For the second year, the Bronx River Alliance was pleased to host a GAPP (Green Applied Programs at Parks) crew, a group of apprentices sponsored by the Mayor’s office through the Center for Economic Opportunity. Eight young adults, aged 18 through 24, split their time between ecological conservation projects with the Bronx River Alliance and gardening projects, working with the parks horticulture staff. Their names are: Kira Maxim, Carlos Santiago, Austin Hodges, Shakim Lebeau, Derrick Gordon, Tishella James, Andrea Williams, and Katlyn Bumgardner. Led by crew member Michelle Cropsey, their work culminated in clearing a plot in the North forest of invasive plants and replanting with 169 shrubs and plants native to the area. Their horticulture work focused on a site in Rosewood playground, which is commemorated by a plaque in the park. During their time with the Alliance, they had a chance to take a full river canoe ride, get a guided tour of the new native plant garden at the NY Botanical Garden, and learn about the intertidal zone during a low-tide walk at Soundview Park. But if you ask them to identify the highlight of their time together, it is likely that they will say the best part was meeting each other and having the chance to work together as a team. We appreciate their enthusiasm, positive attitudes, and willingness to learn new things, and we wish them the best in their future endeavors.
Look for our Conservation Crew with a new group of 15 young people from the NYC Youth WRAP (Workforce Restoration Assistance) program, a Sandy relief/restoration program in partnership with the NYC Department of Probation. The Alliance looks forward to the extra help this group can provide in restoring the Bronx River’s ecosystem and improving its resilience for weathering future storms.