FP Park advocates replant memorial grove with stronger, vandal-proof trees

Incoming Monsignor Scanlan freshman Michael Soto helps re-plant trees honoring 9/11 victims in Ferry Point Park during a July 19 event. - Photo by Walter Pofeldt

The Friends of Ferry Point Park are hoping the third time’s the charm when it comes to a 9/11 memorial plagued with a history of vandalism.

On Saturday, July 19, the local organization once again replanted a memorial grove of trees honoring victims from the Throggs Neck area who died during the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center seven years ago.

To combat the vandalism that ruined the site, not once, but several times over the last few months, incoming freshmen from nearby Monsignor Scanlan High School planted stronger trees to replace those previously re-planted in the spring by family members of Michael Lynch, a 9/11 firefighter who died in the line of duty during the national tragedy.

In all, 12 large saplings were set next to three previously planted trees, finishing the Triangular Grove dedicated to 15 fallen residents.

“I would just like to say thank you to the Parks Department for seeing the problem of vandalism at the memorial grove, and taking care of it,” Dotti Poggi, the brainchild behind the memorial plantings and founder of the Friends of Ferry Point Park, said. “It is exactly where I originally wanted to put the grove. I am glad this is happening and that the trees are going to be larger to deter vandalism.”

This time around, the tree planting was part of a larger MillionTreesNYC stewardship event hosted by the Parks Department and the Green Apple Corp., in coordination with the Friends of Ferry Point Park.

The stewardship is meant to teach volunteers how to protect and sustain vital green spaces by educating them on the invasive plants that threaten the health of urban trees. Scanlan students did the weeding, mulching and watering work that day. 

Not only did the young students perform a community service, they also learned about forestry and ecology. The 30 students were at the park from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

According to teachers, through a partnership with the Friends of Ferry Point Park, the young people have found a rewarding new way to complete service hour requirements that are part of Scanlan’s curriculum.

“Monsignor Scanlan got involved in the Ferry Point Park through Dotti Poggi,” said Marianne Sheridan, director of campus ministries at Scanlan. “We had 80 to 100 students volunteering in the park last October and in May.”

Sophomores from Monsignor Scanlan High School assisted the new freshman in their duties, under the watchful eye of Parks and Recreation department personnel, who helped the students in their duties for the day.

“These students decided to do their community service now, as they are entering school,” Sheridan noted of the incoming freshmen class. “They love it, and will be doing service in the park for the next four years.”

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