Hana Turner is our April 2014 Friend of the Month. Although, Hana is a relatively new volunteer with the Friends she has dedicated many hours to volunteering with us over the last year. Hana is an avid park user who lives in the community and is a senior at Fieldston High School. Hana has volunteered out in the park and in our office helping us out whenever her busy schedule allows. We are grateful for the time she has donated to the Friends.
How and when did you get involved with the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park?
Because of the business of junior year, I never got around to starting my mandatory community service until the end of second semester. I had no idea where to focus my core hours, so when the advisors at the community service office recommended the Friends, I was on board. I’ve always lived by Van Cortlandt Park and the fact that I was able to work somewhere I was very familiar with was an exciting idea. My first assignment was the summer garden crew, which I was able to smoothly fit into and enjoy.
What is your favorite place in the Park?
The park is such an expansive and amazing place, so there are a lot of places to choose from. Ultimately however, I would say that I especially like the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail, which runs parallel to the bike path and highway. This path is carefully tucked away in the woods and overlaps with roads and parking lots only a couple of times, so it’s very peaceful and beautiful (especially in the warm seasons). It’s a great loop to run on if you feel the need to get away from the stress of life a little, and because it’s close to 10 miles in total, it’s a great training course!
What is your favorite memory of the Park or event you have participated in?
I would have to say my favorite memory in the park would have to be the time when I got 1st in my freshman cross country race. This particular race was very memorable to me because although it was a girls only heat, a guy who came late to the meet participated anyways. Judging by his composure and expression, I think that he thought that he could easily outrun us because of the fact that he was a guy, but I outran him before we even got to the cow path. It was a great moment for the freshman me.
Parks is currently working on a Master Plan for the Park, what improvements would you like to see in Van Cortlandt Park in the next 20 years?
I would like to see better-maintained trails. The back hill trails (the main race trails) are generally well maintained for obvious reasons, but the sub trails that weave around the main one are run down and hazardous. Some places even have poison ivy close to the trail, while others have really uneven footing, which is dangerous for runners who don’t pay close attention to their footing. The park could also benefit from better signage as well, as it’s easy to get lost or overwhelmed by the expanse land.