ISLIP TOWN—I Love My Park Day is a statewide effort to bring people together to help spruce up New York State’s parks, beaches, historic sites and other public places. The event, which is held annually on the first Saturday of May, had a great turnout this year. It was reported that more than 8000 volunteers showed up to help clean 140 sites across the state.
“I Love My Park Day is a great opportunity to give back to our parks and historic sites so that others can continue to enjoy our state’s amazing natural treasures,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
One of the local sites that saw dedicated volunteers was the Bayard Cutting Arboretum in Great River. Though the steady rain that fell that day resulted in less of a turnout than expected, the group of around 25 adults and school-age kids managed to get quite a bit of clearing, mulching and weeding completed within the three-hour window of the event.
“We couldn’t do this without our volunteers,” said Lee Kennedy, an employee of the 691-acre park, which happens to be the only arboretum in Suffolk County.
Among the groups taking part in the cleanup that day were students, parents and teachers from Timber Point Elementary School in East Islip, as well as from the Connetquot School District’s Idle Hour Elementary School in Oakdale.
“[We] are working here because we love our park,” said Sandra Rub, principal of Idle Hour Elementary. “We come to this arboretum a lot for field trips; we take classes here. It’s an important place.”
All across the verdant landscape, daffodils and tulips filled the ground with the colors of spring. “There were 90,000 bulbs planted in November and they’re all coming up now,” Kennedy said. She added that later in the month the perennial gardens would also begin to bloom.
In the weeks and months ahead, the changing colors and blossoms will alter the arboretum’s landscape. It’s a process that will continue on through autumn.
“The arboretum never sleeps,” remarked Kennedy.
Volunteers at the arboretum are welcome. Anyone interested in giving some time to help out there should call 631-581-1002.