From Behind the Mounds: First Days With Freshkills Park

There is no more exciting time to join a new working environment than when a huge event such as Freshkills Park’s annual Sneak ‘Peak’ is around the corner!

Eva Neves and myself, Rachel Boeglin, are members of this year’s Conservation Corps with the New York City Parks Department. We’ve been granted the honor of working on programming throughout the year to promote  further understanding of and public engagement in Freshkills Park while the Park is still being completed.

Scenes from the Phragmites Maze

Scenes from the Phragmites Maze

Working on Sneak ‘Peak’ during our first week was a wonderful whirlwind of activity and an intense learning experience about Freshkills Park. Sneak ‘Peak’ is an enormous annual event which takes place on the park’s North Mound. This year, it consisted of fun family activities like kite-flying, kayaking, roller skating, wall-climbing, art, and live music, as well as nature-themed activities like bird watching, nature talks, and even a maze through Phragmites! As new staff on the team, our first days at Freshkills Park were varied and productive, including everything from reading extensively about the park, to writing social media plugs, to prepping signage, kites, and programs, to running errands all over the mound for the forthcoming event. We were busy, busy and full of anticipation for the event.

The day of Sneak ‘Peak’ was thrilling. That morning and afternoon, we greeted thousands of people coming to the Park, and had the opportunity to field questions from attendees and community partners, assist our astute volunteers at their posts, and generally ensure everyone had a great time.

Phragmites Maze trail

Phragmites Maze trail

At the close of the day when 4 o’clock rolled around, we took a quick reprieve before clean-up began in earnest. We rode up to the top of the Outpost, traipsed through the winding Phragmites maze, and took in all of the sights, sounds, and smells of the nature around us, all of it serving as a reminder that what was once a landfill is now a place of beauty and adventure– the essence of what Sneak ‘Peak’ is all about!

We both very much look forward to the months ahead– to learning more about Freshkills Park and bringing people to it with the same enthusiasm and excitement carried with us at Sneak ‘Peak’.

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