How to Give description
Native plants are adapted to local climate and soil conditions where they naturally occur. By planting indigenous species we have a better chance of a successful garden especially at East 58th where there are many challenges including exhaust fans and lack of a water source. These important plant species will also provide nectar, pollen and seed that is critical habitat for native endangered butterflies. One goal for the park is to become an official Monarch Butterfly Waystation.
The project will be led by the Conservancy’s native plant advisor, Jill Bauer and Cathedral High School’s Director of S.T.E.A.M., Jonathan Boo, and Science Department Chairperson, Kristine Woo. Manhattan Parks Commissioner, William Castro will serve as honorary Chairperson. TDBank’s, Melissa Hays, Partnership for Parks Kristy DeCario, Green Park Gardeners NYC Susan Price Blackwell and Cathedral High School Principal, Maria Spagnuoto round out the committee.
S.T.E.A.M. is an educational approach to learning that uses science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue and critical thinking. Starting with a Design Brief, students from both AP Environmental Science and Technology Foundations classes will identify problems at the park, research and develop solutions, pick a final landscape design and implement the solutions.
The Conservancy received a grant from Partnership for Parks to purchase native plants and educational materials. The Conservancy will pay the additional costs of renovating the beds and maintenance. Our target date is May 2017.
The purpose of this garden goes beyond the beautification of the neighborhood. It is meant to bring the community and school together and involve them in a new project that will have long lasting effects on the climate and ecological system in the area.
Ms. Leff is the current President of 2 Sutton Place South. She graduated from Indiana University with a BS in Public Health and a Master's Degree in education from Butler University. Dale is a retired retail executive with well established volunteer experience in philanthropy as well as non-profit strategic planning and partnerships. She has served on numerous boards for the past 25 years, and participates in the East Hampton Historical Society and the Animal Rescue League's boards. Her philanthropic endeavors also include co-founding the Women's Philanthropy Council
Sutton Place Parks Conservancy volunteer, Annemarie Flaherty Shea sat down with Dale for a chat about what the future holds for the Conservancy.
AFS: Tell us how you got involved with the Conservancy?
DEL: I have a very deep love for Sutton Place and have lived here for over 20 years. The peacefulness and beauty of the area transcends any other place in the city.
Raised in the Mid-West, one of the things I miss in NYC is green space. My mother and father were passionate about plants and trees. To see the five parks of Sutton Place come alive and be a beautiful reflection of the elegance of Sutton Place, coupled together with volunteers from the community to help restore and maintain their beauty, reminds me of my family life in Indiana. The Conservancy has become such a heartwarming and natural cause for me to be involved in with my time, talent and treasure.
As President of 2 Sutton Place South I thought it was important to inform our Board about the Conservancy and encourage their engagement and support for this effort. It was an "easy sell" to get the Board to sign on as a Founding Member because the parks are a beautiful example of a way to maintain the beauty and legacy of Sutton Place and therefore likely to add value to our homes.
AFS: What is the Founder program?
DEL: The Founder Program is a one-time opportunity between now and May 13, 2017 for an individual, building, or homeowner to donate $5,000 to the Conservancy. After May 13th the opportunity will not be available. Our intent is to place a tribute plaque in one of the parks with each of the Founder's names. Additionally, the program is a lovely way to memorialize or honor a loved one or a friend in perpetuity.
The long-term plan is to build a Sutton Place Parks Conservancy endowment that will fund a large portion of the annual maintenance and security expense. In the meantime, an annual giving program will be designed by the Committee to fund these expenses. A key component to the annual giving program would be for our buildings to include the Conservancy in their annual budgets.
AFS: What is the Advisory Committee?
DEL: Currently, we offer membership to the top two tiers of the giving level which is $3,500 above. The Committee will meet twice a year as a think tank for the parks. This is where we have a collaborative conversation on what we observe in the parks and decide which methods we use to continue to upgrade and improve our parks.
AFS: What do you hope to accomplish with the Advisory Committee?
DEL: The Advisory Committee members are empowered individuals who have pledged resources defining them as having a vested interest in the beautification and maintenance of the parks. We will count on this group to bring back ideas that they feel are important for the parks.
It will be a general conversation of what people on the committee have observed and distinguish as needs for our five parks and how we can accomplish them.
It's not just the beautification of the parks but also the bringing together of the community in a proactive, productive way. As an example, through our Native Plant and Pollinator Garden Project we have teamed up with Cathedral High School to use our park at East 58t St. as a learning laboratory. The students will design and plant the garden and we will supply the indigenous plants and maintenance.
Some of our long-term goals include security patrol, children's play and adult exercise equipment,trash cans with rodent proof bins and designated dog areas. We would like to improve the aesthetics with art and water fountains, add cafe tables, chairs and replace and upgrade the fencing. All of this we would like to accomplish by establishing an annual giving program and eventually an endowment
AFS: Why is the Conservancy so important to our neighborhood?
DEL: Beautification of the parks protects the value and investment of our homes. The uniqueness of the five parks on the end of five horizontal streets is like no other place in NYC which makes it a priceless asset. There are several other reasons why a conservancy makes sense. It makes the difference between an average and a great park. Routine landscaping and maintenance costs exceed city park budgets. Neglect encourages vandalism and anti-social behavior. Adding amenities, art and park aesthetics require community initiative and active involvement and finally, NYC Parks and our District Councilmen encourage and support community advocacy and local conservancies.
Park’s Department Engineers cut out a new drain, installed a porous drain cover and filled the box with new sand. We are very happy to have this issue behind us and want to thank everyone who took the time to email officials, attend Community Board Meetings and file 311 complaints.
Our Mission is to restore, beautify and enhance our 5 neighborhood parks from East 54th Street to East 58th Street along Sutton Place and Sutton Place South in Manhattan, New York City.
We partner with the New York City Parks Department and local community organizations on shared goals, highlighting environmental best practices, and strive to enhance our parks for the enjoyment of our neighbors and visitors.
Our vision is to provide an ongoing legacy for our Parks and future generations of Park users.
We have teamed up with Cathedral High School to create a Native Plant and Pollinator Garden at Sutton Place Park at East 58th Street. Read more
Sutton Place Parks Conservancy volunteer, Annemarie Flaherty Shea sat down with Dale for a chat about the new Advisory Committee and what the future holds for the Conservancy. Read more
Sutton Place Parks Conservancy, Inc.
1040 First Avenue, #322
New York, NY 10022
Patricia Scharlin Taylor
Dale Ellen Leff
Bernard Dworkin, Legal Counsel