The Prospect Park Litter Mob is a small group of volunteers that meets every two weeks to clean up and care for the woods on the eastern edge of Prospect Park, known as the Midwood. It is the last forest in Brooklyn, where some of the trees predate Olmsted's creation of the park.

Starting in early May 2011 we have met every two weeks to pick up trash and to perform woodland restoration. This includes including planting perennials, erecting temporary fences across informal paths to protect the compacted forest floor from trampling, pruning, and clearing fallen limbs.

This is a special place. It should be treated with the respect it deserves, both by the city whose chronic underfunding contributes to its deterioration, and by the people who use the woods, mostly  for sex, without giving a thought to the environment that their litter and behaviour degrades.

While we are making progress, I do not see volunteering as a solution to this complex problem.

On the one hand, littering is a symptom of complex social and institutional problems: apathy, neglect, poor morale, disenfranchisement, ignorance.

On the other hand, it is just bad behaviour.

I see three main issues:

1. The city has abdicated responsibility for our public parks. Our tax dollars should be funding the basic clean up and care of our green spaces. The city should allocate more funds to the stewards of our parks, instead of cutting back.

2. The park's stewards need to develop and maintain a consistent presence in these woods.

3. The users of the woods create the litter. Take out what you bring in.

There are many volunteers in Prospect Park, and many targeted areas. We are just one small group.

Prospect Park is in trouble, and by writing about what we do, and photographing the best and worst it has to offer, I hope to raise awareness of the serious deterioration from which I believe it suffers.