Thumbs Up To City Parks Foundation Free Fall Sports And Environmental Education Programs

October 20, 2020

City Parks Foundation is continuing its free programs this fall with sports and environmental education programs for young people and seniors from Harlem to Hollis.

The programs are being held both virtually and on a limited in-person basis, adhering to city recommended safety regulations. CityParks Learn Environmental Education programs include CityParks Learn: Green Girls Empowered by INGCoastal ClassroomSeeds to TreesTeacher Training, and Learning Gardens. CityParks Play Sports programs include Seniors FitnessTrack & Field, and the Junior Golf Center.

CityParks Learn

CityParks Learn: Green Girls Empowered by ING (digital), which was recently awarded the inaugural Climate Change Award from the National Summer Learning Association, is an after school program that uses fun-filled online adventures to teach middle school girls about the natural ecosystems in NYC’s parks, careers in the sciences, and about their own power to create change and advocate for the environment and their parks. This fall, participants will investigate how climate change is affecting our city and our future and will learn the history of climate action and how young people have advocated for the environment. Green Girls meet weekly online through December 17th with multiple session times available to fit your student’s schedule. Registration is still available at

In 2021, City Parks Foundation will make the Green Girls Empowered by ING curriculum available to teachers and out-of-school time providers around the country, free of charge. The curriculum will be offered free for download but will require teachers to participate in an online learning session with CityParks Learn educators beforehand and to report on their program outcomes to inform and help shape future curriculum updates. The curriculum will include suggested lesson plans, tips on establishing partnerships, and advocacy tools to help instructors run a successful program. For more information about the CityParks Green Girls Empowered by ING program and the 2021 digital nationwide program, please visit

CityParks Learn: Coastal Classroom Afterschool Program (digital) is designed for middle school students to create meaningful relationships with waterfront parks, looking at topics including coastal ecology, water quality, urban waterfront restoration, and preservation. Using virtual lessons and authentic learning experiences, students will learn about the ecology of the aquatic ecosystems in NYC waterfront parks and the species living in them.  And they’ll have fun in the process! This free online program is held weekly through December 4 from 3:30 to 5:30 PM ET.

Registration is still available at

CityParks Learn: Learning Gardens sponsored by TD Bank (digital) offers educators who are looking to supplement their environmental science curriculum this year with a remote Learning Gardens School Day Program that teaches youngsters about the importance of urban gardens. Students will learn about plant and soil science, urban biodiversity, food justice, and healthy eating. High school students looking for an in-person urban gardening experience and interested in learning about food justice, may also apply now for our High School Internship Training Program. Accepted students will work safely and socially distant in the gardens this fall, learning new skills and earning high school credit. CityParks Learning Gardens are located in Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx.

Registration is still available at

CityParks Learn Seeds to Trees (digital) offers teachers looking to enhance their science curriculum a special program, Seeds to Trees, as a fully remote program that combines guided, hands-on classroom activities with virtual field trips to NYC parks, all led by our skilled science educators. The program focuses on urban ecology and nature and encourages students to explore the dynamics of urban ecosystems.

Registration is still available at

CityParks Teacher Training: Experiential Learning: Using Parks as Outdoor Classrooms  (limited, in-person) provides 2nd – 8th-grade teachers with academic and administrative tools to conduct science lessons using a New York City park as their outdoor classroom. Focusing on forest ecology in the fall, free training will equip teachers to plan and implement safe and effective outdoor lessons that provide students with hands-on experiences relative to their in-class curriculum.  Training pays special attention to the recommendations by the NYC DOE for excellence in environmental education particularly regarding place-based education and real-world experiences involving investigation, analysis, and problem-solving. Content is drawn from the City Parks Foundation Seeds to Trees program for elementary and middle school students, activities are carefully aligned with the NYS Science Learning Standards and ASPDP credit is an option.

Registration is now full; more information can be found at

CityParks Play

CityParks Seniors Fitness (digital) gives New Yorkers 60+ the chance to participate in free online yoga classes Monday – Friday this fall, September 21- October 30. Typically held in 18 neighborhood parks across the city, Seniors Fitness instructors will represent the parks they normally teach within this fall with a variety of classes including chair yoga and a special focus on stress reduction. The program has served over 10,000 participants since it began in 2006 and encourages older New Yorkers to maximize their health benefits by staying active.

Registration is still available at

  • Mondays at 10 am with Lois Heitner, representing Soundview Park. Chair yoga class to help develop strength and flexibility with the support of a chair. We will also explore breathing techniques to help both calm and energize the soul, and deep relaxation to complete our practice. Good for those with limitations or injuries.
  • Tuesdays at 9 am with Haile Bennett, representing Tremont Park
  • Tuesdays at 10 am with Ruth Vargas, representing Roy Wilkins Park
  • Wednesdays at 11 am with Richard Barcia, representing Carl Schurz Park, JJ Walker Park, and Williamsbridge Oval. A class focused on proper alignment, breathwork, and an introduction to a variety of beginner yoga poses.
  • Thursdays at 10 am with Joann Rivezzo, representing Marine Park, South Oxford Park, and Faber Park
  • Fridays at 9 am with Peggy Hill, representing Pelham Bay Park. Mat Hatha yoga class customized for 60+ participants and focuses on stress reduction, flexibility, strength, concentration, and resilience. It includes integrated breath practice and relaxation.

CityParks Track & Field (limited, in-person), supported by the Randall’s Island Park Alliance, is open for registration at a limited capacity and following safety protocols. Held in three parks, this free program gives New York City youth the chance to learn the basics of the sport, from hurdles and relay races, to long jump, shot put and javelin throw. The program runs from September 19 – October 25 in Manhattan, Queens, and the Bronx and is held once per week, available to youth ages eight – 14.

Registration is still available at

The Jesse Owens Track & Field at Thomas Jefferson Park fall program introduces novice runners to cross country distance running through runs from East Harlem to Randall’s Island Park. The fall program will also incorporate a variety of track and field activities. This free weekly track & field youth program runs from September 19 – October 24 in Manhattan, and is held once per week, available to youth ages eight – 14.

Registration is now full; more information can be found at

CityParks Play Track & Field is open to the press interested in attending to cover; interviews with City Parks Foundation representatives are available.

Generous private support for CityParks Play is provided by the Venable Foundation. Generous private support for the CityParks Junior Golf Center is provided by presenting partners Lacoste and The First Tee. Generous private support for CityParks Track and Field is provided by L+M Development Partners. In partnership with NYC Parks and Randall’s Island Park Alliance.

Generous private support for CityParks Seniors Fitness is provided by David B. Pinter and Zwicker Electric Co., Inc., and The Linda B. and Howard S. Stern Family Foundation. Public support is provided by the NYC Council under the leadership of Speaker Corey Johnson, including Council Member Costa Constantinides, Council Member Ruben Diaz, Sr., and Council Member Debi Rose. CityParks Play is presented in partnership with NYC Parks.

Generous private support for CityParks Learn is provided by The Carroll and Milton Petrie Foundation, Con Edison, The Coca-Cola Foundation, The Linda B. and Howard S. Stern Family Foundation, the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, ExpandEd Schools, The Barker Welfare Foundation, MUFG Union Bank Foundation, and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation. Generous public support is provided by the NYC Council under the leadership of Speaker Corey Johnson. Generous private support for Learning Gardens is provided by Jane and Frances Stein Foundation and the Michael Tuch Foundation. Generous private support for Coastal Classroom is provided by Patagonia.

Generous Private support for Green Girls is provided by The Pinkerton Foundation, the National Summer Learning Association, the Catskill Watershed Corporation in partnership with New York City Department of Environmental Protection, and the Watershed Agricultural Council. Green Girls is presented by ING Financial Services and is the recipient of the 2020 National Summer Learning Association Climate Change Award. CityParks Learn is presented in partnership with NYC Parks. TD Bank is a supporting sponsor of CityParks Learning Gardens.

At City Parks Foundation, we are dedicated to invigorating and transforming parks into dynamic, vibrant centers of urban life through sports, arts, community building, and education programs for all New Yorkers. Our programs — located in more than 400 parks, recreation centers, and public schools across New York City — reach 310,000 people each year. Our ethos is simple: thriving parks mean thriving communities.

For more information about City Parks Foundation’s 2020 fall programs, please visit

Photo credit: 1-3) City Parks.

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