The Udalls Cove Preservation Committee (UCPC), one of the oldest conservation groups in Queens and Long Island, will be hosting its 50th Annual Wetlands and Woodlands Cleanup event next week.
On Saturday, April 13, members of the UCPC along with local leaders will gather at Aurora Pond in celebration of half a century of “CPR” — conservation, preservation and restoration — of the underdeveloped wetlands and wooded uplands in the Udalls Cove watershed.
State Senator John Liu, Assemblyman Ed Braunstein and Councilman Paul Vallone and Queens Borough Parks Commissioner Michael Dockett are expected to join the cleanup effort. The annual meeting and cleanup are also opened to individuals who are not UCPC members.
The event begins with a meeting on Sandhill Road, known to locals as the “Back Road” and cleanup efforts will immediately follow. According to the organization’s President Walter Mugdan, the cleanup event invites participants to “think globally, act locally.” Volunteers should wear long pants and sturdy shoes or boots.
Each year, UCPC volunteers collect enough refuse to fill a 30-cubic yard dumpster to the brim. The majority of trash consists of plastics items including drink bottles, shopping bags, discarded toys and food containers. Last year the organization reportedly disposed of more than half a dozen old air conditioners that had been intentionally dumped from the adjacent street.
“None of the accomplishments we’ll be celebrating at this 50th-anniversary event could have been achieved without the strong and steady support of residents, local civic associations and environmental groups, elected officials and our partners in the New York City Parks Department with whom we’ve had a great working relationship for five decades. We thank them all!” Mugdan said.
For the past 50 years, the organization has worked to conserve and preserve the underdeveloped lands at Udalls Cove — which is the eastern arm of Little Neck Bay, part of Long Island Sound. UCPC has successfully preserved 98 percent of the approximately 117 acres of remaining salt marsh, freshwater wetlands, and wooded uplands as public park space and has been working on acquiring the last few privately owned acres.
Mugdan has worked with the UCPC since the 1970s due to his proximity to the cove and his love of the environment. Growing up, Mugdan recalls playing at Udalls Cove Park and formed his environmental interest in junior high school. He has served as the UCPC president since 2002.
Mugdan noted that the group has plans for numerous additional projects, and added, “We look forward to continuing our work, with the help of our many supporters, as we embark on our second half-century.”
The 50th Annual Wetlands and Woodlands Cleanup event is on Saturday, April 13 starting at 10 a.m. Volunteers will meet at Sandhill Road before cleanup efforts commence. UCPC will provide trash collection bags and work gloves for the cleanup efforts of the shoreline, the wetlands and the woodlands. Participants are then invited to join in a free picnic lunch at Memorial Field in Douglaston starting shortly past noon.