In the city of Yonkers, this partnership works to enhance community health and well-being through outdoor engagement, connect people through youth employment, environmental education, recreation, and relevant habitat conservation projects.
Refuge staff joined youth from Groundworks Hudson Valley at the annual Yonkers Riverfest. The event brought in thousands of visitors for free food, entertainment and activities. Those who stopped by the always entertaining Hoverball archery activity had an opportunity to participate in this safe and fun activity for all ages. Visitors were able to walk through the Groundworks Science Barge and see firsthand the wind turbines whirling, solar panels getting their energy from the sun, and the greenhouses bursting with hydroponics. They could also learn about ways to combatin their local community through information and programming led by the Groundworks Green Team members.
Youth Restore Riparian Buffer
Youth from Groundwork Hudson Valley’s Green Team joined refuge staff for arestoration project at Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge.
The youth planted over 30 trees on April 13, along the Wallkill River, a tributary of the Hudson River which flows alongside the youth’s hometown of Yonkers, New York. The Green Team will take their newly-acquired tree planting skills back to Yonkers for riparian restoration efforts of their own.
Urban community engagement specialist helps expand conservation impact in New York, New Jersey
Lucy Crespo works with the Lenape National Wildlife Refuge Complex in Elizabeth and Yonkers, New York, as well as the surrounding metropolitan area, to expand the reach and impact of our conservation efforts. Through close collaboration with a wide variety of partners and other interested parties, she identifies and breaks down barriers between urban communities and nature and its many benefits. Her position, funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Northeast Region and the National Wildlife Refuge Association, is new to her, but Lucy’s been laying the foundation to excel at this work for many years. Prior to taking on this latest role, she worked for environmental non-profit Groundwork Elizabeth, a key player in our Elizabeth Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership. She discovered them when she was still in high school.
One look at her track record and it’s clear: Lucy can do it all. With Groundwork Elizabeth, she organized dozens of large events and cleanups; helped lead tree plantings and other urban habitat improvement projects; created and led educational programs and guided walks; served as director of youth initiatives, dedicated to increasing career opportunities for urban youth in the conservation field; and when needed, acted as an interpreter for Spanish speakers in the community – a skill she honed as a child interpreting for her parents.
Staff at the Lenape National Wildlife Refuge Complex attribute much of their success in Elizabeth to passionate conservationists like Lucy.
“She’s served as an inspiration to countless Elizabeth, New Jersey, youth and Service staff and partners,” said Jared Green, Visitor Services Manager for the Complex. “We are so excited to have her as part of our team, with the amazing work on behalf of the Elizabeth and Yonkers Urban Wildlife Refuge partnerships that she has already accomplished and the new community projects she will be taking on in the future."