I’m Abigail Pope-Brooks, and I’m a CVA at the National Parks of New York Harbor. NPNH oversees 10 national parks in and around New York City, including Manhattan sites, Governor’s Island, Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, and Gateway National Recreation Area.

On Friday, September 11th, 2015, almost 300 volunteers gathered on Governor’s Island off the tip of Manhattan. They were there to help maintain the grounds – things like weeding, laying down mulch, and putting in fence posts. The Student Conservation Association, with the help of American Express, produced the event and provided volunteers with work gloves, tools, lunch, fun t-shirts, and SCA group leaders.

Our day started by taking the 9:00 ferry to the island, and ended at 1:30 for a delicious lunch of sandwiches and fruit salad. It was possibly the most perfect day to work outside – it was a bit cloudy and breezy, not too warm, but not too cold either. Just perfect.

Volunteer groups from many different companies came – we had a group from a world-famous Japanese bank, a television station, FDNY, and from American Express itself.

We started off from a welcome by the Governor’s Island National Monument superintendent, the Trust for Governor’s Island, and from SCA. We had a moment of silence at the time the first tower fell. With the spirit of service and remembrance, we divided into groups and set out to help give back to the city.

Here are some pictures from that day.

Volunteers raking mulch
Volunteers raking mulch
AmEx Volunteers cleaning windows of Castle Williams
AmEx Volunteers cleaning windows of Castle Williams
Volunteers putting in fence posts at the urban farm
Volunteers putting in fence posts at the urban farm
volunteers getting their work gloves and group tags
volunteers getting their work gloves and group tags
Governor's Island's working dog.
Governor’s Island’s working dog.
Find Your Park signs greeting volunteers
Find Your Park signs greeting volunteers

I manage our Instagram account, so you can follow us and see what’s going on! The handle is @newyorkharbor_nps