Partnership PlaybookRecently I spoke with a reporter from a major east coast newspaper about possible article topics for NWF’s work around NYC; I suggested our post Hurricane Sandy restoration projects and was told that the editor was worn out from Sandy stories. I witnessed a very different attitude on May 30 & 31 in seeing hundreds of volunteers and staff from a wide array of different organizations all descend on Gateway National Recreation Area. I saw a variety of entities collaborate to create meaningful partnerships for the common goal of restoring NYC coastal areas still damaged by the storm. I got to see the National Park Rangers, members of the Student Conservation Association, city officials, several nonprofits, corporate employees and even Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell all working side by side to restore damaged coastline for NYC residents and wildlife. National Wildlife Federation was finishing a three part barrier dunes restoration project at Ft. Tilden. NWF partnered with the global investment bank Goldman Sachs to plant American Beach Grass in the sand of flattened beach dunes that provide critical wildlife habitat as well as a physical barrier for NYC communities from extreme weather. A great group of 26 employees from Goldman Sachs left behind the frantic financial markets and glass office towers to volunteer in a much damaged area in great need of help.
The company trucked in 2,000 native plants and proceeded to physically get them in the ground one by one, sometimes digging with clam shells found in the sand, not easy work in the 90-degree sun. The volunteers had a real interest in planting properly to help the plants’ survival rates, and many people said they wanted to come back next spring to see the project results.Success in NYC’s Sandy restoration efforts have been based in partnerships. In the recent recession and government budget cutbacks, resources have been difficult to find — combined private and public efforts have been the key to results.
The project partnership between Goldman Sachs and National Wildlife Federation is a prime example of different entities pooling resources to create positive impact for the community at large. To solve our large-scale issues in sustainability, wildlife habitat or climate change, partnerships are the key; private industry, government agencies, nonprofits and average citizen’s collaborative work is the formula for success.
While the press may have moved on the from post Hurricane Sandy work, New York City has not.