Jon Deveaux is an avid Park user, an educator who brings his students to the Park, a former (and hopefully future) FVCP Board Member, a mentor to our Executive Director, a volunteer, a Hike-a-Thon participant, a supporter, and much more. We consider ourselves very lucky to have him in our corner.
How and when did you get involved with the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park?
My wife joined the board soon after the organization was formed. So in a way we were always involved. I joined the board in the early 2000’s and held several board leadership positions during that time. I have been a teacher for the past 10 years and during that time have brought hundreds of students from my schools to work with Christina, Sara and other staff on restoration projects and nature walks.
What is your favorite place in the Park?
This is an unfair question! How can I have one favorite place in a park as varied, interesting and rewarding as Vannie? I love doing the exercise course around the Parade Ground and being inspired and made happy by the sight of so many people of all ages exercising/playing a remarkable variety of games. I treasure the solitude of walks in the Northwest Forest and love riding my bike home on the Putnam Trail from my school in Yonkers. Then there is the waterfall in the Croton Woods along the John Muir trail- fantastic. Should I go on?
What is your favorite memory of the Park or event you have participated in?
Naturally, I have many. One sweet one is a hike through the park when my daughter was in 1st or 2nd grade. I had been taking her there since she was little so she – a current member of FVCP- felt at home there. We brought her good friend with us who lived in Fieldston but had never been there. As we were walking on the “Under Troll Hill” path (our designation!), an hour into the walk, my daughter’s playmate said “This is so great. Can we come back soon?” He expressed what I and my family and my students have felt so many, many times.
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 agree with last month’s volunteer’s feeling that The Park needs more trail markers to guide and attract hikers and I feel the building of the long promised pedestrian bridge over the Deegan would be a tremendous improvement and boost to hiking in the Park.