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Flyers Volunteering in Central Park: Giving back. Getting more…


In 2004, a group of eager Flyer members volunteered their time to “dig in the dirt” alongside the Central Park Conservancy for the very first time.🌳 This outing became a perennial favorite for the club and, Covid aside, has continued to this day. 

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We reconvened this May - across from Tavern on the Green - to clear the cobblestones of unwanted weeds and greens.🍀 Chris McDuff, our enthusiastic leader from the Conservancy, likened the gardening activity to dental floss for the cobblestones.🦷 After a couple of hours of pruning with crack weeders, dandelion weeders, trowels, bags, and brooms, we could stand back and admire our work

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Besides the fresh air, the smell of cut grass, rich soil, sweet blossoms and flowering trees, one of the best parts of volunteering in Central Park is the not-so-instant, yet oh-so-satisfying gratification of seeing the fruits of your labor after the toil.

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Over the years, the Conservancy has changed the hours, changed their personnel, registration and vetting process of its volunteer days, but what has remained the same in nearly 19 years of working in our beloved 843-acre “backyard” is the great feeling of a job well done and experiencing first hand just how much a difference a group of hard working individuals can make.

This urban green space boasts endless activities for the garden enthusiast. Our club alone has raked and bagged leaves, weeded endless flower beds, fence lines, fields and now cobblestones, painted park benches, and planted daffodil bulbs - to name a few of the jobs we’ve held. 

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My all-time favorite was the day we filled potholes in the bridle path along the reservoir. For this, they gave us heavy pick axes to swing! Not at all easy. We used the axes to carve out larger holes, which we then filled. This was definitely the most vigorous of all our assignments (and that’s saying something for very fit runners) but our crew loved the challenge.  We also loved fixing that well trodden spot because we ran those bridle paths often and cursed the potholes that threatened to capture and contort our sacred ankles. Now, to now provide the cure (in part) to this hazard, was immensely gratifying.  The pictures were a hoot.

The history of the Flyers association with the Central Park Conservancy officially began during Gabi Diblasi’s presidency. I was Vice President at the time and took on the charge of organizing the events. To help reward the hard working volunteers, I started bringing cookies to the events.🍪 In 2010, I was blessed to receive a fabulous co-chair to help out. Dave Kleckner, whose enthusiasm has never waned in 13 years, is the true driver of these events today. Dave handles all the communication and advertising for our members and does most of the outreach to the Conservancy now, too. I still worm my way in for the love and nostalgia. and the cookie oven is still going, but full kudos to Dave who’s kept the event alive the last few years.  This year's event was coordinated with two stellar staffers from Central Park Conservancy -- Associate Director of Volunteer Services Heather McGreevy, and Volunteer Services Coordinator Madi Chassin. 😍

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2004 Volunteers
Heather Marcellis, Jim Nichols, Lloyd Hoo, Lara Kail,

John Ward, Janet Hanson

And to all of the many Flyers volunteers (shout out to Richard Brounstein for being one of the most steadfast and loyal), thank you for your time, energy and enthusiasm. It is the members who take time out from their busy (and short) weekends to help nurture and maintain the greatest park in the world! 🌳🌲🌳

Please come join us for the next one!

-Heather Marcellis