Parks Department Introduces Pearl
On Saturday, Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe introduced the newest member of New York’s Greenest, Pearl the Squirrel, the first official mascot of the Parks Department, at the third annual Street Games in Thomas Jefferson Park.
“I am very delighted to introduce my good friend and brand new Parkie, Pearl the Squirrel,” said Benepe. “Pearl will help Parks spread the word to New Yorkers – especially the kids – about the many opportunities we offer to get fit, dig in and go green. I am sure that she will make a great addition to our tree-loving Parks family.”
Pearl was born in the Van Cortlandt Park Nature Preserve. She is an Urban Park Ranger by day, and enjoys riding her bike throughout the city parks, bird-watching and volunteering in her spare time.
The search for a Parks mascot began in December, 2008. From astronauts to owls, geese to grass, more than 150 submissions were received from throughout the country via the Parks website. Afterschool students also participated by submitting their ideas to the search.
On Tuesday, March 17, 2009, a group of students from the Tony Dapolito Recreation Center afterschool program helped the Parks Department choose their mascot. The afterschool students viewed the top mascot submissions and gave their suggestions directly to Benepe, who chaired a panel to make the final decision. The afterschool students chose Pearl as their #1 pick.
Adam Koford, Pearl’s creator, is an improbably prolific cartoonist who has been involved in several projects, including “700 Hoboes” and “Conan vs. Bear.” He has a webcomic entitled the Laugh-Out-Loud Cats, a collection of which is available from Abrams ComicArts.; Koford works for Disney Interactive in Salt Lake City, Utah and is a regular contributor to Drawn.ca. To learn more about Pearl, visit her on the Parks website at www.nyc.gov/parks keyword: Mascot.