MLK Day of Service, year 3, Idlewild Park Queens

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Wetland w/ Phragmites

It was a different experience this year-  fewer people and lower energy, due to the subfreezing temperatures. We were also working on a different part of the park, that was almost exclusively dumped materials from the adjacent roadway including a lot of construction materials. If was hard to find stuff, and large items were frozen into the marshy ground. Last year the area we worked on had a lot of stuff blown in from Hurricane Sandy so it felt more like an emergency rescue mission and less like cleaning up after other people’s deliberate bad choices.

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If you look closely at the tree, you’ll see a bag of dog shit some genius had gone to the trouble of picking up and then thrown over the edge of the park.

One of the Parks organizers mentioned that there are 4000 acres of wetland still within NYC. That doesn’t seem like too many for the population of our city to keep clean. Or at least not deliberately destroy. I was a less enthusiastic trash picker this year because I think the work we were doing needs a professional evaluation- is it safe? who knows what’s in there? Chemical and commercial waste seems more likely to be dangerous. Also I think they need an excavator. Ah well, it was the best possible way to spend my morning, got me out of my house and my funk and thinking about things other than myself. The most fun year was first because I convinced Nick to go with me- he’s had to work the last two years.

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I checked out the area to the south where we worked last year- it looks much better.
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Author: Emily

Writer/ Librarian

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