A new path forward for career development and park conservancy


JUNE 28, 2021 — Featured in Buffalo Magazine’s July issue.

Quentin Jackson never imagined he’d play a role in beautifying the neighborhood park he jogged through nearly every day growing up on Buffalo’s East Side.

Jackson, 55, could see Martin Luther King Jr. Park as a kid from his father’s house at the corner of Fillmore and North Parade avenues and had always admired its beauty. Back then, his dreams centered on becoming a professional basketball player, but life got in the way. He was recently working on some odd landscaping jobs when a friend told him about the new Landscape Maintenance Technician program, a partnership between the Buffalo Center for Arts and Technology (BCAT) and the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy.

Jackson enrolled in January as one of 11 attendees of the program’s first class—and after 12 weeks of classroom instruction and field training, the conservancy hired him to prune, mow and maintain the same park he spent so much time enjoying as a child. He arrives at 6:30 every morning, a half-hour before everyone else, to beautify the park in the shadow of his father’s old house.

“It’s gratifying for me to keep this going. We have something here that’s nice and beautiful, especially in the inner city,” Jackson said. “I’m a part of that.”

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