This past weekend, April 24th and 25th, over 400 Montclair residents came out to 15 municipal parks and green spaces across all four wards to celebrate Montclair Earth Day Parks Appreciation Weekend. Coordinated by the Montclair Parks Recreation and Cultural Affairs Advisory Committee (MPRCA-AC) led by Alliah Agostini Livingstone, this town-wide effort capped off Northeast Earth Coalition’s (NEEC) Earth Day Celebration Week led by Jose German-Gomez.
This effort was a follow-up to MPRCA-AC’s first Montclair Parks Appreciation Weekend in November 2020. After launching with six sites this past November, MPRCA-AC scaled to more than double the number of sites for its 2021 Earth Day Weekend effort.
Over the course of the weekend, our volunteers of all ages (2 to over 72!) collected over 350 bags of green debris and trash from local parks, wooded areas, and waterways. Of particular note was our Nishuane Park clean-up, which culminated in a tribute planting of a dogwood tree to honor Montclair resident Jordan Tassy, a local hero who recently succumbed to complications from COVID-19.
Throughout the weekend we were joined by special guests Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill, County Commissioner Brendan Gill, and Montclair Township Councilors Peter Yacobellis (MPRCA-AC Council Liaison), David Cummings, Lori Price Abrams, Robert Russo, and Robin Schlager.
Clean-ups were held at locations including the following, with leadership and support from the following individuals, groups, and neighborhood volunteers.
Bay Street Train Station – Pastor Brad Bissell, Montclair Redeemer Church and Jose German-Gomez, Northeast Earth Coalition
Canterbury Park – Dr. Renee Baskerville and William Scott, Friends of Canterbury & Nishuane Park
Crane Park – Jose German-Gomez, Friends of Crane Park, Northeast Earth Coalition
Edgemont Park – John Cronogue, Friends of Edgemont Park
Erie Park – Greg Pason, Montclair Mutual Aid
Essex Park – Colleen Ijalana, Montclair PRCA-AC
Graz Park – Alliah Agostini Livingstone, Montclair PRCA-AC
Nishuane Park – Councilor David Cummings, Friends of Canterbury & Nishuane Park, Sandra Kahn, Temple Ner Tamid, the NAACP Youth Council
Porter Park – Alliah Agostini Livingstone, Friends of Porter Park
Rand Park & Skatepark – Antonello Terrana, MHS Skate Club, Elinor Behlman, Susan Eckert and Ruby Mae Heathman, Friends of Rand Park
Sunset Park – Marcia Almeida, Montclair PRCA-AC
Tuers Park – Tonja Isola, Friends of Tuers Park
Yantacaw Brook Park – Janet Shapiro, Yantacaw Brook Park Conservancy
Watchung Park & Plaza – Jennifer Grisafi, Montclair PRCA-AC
MPRCA-AC is also grateful for additional support provided by the Montclair Department of Community Services, Montclair Department of Recreation and Cultural Affairs, and the Montclair Fire Department.
“I’m thankful to Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill, County Commissioner Brendan Gill and my colleagues Councilors Cummings, Price-Abrams, Russo and Schlager for joining hundreds of volunteers at nearly every park and many other sites across all four wards to spruce up Montclair. We already have some of the best parks in the Country and I love how invested the people of this town feel in their own public spaces. It’s a beautiful thing.” shared Councilor-At-Large Peter Yacobellis, Council Liaison to the Montclair Township Parks, Recreation & Cultural Affairs Advisory Committee.
“Seeing the active engagement of Montclair’s residents, community groups, and leadership in this effort served as such a warm reminder for why our family decided to move to Montclair – it has a community like no other. The Montclair Parks, Recreation & Cultural Affairs Advisory Committee, alone, is made up of extraordinary volunteers with decades of service to Montclair and the surrounding areas, and I am honored to be part of such an outstanding group. We look forward to repeating this initiative in Fall 2021.” said Alliah Agostini Livingstone, Chair, Montclair Parks, Recreation & Cultural Affairs Advisory Committee.