Riverside Park Conservancy Celebrates Earth Day with New Compost Compound for Plants

On Friday, the Riverside Park Conservancy announced the launch of a new park-wide composting initiative. Just in time for Earth Day, a new state-of-the-art “Compost Compound” at West 95th Street will turn leaves, clippings and other plant matter into nutrient-rich compost that would have otherwise ended up in a landfill. This style of closed-loop composting is highlighted in Netflix documentary Kiss the Ground starring Woody Harrelson.

“In examining our current practices and facilities, we saw a tremendous opportunity to reduce the amount of organic material we are sending to landfills where it fails to decompose properly,” said Merritt Birnbaum, President & CEO of Riverside Park Conservancy. “Our goal is to disrupt the waste cycle by turning our yard waste into nutrient-rich compost right here in the park and using it to nourish our landscapes. We want to promote Mother Nature’s own system for turning plants into soil and destigmatize the perception of composting as unnatural or unclean. Our hope is to be a model for yet another way that public parks can contribute to a greener, healthier city.”


To kick Earth Day into full swing, the Riverside Park Conservancy is offering the first of a four-part lecture series at the 102nd Street Field House in Riverside Park. The Intersectionality of Land and People begins at 10 a.m. on April 22 with Dr. Robin Lovell, Ph.D. leading an interactive lecture exploring the ways that gender and identity intersect with food justice.

Composting is just one of the tenets of the Conservancy’s new Conservation and Sustainability Department. Formed in 2022, the initiative focuses on reducing fossil fuel consumption and trash output while producing free public education programs and citizen science opportunities.

“Soil is alive: it is home to an astounding number of organisms and microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, and insects. A teaspoon of healthy soil is estimated to contain literally billions of microorganisms. Soil is the basis of biodiversity. It feeds us, filters water, and absorbs an enormous amount of CO2. Yet soil around the planet has been exploited, contaminated, and exhausted through aggressive agriculture practices, industrialization, and pollution. New York City is no exception,” said Anastasia Galkowski, Manager of Sustainability.

Anyone interested in volunteer opportunities should contact sustainability@riversideparknyc.org. To learn more about the program, please visit riversideparknyc.org/announcing-compost-initiative/.


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