For over 15 years, Canarsie residents have teamed up to clean and help preserve the Fresh Creek Nature Preserve. On Saturday, July 15th, as part of City of Water Day, Fresh Creek Nature Association President Maria Garrett and a group of volunteers met at East 108th Street and Avenue M to pitch in and clean up the area.
Garrett was inspired to clean the preserve after noticing it was filled with garbage and NYC Parks failed to manage the property. Since 2009, she initiated a two-day cleanup. When Superstorm Sandy hit, Garrett secured funding from Congressman Hakeem Jeffries to continue managing and maintaining the land. Jeffries and the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery (GOSR) initiated a coastal project, injecting funds into the waterway. The $14 million project, aimed to block water from the creek entering the neighborhood, spanned from East 108th Street and Avenue K all the way to Seaview Avenue.
Sixty-ninth Precinct Community Affairs Officer Nicole Rostant was also present to assist. She emphasized the importance of keeping the community clean, appreciating every effort made. With over 20 years of experience with the NYPD, Officer Rostant considers community work the most significant aspect of her job, helping individuals within the community.
Canarsie residents Marie Henry and Delores Washington have been volunteering with Garrett since the project’s inception in 2009. They emphasized the vital role people in the community play in keeping the area they live in clean. In addition to participating in year-long cleanups, they have been involved in planting and flagging trees in the area. Washington told the Canarsie Courier, “Cleaning up the area contributes to the neighborhood’s vibrancy and ensures it remains livable for everyone.”