I Love the Bronx – Planting in the Fall

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I Love the Bronx – Planting in the Fall

By Nilka Martell

As part of our ongoing BFP series highlighting the various favorite spaces, things and people in our borough, we turn to Nilka Martell, who continues to explore her hometown.

“I am a Bronx native, daughter, sister, mother of three beautiful Bronx babies, photographer, writer and motivator,” says Martell, of Puerto Rican descent.

A paralegal for over 17 years until December 2010, she has since been dedicating her time to exploring the Bronx.

Her energy and enthusiasm are indefatigable, and admirable.

“I want to make my fellow residents aware and informed of how lovely our borough is, what it offers, and how to lend a helping hand in our environment.”

Of this new time in her life, Martell says, “I have never felt so alive.”

Everyone can join in the planting fun.

Everyone can join in the planting fun.

I enjoy sharing my Bronx experiences with you, but it would be selfish if I didn’t let you know about some upcoming events. Consider taking some time so that you, your family, and friends can volunteer.
On Sat., Nov.16th, the Bronx River Alliance will be planting over 1000 trees at Shoelace Park.

Also on Nov. 16, and on Sat., Nov. 23rd, MillionTreesNYC (MTNYC) will be hosting tree planting events at Pelham Bay Park.

My children and I have volunteered with the Alliance and MTNYC for three years. We have planted trees and shrubs at Muskrat Cove, Co-op City, Hunter Island and Turtle Cove in Pelham Bay Park.

Our experiences have been nothing short of wonderful.

My daughter is very competitive and turns everything into a challenge. When we are planting, it is no different. She’ll look around, pick a section and off she goes. If the holes are pre-dug, the pressure is on.

She stacks the empty pots to keep count.

My son, though not competitive, is naturally good at planting. He’ll work at his own pace and make sure he keeps his stack of empty pots far away from hers.

The Bronx River Alliance and MillionTreesNYC (MTNYC) will host a series of planting events.

The Bronx River Alliance and MillionTreesNYC (MTNYC) will host a series of planting events.

At one event, they planted over 200 small trees and shrubs. I was aching after 30.

At another event, the trees were larger and I watched them work together.

Whatever way you choose to work together with your family and friends, you are guaranteed to have fun – and you will be proud of the mark you leave behind.

For example, we visit Pelham Bay Park all year round. Though we may not know the exact tree or shrub we planted, we always find our way to the general area in which we planted. We have gotten to see the trees mature. We feel connected, not only to the park but to the hundreds of volunteers we worked with on the various planting projects.

Both organizations are amazing, and all of the planting sites are exceptionally beautiful, especially this season. Bursting with vibrant colors, fall foliage is undeniably breathtaking.

I don’t want you to just read about my experiences, I want you to experience them on your own.

Join in the fun!

For more information on the planting at Shoelace Park (210th Street and Bronx Boulevard), please visit www.bronxriver.org or call 718.430.4665.

For more information on the plantings at Pelham Bay Park, please visit www.nycgovparks.org or call 212.360.3317.