Here’s where to volunteer to keep NYC parks clean this Earth Day

April 21, 2021

Photo of Central Park in May 2020 © 6sqft

This Earth Day, New Yorkers can give back to the green spaces that gave us so much during the last year by volunteering to help keep them beautiful. Several organizations and community groups are hosting cleanup sessions at parks across the five boroughs this week, allowing city residents to nurture their green thumbs, enjoy the springtime weather, and connect with nature. “There is no single greater resource than the natural world around us,” Mitchell J. Silver, NYC Parks Commissioner, said in a press release. “The Earth offers us so much; it is our home and it is imperative that we work to protect, beautify, and preserve it.” Ahead, find an Earth Day event happening in your neighborhood.


Crotona Park
Friends of Crotona Park and NYC Parks are hosting an Earth Day event on Saturday, April 24 from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Volunteers can participate in a lake cleanup, tree stewardship, and garden rehabilitation at the Bronx public park. To RSVP or get more information, email [email protected] or call 718-430-1878.

Muskrat Cove
On April 22, the Bronx River Alliance is looking for volunteers to help remove floating debris from the boom at Muskrat Cove for the group’s Project WASTE initiative. As part of the project, items are collected and assessed to determine the origins of the trash, which then helps drive the Alliance’s community education and outreach campaigns. Volunteers should meet at the Woodlawn Metro-North Station. Register in advance for the event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., here.

Starlight Park
As part of the weekly “Tidy Thursday” cleanups, you can help the Bronx River Alliance remove litter and weeds and add plantings at Starlight Park, a recently restored 13-acre park in Crotona Park. Register for the two-hour event on April 29 here. The Alliance is hosting a celebration of Earth Day with a number of free activities, including a community paddle, an art station, and a bike repair clinic.

Pelham Bay Park
Earth Day and Earth Month serve as a perfect time to show your appreciation for New York City’s largest park, Pelham Bay Park. This northeast Bronx park is made up of 2,700 acres of natural forest, woodlands, meadows, and marsh. On Saturday, April 24, the NYC Parks’ Urban Park Rangers will lead a hike along the shoreline of Orchard Beach while volunteers remove any trash found along the way.


Brooklyn Bridge Park
On April 24, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy will host an Earth Day event full of free activities. In addition to a meditative nature walk, yoga, and Earth Day storytime, volunteers can help the Conservancy with horticultural tasks and assist with trash removal on Pebble Beach. While some of the events require advance registration, the volunteer cleanups do not. Learn more and see the full schedule here.

Prospect Park
You don’t need a holiday in order to help keep Brooklyn’s Prospect Park clean. On Saturdays and Sundays, the Prospect Park Alliance provides volunteers with a “Green and Go Kit,” which includes a trash grabber, garbage bags, and gloves, at various locations across the park. Reservations are required. Plus, starting May 3, “It’s My Park Day” volunteer events will take place on Mondays to clean up after the weekend.

Fort Greene Park
The Fort Greene Park Conservancy’s annual Earth Day celebration takes place on Saturday, April 24. In addition to participating in a park cleanup, volunteers can collaborate on “ephemeral landscape” artworks, which are made using natural materials found in the park. Sign up for the event here.


Thomas Jefferson Park
In East Harlem, Latino Outdoors NYC is joining forces with Green and Blue Eco Care for a fun cleanup of  Thomas Jefferson Park on April 24. Volunteers will pick up garbage and plant sunflowers around the park, located at 114th Street and Pleasant Avenue. Space is limited so reserve a volunteer spot here.

Hudson River Park
Volunteer opportunities are now available at the waterfront Hudson River Park all year round. On certain Saturdays throughout the spring, summer, and fall, the Hudson River Park Green Team works together to improve the 4.5 mile stretch of green space. Volunteers will work with horticulture staff from the Hudson River Park Trust on activities like planting, weeding, pruning, mulching, and other gardening activities. The Earth Day volunteer event takes place on April 24, but there are chances to participate through December. Email [email protected] or call 347-515-2242 for more information.


Bayswater Park
The Urban Park Rangers are leading a litter cleanup at Bayswater Park, a peaceful green space on the eastern shore of Jamaica Bay in the Rockaways that boasts views of lower Manhattan. The event takes place on Thursday from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. and volunteers should meet at Bay 32nd Street and Beach Channel Drive.

Sobelsohn Playground
There will an Earth Day volunteer event at Sobelsohn Playground, which is located on the eastern end of Forest Park. On April 24 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., enjoy eco-friendly arts and crafts projects followed by a cleanup session. On Sunday, volunteers can return to Forest Park for an event at The Pine Grove. From 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on April 25, help the park with mulching and maintaining the park’s historic pine trees, as well as planting and general litter pick-up.

Staten Island

Schmul Park
The Freshkills Park Alliance and NYC Parks are teaming up for a cleanup at Staten Island’s Schmul Park. Participants will identify native, invasive, and ornamental plants while removing litter and other debris, according to the listing. The event, which kicks off at 9 a.m., is free, but volunteers must register in advance here.

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