Environmental minds to converge at boro summit

By Nathan Duke

More than 50 borough and city−based environmental groups will converge on Flushing’s Al Oerter Recreation Center next weekend for a conference on green initiatives hosted by the Queens Coalition for Parks and Green Spaces, the coalition’s president said.

Going Green in Queens 2009, which will be co−sponsored by TimesLedger Newspapers, will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 28 at the center at 131−40 Fowler Ave. in Flushing.

The event will include more than 50 environmental groups, which will each have their own table, as well as 10 workshops on a variety of subjects, including permaculture, tree pruning, the ecology of Flushing Meadows Corona Park, recruiting and retaining volunteers and community organizing.

“It should appeal to almost everybody who has an environmental interest,” said Frederick Kress, president of the Queens Coalition for Parks and Green Spaces. “We want to motivate people to do something now — to get involved and join some groups.”

Kress said he expects about 600 people to attend the event. Workshops will begin at noon and the day will culminate with free raffles of office supplies, T−shirts and hats. Food will be free for attendees.

“People can expect to learn a lot about pertinent environmental issues by going in and out of workshops and visiting tables,” Kress said.

Susan LaCerte of the Queens Botanical Garden will be the keynote speaker at the event. Attendees can also take part in recycling programs for cell phones, old eyeglasses and ink and toner cartridges. There will also be a presentation of an electric car.

The event will include a number of borough groups, including the Alley Pond Environmental Center, the Queens Civic Congress, the Urban Park Rangers, Recycle Queens, the city Department of Environmental Protection, Clean Air New York, Tsu Chi, Commuter Link, Green Shores NYC, APEC, the Long Island City Boathouse, Friends of Gantry Parks, the Citizens Committee for New York City, Citizens Against Graffiti Everywhere, the New York League of Conservation Voters, the Flushing Meadows Corona Park Conservancy, the Queens Botanical Gardens and the Queens Zoo.

“It’s not just for adults, but also for kids,” Kress said. “It’s very hands−on. And it’s not just to educate people and motivate them, but also for networking.”

Visitors must pre−register at [email protected] or by phone at 718−343−6779.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e−mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 156.

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