Newsletter, Volume 1, Issue 1

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Four Freedoms Park Conservancy Newsletter, Volume 1, Issue 1
Spring, it seems, has finally arrived. For the Park, this means that the ice and snow that blanketed the lawn and granite has melted, and that the pale yellow buds of the Linden trees will soon unfurl and blossom. Visitors can trade their jackets for cardigans and then t-shirts, and our staff can retire their snow boots and snow shovels for another year. Spring also brings with it the introduction of our Events and Public Programs Calendar. From April to October, the Park will host classes, musical performances, and workshops to ignite the imagination and inspire your inner architect, artist, or historian. You can learn more about our upcoming April and early May events below, or visit the events section of our website for more details.
 
This year, with spring, come a number of changes to the way we will communicate with you. Going forward, you can expect to receive monthly newsletters detailing upcoming events, Park news, and the stories that make this Park unique. These stories will be expanded on our blog, which we invite you to bookmark and read often. Additionally, each newsletter will highlight a different theme related to the Park, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, or architect Louis Kahn, so that we can better share the history and the secrets of this civic space.


In celebration of Earth Day and Arbor Day, and on the heels of California’s mandatory water restriction, the theme for this month is Conservation. Eighty-two years ago, when Roosevelt began his Presidency, the American countryside, like the American economy, was in shambles. Years of drought and intensive farming left the soil dry and barren, and zealous lumber harvests left once abundant forests depleted. 
 
Roosevelt immediately made it a priority to restore and conserve America’s natural resources. He increased protected parkland, created hundreds of park and forest-related jobs for the unemployed in the Civilian Conservation Corps, and developed strategies to prevent soil erosion. “A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself,” Roosevelt said. “Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.” (A richer look at FDR’s role as a conservationist and how his presidency shaped sustainability in America is available here.)
 
At the Park, we strive to live by the environmental ideals and values FDR laid before us. This began even before we started construction. As one example, in the 1950s the shoreline began directly at the southern face of the Renwick Ruin. However, in the decades following this, landfilling extended the island by nearly five acres into the East River. When Four Freedoms Park was constructed on this land in 2010, we were able to reduce the footprint of this landfill by half-an-acre, returning the space back to the East River.
 
Along the Park’s outer edges you may notice the “riprap,” a rock barrier composed of hand-placed granite gneiss. Sixty-five percent of this stone was recycled from the excavate (i.e., the removed stone) at the site. The riprap armors the edge of the island to protect it from erosion caused by East River tides. It helped insulate the Park during Hurricane Sandy, and over time, the area has become a wildlife sanctuary for local birds, fish, moss, and other flora and fauna.  
 
And five years ago, in April 2010, 120 Linden trees and five Copper Beach trees were planted at the Park. These 125 trees counted towards NYC’s Million Tree Campaign, an initiative with NYC Parks and the New York Restoration Project to plant one million trees across the five boroughs of New York City. Our trees brought the count up to 558,610; you can learn more about the campaign and our participation on our blog.
 
We invite you to visit the Park often, and to take advantage of our events and public programs. As always, please let us know if you have any questions or ideas to make the Park even better, or simply wish to say hello. Thank you for being a part of our green community – we look forward to seeing you soon!

All the best,

Sally Minard
President & CEO
Four Freedoms Park Conservancy
Help Support the Park by Becoming a Member

UPCOMING EVENTS & PUBLIC PROGRAMS

Mondays, 10:15-11am
April 6, 13, 20, 27, May 4, 11

Participants will learn basic techniques, while increasing their balance, circulation, flexibility and energy. All ages and levels are encouraged to participate. Dress comfortably. Suggested donation; free for members. No registration required.

Saturday & Sunday, April 11 & 12
10-2pm

Join our volunteer team! Volunteer Greeters play an important role at Four Freedoms Park - welcoming visitors, leading guided tours, and assisting in public programs. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, please join us at our outdoor Open House. No registration required.
Sunday, April 12
Drop-in workshop: 12-4pm
Ceremony: 2-3pm

Visitors of all ages will construct red paper roses, which will be planted to form a rose garden on the Park lawn. A commemorative ceremony honoring FDR and performance by folk band, the Falling Stars will take place in the afternoon. No registration required.
Four Freedoms/AIA Roosevelt Island Circumnavigation Boat Tour
Sunday, April 18, 1:30-3:30pm

The AIA and Four Freedoms Park Conservancy will jointly offer a special guided boat tour around Roosevelt Island. The tour will focus on Four Freedoms Park and the past, present, and future of Roosevelt Island. Tickets $58, $15 discount for Four Freedoms Park Conservancy Members. Register and buy tickets here.
I Love My Park Day
Saturday, May 2, 9am-12pm
Ages 13+, Registration required

Participate in the fourth annual I Love My Park Day, an exciting statewide event to improve and enhance New York's parks and historic sites and bring visibility to the entire park's system and its needs. Register at: I Love My Park Day.

Jane's Walk
Saturday, May 2
Tours at 12pm and 2pm 
Registration encouraged

To honor the legacy of Jane Jacobs, an urbanist and activist, join us for Jane’s Walk - a free educational walking tour offered in collaboration with Roosevelt House. Register here

fdr4freedoms.org

We launched fdr4freedoms.org in February with the aim of providing compelling educational content about the FDR-era for use in and out of the classroom. Our intention was not only to illuminate the more well-known aspects of Roosevelt's career - the New Deal, the Second World War, the Four Freedoms speech - but to tell the lesser known stories of that history, as well.

One such story is that of Dorothea Lange (above left), a photographer hired under FDR's Farm Security Administration to document the results of mass economic deprivation. Her iconic photo, Migrant Mother (above right), of 32-year old farm worker Florence Owens Thompson became emblematic of the Depression-era, a recognizable and tangible tribute to those who struggled, and a reminder of our limited resources. Lange's story, and more is available at fdr4freedoms.org

SUPPORT

 
We could not sustain the Park without your support. The contributions of people like you help us operate and maintain this extraordinary civic space and provide educational initiatives, and public programs to people of all ages, ensuring the legacy of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the vision of Louis Kahn remains accessible and vibrant for generations to come. There are many ways to give; learn more about support opportunities here, and make sure to save Wednesday, June 3, 2015 for our third annual Sunset Garden Party!
 
Donate Today
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