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Group Cares For City's Green Spaces In Annual Spring Cleanup

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Volunteers took to the parks Saturday to spruce them up for summer as part of New York Cares Day. NY1's Bree Driscoll filed the following report.

After watching tragic events unfold in both Boston and Texas this week, volunteering Saturday morning gave Margaux Untracht a sense of relief.

"I just feel really good that after this whole crazy week, that I can do something," she said. "It may not be directly effecting those that were affected this week, but I am helping other people."

Untracht was just one of approximately 4,000 volunteers that worked to clean up 70 parks, gardens and community spaces around the city Saturday.

The cleanup efforts were all part of New York Cares Day Spring.

"Getting New York City back in shape, making the city a more beautiful place for every one of us to live this summer," said Gary Bagley, executive director of New York Cares.

In Riverside Park, volunteers raked, mulched and painted.

"We're going to be hanging basketball hoop nets," said one volunteer. "We're going to be painting this maze, doing these swings."

"It will be nice to get out enjoy the park without having your mind on everything that has happened lately, and just be comfortable," said another volunteer.

On the living roof of the Staten Island Ferry, volunteers weeded and planted.

"We have some college students and just some regular New Yorkers, and some teams from companies and other civic organizations," one volunteer said.

"If it sets up for making another person's day brighter, then why not?" said another.

Organizers said this year's cleanup is especially important and challenging because of the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.

"Tens of thousands of trees are down in the parks still because of Hurricane Sandy, so volunteers are helping clear away all that debris from branches and trees," Bagley said. "Many plants and many areas of the parks along the coast lines were covered with saltwater, and those plants need to be replanted."

For more on the spring clean up and other volunteer opportunities, go to newyorkcares.org.

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