At Prospect Park, Exchange Volunteer Time for Studio Time

In Prospect Park's new Beat Cave, folks under 26 can exchange volunteer hours for studio time.

Aspiring recording artists take note: soon you will be able to trade in time spent volunteering in Prospect Park for time in a professional recording studio.

The Beat Cave, which will be located in the park’s Audubon Center, is slated to open in September, allowing young folks ages 15 to 26 to score three hours of recording studio time for every eight hours spent volunteering in the park.

“We want to engage a diverse community n the outdoors, and get a new audience into the park,” said Jennifer Watt, who will oversee the Beat Cave for Prospect Park as the park’s Special Projects Manager.

“Ages 26 and under is an age we don’t really see volunteering in the park. It’s a great age range for kids to get outside and start experiencing nature in a visceral sort of way.”

Music hopefuls can rack up as many hours in the studio as they like, and can start accruing hours now for when the studio opens in the fall. Pretty much any one of the many volunteer opportunities in the park can count towards studio time.

Thanks to a $100,000 grant to four Audubon Centers, including Prospect Park, from The REI Foundation, the studio is being constructed with state-of-the-art recording equipment. The park will collaborate with an audio engineering school in the city, and hire a Conservation Audio Engineering Intern to oversee the recording studio, and help young musicians lay down their tracks.

The Audubon Center will also use the studio to produce Oral Nature Journals, and conservation podcasts.

Given the high price tag of renting recording studio space in New York—often up to $1000 per day—the park expects that the program’s popularity will “spread like wild fire.”

“The need is so great to both get young people outdoors and have this kind of artistic exchange,” said Watts.


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