Representatives from the Town of North Hempstead joined forces with officials and volunteers from several Great Neck social organizations on Sunday, Sept. 22 to help clean Whitney Pond Park in Manhasset and plant new trees in time for the start of fall.
Representing the peninsula were members of Temple Israel, Temple Beth-El and the Great Neck Chinese Association (GNCA). They were joined by town Councilwoman Veronica Lurvey, whose district covers communities from Kings Point to Manhasset to Roslyn, as well as members of the town’s parks department, and Nassau County Legislator Ellen Birnbaum.
“It was a nice mixed group, lots of young people” Rabbi Daniel Schweber of Temple Israel said. “Veronica Lurvey shared some words about how the future is in their hands and all of our hands. The town is trying to do its part to take care of the environment, and the fact that the stakeholders like community organizations are getting involved is very important.”
The volunteers set to work at 3:30 p.m. Over the course of the day, they went around picking up trash and debris left by park-goers, grooming overgrown trees and bushes, and setting down wood chips for a new nature path being installed in the park.
But the most noticeable change in the park is the addition of four new cherry blossom trees, donated by the Town of North Hempstead and planted by volunteers armed with shovels, pickaxes and gardening gloves.
GNCA Secretary Jonathan Chang said the cherry blossoms in particular resonated with volunteers because of the impact their presence will create in the coming years.
“We left a legacy of four cherry blossoms,” Chang said. “The volunteers can come back every year and see this as their impact on the neighborhood.”
Schweber praised the work of both Great Neck and town volunteers, and commented particularly on how important it is for the area’s civic and social organizations to work together to help foster a sense of responsibility for the community.
“We share this community, all of us, and that includes the land,” Schweber said. “It drove home to me that this is our home, and if we don’t take care of it and discover what’s in it then, we’re at a loss. There’s a lot to be gained from caring for the land ourselves.”