We thought we would share the inspiring story of a mural project in Newburgh, New York. Groundwork Hudson Valley, based in Yonkers, is currently expanding its work into Newburgh by partnering with other local non-profits in Newburgh (also located in the Hudson Valley area) – here’s the story of the Newburgh mural by the artist Dasic Fernandez.
Twenty youth and 9 youth leaders from 9 Groundwork Trusts across the country are at Yellowstone National Park this week, for the second annual Groundwork USA Corps experience at Yellowstone. Read about it and see photos here Groundwork USA Corps Experience in Yellowstone National Park and GWUSA Youth Green Corps Dispatches from Yellowstone #2, of the hard-working, interesting and fun experience that urban youth from the Groundwork network are having. The goal of the week-long program is to provide diverse youth with the opportunity to work in Yellowstone alongside park professionals on a variety of projects and to tour this magnificent park. Youth traveled from Bridgeport, CT, Dallas, TX, Denver, CO, Dona Ana County, NM, Milwaukee, WI, Somerville, MA, Portland, OR, Washington, DC and Yonkers, NY, to Yellowstone NP.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) protects valuable parks and public lands and creates outdoor recreation opportunities for families across the country. LWCF also provides matching grants to local communities (many of which are Groundwork communities) looking to combat childhood obesity by increasing the number of safe places for kid to walk and play outside. These matching grants can be used to build playgrounds, ball fields, bike paths and other quality outdoor recreation opportunities that are close to home, open to the public and accessible to all.
Unfortunately, although hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties are paid into LWCF each year by energy companies drilling for gas and oil off-shore, Congress diverts nearly all of this money to other purposes, dramatically impacting efforts to build safe places for kids to get outside.
Groundwork USA has signed a letter to the First Lady and Interior Secretary Jewell asking them to make LWCF a priority of the First Lady’s Let’s Move initiative. We want both of these leaders to urge Congress to fully and permanently fund LWCF because it’s a valuable resource for communities to use in creating better access to the great outdoors, and in the fight against childhood obesity.
President Obama was in Belfast this week, and in a speech at the Waterfront Hall on June 17th 2013, talks about the Alexandra Park interface in north Belfast, where a peace gate has been inserted to allow residents to enjoy the park in its entirety. Groundwork Northern Ireland’s Director Sylvia Gordon is mentioned by the President in his keynote speech. Something those in the U.S. may not know is that Groundwork USA was modeled on the Groundwork UK model, and works with a very similar approach to that of Groundwork Northern Ireland, in 20 communities here in the United States!
Kate O’Brien of GWUSA and Doug Evans of NPS conducted a site visit in Lewiston-Auburn, Maine, one of the communities selected for evaluation to become a new Groundwork Trust. The local newspaper covered their visit – read about it here! GWUSA staff, along with NPS staff, are currently visiting the eight communities selected this year for evaluation (including Lewiston-Auburn) – in New Bedford-Fall River, MA; Atlanta, GA; Jacksonville, FL; Chattanooga, TN; Los Angeles, CA; Indianapolis, IN; and Detroit, MI.
Through the project and program work of Groundwork USA, this report examines the expanding roles and policy influence that community-based organizations play in developing the emergent model of sustainable community building.
Over the past decade, the Groundwork USA Network has established an impressive track record of projects yielding measurable outcomes in underserved neighborhoods. Serving as a new type of green community intermediary, the Groundwork Model connects revitalizations of the physical and social environments by engaging local residents in the ecological stewardship of their neighborhoods.
Learn more about the policy implications of this sustainable community development approach in a new report from our partners at Center for Community Progress:
Through its “on the ground” work in diverse places across the country, the Groundwork Network has also accumulated practical policy and program insights, which are featured in a series of case studies accompanying the report. As these demonstrate, several Trusts have become experts at navigating the complexities of federal and state environmental regulations, local land development processes, and the art of civic engagement and coalition building in distressed neighborhoods. Explore the work of Groundwork Trusts across the country in the areas of brownfields, urban waters and equitable development:
Check out their 2013 report cataloging their findings on how to best tackle the built environment and make it more green – Built Environment Best Practices Guide 2013
Groundwork reports on its decade-long on-the-ground successes restoring urban waterways, and engaging youth in that work through job training activities, across the country:
Thanks to all who attended our national conference in New York this year, and for your valuable contribution in making it such a fun and rewarding event. Beginning with the Funders Roundtable & Opening Banquet Dinner, the Tour of Groundwork Hudson Valley’s awesome projects throughout the City of Yonkers including the daylighted Saw Mill River and Park, the Lenoir Nature Preserve service project, the Clearwater sail on the Hudson River, the Science Barge reception, the Youth Summit and canoeing at Walkill National Wildlife Refuge, and the Final Assembly for Executive Directors, everything went fabulously, and we hope you enjoyed yourselves as much as we did. Now to get to some work on the ground. And then we will meet again next year, in another exciting locale…to be decided soon!