1,400 Plants in the Ground!

 1,400 Plants in the Ground!

(Left to right) Noor Elsharkawi from Brooklyn Technical High School, Jennifer Benitez from The Scholars’ Academy, and Jesenia Xol-Quevedo from New Visions Charter HS for the Humanities IV are current or former members of Shore Corps, RISE’s internship program.

By Marvin Lopez Acevedo,

RISE Youth Engagement Coordinator

Two Saturdays in April saw the return of dozens of students, community members, and volunteers to the dunes along Beach Front Road between Beach 62nd Street to Beach 67th Street. They arrived to plant 1,400 berries, trees, and other native plants! The students, who are part of Shore Corps, RISE’s (Rockaway Initiative for Sustainability and Equity) internship program, worked together to dig holes and prepare each plant to go into the ground.

Volunteers received a crash course on the proper planting techniques and then chose spots along the dunes that they would be responsible for planting. Some enlistees were as young as two years old, a testament that Rockawayans can become involved in civic engagement at an early age. Not only did the plantings beautify the coastline, but the vegetation also acts as barriers against natural hazards.

These plantings mark the continuation of “Greater Rockaway” Coastline Resilience Plan, a multiyear effort to fill sections of Rockaway Beach dunes with native plants, in an attempt to strengthen the shoreline’s ability to resist floods and storm surges. With spring’s arrival and the return of warmer weather, the efforts of the last few seasons are apparent: a once barren, sparsely vegetated section of the beach on the northside of the boardwalk is now filled with grasses, shrubs, trees, and flowers. This will, with consistent stewardship, remain that way for years to come.

RISE hopes to place hundreds more plants in the ground this fall. Meanwhile, its volunteer program will begin on Wednesday, May 1, and will meet every Wednesday and Friday at the firehouse on 58-03 Rockaway Beach Boulevard. You are invited to participate in 18th Annual Earth Day Rockaway on Saturday, May 4, as well as to the next dune planting on Saturday, May 11. Visit riserockaway.org for more details.

The coastal resilience efforts are generously supported by National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, City Parks Foundation NYC Green Fund, Surfrider Foundation New York City, and volunteers like you! Thank you.


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