. Nets and field guides will be provided. Bring a camera and a snack, if you’d like.
Saturday, September 25 – Fresh Kills Tour, Fresh Kills Landfill 10 AM and 1 PM, meeting TBA (To register, visit nyc.gov/parks)