The ACHP celebrates National Volunteer Month this April supporting the tireless volunteers who help keep America’s historic places open for the public to learn from and enjoy year round. One such group of volunteers works at Newark, New Jersey’s famous Essex County Branch Brook Park.

The park was named a Preserve America Steward in 2012 for the volunteer effort aimed at restoring and preserving this historic park, conceived of by legendary landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead Sr. and designed by his sons. Branch Brook Park, America’s first county park dating  to 1895, provides 360 acres of green space in one of New Jersey’s most densely populated cities.

The Branch Brook Park Alliance was formed in 1999 by concerned citizens hoping to reinvigorate the neglected park. Since then, a $50 million restoration took place, and the Alliance created Care of the Park, a legacy initiative in partnership with the County of Essex, to ensure the investments will be protected. Care of the Park is a stewardship effort that engages volunteers year round to care for the park and preserve its historic landscape, including its collection of flowering cherry trees.

In 2018, the program engaged 1,336 volunteers on 61 service days, which yielded a total of 4,742 volunteer hours that translated to an economic giveback of $134,293.

This month, volunteers are working on refreshing Kiyofumi Sakaguchi Memorial Grove and Prudential Concert Grove. The Alliance is seeking more than 200 volunteers to assist in a variety of opportunities to continue the effort to restore the landscape work of art. To volunteer, visit Care of the Park Volunteer Registration.

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