LIJ Nurses Spruce Up Springfield Park

Cynthia Gordon, a patient care associate at LIJ Medical Center and resident of Rosedale, holds the wheelbarrow while her colleagues “pitch in” for tree mulching.

On a recent Saturday morning, about 20 nurses and staff members from LIJ Medical Center traded their surgical gloves for gardening gloves, volunteering their time to beautify nearby Springfield Park.

The LIJ Coronary and Thoracic Intensive Care Unit (ICU) team provides care for some of the hospital’s sickest patients who are recovering from lung surgeries and other life-threatening cardiac emergencies and lung procedures. 

The nurses and staff members teamed with NYC Partnership for Parks, which

relies on volunteers, to make vitally needed improvements to more than 1,800 parks and properties citywide.  The green-minded LIJ group put their team spirit to work weeding, mulching and working the soil, thanks to the wheelbarrows, pitch forks, rakes and small hand tools provided by NYC Parks.

“I was impressed how these nurses jumped into action and were so hard working and positive on such a hot day,” said Schahryar Tariq, volunteer program assistant for Partnership for Parks for Queens.  “Every person who volunteered for this project made a gigantic difference and you could see the immediate results of mulching trees in the area.”

Emily Kalberer, RN, assistant nurse manager of LIJ’s Coronary and Thoracic ICU, organized the volunteer project with her colleagues. “Our nurses and staff have such huge hearts we wanted to give back to the community in a tangible way,” Ms. Kalberer said.  “The more we can motivate people to get outside, moving and walking, by making the park more beautiful, the more we can promote healthy lifestyles,” she added.

Research by the Harvard School of Public Health suggests that in addition to improving physical health, urban parks and contact with nature can help people reduce stress and think more clearly.

“I wanted to come out for a good cause and make a difference in my neighborhood,” said Cynthia Gordon, a resident of Rosedale and a 30-year employee of LIJ Medical Center.  “It feels good to be with my co-workers and make the park cleaner and more beautiful.”

About Partnerships for Parks: Founded in 1995, Partnerships for Parks is an innovative joint program of City Parks Foundation and the NYC Parks that supports and champions a growing network of community leaders to care and advocate for their neighborhood parks and green spaces. Every year, Partnerships for Parks works intensively with nearly 1,000 community groups throughout the five boroughs and a human network of 30,000 New Yorkers to strengthen their parks, equipping them with skills, tools, training, and external resources to enrich and sustain these spaces. More information about Partnership for Parks is available here.

About City Parks Foundation: City Parks Foundation is the only independent, nonprofit organization whose mission is to offer programs in public parks throughout the five boroughs of New York City. At City Parks Foundation, we are dedicated to invigorating and transforming parks into dynamic, vibrant centers of urban life through sports, arts, community development, and education programs for all New Yorkers. Our programs and community building initiatives -- located in more than 300 parks, recreation centers, and public schools across the city -- reach 425,000 people each year.  Our ethos is simple: we believe thriving parks reflect thriving communities. More information about City Parks Foundation is available at

About NYC Parks: NYC Parks  is the steward of approximately 29,000 acres of land — 14 percent of New York City — including more than 5,000 individual properties ranging from Coney Island Beach and Central Park to community gardens  and Greenstreets. We operate more than 800 athletic fields and nearly 1,000 playgrounds, 550 tennis courts, 66 public pools, 48 recreational facilities, 17 nature centers, 13 golf courses, and 14 miles of beaches. We care for 1,200 monuments and 23 historic house museums. We look after 650,000 street trees and two million more in parks. We are New York City's principal providers of recreational and athletic facilities and programs. We are home to free concerts, world-class sports events, and cultural festivals. For more information, visit