'Keeping It Green' in Central Park

April 10, 2008 9:00:00 PM PDT
April is "Million Trees" month in New York City. And on Saturday, thousands of volunteers will plant 20,000 trees in parks across the five boroughs. In the latest edition of our "Be Part of Your Park" series, Michelle Charlesworth shows us a program that gets children involved in keeping the parks looking good.

It's about learning to give back. A group of kindergarten and first graders from Central Park East Elementary School spent their morning learning how to take care of the park that has given them so much joy.

"Central Park is a part of our lives," teacher Stephanie Levin said. "So it's good for them to understand how it's maintained."

There are 26,000 trees in Central Park that need to be fertilized, watered and monitored for disease. The children learned the kind of effort it takes to keep the trees strong and healthy.

The program is called "Keeping It Green."

"The real theme is to talk about the fact that this space depends upon people to actually keep it looking beautiful and healthy," said Rachel Stephenson, Director of the Central Park Conservancy. "So this really is the next generation of park stewards."

So get some gloves, get a bucket, get a rake, get to work and get the message!

"I'm using the mulch to help the trees grow," one student said.

"So the trees can be big and strong," another chimed in.

It is an effort that is truly appreciated by those employed to keep the the park looking good.

It is also hands-on experience that the Central Park Conservancy hopes will become a lifetime habit.

For more on "Keeping It Green" and other classes for school groups, visit CentralParkNYC.org