Record turnout for day of service at Cadman Park
November 20, 2015
It was the biggest turnout yet for Cadman Park Conservancy’s annual Daffodil Day, where volunteers and veterans joined up for a day of service at the park, planting bulbs that will eventually bloom in the spring.
The event earlier this month in honor of Veterans Day was organized in conjunction with the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership and Brooklyn Education Innovation Network (BE.IN). Local volunteers joined members of Mission Continues and Team Red, White & Blue, two veterans organizations which help returning vets facing the challenge of adjusting to life at home by connecting them to the community. In all, hundreds of people came out, planting 2,500 daffodil bulbs in the park.
“What started three years ago as a small event with botany students from St. Francis College ballooned into local residents working with volunteers from all five boroughs,” Potosky said. “The spirit was all about working together to benefit the park. It didn’t matter that so many people were meeting for the first time. We all had a mission to do and we did it.”
That mission was to bring the total of daffodils planted in the park to 5,000, with the eventual aim of reaching 12,000 within three years—one for every Brooklyn World War II veteran listed on the wall of the War Memorial located at the park. It was a mission pursued by a large and assorted group: college students from BE.IN schools St. Francis, St Joseph’s College, and NYU Tandon School of Engineering; green thumbs from NYC Parks, Partnerships for Parks, and New Yorkers 4 Parks; local volunteers from organizations like Gristedes, Amico Property Management, the Coney Island Beautification Project, and the New York Riveters, of the National Women’s Hockey League; and families and individuals from across the five boroughs.
“Veterans are an integral part of our learning community, and we’ve been recognized by US News and Military Times for excellence in educating veterans for successful careers following their service,” said Michael Banach, director of public and government affairs at St. Joseph’s College, which sponsored the service day. “This event was a great opportunity to have our students work with their peers from neighboring colleges, as well as the military veterans who joined us on this project.”
Attendees ranged nearly a century, from small children as young as 3 years old to at least one senior who was 90—Brooklyn WWII veteran Norman Wasserman and his wife Tatyana, digging dirt and planting daffodils.
Tina Beller, a veteran involved with Team RWB, was at the park with five other “Eagles” from the organization. “We vigorously raked up the leaves—my abs and back were sore the next day—and we bagged them and transported them to their next location,” she said. “Who better to serve in the community than those of us who live and work here and use the park’s services?”