COMMUNITY SERVICE: Jean. C. Silva is the president of the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park Conservancy, a civic association that is dedicated in preserving, restoring and maintaining the natural, historic and cultural integrity of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.
BACKGROUND: Silva was born and raised in Brooklyn, and then moved to Queens. After spending most of her time and effort working in Manhattan, Silva decided she should put more time into her own community and got involved with the Conservancy. She has been the president of the organization since November, 2011.
“In 2004, I met Patricia Dolan [while] volunteering at the Queens Community House, and she was the person who got me involved in the Conservancy,” said Silva.
GOALS: In the coming year, Silva plans on preserving and maintaining the natural and cultural virtue of the park, in order to ensure the park’s educational, environmental and recreational benefits for all users.
“We would like to work with the Parks Department in continuing to preserve and maintain the Pat Dolan Trail with our hikes, field trips and bird watching.”
BEST MEMORY: Silva’s fondest memory is watching people’s reaction when entering Willow Lake, a hidden treasure smack in the middle of two major highways, the Van Wyck Expressway and the Grand Central Parkway.
“It’s like a different world, it’s so quiet, soothing, and peaceful, you feel like you’re not even in Queens,” she said.
Silva remembered seeing a variety of different birds migrating south, and even a muskrat while on the Pat Dolan Trail.
“We have a lot of different animals here, and some of them you would never think would be here in Queens. It’s like you’re really in the country.”
INSPIRATION: Silva’s biggest inspiration was working with the Parks Department to get Willow Lake open again. It took 18 years, but the organization was able to do it, and renamed the trail the Pat Dolan Trail in remembrance of the founder, Patricia Dolan, who had been killed in a tragic car accident in November 2011.
BIGGEST CHALLENGE: Silva says Flushing Meadows-Corona Park is underutilized and underfunded and she wants to change that. She also mentioned potential plans to restore the New York State Pavilion and her hopes to bring it back to its glory.
- Star of Queens: Martin Colberg, president, Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association
- Star of Queens: Aida Vernon, president, Briarwood Action Network
- Star of Queens: Fran Goulston, founding member, co-chair, Lindenwood Alliance