The Hunters Point Park Conservancy (HPPC) received a grant for Gantry Plaza State Park beautification efforts and its volunteer outreach programs.
Through the Environmental Protection Fund’s Park and Trail Partnership program, the HPPC team was awarded $21,600 to replace damaged tree guards throughout Gantry Plaza State Park and to improve their volunteer gardening program. HPPC will contribute an additional $3,150 in matching funds, for a total budget of $24,750.
The tree guards are a vital piece of park infrastructure that protects the park’s maples, oaks, willows, and more to ensure their health and longevity.
“It’s inspiring to see the transformational effect of the Parks and Trail Partnership Grants and how they are enhancing the ability of Friends groups to make an even greater contribution to the stewardship of New York’s great outdoor spaces,” Parks & Trails New York Executive Director Robin Dropkin said. “These grant funds will enable groups to leverage more private and federal funding, marshal more volunteer power, and augment the state’s historic investment in parks, trails and other public outdoor places.”
Tree guards throughout the more than 20-year-old Gantry State Park have become damaged over years of use. They provide an important barrier between a tree and the sometimes harsh urban environments, reducing soil compaction, shielding the trunk from physical damage, and preventing pet waste from entering the tree pit.
“The Hunters Point Parks Conservancy continues to inspire the residents of Long Island City to appreciate their spectacular and precious waterfront parks,” New York State Parks NYC Director Leslie Wright said. “This grant allows the Conservancy to directly support Gantry Plaza State Park with needed tree guards to help the state park’s lovely trees, and also to support the Conservancy’s mission to do community outreach and volunteer events that also benefit Gantry Plaza State Park and the community.”
Another portion of the funding will be put toward increasing the capacity of HPPC’s volunteer gardening program.
In 2019, thanks to a similar grant, HPPC brought in over 1,000 volunteers to Gantry Plaza State Park and the immediately adjacent Hunters Point South Park, a nearly 50 percent increase from the year before. With increased park usage and cuts to park budgets in 2020, that are now expected to cause greater stress in 2021, the conservancy envisions an even greater need for an effective and efficient volunteer program.
“I am grateful to Parks & Trails New York for once again providing Hunters Point Parks Conservancy with this much-needed grant,” Hunters Point Parks Conservancy President Rob Basch said. “Gantry Plaza State Park has seen unprecedented usage and this funding will allow us to make sure our trees remain safe and thriving. We also appreciate the funding to help the Conservancy grow and continue to bring more volunteers into the park keeping Gantry Plaza State Park the jewel along the East River that it already is.”