April 24, 2017

On Earth Day, TV personality and veteran advocate Jon Stewart joined Mission Continues volunteers to help restore the Bronx Forest. We worked with Bronx River Alliance, New York City Parks, and community volunteers to remove invasive species, add reinforcements to native species, blaze a new path in the Bronx Forest, and clean the Bronx River.

Jon Stewart welcomed the crowd of volunteers, saying, “Our country – our world – has so many problems, veterans and first responders are solutions waiting to happen. When we can combine veterans and first responders to our problems, we can do anything.”

It was heartening to see veterans from across New York City gather to protect the Bronx Forest’s natural landscape. This service project was one of many led by The Mission Continues where veterans mobilized together to solve challenges specific to their communities. In the Bronx, The Mission Continues’ local New York 2nd Service Platoon is committed to neighborhood beautification and arts development.

City Impact Manager Vu Nguyen said his team chose to work with the Bronx River Alliance because “they provide such a unique service in preserving the only freshwater river in New York City. We felt that deploying veterans to help with those efforts would give residents an amazing opportunity to enjoy its beauty for generations to come.”

The mission of the Bronx River Alliance is to serve as a coordinated voice for the river and work in harmonious partnership to protect, improve and restore the Bronx River corridor and greenway so that they can be healthy ecological, recreational, educational, and economic resources for the communities through which the river flows.

The veteran and civilian volunteer force totaled over 130 strong. By forming teams they managed to remove invasive plants along the river, create a trail, plant trees, and even geared up with waders and gloves to remove trash and debris from the river.

In 3 hours we dredged 1,100 feet of trail, planted 400 trees, removed over 2.5 tons of invasive plant species and cleaned up the Bronx River by removing 406 plastic bottles, 735 styrofoam cups, 27 tennis balls, 23 glass bottles, and 1 baseball bat.

Thanks to our sponsors, Guggenheim Partners, and everyone who came out on this rainy day to make it such an impactful day of service!

Here are some highlights from the day of service:

 

Report for duty in your community with The Mission Continues. Serve with a Service Platoon at an upcoming service event near you or apply for a fellowship. You can learn more about our programs on our website and stay updated on the latest news and announcements on Facebook and Twitter.