Local Effort, Planetary Impact: Burnet Park Revitalization

Planetary impact isn’t always easy to see in real time. It’s a little easier to see results at the local level. And positive efforts at the community level can lead to meaningful global change and measurable community impact. 

Recently, Conserve partnered with a Syracuse nonprofit to revitalize a cherished community park. The project took place over a 5-week period in the summer of 2020 and is a great example of the lasting impact of local conservation efforts. 

The land that became Burnet Park was donated to the city of Syracuse in 1886 and it is the largest park in Syracuse. Over the years the park’s trails, established in the 1930s, had eroded. The staircases had become overgrown with weeds as high as three feet, the park was strewn with trash and the park’s large white oak “champion tree” was engulfed by invasive species. 

Conserve enabled Onondaga Earth Corps to assemble a crew of eight Syracuse-area teens (ages 15-18) focused on the revitalization of these once-useful trails. OEC’s mission is to empower youth to be active participants in creating positive change for their communities and the environment. We have partnered with OEC previously on two projects focused on cleaning up downtown Syracuse. Working with them to restore the beauty of Burnet Park just made sense!

Through the hard work of the crew over the 5-week project, 25 gallons of trash were removed along with hundreds of buckhorn bushes and other invasive species. The crew restored five stone staircases to their original 1930s glory and restored 2,640 feet (or a half-mile) of local trails. They even removed invasive species from native plants, including the white oak “champion tree.” The crew also installed hillside terracing systems to prevent further erosion. 

The result? The park is restored to its 1930s grandeur. Portions of the trail that had become unusable due to overgrowth are again walkable for everyone to enjoy. One local resident commented “I used to traverse this trail daily as a kid, and I have never seen it look as good as it does now, thank you.”
When you fill up with Conserve, you support local volunteer projects and sponsorships like this one in our Great Lakes Community. We look forward to continuing to partner with non-profit organizations to revitalize our communities together.