Van Cortlandt Park Alliance names first executive director

Stephanie_Ehrlich_CREDIT.Eryn Hatzithomas
Van Cortlandt Park Alliance Executive Director Stephanie Ehrlich
Photo courtesy of Eryn Hatzithomas

A woman who has spent her career in city green spaces like Queens Botanical Garden, Brooklyn Botanical Garden, Wave Hill and Central Park, will now be helming the Van Cortlandt Park Alliance (VCPA).

Manhattan resident Stephanie Ehrlich worked at Queens Botanical Garden from 2015 to 2020 as director of development and was recently named the first executive director of the VCPA. With a background in education, public programming and fundraising, she is prepared to lead the organization.

“Van Cortlandt Park is a gem – it is rich in resources like its urban forest, hiking and cross-country trails, historic house and so much more,” Ehrlich said. “I love this park and am eager to share it with even more people. I am a city girl who loves nature!”

Having grown up in an apartment in Brooklyn, she knows how important it is for kids and adults to get outside. She has made it her mission to produce high quality, outdoor experiences for New Yorkers, including environmental education programs, arts happenings, sports events or giant festivals.

A graduate of Kenyon College, she studied at Oxford University and Bank Street College of Education.

Ehrlich is proud to have worked in four of New York City’s five boroughs and is happy to be back in the Bronx. In her spare time, she is a singer.

Her goals are for New Yorkers to think of Van Cortlandt Park as a place for a day trip in the city.

“Van Cortlandt Park is an amazing oasis in the middle of a very densely populated borough,” she told the Bronx Times. “I want more people to know about it! All of us who work to keep the park clean and safe want our community to know how happy it makes us to see you out in the park, practicing social distancing, and enjoying yourselves. We are here for you!”

Formed in 2019 by merging two smaller organizations (Friends of Van Cortlandt Park and Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy), the VCPA now takes the lead in preserving, supporting and promoting Van Cortlandt Park in partnership with the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation. Ehrlich began her tenure April 6 and serves in a dual role as VCPA’s executive director and the park’s administrator.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Van Cortlandt Park Alliance, we are delighted to welcome Stephanie Ehrlich as our new executive director,” said Board Co-chairs Nina Habib Spencer and Carol Samol. “We see an opportunity to take the park to the next level and we know Stephanie shares our vision. This is such an exciting stage in the Alliance’s growth, and we look forward to working with her to secure Van Cortlandt Park’s status as one of the nation’s great urban open spaces.”