lets New Yorkers find their match by browsing volunteer groups by interests and location    

Debut of citywide marketing campaign featuring real NYC volunteers highlights variety of opportunities and diversity of causes

As part of the Let’s Green NYC initiative to engage a record number of volunteers in City parks, NYC Parks has developed a new website where New Yorkers can browse a directory of over 100 active volunteer groups who are looking for more people to get involved in cleaning and beautifying our city’s more than 30,000 acres of green space. Along with the new website, an ad campaign features real New York City volunteers from groups like the Laru Beya surfing collective in Rockaway, Queens and Protectors of Pine Oak Woods eco-warriors in Staten Island.  

“Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for New Yorkers to volunteer in our city’s greenspaces, and our new website empowers them to find groups that best fit their interests – so you can meet a new best friend while giving back to your city,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue. “Whether you are a wallflower or a social butterfly, people who volunteer in nature report that they feel mentally and physically healthier, and more connected with their communities. So visit our website today to explore the hundreds of groups on the map or browse our volunteer events calendar, and together Let’s Green NYC!”

“The power of parks to connect us was on full display during the pandemic, and as we face a new crisis of connection, service to our parks presents a solution to being in community with others and stewarding these important green spaces,” said NYC Chief Service Officer Laura Rog. “Let’s Green NYC is an innovative way to bring people together, create a culture of service, and offer an opportunity for anyone to contribute to our city’s success and recovery.” 

“We are thrilled that New Yorkers will now have a new way to both find and connect directly with the many grassroots groups that care for our city’s local parks and green spaces,” said Sabina Saragoussi, director of Partnerships for Parks. “We are hoping that with this vital resource we can expand an already vibrant network of community volunteers to build the movement to care for our city’s green spaces while also caring for ourselves and each other. Spending time in nature and in community has documented benefits to our overall health and well-being and we are proud to support this kind of direct grassroots volunteerism where people can get together, put their hands in the soil, and work towards the greater good of our city, our environment, and our planet.”

The new webpage benefits New Yorkers who are feeling the effects of the crisis of loneliness and isolation affecting our country after the pandemic by offering a new way to socialize and build self-worth, while also benefitting grass roots volunteer organizations by providing them with a web presence and tools to expand their outreach. Prospective volunteers can browse a group directory by location or category (including: Tree Care, Historic Preservation, Kid-Friendly, and LGBTQIA-focused), read more about groups, and connect with them through their social media channels, website, or mailing lists. In addition, volunteers can browse a calendar of upcoming volunteer activities, arrange events for their own community groups, or report their own volunteer activities. 

To spread the word about this new resource, Parks is debuting a new marketing campaign featuring four long-standing volunteer groups from across the city whose efforts have helped transform the city’s greenspaces while building community: 

  • The Protectors of Pine Oak Woods stewards Staten Island’s parkland, bluebelt corridors, nature preserves, and natural areas.  
  • The Friends of Herbert Von King Dog Run work with the community to host volunteer and dog events, advocate for parks, and fundraise for maintenance and supply costs. 
  • The New York City Mountain Bike Association builds and maintains trails in the five boroughs, advocates locally and regionally for the sport of mountain biking, and fosters a community of mountain bikers in NYC.  
  • The Laru Beya Collective is a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering historically excluded youth in the Far Rockaways through surfing. 

The campaign will run on bus shelters, LinkNYC, a Times Square billboard, NYC Ferry, and on 311 and radio.  

“GreenThumb community gardens are essential spaces for all New Yorkers to connect both with each other and with their local greenspaces, with hundreds of volunteer community groups who steward these green oases all across the city,” said NYC Parks GreenThumb Director Carlos Martinez. “We are excited about the new online volunteer directory, which will help us expand our reach to potential volunteers find a garden that best matches what they’re looking for – and we can’t wait to support new volunteers and welcome them into the nation’s largest urban community gardening program!’ 

“Bringing accessibility to all with trail stewardship and programs: Embrace the joy of NYC mountain biking, where adventures welcome everyone. We’re excited to welcome new volunteers on the journey to making NYC’s parks and trails cleaner and greener with us,” said Matt LeBow, The New York City Mountain Bike Association. 

“The strength of our effort to support Staten Island’s parks comes from our volunteers. Without volunteers the work of Protectors of Pine Oak Woods would be slow, less impactful, of less consequence to our community. Our volunteers make Protectors of Pine Oak Woods a worthy advocate of green spaces on Staten Island,” said Cliff Hagen, The Protectors of Pine Oak Woods

‘The Dog Run here at HVK is so important to the community here in Bed-Stuy and without our amazing volunteers and the support of the NYC Parks Department and Partnership for Parks none of this would be possible. We rely on volunteers to keep the dog run clean, safe, and running and this volunteer community shows just how meaningful safe outdoor spaces are to New Yorkers and their furry friends,” said Scarlett Lee Clark, Friends of Herbert Von King Dog Run. 

Announced in June 2023, Let’s Green NYC is a new Parks campaign to engage a record number of volunteers in the care and stewardship of our City parks through the end of 2024. Parks is building on its long legacy of volunteerism by renewing its commitment to the hundreds of volunteer groups who actively care for greenspaces – from small grassroots organizations to large conservancies — and making it easier and more fun for everyone to beautify their parks, connect with fellow New Yorkers, and build stronger neighborhoods.