Queens Gazette

NYC Parks Honors Local Leader With ‘Golden Trowel’




(L. to r.); Dorothy Lewandowski, Queens Parks Commissioner; Mitchell J. Silver, NYC Parks Commissioner; Steven Charles, Action Committee Chair, Green Earth Urban Gardens; Maureen Regan, President, Green Earth Urban Gardens; Joe Doolan, TD Bank VP, US Environmental Affairs; and Don Capalbi, President, Queensboro Hill Flushing Civic Association.

(L. to r.); Dorothy Lewandowski, Queens Parks Commissioner; Mitchell J. Silver, NYC Parks Commissioner; Steven Charles, Action Committee Chair, Green Earth Urban Gardens; Maureen Regan, President, Green Earth Urban Gardens; Joe Doolan, TD Bank VP, US Environmental Affairs; and Don Capalbi, President, Queensboro Hill Flushing Civic Association.

On December 2, Whitestone resident Maureen Regan was awarded the Queens “Golden Trowel Award” from citywide group, Partnerships for Parks. NYC Commissioner of Parks Mitchell Silver presented the prestigious award to Regan at the annual “It’s My Park” reception at the beautiful Beaux-Arts Alexander Hamilton US Custom House in lower Manhattan. The Commissioner was accompanied by Sabina Saragoussi, Director of Partnerships for Parks; Heather Lubov, Executive Director of the City Parks Foundation; Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski; Joe Doolan, US Head of Environmental Affairs at TD Bank; and Mark Levine, Parks Committee Chair of Parks at the City Council.

Maureen Regan was recognized for her work as President of Green Earth Urban Gardens, a not-for-profit organization that she founded to promote social and environmental solutions through urban agriculture and therapeutic gardening. Green Earth Urban Gardens operates public projects throughout Queens to expand access to healthy local food, to provide gardens for seniors and special-needs youth, to secure community service opportunities for high school students, and to help beautify local parks and playgrounds.

The Golden Trowel Award honors community leaders who demonstrate exceptional leadership and commitment to local parks through service, advocacy, and collaboration. Recipients of the award are recognized for their commitment to partnering with local residents and decision-makers to transform green spaces into dynamic community assets, build long-term investment in public space, and strengthen the social fabric of our neighborhoods.

Partnerships for Parks is a public-private initiative that works with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation to support a growing network of leaders caring and advocating for neighborhood parks and green spaces. Partnerships for Parks is part of the City Parks Foundation. For more information, visit www.cityparksfoundation.org.

Regan is a board member of the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce, and The Voelker Orth Museum, Vice President of Queensboro Hill Flushing Civic Association, Advisory Committee Member of KAAQ (Korean-American Association of Queens), and Outreach Committee member at The Hindu Temple Society of North America. For more information go to: www.greenearthurbangardens.org.

In her acceptance speech, Regan spoke directly to Parks Commissioner Silver and Councilman Mark Levine about Parks Equity and what it means to Green Earth Urban Gardens Inc. Borrowing a term from the city’s ‘Parks without Borders’ initiative, she stated, “As a Queens environmental leader, we are a ‘Non-Profit Without Borders’ in the World’s Borough. Our group is not just about cleaning parks, but aims to address ‘Parks Equity’ by creating Enabling Gardens in our parks. We must think about those young people who cannot play or work in our green spaces as most of us do, we must think about the mentally ill, and how we can retrofit our green spaces to upgrade crowded areas like Maple Playground in Downtown Flushing and Weeping Beech Park, where homeless flock.

“We must address parents’ concern that their autistic or disabled children are unable to access green spaces that can help them develop and grow. Our gardens must be more responsive to their needs. Parks Equity means that we cannot allow green spaces to be left idle, but instead use these lands to address social, environmental and food justice issues facing our city in the 21st century.”


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