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Madison Square Park Conservancy is responsible for the maintenance of the park’s lawns. 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.


Monarch butterfly on flower
Our Sustainability Commitment
We are working to develop sustainable practices that can help us protect the delicate ecosystems in our park.
Our Story

As the city has grown over the past 200 years, Madison Square Park has remained a vital green space for generations of New Yorkers. But like the rest of the world, the park is suffering from the negative impacts of climate change, as well as from the increased waste that results from the increased use of our public spaces.

In recent years, we’ve observed environmental changes, including soil degradation, flooding, a decline in the health of our trees and plants, and a disruption to the seasonal cycles of insects and other wildlife. Madison Square Park is not only a haven for people, it’s a refuge for threatened local wildlife as well as wildlife migrating through New York from afar.

In 2018, waste generated by park visitors was at an all-time high. Over 1,500 pounds of waste was removed from the park every day. This waste is costly, challenging for staff to manage, and creates greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. Each day, this waste would generate 2.6 tons of emissions—an amount that would require 43 tree seedlings growing for 10 years to offset.

In response, the Conservancy made a commitment to actively nurture the park’s delicate ecosystems by reducing carbon emissions in park operations and encouraging park visitors and our community to reduce their waste and consumption.

Environmental conservation is a shared responsibility. We invite our community and other park stewards to join us in learning and making change. Together, we will ensure that this green sanctuary and others citywide can be enjoyed for generations to come.

Explore the menu below to see what we’ve achieved so far:

Park Stewardship


  • We launched the Leave the Leaves campaign, cutting back on our fall clean-up and encouraging others to do the same. Leaving leaf debris on the ground provides food sources and habitats for native pollinators and decomposers, protects plantings, and reduces our carbon impact.


  • We completed the Madison Square Park Tree Conservation Plan. As many as half of the park’s trees are expected to reach their end of life in the next 14 years. Under this plan, we will diversify our urban tree canopy, making it more resilient against pests, diseases, and climate change.

  • We launched single-stream recycling program in the park.


  • We began conducting quarterly audits of waste collected in the park and set a goal to divert 40% of all waste collected in the park from landfill by 2030.


  • We began conducting annual audits of the Conservancy’s energy use to reduce our impact and offset usage that cannot be reduced.

  • We purchased more energy-efficient operations equipment, including electric leaf blowers, weedwackers, hedge trimmers, and a lawn mower.

  • We adopted a Plants Collections Policy and Invasive Species Policy, preserving the trees and gardens while reducing the threat of outside pests and diseases.

  • We began recycling and composting at all our programs and events in the park and are working to make all events zero waste.

  • We trained Conservancy staff on the impacts of climate change and strategies on how to reduce our impact.


  • We began diverting all of our horticultural waste away from landfills through composting and chipping.
    We implemented the Burrow RX pest control system, eliminating the need for all pesticides and 90% of rodenticides.


  • We converted all standing park lamps to LED.

  • We committed to using at least 60% native plants in all the new park plantings, supporting native wildlife, and reducing the need for supplemental water and fertilizer.

  • We published the Guide to Restoring Native Plants in NYC, highlighting plant species that do the most good for wildlife.


  • We conducted a year-long wildlife survey led by expert ecologists to discover and support the wildlife living in the park.

  • We installed and maintain five bee homes to protect the park’s native solitary bees.

Community Stewardship


  • We partnered with the Green Restaurant Association and are working with local restaurants to make our neighborhood the first Green Dining Destination in NYC.

  • We began working with restaurant partners to offer closed-loop reusables products that will cut down on the single-use items thrown away in the park every day.


  • We held our first free Native Plant Giveaway, donating plants from our summer collection to neighbors to replant in support of local wildlife.

  • We held volunteer events across the five boroughs, planting 1,000 trees and shrubs in NYC’s urban forest, in partnership with the Natural Areas Conservancy.

  • We began a Food Scrap Drop-off in the park in partnership with GrowNYC, providing a free, convenient location for community compost. 16,150 pounds of food scraps were recycled in the first year of the program.

  • We launched our Sustainability Committee, a group of 20 educators, environmentalists, ecologists, and philanthropists helping us advance our sustainability initiatives.


  • We hosted the Greenspace Race, a New York sub-project of the City Nature Challenge, encouraging visitors to record observations in NYC greenspaces through the free iNaturalist App.

  • We partnered with the Climate Action Now app to develop informative content and create community-based sustainability challenges.

Related Images

Volunteering Leaf Raking
American Redstart 654
Compost 1 Joseph 652
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