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Madison Square Park Conservancy is responsible for the maintenance of the park’s lawns which are in the process of spring reseeding. While the grass is establishing now, visitors should expect the majority of lawns to be ready for use in late May.  Lawns are open daily for public use starting at 10 AM through 5 PM, weather permitting. Lawns are closed on Parade Days.  Learn more about park hours and rules by visiting our FAQ page.

Emily Dickinson, Senior Sustainability Manager, Awarded Grant From Metro Hort Group

Feb 7, 2023 | Sustainability

Emily Dickinson, Senior Sustainability Manager, Awarded Grant From Metro Hort Group

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Hi, I’m Emily….the Senior Sustainability Manager at Madison Square Park Conservancy. I help develop programming and online resources that encourage community members to do things like reduce plastic waste, compost or dine at environmentally responsible restaurants– all actions that will decrease our neighborhood’s contribution to climate change. 

Tell us about the grant you were awarded 

With this grant from the Metro Hort Group, I will take the Sustainable Business Strategy certificate course from the Harvard Business School Online. This class will help me develop new public programs, uncover zero-emissions technologies that can be used in the park, and make meaningful connections with other great organizations that provide solutions for mitigating climate change. 

How will this course improve my role in the green industry?

When I took part in the Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management graduate program at the New School, I learned about so many exciting projects happening in New York City to help people learn about climate change and take meaningful action. However, I saw a disconnect. All these hundreds of programs left people feeling overwhelmed or even hopeless when considering what they could do to have a positive impact on the environment. 

I enjoy my job at the Conservancy because I get to bring people of all backgrounds together for conversations that drive change. In the last four years, I’ve had a lot of opportunities to collaborate with NYC organizations to share meaningful, easy-to-take actions that people or businesses can take to help protect the park and the planet. 

In my role at the conservancy, I track the emissions our organization creates and help introduce new techniques or equipment to reduce them. I work to share what we learn with other NYC greenspaces. 

I have learned so much about ecology in urban greenspaces by working on community science projects and a wildlife survey. It’s been exciting to uncover hundreds of species of bats, birds, bees, and other wildlife here in our 6.2-acre park! Our team creates and shares information, like the Guide to Restoring Native Plants in NYC, so that our neighbors can help us conserve all of this ecological diversity. 

My favorite projects are focused on reducing waste. Did you know that nearly 1,000 pounds of waste are collected in the park every day? Through our Green Dining Destination initiative, we’re working with neighborhood restaurants to help them realize their contribution to this issue and make changes to cut down on waste, energy, water usage, and more. 

We also work with GrowNYC to offer a weekly Food-Scrap Drop-off. In the first year, the program helped collect over 16,000 pounds of food waste that will be used to make compost to help trees and gardens across the city grow. 

Finally, I’m very excited to share that the park will host its first Waste Expo on Saturday, April 15th. This is a great opportunity for community members and their families to learn about reducing waste, proper recycling, and composting. Plus, visitors will be able to drop off items they no longer need or take used items to give them a new home. I hope to see you there! 

Thank You! 

The Metro Hort Group is an association of horticulture professionals in the New York City Tri-State Region. I would like to thank their members for this opportunity to continue my education and professional development in a field I enjoy working in so much! I’m excited to learn new techniques to help our community face climate change and reduce our carbon footprint. 

If you’re in the neighborhood and want to learn more about the Conservancy’s sustainability initiative, please feel free to reach out anytime. 

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