2020 was a year full of challenges, sadness, and loss. It was also a year that showed the resilience, caring, and beauty of being part of a vibrant community.
Pershing Field Garden Friends (PFGF) is grateful for the support of Jersey City Parks and Forestry, DPW, Recreation, and Health & Human Services. Together we were able to support our volunteers and the projects that are highlighted here. In addition, we appreciate deeply the grant from the Jersey City COVID-19 Relief Fund. With it we were able to continue and expand several of our community programs.
Spring Planting 2020
One of the park’s first events after it reopened was the PFGF spring planting on Saturday, May 16. It took a coordinated effort with Health and Human Services, Parks Dept., and Cultural Affairs. Healthier JC provided Masks and hand sanitizer. Pre-registration was set up to ensure the number of volunteers was in line with guidelines.
PFGF selected native plants for the 7-8 large garden beds we care for. Volunteers worked to weed, plant, and water, making the park and gardens beautiful for the neighborhood.
We noticed a dramatic increase in park attendance and the gardens thrived. Many people commented on how good the park looked. Comments on Facebook: “The irises look gorgeous this year!!”, “Beautiful!!”, “Thank you”, “Looks great!”
In addition, the plants we planted increased the diversity necessary to attract and sustain Monarch butterflies. We introduced several different native milkweed species and nectar plants. Due to this Pershing Field park became a certified Monarch Waystation. https://monarchwatch.org/waystations/monarch_waystation_brochure.pdf
National Moth Week
National Moth Week celebrates the beauty, life cycles, and habitats of moths.
PFGF was excited to be able to run a Moth Observation Night on Thursday, October 8. National Moth Week is usually in July. Many of the observation events across the country were cancelled due to COVID. We deferred our event until October when we could safely run it.
Many people participated as a family. The goal was to demonstrate the beauty of moths and teach their value as pollinators and value to the ecosystem. PFGF set up sheets with black lights to attract moths. We had children apply moth bait (made of molasses, smashed bananas, and beer) to the trees, using paint bushes. When people signed in, they were provided with a moth information sheet, and notepad & pen to keep track of any observations. People could easily spread out and keep a safe distance. Many commented on how happy they were to have an outdoor event they could attend.
At the end of the event each family received a backpack that contained a Moth Field Guide, moth coloring book, and crayons to continue their moth appreciation.
The Pershing Field heights community is resilient and strong. PFGF was proud to offer activities in the park during this difficult time. The grant from the Jersey City COVID-19 Relief Fund made this possible.
- JCAST (Jersey City Arts & Studio Tour)
- PFGF partnered with Jersey City Cultural Affairs, Jersey City Parks Coalition, @Walk_Bye to host about 16 pieces of art curated by Catalina Aranguren. The art was hung along the fence in front of the Community Center and was on display from Oct. 1 for about a month. Everyone that came through the park had an opportunity to interact with art.
- Yoga in the park
- Beloved Work Yoga partnered with PFGF to offer yoga in the park every Saturday from late June till the end of October. We worked with Cultural Affairs and the Parks Dept to make this happen. PFGF received many comments from people about how this was important for their mental and physical well-being.
- Wednesday & Saturday Volunteering
- PFGF offered a standing schedule for people to volunteer. Every Wednesday at 4 and Saturday at 10. We engaged around 20 volunteers on a rotating basis. The projects completed were installing tree barriers, weeding, watering, planting, mulching, and tool maintenance. Partnering with Healthier JC we always had masks and hand sanitizer for the volunteers.
- Big Dig 2020 (Make a Difference Day), November 7
- PFGF engaged over 60 volunteers to plant 2,500 daffodil and tulips near roughly 90 of the memorial stones in Pershing Field Park. This project was made possible thanks to Jersey City Parks Coalition, Healthier JC, JC Office of Innovation, and Pizza Masters.
- Halloween parade, October 31
- PFGF partnered with JC Reservoir Preservation Alliance to host a Halloween Maskerade Costume Parade in Pershing Field Park. There was a mix of volunteers from both organizations to pull off this exciting event with short lead time. Sign-ups were required as well as masks. There was a decorated photo booth for participants to enjoy pre- and post-parade. The costume parade stepped off from the Community Center at 2:00 PM and snaked around Pershing Field Park with about 100 participants.
- CPR Awareness, September 26
- The Rutgers University Emergency Medicine Club taught CPR awareness in Pershing Field Park. They are students at Rutgers and EMT’s. People were given the opportunity to learn the basics of CPR and practice on a mannequin. After, each participant was given a home version Manikin to keep.