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Urban Park Rangers celebrate 40 years in New York City

They'll be front and center at the annual Urban Wildlife Festival on May 4 in Highbridge Park.

To celebrate the anniversary, the Parks Department is

To celebrate the anniversary, the Parks Department is offering numerous events in the coming weeks including 40 outdoor family camping excursions and a series of hikes featuring the steepest hills in city parks. Photo Credit: Shaye Weaver

In 1979, crime and vandalism had taken the joy out of many New York City parks.

That was the year the Urban Park Rangers program was created by then Parks Commissioner Gordon Davis to give those greenspaces a welcoming and uniformed presence.

Forty years later, the city’s parks have long since rebounded and the Urban Park Rangers are now focused on teaching the public about the environment and its incredible diverse wildlife.

To celebrate the anniversary, the Parks Department is offering numerous events in the coming weeks, including 40 outdoor family camping excursions and a series of hikes featuring the steepest hills in city parks.

Rangers will be front and center at the annual Urban Wildlife Festival on May 4 in Highbridge Park. That’s where New Yorkers can see some of the furry and feathered denizens of city parks close up and learn how they thrive in an urban habitat.

“The Urban Park Rangers have spent 40 years connecting New Yorkers and visitors alike to the natural elements in our parks,” said city Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver. “Through education, they have bridged the gap between city living and the wonders of nature that can be found throughout the five boroughs.”

Former Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe was a member of that first graduating class of Urban Park Rangers. Many current parks employees, including Queens Parks Commissioner Michael Dockett, got their start as Urban Park Rangers.

For a list of events go to nycgovparks.org.

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