It's My Park! Day Celebrates Sustainability in Union Square Park

 All photos by Liz Ligon

All photos by Liz Ligon

The Union Square Partnership kicked off summer with a celebration of parks, nature, and sustainability at It's My Park! Day on Saturday, June 2nd. This year's re-imagined event focused on "Living Green in Union Square," highlighting ways to reduce waste, eat local, appreciate nature, and live sustainably. Read on for highlights of this year's expanded programming including new partners, dozens of children's activities, and information on recycling and composting in Union Square. Plus browse through our It's My Park! Day photo album to see more pictures from the event.

New Kid's Activities

Taking center stage at this year's event was the Uni Project, a portable reading and activities kids' corner. Children spread out in the middle of the park to learn about nature, the planet, and sustainability through the Uni Project's Explore Cart, outfitted with books, coloring, science specimens, microscopes + magnifying glasses, and an urban birds exploration activity. Plus, Barnes & Noble came out to host a Sustainable Story Time with animated readings of earth-centered children's books.

Kids loved hopping on the Sweetcycle Smoothie Bike to make + enjoy sweet, sustainable treats. This kid-powered blender bike helped to teach about reducing food waste by creating smoothies and other recipes from food scraps and produce that would have otherwise gone to waste. Our It's My Park! Day strawberry banana smoothies were made using rescued fruit donated by Whole Foods Market.

Kids got crafty with tons of new sustainability-focused arts and crafts activities. Our giant It's My Park! Day mural, designed by Michela Muserra, stretched over a long table for kids to color all day long. We loved seeing creative and colorful designs that children painted onto rocks to take home, and our face painters turned kids into animals, flowers, and insects for the day.

New Planting Activities

This year, we partnered with Korean beauty brand Innisfree to show how to reuse and recycle old containers. Event attendees could plant succulents in used, empty moisturizer jars, and learned about Innisfree's new eco-hankie campaign - a stylish way to reduce waste of paper products. GrowNYC taught attendees the importance of eating local and growing food at home, by donating herb plants that people could grow at home.

New Educational Activities

Both kids and adults were encouraged to learn how to bring sustainability into their homes and everyday lives. The NYC Department of Sanitation provided resources on recycling, composting, and reducing waste, as part of their "Zero by Thirty" campaign to get NYC to zero waste. The Lower East Side Ecology Center had information on how, what, and where to compost, and even demonstrated how worms in the soil break down the organic food waste that we don't eat.

Volunteer Projects

Thank you to all of our dedicated volunteers who helped us keep Union Square Park clean and beautiful. This year, volunteers swept dirt, leaves, and stray trash from the steps of the Union Square flag pole, and cleaned the surrounding area, making a huge impact on this part of the park's Center Lawn.

Tasty Refreshments

All day long, event attendees and volunteers enjoyed iced coffee and tea from Pret A Manger. USP encouraged everyone to sip from a free reusable Summer in the Square water bottle, instead of a single-use plastic cup. Chloe's Fruit was on site during the hottest part of the day to hand out refreshing fruit pops for both kids and adults to enjoy.

Browse through our full collection of photos from It's My Park! Day 2018 in our Flickr Album here.

Want more fun in Union Square Park? This was just the start of our summer programming! Join the Union Square Partnership every Thursday from June 14th through August 9th for free fitness classes, live performances, movie nights, and unlimited kids' activities! See the full summer line up at citisummerinthesquare.nyc.