Past Projects

The Syracuse Parks Conservancy acts as a clearinghouse for Syracuse Parks Information.  We also have a number of projects we have embarked upon.

Growing Together Tree Project

Greetings from the Growing Together Project. This project is a joint collaboration between the City of Syracuse Department of Parks, Recreation and Youth Programs and the Syracuse Parks Conservancy, a non-profit volunteer organization dedicated to working in the parks. Together, we are working on a number of projects. One of these projects is planting tress to make our city a greener and cleaner place to live.

We need your help to make this happen. Neither city government nor private citizens alone can achieve this goal, but working together we can. We invite you to become part of this project.  There are a number of ways you can get involved and make a difference.

  •  Make a financial donation. Your donation will be used to purchase and plant trees throughout the city. Trees help keep our environment clean and reduce the carbon footprint. Your donation, no matter how large or small can make a difference.
  • Volunteer your time. We need volunteers to help plant and maintain these trees. It is not enough to simply put a tree in the ground. We need to ensure that they are cared for and continue to grow.
  • Encourage people you know through work, organizations and activities to get involved with this project. They say it takes a village to raise a child and it will take all of us working together to make sure that they have a clean, healthy and beautiful place to live.

We thank you for your time and hope that you will become part of this important project. Please see the flier or contact us on ways you can get involved and make a difference. Please feel free to contact us with your questions and again, thanks for caring.

Respectfully yours,

Patrick Driscoll – Commissioner,Department of Parks, Recreation and Youth

Mike Behnke – President, Syracuse Parks Conservancy 

Additional details of this Project

  • At the January 2010 Board of Trustees meeting, Patrick Driscoll, Commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Youth asked the SPC to take on their first formal project with the city and plant 200 trees.
  • The first tree, a Pin Oak was planted on May 26, 2010 in the front yard of the Parks and Recreation Headquarters on Spencer Street. A commemorative stone marks the location.
  • A variety of native species in a variety of sizes will be planted throughout the parks and green spaces in the city. We are requesting locations from the Commissioner, local Park Associations, Neighborhood Groups, private citizens, and businesses.
  • Planting of the trees will be done by members of the SPC and volunteers. We are actively recruiting volunteers to help with the various plantings and for other projects.
  • Maintenance of the trees will be done by members of the SPC and private citizens and/or businesses. We encourage all of you who purchase or plant a tree to help water and maintain it if possible. Rest assured that even if you don’t care for it, we will. We expect that some trees may perish but we have experienced Board members who know how to plant and maintain trees.
  • SUNY ESF, one of our partners with representation on our Board will also help oversee this project.
Parks Pledge Program

The Syracuse Parks Conservancy (SPC) in partnership with the City of Syracuse Parks, Recreation and Youth Department and the City of Syracuse School District announces the Parks Pledge Program. This program is open to all interested parties but specifically looks to work with students in the Syracuse City School District.

Participants will be asked to complete assignments in each area:

1. Activities in the parks (Please choose at least one):

Planting – Plant a tree, bush, or flowers. Learn about this specie of plant. Is it a native plant? How does it help the environment?  What do you need to do to help maintain this?

Cleaning – Help cleanup a park, remove graffiti, rake, cut brush/trees, or dump/recycle garbage. How does this help the environment? What new technologies are available to reduce garbage and pollution? How does nature recycle? What can you do to help our planet stay green?

Building – Help with a building or restoration project such as creating mulch beds, flower boxes, a rain barrel garden or work that has been approved.

Education – With your teacher or an approved guide go for a nature walk. Identify plants and animals. How do these species coexist in nature? How do they compete? How does mankind influence this balance?

Artistic – Submit an idea for an art project in a park. Work on cleaning or restoring present public art. Take pictures and/or paint a scene from a park.

Create your own project – Work with your teacher, other students, your school’s Green Team and the SPC to create your own special project.

2. Documentation:

Report on your work in the parks. Prepare a written and/or oral report for class. Take pictures of what you did. Submit photos for possible posting on the SPC website.

3. Pledge:  

Take a personal pledge to do all you can to help maintain and preserve parks and green spaces throughout the City of Syracuse. Continue to remain involved with the parks. Encourage others to get involved. Proudly display your Pledge Certificate.


We also have archive studies and reports pertaining to Syracuse Parks.  The following resources will be of interest to those who are interested learning more about our Parks.  Visit us again in the future as we are continuously compiling other reports and studies which will be added this page.

Studies conducted by Dr. Diane Kuehn

Professor of Recreation Resources Management and Ecotourism, at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Department of Forest & Natural Resources Management.

  • A Tourism Plan for the City of Syracuse’s Parks and Greenspaces (2004)
  • A Tourism Plan for the Onondaga Park Arboretum and Botanical Garden (2006)
  • A Feasibility Study for the Onondaga Escarpment Greenway – DRAFT

Click here to visit Dr. Kuehn’s homepage

Henninger Rain Garden

Henninger Rain GardenWe are pleased to announce that after years of working with the Syracuse School district, students from Sue Detores’ Anatomy class and Scott’s AVID class have taken over the maintenance of the rain garden at Henninger High School. The Rain Garden was the first in the City. Amy Nirgo from the Sunnycrest Park Association has been a driving force with getting the students involved with the Rain Garden and the environmental trail at Sunnycrest Park. The Syracuse Parks Conservancy is committed to working with these great partners to ensure that our students have every opportunity to learn and explore all the wonders of nature that is outside their schools.

Lower Union Park Playground

Lower Union PlaygroundThe Syracuse Parks Conservancy was happy to be the fiscal sponsor for this project; the SPC is here to assist and help groups write grants and request funding for specific projects. We would like to thank all the groups and individual people who came though with funding to help see this project get done, especially the Jim and Julie Boeheim Foundation, the Allyn Foundation, Gifford Foundation, Community Foundation, Trades unions, Kaboom!, and all the Northside groups who came together to see the kids have a new playground in their neighborhood. Dick Case’s column in the Post-Standard  helped raise funds too.

We would like to thank Glen Lewis from the Parks Department, and Commissioner Baye Muhammad for all their help. And we say thank you to Maureen Dore who was the driving force behind this project. We look forward to working on future projects with the Parks Department and making our Parks all they can be. And to all the public who gave of their time and money: “many thanks.”