Outdoor Programs for Jersey City Residents
Pershing Field Garden Friends (PFGF) are the stewards of Pershing Field and work in partnership with the city of Jersey City to maintain and beautify this Journal Square/Heights border park for residents across the city. They are a member of the citywide umbrella organization. The Jersey City Parks Coalition share a mission to preserve and protect our open spaces. PFGF is working with schools and neighborhood organizations to introduce gardening, park beautification, and community involvement. PFGF provides outdoor activities, environment education, and volunteer opportunities for both children & adults.
Pershing Field Garden Friends promotes the value of community engagement with nature. From learning about and searching for moths, to planting thousands of flower bulbs in the park – PFGF strives to improve the health and well-being of all Jersey City residents.
HealthierJC + Pershing Field Garden Friends
For Pershing Field Garden Friends, building a Culture of Health is about helping the community build a deep and enduring connection with nature. Based on the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA), more time spent in parks and green spaces can help individuals fight against mental health issues like depression, anxiety and stress. Therefore, as PFGF seeks out opportunities to utilize Jersey City parks and outdoor recreation spaces as venues to educate, entertain and engage, they increase these positive effects on our individual health and neighborhood quality of life.
The Pershing Field Garden Friends program closely aligns with the HealthierJC mission to expand access to quality education, promote fellowship, and build future community leaders. In awarding the mini-grant, HealthierJC acknowledged the contribution of Pershing Field Garden Friends in advancing a Culture of Health in Jersey City, for decades in our city.
PFGF Making a Difference
Pre-covid, Pershing Field Garden Friends created a Monarch butterfly habitat to attract and sustain Monarch and other butterflies. PFGF held three plantings for the butterfly garden, and conducted volunteer work weekends throughout the summer to increase engagement and education.
The HealthierJC mini-grant allowed PFGF to purchase the plants and tools necessary to support garden volunteers. PFGF then built on the success of this initial butterfly garden project to secure a grant from the Covid-19 Mayor’s Relief Fund to expand the Monarch habitat.
With secured funding, PFGF held three planting events, engaging roughly 30-35 Jersey City volunteers throughout the course of the program. PFGF installed these butterfly gardens and focused on bringing the community. Volunteers were encouraged to work ‘hands on’ with the soil and plants, an activity with mental health benefits. The monarch conservation efforts of PFGF also earned global recognition when Pershing Field Park was designated a certified Monarch Waystation, adding this Jersey City destination to the online Monarch Waystation Registry.
Even more importantly, the local Jersey City community has expressed heartfelt appreciation for the work PFGF had done. This Facebook post captures it beautifully:
“Today my children and I walked through Pershing Field near the flowers planted right before the exit on Summit and Manhattan we stopped and admired no less than 9 butterflies. Thank you, Pershing Field Garden Friends, for all the work you do!”
Through the Partnership for a HealthierJC, Pershing Field Garden Friends were able to connect their organization to resources and other partners that helped further their mission to build a network of community-based organizations working in tandem to support open spaces. Pershing Field Park has accomplished its primary mission to increase and sustain the Monarch butterfly population in Jersey City. Moreover, while the park is located in Ward C, on the boarder of Ward D, residents across the city and visitors from all over the world have benefited from this perennial community garden.
PFGF continues to grow park gardens and the organization.
They remain committed to fostering community engagement, enlisting volunteers and sponsoring outdoor activities, to beautify Jersey City.
Better yet, why not schedule a visit and check out some Jersey City butterflies?