Girl Power + 650 Plants + Great Partners = More Wildlife Habitat

Girl Power with the Construction of the Freedom Tower in the Backdrop.
Dozens of Girl Scout troop leaders, Verizon and Liberty Mutual employee volunteers, Certified Wildlife Habitat Owners, NWF staff, and what felt like a zillion girl scouts made my last weekend a really special day.

On Saturday, June 23, 2012, thousands of amazing Girl Scouts converged at Liberty State Park for New Jersey Girl Scouts Council’s “BIG Celebration” (“Believe In Girls”).

National Wildlife Federation was the Eco-Service Project Partner for this special event, meaning we organized the service project to convert a grass field into wildlife habitat.

Everyone was in great spirits, lots of families and troops working together and the Girl Scouts got a service patch to recognize their contribution. For a great Star Ledger article about the event, click here.

Over the course of the day we transformed a 1,500 square-foot lawn into habitat for wildlife!


Here were the necessary ingredients to make the event so successful:

  • 650 plants planted (600 were natives from American Beauties and 50 annuals)
  • 600 cubic yards of mulch spread
  • 1,500 gallons of water for plants
  • 2,200 scouts and leaders
  • 15 NWF Certified Wildlife Habitat owners
  • 42 Verizon Employees (volunteers)
  • 15 Liberty Mutual Employees (volunteers)
  • 7 Liberty State Park employees
  • 10 Girl Scout Employees of Northern New Jersey Council (volunteers)

Planting Trees in the Shadow of Lady Liberty

Girl Power + Shovels = New Wildlife Habitat
I was so struck by the beauty and location of Liberty State Park, nestled up against New York Harbor with the Statute of Liberty right off its shore and the New York skyline towering over beautiful open fields, wonderful places for people to picnic, and critical wildlife habitat. As Sam Pesin, a long time advocate for the Park said, “this is the best urban park in America.” He may be right.

Digging holes, planting, watering and mulching almost what feels like right under the rising Freedom Tower and the Statute of Liberty made me proud to be American, a former New Jersey guy and NWFer. The Girl Scouts and our great partners made this special park even better.

Verizon employees also made the day special with an amazing turnout and energy. We had 42 Verizon volunteers participate in the event. It was exciting to see Verizon volunteers bring out their family to the event. All the volunteers made a real contribution to all the hard work it takes to get 650 plants in the ground.

Team Verizon Makes a Difference
All this activity would not have been possible if it wasn’t for NWF Certified Wildlife Habitat owners in the area and Liberty Mutual employee volunteers rolling up their sleeves on Friday by unloading the plants, digging holes and helping to set the stage for Saturday’s onslaught of thousands of Girl Scouts and other volunteers.

Barry Sullivan and Marie Longo, both certified habitat owners for over 12 years, each gave two days of service (and took time off work) to  share their passion for wildlife and talk about their own habitats and the work NWF does with Girl Scouts and volunteers alike.

A special thanks goes out to all the volunteers, as well as my fellow NWF coworkers, who are doing a great job of getting kids outside and connected to nature.

Related Links:

  • Garden for Wildlife – Learn how you can create wildlife-friendly habitat by providing food, water, cover and a place for wildlife to raise young.
  • Certify your Wildlife Garden – Get your home, school, business or community designated as a Certified Wildlife Habitat.
  • Volunteer with NWF – Find out how you can volunteer with NWF to help others learn about making wildlife habitat.
  • Plant Trees for Wildlife – Learn how you can host a tree-planting event with your scout troop or community group.
  • NWF’s Eco-Schools USA Program – See how NWF is helping inspire kids of all ages to help create sustainable schools and care for the environment.


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