October 5, 2008

Miami River Pocket Park

miami river commission  UM national ghandi dayPlanting trees and shrubs to create a new pocket park along the Miami river.

I used to think of a garden as a private space that requires tending, but since I started volunteering at Fairchild my idea of "garden" has shifted to a greater, collective consciousness. In some ways, now that I don't have a garden of my own (except for the orchids on my balcony!) I feel like more of a gardener than ever.

When I am working with the plants at Fairchild, I feel a very intimate connection to nature and no doubt a sense of ownership. But the greatest return here is that the ownership is shared with others who feel the same passion for the garden. It's a perfect world -- both personal and collective.

There are opportunities out there in the city to get your hands in the dirt and for the benefit of all -- a kind of civic gardening -- even if you don't have time to do this on a regular basis. This is exactly what one group of 40 University of Miami students did on one little section of the Miami River on September 20.

As part of "National Ghandi Day," the students teamed up with the Miami River Commission to create a new riverfront pocket park at a formerly vacant parcel between 1675 NW South River Drive and the Southeast side of the NW 17th Avenue Bridge. They planted eight native trees, donated by Vila and Son, as well as 140 flowering bushes.

As some of you may already know, I recently wrote an article about the Miami River for Miami Beach 411. While researching the project, I learned about the Miami River Greenway, a 10-mile path part of which is still under construction or in development. "Pocket parks" are small green areas on the path in between the larger named parks. I applaud the river commission for its effort in developing a greenway for all to enjoy. Although a greenway is not a garden in the traditional sense, it is everyone's backyard. Amazing things happen when people and plants come together!

A final UM volunteer beautification event will take place on Sunday, October 12 on North River Drive, from NW 3rd Street to NW 6th Avenue from 1-4 PM. You don't have to be a UM student to participate. Please call the Miami River Commission at (305) 644-0544 or email miamiriver@bellsouth.net for more information.

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