Randall's Island Launches the Park-as-Lab (PAL) Initiative - a Growing Part of the Randall's Island Park Alliance's Waterfront Stewardship Program

Professors from Baruch College, Columbia University, and Queens College praise PAL as providing unmatched opportunities for students

Randall's Island Park Alliance

​The Randall’s Island Park Alliance (RIPA) today announced the official launch of its Park-as-Lab (“PAL”) initiative, an integral part of its growing Waterfront Stewardship Program.

The PAL program is geared toward connecting local graduate, undergraduate and high school students, researchers and citizen scientists with Randall’s Island Park, as an ideal site for the study of urban ecology. As part of its longstanding Waterfront Stewardship Program, RIPA offers free hands-on environmental education to over 4500 local K-12 students annually, maintains the Island’s waterfront, and monitors the Island’s water quality and biodiversity, including avian species, vegetation, and marine life. The PAL initiative, an exciting expansion, will help further foster on-site research, toward protecting our local urban ecology, improving community understanding, and promoting sustainability and climate resilience in New York City and beyond. A key element of the PAL mission is to facilitate supervised student scientific research at Randall’s Island Park.

The PAL program is geared toward connecting local graduate, undergraduate and high school students, researchers and citizen scientists with Randall's Island Park, as an ideal site for the study of urban ecology.

The PAL program is receiving tremendous feedback from participating professors and students:

“As a STEM professor for a diverse public university, I am excited and encouraged by the unparalleled opportunities for urban studies that the PAL program can provide to our students. RIPA’s support for project development and implementation are indispensable resources for conducting local research in the city.” - José D. Anadón, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, Queens College, CUNY

“Having worked with RIPA’s team collecting data on Randall’s Island for several years now, we’ve found their support to be invaluable in ensuring regular collection of samples, coordinating research, and providing access to the unique restored habitats found at the Park.” - Chester B. Zarnoch, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Natural Science, Baruch College, CUNY

“RIPA’s PAL initiative has been an asset to my students. They have provided materials, access, and guidance for a range of research projects, from oyster health to avian research. Their local insight and facilitation have enabled students to explore new possibilities in urban ecology.” - David C. Lahti, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Biology, Queens College, CUNY

“Over many summers, my Urban Ecology students have gained from visiting Randall’s Island Park and learning from the excellent RIPA staff about their research and education programs, and their long-term planning process. The Island is ideally situated to serve as a site for research and education for New York City students and researchers. RIPA’s new PAL initiative will build upon their years of successful environmental education programs to facilitate increased opportunities and partnerships for the study of urban ecology.” - Matthew I. Palmer, Ph.D., Senior Lecturer, Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology, Columbia University

RIPA is committed to fostering a better understanding of the ecology of Randall’s Island Park, of New York City, and of our world as a whole.  For nearly 25 years, RIPA has worked to restore, maintain, and develop programming along the Randall’s Island waterfront. The Park’s 20 acres of restored natural areas, ten acres of wetlands and nearly five miles of scenic waterfront offer a unique opportunity for environmental education. RIPA’s Waterfront Stewardship Program was created to take advantage of this resource and offers free hands-on STEM education to children of various grade levels. The PAL initiative is an exciting expansion, geared toward connecting local students, researchers and citizen scientists with Randall’s Island Park – an ideal site for the study of urban ecology.  For more information, or to participate in PAL, please visit, https://randallsisland.org/things-to-see-do/park-as-lab/.

About the Randall’s Island Park Alliance

The Randall’s Island Park Alliance (RIPA), founded in 1992, is a public-private partnership with the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation.  Celebrating 25 years as the dedicated steward of Randall’s Island Park, the Alliance works with the City and local communities to sustain, maintain, develop and program the Island to sup­port the wellbeing of all New Yorkers. The Park offers miles of waterfront pathways, 20 acres of natural areas and wetlands, an urban farm, a track and field stadium, a golf center, a 20-court tennis center and dozens of new playing fields, as well as the Harlem River Event Site.

Media Contacts for RIPA:

Jennifer Wainwright
Randall’s Island Park Alliance

Melissa Sheer
Kent Place Communications

Source: Randall's Island Park Alliance