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Bronx Watershed Work Day hosted by RAIN Coalition members, Bronx River Alliance, and the Hope Program


Bronx, NY: On Tuesday, August 15, the Bronx River Alliance and The HOPE Program hosted a Watershed Work Day in the Bronx at Starlight Park. The event brought together partners from the RAIN Coalition and community members to steward rain gardens in Starlight Park that absorb stormwater and contributes to improved water quality in the Bronx River.

RAIN Coalition members and community volunteers stewarded two rain gardens in Starlight Park, clearing invasive plants and removing trash and debris. With regular care, these rain gardens are beautiful assets to the park, with native flowering plants that attract pollinators.

There is no issue of greater importance to New York City’s future than adapting to climate change. Green Infrastructure (GI), such as rain gardens, is a critical adaptation tool, as it reduces flooding from intense storms, improves water quality, and cools neighborhoods.

GI requires proper care to provide these benefits. More resources, including community partnerships, are necessary to successfully employ GI for climate adaptation. At the same time, NYC can leverage these historic GI investments to create economic opportunity through high quality job creation for disadvantaged communities.

“Rain gardens present tremendous opportunities for community stewardship and youth development in green infrastructure,” said Ja’Juan Gibson, Bronx River Alliance’s Horticultural Steward. “As a former volunteer myself, it’s amazing to be on this side of things and remarkable to see how much my understanding has increased in a relatively short amount of time! Rain gardens and their functions are still ambiguous to many, but by organizing community stewardship days like this, the Bronx River Alliance and our partners in the RAIN Coalition help local watershed communities understand the importance of green infrastructure and how it is an important tool to adapt to climate change.”

“I have massive anxiety about climate change and the pandemic gave me time and space to finally get involved at a community level and work to attempt to restore our local ecosystem. I know it’s just one small drop in the bucket, but volunteering at events like Gardening Tuesday has given me a chance on multiple occasions to remove invasives, plant trees and natives, learn about the Bronx’s historic and current ecosystem, and attempt to restore it all the while making beautiful and meaningful connections with both staff and community members.” Said Anike Cherry, a regular volunteer with the Bronx River Alliance. “After volunteering with BxRA for the past few years, there are places all over the Bronx I pass and say, ‘it’s beautiful and we made it look like this.’ It’s one of the days out of the week when I’m in the soil, connected to nature and to others who care about nature too and feel like there’s some hope that people doing work like we do on Gardening Tuesdays all over the planet will be able to alleviate the challenges we face.”

The HOPE Program believes that there are tremendous opportunities to leverage investments in climate adaptation to workforce development, said Kendra Jones, Director of Transitional Employment. “RAIN Coalition’s work demonstrates how this approach can work on-the-ground to achieve measurable improvements. We look forward to continuing to partner with DEP and the Mayor’s Office on Climate and Environmental Justice to build both climate resiliency and climate justice for our most vulnerable communities.”

“The RAIN Coalition has been a terrific partner in helping to ensure New York City’s rain gardens are well maintained so they can do their job — absorb rain water, reduce flooding and improve the health of local waterways like the Bronx River,” said DEP Deputy Commissioner for Sustainability Angela Licata. “In just the last few years we have built more than 12,000 Green Infrastructure installations and with support from organizations like the RAIN Coalition we can help engage all New Yorkers in the critical work of creating a more resilient city.”

With the increasing frequency and intensity of storms, rain gardens are crucial tools to mitigate flooding and capture stormwater in flood-prone neighborhoods,” said New York City Comptroller, Brad Lander. “The Bronx River Alliance and RAIN Coalition’s stewardship of green infrastructure is a prime example of how to combat climate change and build a resilient future by strengthening workforce and community development.” 

The RAIN (Rain garden Action in Neighborhoods) Coalition was formed in 2021 to pilot and advocate for Green Infrastructure (GI) stewardship across NYC that provides high quality maintenance, as well as career ladders into sustainable jobs for communities most affected by historic environmental harms. The Bronx River, Flushing Bay, Gowanus Canal, and Newtown Creek watershed communities are impacted by multiple environmental injustices including exposure to CSO, flooding, high poverty, extreme heat, and lack of accessible green space. The RAIN Coalition came together to build long-term capacity for local GI management, provide local green-collar jobs, and catalyze a citywide network. 

Upcoming Watershed Work Days are September 20th in the Gowanus Canal Watershed hosted by the Gowanus Canal Conservancy and October (exact date TBA) in the Flushing Creek watershed hosted by the Guardians of Flushing Bay.

For more information, contact Maggie Greenfield, Consultant to the RAIN Coalition, at 347-387-7129 or maggie.scott.greenfield@gmail.com

Press Contact:

Diogomaye Ndiaye

(718) 542-4124 ext. 120

(848) 667-0718



About the Bronx River Alliance

The Bronx River Alliance is a coordinated voice for the river that works in partnership to protect, improve and restore the Bronx River corridor so that it can be a healthy ecological, recreational, resource for the communities through which it flows.

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