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Getting back to nature for Love My Park Day

Young volunteers on I Love My Park Day

Young volunteers on I Love My Park Day last year joined state recreation staffs in planting flowers for the new season.  Credit: New York State Parks/Jim Merritt

The eighth annual I Love My Park Day on May 4 is expected to draw more than 1,000 volunteers outdoors for a burst of public-service-minded spring cleaning at Long Island’s state parks and historic sites.

Last year more than 1,300 volunteers, including members of Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops and families, answered the call to spruce up state parks from Jones Beach in Wantagh to the Walt Whitman Birthplace in Huntington Station.

“Many of the parks and beaches are cleaner because of I Love My Park Day,” says George Gorman, Long Island deputy regional director of the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

“This is a very healthy experience, you are back to nature in the sunshine and fresh air,” adds Gorman, who expects to be getting his own gloves dirty, pitching in alongside volunteers.

Here are some public parks where volunteers are needed to paint, clean up beaches and nature trails, and garden:

Bayard Cutting Arboretum State Park, Great River

Meet-up: 11 a.m. under the tent in the parking lot
The project: Weeding and mulching in the garden and pulling invasive plants along the park riverwalk.
Bring your own: gardening gloves.

Captree State Park, Bay Shore

Meet-up: 9 a.m., Captree Overlook parking lot

The project:  Beach cleanup on the small shoreline on the inlet, and planting flowers at the park entrance.

Bring your own: sunscreen.

Hempstead Lake State Park, West Hempstead

Meet-up: 9 a.m., in the field next to North East Pond

The project: Volunteers will be  picking up trash on the shoreline around North East Pond. “If enough volunteers show up, we’ll also clean the trail that separates the ponds that lead to the hiking area,” says William Brown, park manager.
Bring your own: Garden gloves, water, snack and rakes. Wear long pants.

Nissequogue River State Park, Kings Park

Meet-up: 9 a.m., administration building

The project: A general cleanup of the park grounds, especially along the river shore, where garbage tends to wash up, says John McQuaid, president of the Nissequogue River State Park Foundation.
Bring your own: Gardening gloves and drinking water.

Robert Moses State Park, Babylon

Meet-up: 9 a.m., Field 5

The project: Beach cleanup, gardening and fence construction at Fields 2 and 5

Bring your own: sunscreen.

Twin Lakes Preserve, Wantagh

Meet-up: 10 a.m., Forest Lake School parking lot, 3100 Beltagh Ave., Wantagh

The project: Picking up litter 

Bring your own: Gardening gloves, drinking water and snacks.

Walt Whitman Birthplace State Historic Site & Interpretive Center, Huntington Station

Meet-up: 10 a.m.

The project: “We have a lot to do to make our historic site shine for Walt’s 200th birthday on May 31” says Cynthia Shor, executive director of the Walt Whitman Birthplace Association. Volunteers will be raking, cleaning up flower beds and pruning plants.

Bring your own: Gardening gloves, water, snacks, and sunscreen.

Wildwood State Park, Wading River

Meet-up:  9:30 a.m., main parking lot

The project: Putting down mulch in garden beds adjacent to restroom areas, and picking up litter from the Long Island Sound beach.

Bring your own: snacks.

I Love My Park Day

WHEN | WHERE Saturday, May 4, Long Island State Parks

INFO Sign up to volunteer at

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