Nature + Sustainability Celebrated at It’s My Park! Day
The Union Square Partnership kicked off summer with a celebration of parks, nature, and sustainability at It's My Park! Day on Saturday, June 1st. The family-fun event, focused on "Living Green in Union Square," highlighted ways to reduce waste, appreciate nature, and live sustainably. Read on for highlights from this year's program, including dozens of children's activities, neighborhood partners, 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.
Taking center stage at this year's event was the Uni Project, a mobile reading and activities kids' corner. Children spread out in the middle of the park to learn about nature, the environment, and sustainability through the Uni Project's Explore Cart, outfitted with books, coloring pages, 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 sustainability and earth-centered children's books.
Kids took a spin on the Sweetcycle Smoothie Bike to make + enjoy sweet, sustainable treats. This kid-powered blender bike helped to teach about reducing food waste, cooking with food scraps, and learning to use and eat all parts of a plant. They made fun snacks like strawberry banana smoothies, and ground and sifted wheat berries to make flour for hot oat cereal and whole-wheat pancakes.
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 nature-filled scenes of Union Square Park all day long. We loved seeing their creative and colorful designs, and our face painters turned kids into animals, flowers, and insects for the day.
This year, GrowNYC taught attendees the importance of eating local and growing food at home by donating herb plants like Basil and Italian Parsley that people potted to take home. Event-goers also potted and took home flowers to add to their personal gardens (or stoops or window boxes!).
Both kids and adults were encouraged to learn how to bring sustainability into their homes and everyday lives. The Lower East Side Ecology Center taught 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. Attendees also took home resources on recycling, composting, and reducing waste.
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.
All day long, event attendees and volunteers enjoyed iced coffee and tea from Pret A Manger. While the event-goers snacked, they learned about the Pret team’s sustainability initiatives, such as their reusable cup discount and commitment towards making all packaging 100% recyclable. During the hottest part of the day, Chloe's Fruit was on site to hand out refreshing fruit pops for both kids and adults to enjoy.
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 13th through August 8th for free fitness classes, live performances, movie nights, and unlimited kids' activities! See the full summer line up at citisummerinthesquare.nyc.