(Photo by Varsha Thampi)
NJIT has built an institution and community based on local impact through education, research, economic development, and engagement to improve the quality of life for all. Students have helped shape the culture at Branch Brook Park by helping to establish a sense of community, common purpose, and focus through volunteering. Branch Brook Park Alliance, an organization created to maintain and improve the area, believes in excellence, integrity, civility, sustainability, social responsibility, diversity and inclusion, and communication.
Since 1999, Branch Brook Park Alliance has been refreshing the park for modern use by community members, in partnership with Essex County. The principal methods of this goal are achieved through volunteer stewardship, event sponsorship, and corporate and community giving. Community is at the forefront of everything that the group does.
The alliance’s primary function is to bridge relationships between the park and community leaders and members, local institutions, and organizations and local businesses. This allows the group to meet the needs of community members through various programs and projects thanks to our generous supporters. In 2022, with the help of the NJIT community, over 3,000 volunteers participated in Branch Brook Park projects.
Anyone is welcome to come out and volunteer on the numerous day and time options, visible through Branch Brook Park’s online platform. Volunteers help the alliance reimagine the park’s 360-acre space in order to continue to foster health and well-being for all, especially through environmental conservation and urban sustainability efforts.
Customized volunteer opportunities are also available through sponsorship, which focuses more on team building and personalizing an experience to meet the needs of the organization and the park. Proceeds from these sponsorships allow the alliance to purchase tools and supplies for its volunteers, as well as welcome groups such as Engineers Without Borders and NJIT students.
The Engineers Without Borders club from NJIT has helped park officials create interactive maps of the landscape; these works of art help visitors better navigate the park, available activities, restrooms, historical sites, best places to explore, and tree plagues. The interactive map can be found here on the alliance’s website. This map is often used to locate historical sites within the Park and where the cherry blossoms are located.
While the park currently possesses 5,200 cherry blossom trees in 18 varieties, it regularly seeks to grow its collection through the Adopt-A-Tree sponsorship program. Knowing that many of the area’s cherry blossom trees were sponsored by visitors, community leaders, or residents makes the blooming season even more beautiful. Students also use the flowers to remember this special place, whether for themselves, a group they were affiliatee with, or in celebration of a loved one.
“What a strange thing to be alive, beneath cherry blossoms.” – Kobayashi Issa, Japanese poet
For more information about Branch Brook Park Alliance and the work that the alliance does, visit the group online at https://branchbrookpark.org/index.html. Its Instagram handle is @branchbrookpark and its Twitter can be found @branchbrookparkalliance.
For sponsorships and donor information, reach out to Alanna Garavaglia at (973) 969-1189 x325 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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