Programming Associate: Catherine Montalvo
Catherine Montalvo (a.k.a “Cat”) is a seasonal Programming Associate at Freshkills Park. She’s from a part of Queens, New York that is known for its expansive beaches and boardwalk. She recently graduated from Syracuse University with a B.S in Biology and Minor in American History.
What are you working on?
Currently, I am working on introducing different educational programs that will engage middle and high school students at different NYC parks and playgrounds. My ultimate goal is to eventually develop activities that can be used for our mobile education lab. I find that this would be a great tool in informing youth about the environment.
In addition to developing educational programs, I will be responsible for leading tours and helping to facilitate public events. My hope is to provide programs at the park to help teach people about the importance of conserving our environment. Also, I hope to get communities in Staten Island excited about all that the park has to offer.
What drew you to Freshkills Park?
Whenever I sit in the sun – whether in a park, on the beach, in the early morning, at sunset, even in my backyard – I feel deeply connected to nature. As someone who grew up near a beach and several national parks, I’ve been able to reap all of the benefits of having access to a beautiful and dynamic environment. Therefore, the opportunity to provide a community with an escape from the hectic metropolitan lifestyle is exactly what drew me to Freshkills Park.
When I first learned the history of Freshkills Park I was fascinated by the innovative approach used to transform this area from a landfill to park. I loved the idea of using technology and environmental awareness to turn trash into a resource. Also, I was excited that the park would be a place where the current and future generations could learn to appreciate nature and protect it as well. When I think about Freshkills Park I see it as a symbol of hope for the future of our environment.
What is your favorite topic surrounding Freshkills Park and why?
The scale of the project that is currently underway is without a doubt my favorite topic. The park encompasses 2,200 acres of land and to see how far the site has come in 20 years is incredible.
What is your favorite song right now?
Currently, I am obsessed with Kill the Lights by Luke Bryan.