HarborLAB kicked off Peace Week by sharing a wonderful paddling event in Gantry Plaza State Park with the LIC and broader NYC communities, assisted by fantastic students from the Townsend Harris High School (NYC BOE, located on the Queens College campus) Key Club.
Leading the event — superbly — was Sally Attia with Jamilah Grizzle, Jamie Ong, Laura Picallo, Kamala Redd, Patricia Menje, Scott Wolpow and Nikoletta Bali-Keyes. Thank you, New York State Office for Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and Gantry Plaza State Park management and staff for making facilities and access for this event possible. And thank you fiscal supporters and all volunteers!
The theme of this year’s UN International Day of Peace, September 21, is “End Racism. Build Peace.” At HarborLAB we chose to focus on environmental racism and to celebrate those who work toward environmental justice. That can be local asthma impacts from trucking or the suffering caused by climate chaos and plastic pollution in the Global South.
From the HarborLAB DEI Committee, with special thanks to Student Outreach Manager Jamilah Grizzle, Program Director Kamala Redd and Board Member Jamie Ong: “The global clean water crisis, climate change, and other troubling consequences of pollution have historically placed a disproportionate burden on refugees, communities of color, and other underprivileged populations. Combating environmental racism is imperative; as it not only aids social equity, but it also provides longevity and quality of life for those affected by it. The inextricable link between racism and the environment necessitates its eradication in order to facilitate pathways of peace. Families are encouraged to envision the change they want for their community and planet.”
HarborLAB’s full festival featuring peace lanterns will return next year with a new focus on the arts and environmental science.
Photos by HarborLAB Board Member Jamie Ong, Volunteer Manager Laura Picallo and student Erica Jin.
HarborLAB’s volunteers and students have had a wonderful time introducing public paddlers to New York City’s estuary system this summer. As we look ahead to August through October, here’s a slideshow gallery of some sweet recent moments in Little Bay Park, Randall’s Island Park, Idlewild Park, MacNeil Park, Newtown Creek and Gantry Plaza State Park. Such a wide area of service was made possible by our innovative program, The WAEV (Water Access Electric Vehicles). The WAEV consists of two Nissan LEAF EVs stuffed with Sea Eagle 385ft Fast Track tandem inflatable kayaks, eliminating the need for unsafe and polluting trucks and trailers on our congested city streets and in neighborhoods already impacted by environmental injustice.
July 16, 11am-2pm. Gantry Plaza State Park LIC, NY 11101
We provide boats, paddles and life vests for 15-minute estuary and paddling introductions within a demarcated zone of the park’s southern cove. Feel free to save time by filling out our waiver at home, but don’t sign until you’re on site.
Huge thanks to the Simeon & Jean H. Locke Foundation for supporting The WAEV (Water Access Electric Vehicles), HarborLAB’s innovative mobile boathouse. Thanks to the foundation we paid off one of our two Nissan LEAFs. Each EV carries enough tandem kayaks and gear for an education and stewardship program or an educational tour, and both can handle our largest community paddles in Gantry Plaza State Park!
If you’d like to support HarborLAB with a tax-deductible donation of any size, please do so through our convenient fundraising portal or contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!