CPN began in 2002 when native College Pointers Kathryn Cervino and Dr. James Cervino were jogging in MacNeil Park and saw the trash-filled shoreline. They organized the first‑ever waterfront cleanup at MacNeil and quickly discovered that many people were eager to volunteer and help their local environment. They form our leadership team as President and Vice President, respectively, alongside our two other invaluable Board members: Secretary Mirjana Karcic and Treasurer Stephen Winiarski.
We are fortunate to have so many devoted volunteers from the community, including Matt Gillam, Elizabeth Cuccia, AnneMarie Murphy, Wayne Rose, Cathleen and Warren King, and a long list of others. Volunteers Shannon Pallen, who served on our Board until recently, and Wayne Lee, who moved out of state, were among our earliest volunteers and contributed so much to our organization and to the town.
Over the years, working with partners at the NYC Parks Department and Partnerships for Parks, and with elected officials, our many activities have included:
Organizing waterfront and park cleanups throughout the year. The amount of trash we collect at our events is staggering. Worksites in College Point include MacNeil Park, Powell’s Cove Park, Poppenhusen Playground, College Point Park, and public coastlines.
Creating a kayak launch and offering public boating on the northeast shoreline of MacNeil Park. This city park is surrounded by water, yet for its entire history, lacked access for on-water recreation. CPN advocated doggedly for a kayak launch, while offering free public kayaking events to demonstrate the suitability of this site. An ADA-accessible ramp was built and opened to the public in 2019, and is formally part of the NYC Watertrail.
Advocating for repair of MacNeil's heavily used waterfront path and seawall. The path is used by cyclists, runners, walkers, and fishermen, and was crumbling and dangerous in the westernmost section facing LaGuardia Airport and NYC. After many years of advocacy by CPN and others, and under the leadership of the NYC Parks Department, the waterfront path and seawall were rebuilt in 2018 and 2019. The path reopened to the public in 2019 and is a stunning addition to our wonderful park.
Adding benches to two waterfront overlooks at Powell's Cove Park.
Adding 10 trashcans to MacNeil and Powell's Cove parks, to help reduce littering.
Founding (2013) and hosting CPN Family Earth Fair at MacNeil Park, attracting hundreds of Queens residents for environmental workshops, demonstrations and lectures, beach cleanups, free kayaking, and family entertainment.
Planting seagrasses, hundreds of trees, and thousands of daffodil bulbs at MacNeil and Powell's Cove Parks and in green spaces around the community. Seagrasses increase marine life, deter erosion, and reduce water pollution, while in-park plantings increase beauty and wildlife diversity. We also mulch new plantings, and rake the leaves away from daffodil shoots in the spring.
Creating tree tags and environmental interpretive signage in MacNeil Park to help park patrons learn more about their natural environment, in the hope of increasing their stewardship.
Launching an innovative art-meets-science pilot project to jumpstart the city's oyster population at MacNeil Park.
Leading students in unique marine science research projects utilizing our natural environment, under the guidance of Dr. James M. Cervino.
Battling for more vigorous cleanup of a former toxin-filled dump on which upscale homes have since been built, next to MacNeil Park. A deeper-soil cleanup resulted from our intervention, protecting unsuspecting homebuyers and neighbors.
Successfully fighting against coastal polluters and developers who have no regard for the environment. We recently uncovered developers who were illegally backfilling beachland in southern CP without the required permits, and dumping petroleum-contaminated soil in wetlands near Linden Place. Thanks to our help, regulatory agencies were able to impose fines and stop-work orders.
Collaborating with NYC Parks to secure funding for a Sept. 11 Memorial Tree Grove on the westernmost hills in MacNeil Park. Many local residents watched from this park in 2001 as the World Trade Center burned and collapsed across the water. We lost several local residents that day. This place for remembrance and contemplation was dedicated in May 2005. The signs had become badly faded and nearly illegible in 2018 and with CPN's advocacy to NYC Parks, were replaced in 2019.
Offering environmental workshops and demonstrations on building rainbarrels, how to compost, shoreline ecology, Tree ID guided tour, making art from trash.
Bringing science education for free to local schools including a shark dissection at MS379, College Point's first middle school, and biology regents review at two local middle schools.
Improving trails in Powell's Cove Park through repairs and weeding.
We are committed to serving our community and we welcome you to become a member and expand our impact.
Make a difference, volunteer today!