Floral Park’s Christine Kozak capturing beauty of Centennial Gardens with yearly calendar

Floral Park’s Christine Kozak capturing beauty of Centennial Gardens with yearly calendar
A photo from the 2024 Centennial Gardens calendar. (Photo courtesy of Christine Kozak Photography)

For years, Floral Park’s Christine Kozak has spent time at Centennial Gardens, taking pictures and exploring the village’s hidden gem. 

The photographer, who has been taking pictures her whole life, has put together a 12-month calendar over the last few years with the shots she’s taken and capturing every bit of the 12-acre parcel of land. 

The project is part of a fundraiser for the Floral Park Conservation Society, a nonprofit organization of volunteers that provides services to the area, that receives all of the proceeds. 

“I thought of how would I be able to give back,” Kozak, who has lived in the village for 16 years, said in an interview with Blank Slate Media. “There’s so many volunteers that work at the gardens to keep it beautiful and I wanted to do something for them.”

Kozak estimates that about $1,000 has been given to the organization each year that she’s been putting together the calendars, which are available for 2024 in a limited supply online on her website

The land where the garden is located served Floral Park residents for over 70 years as a storm basin before residents recommended making it a recreational area incorporating the trees and birds already in place, according to the village.

After a few years of negotiations, the village converted a portion of the basin into a bird sanctuary and special planting area.

The birds that can be found in the gardens include robins, cardinals, mockingbirds and many more.

Kozak said when she first did calendars before shooting the gardens it mainly incorporated birds but for this project has since included different parts and scenery of the gardens. An early blooming crocus flower, with its purple petals and yellow stamen, appears for the month of March. 

In October, the calendar features five pictures of the Fairie Forest Festival, a fundraising event that includes a “treasure hunt” for visitors who need to find 12 fairie stations scattered through tiny villages across the gardens.

“I try to go as many times throughout the year and take pictures of what I find interesting,” Kozak said. “Then afterward is the process of a final cut and deciding which ones to use.”

The fundraising efforts have been rewarding for both Kozak and the conservation society, who she said appreciates the calendars and the proceeds that come from them.

“They are very supportive of the calendar and I love being able to help them,” Kozak said.

2024 Centennial Gardens calendars can be found online at www.christinekozak.com or by clicking this link. More information about the gardens can be found on Facebook at “Floral Park Centennial Gardens.”

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