RIPA seeks to foster volunteer projects and increase local stewardship. We are working to build a coalition of local community-based organizations, schools, advocacy groups and relevant government agencies, as well as committed individuals, in order to responsibly care for and preserve Randall’s Island Park.
Several thousand group and individual volunteers annually enjoy planting and restoration projects on Randall’s Island. With a large area to maintain and many free public programs to facilitate, RIPA truly relies on the generosity of these volunteers. You can make a difference!
RIPA earned an “Outstanding Project Management” award from Goldman Sachs Community TeamWorks for our volunteer projects!
What do volunteers do?
In 2008, RIPA successfully restored over nine acres of salt marsh and freshwater wetland. Wetlands are a valuable ecological resource because they improve water quality, provide flood control and coastal protection during storm events, and provide habitat for local and migratory birds, fish, insects, and bivalves. In addition to these wetlands, Randall’s Island also comprises nearly five miles of shoreline. Both the wetlands and shorelines require thousands of hours of maintenance and upkeep each year. In order to keep these waterfront areas properly maintained, the Natural Areas Crew relies on the assistance of friends and fans of the Park. As a volunteer, you will get a chance to weed the wetlands of invasive plant species, plant native trees, shrubs and grasses, rehabilitate wetland pathways through mulching, or comb the wetlands and shoreline for trash and debris.
Randall’s Island Park is home to dozens of unique gardens, green streets, and lawns. These gardens provide Park visitors a quiet and tranquil space while providing habitat for insects and birds. As a volunteer with the Horticulture Crew, you will have the chance to plant bulbs along the many lawns, weed beautifully landscaped gardens or plant street trees around our ball fields that will provide shade to grateful athletes. Your work in the gardens will be enjoyed and appreciated by Park visitors for years to come.
At our one-acre Urban Farm, the Randall’s Island Park Alliance cultivates a wide variety of organically grown fruits and vegetables. With over 80 raised beds, two greenhouse, a milk-crate container garden, and a trellis tunnel for gourds and climbing vines, the Farm presents a wide array of crops and growing methods. Volunteers work throughout the year to help maintain and program the space. Now that the Farm is newly open every Saturday in season for public Exploration Days, RIPA welcomes interested and committed volunteers who might help to guide visitors through all it has to offer.
Randall’s Island is home to many ball fields that require constant attention and care. These fields are used by New Yorkers from all over the city. In order to keep the Park green and pristine, our Ball Fields Crew utilizes volunteers to remove weeds from the infield and clay. Volunteers who work on our ball fields help foster the athletic dreams of thousands of appreciative field users!
The Randall’s Island Park Alliance hosts a number of large free public events each year, including the FLOW Grand Opening, Cherry Blossom Festival, Birding Bonanza, Treasure Hunt, Get Hooked, and Harvest Festival. These fabulous signature events draw large crowds – our many friendly, skilled volunteers help ensure that participants leave with new insights and smiles on their faces.
How do I volunteer?
Employees from many corporations each year come to the Park to care for the Island’s green space. Corporate volunteer events are a wonderful way to build team spirit and to invigorate staff through time out in the open air! RIPA’s dedicated and experience staff will efficiently manage your corporate volunteer project to ensure a rewarding day.
RIPA hosts school groups and community-based organizations for service learning events, as a component of our Urban Farm and Waterfront Stewardship programs – and as part of our new Park-as-Lab (PAL) focus. These events combine community service with an educational component to create a positive and beneficial context for the volunteer project; students leave both with knowledge and a sense of accomplishment through having given back to their community.
RIPA offers internships through the NYC Parks Departments Summer Internship Program. These internships vary and opportunities are available with our Natural Areas, Horticulture, Urban Farm, Programming, Planning, Development, and Administrative teams. Visit the Parks Summer Internship website for more information.
To register your group please complete the volunteer registration form; a member of our Public Programs team will follow up shortly about volunteer opportunities at Randall’s Island Park. For more information, please contact RIPA Public Programs Manager Ellen McCarthy.
Individual volunteer opportunities are not available at this time. Please check back for updates.
Things to keep in mind:
- Each volunteer is required to sign RIPA’s Volunteer Waiver.
- Water will be provided for all volunteer events.
- All necessary tools and equipment will be provided for volunteers.
- Wear weather-appropriate clothing you don’t mind getting dirty.
- Long pants are recommended.
- Closed-toed shoes are required.
- Projects happen RAIN OR SHINE, barring unsafe conditions.