Fort Ontario hosted ‘I Love My Park Day’ in Oswego Saturday. The statewide event brought volunteers and park workers together to maintain state parks.
More than 35 volunteers registered for the event, with more showing up throughout the morning. Volunteers participated in cleaning up and renovating the park and its exhibits. Cleanup projects included painting the historical buildings, removing debris from the area, and installing a new sign at the fort’s entrance.
Jenny Emmons, fort curator and ‘I Love My Park Day’ event coordinator, was thankful for the volunteers’ time and effort. Emmons said she hoped the volunteers would be able to take away a sense of pride for the park.
You can watch the full speech Emmons gave to volunteers below.
“When they come and work of their own volition they have a sense of ownership,” Emmons said. “So it has a ripple effect. It cements and reminds you that people love these places and can invest themselves into it.”
Assemblyman Will Barclay attended the event, as well as Louella LeClair, legislative liaison for state senator Patty Ritchie and former Oswego County legislator. Barclay agreed with Emmons about the sense of ownership volunteers could have.
“That’s important,” Barclay said. “I think that reflects well on the community, that we have a good community because there’s a good turnout to do something like this.”
You can listen to the full interview with Barclay below.
Emmons said another benefit of the event was that volunteers got to see what things are like for park workers, and for officials like Barclay to see how citizens value their parks.
“It’s a picture, a strong visual picture of how much people value these places,” Emmons said. “It helps them to see how often we’re expected to do so much with less.”
Barclay agreed with Emmons and said that he hoped other legislators across the state would feel the same.
“I just think from a cultural standpoint it’s important to keep this things open,” Barclay said. “Any little bit that I can help in that regard whether it’s coming to this thing or trying to support them in Albany, I’m willing to do.”
‘I Love My Park Day’ is co-organized by the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and Parks and Trails New York, a non-profit group dedicated to preserving state parks. The event at Fort Ontario, specifically, was organized with help from the Friends of Fort Ontario.
You can use the map below to see all the parks in New York that participated in ‘I Love My Park Day’.