Restoration projects

Restoration Bronx River Park

Ecological restoration and management is one of the main programs in the Bronx River Alliance that does outstanding projects to protect and conserve terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Today I had a great opportunity to work with some members of the Bronx River Conservation Crew – Valerie Francis, Penny Mata, and Mildred Torres – near the Burke Bridge, in a park north from the NYC Botanical Garden.

This restoration project was particularly interesting because it involved about 30 youth from high schools – most of them came from different communities in the Bronx and some Westchester county. We had to pull out weeds and then plant trees and bushes near the Bronx River Parkway, and on the riverbank. For young participants it was a one-time event, and relatively far from communities where they live. This was also a requirement of their international exchange program (they were selected from hundreds of applicants to go to a European trip this summer).

Similar restoration activities are not used to be considered within the education framework, although, I am sure, they have a lot of potential to connect youth with local ecosystems, communities (maybe develop a sense of place attachment and social capital), and give a chance to learn from each other and from adults. I would like to see similar activities where youth participate on more regular basis and with more participation in decision-making.

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