Archives for category: Tree Planting
Native and Not Panel pic

Left to right – Katerli Bounds, Uli Lorimer, Kristy King, Leila Mougoui Bakhtiari


On April 28 6:30-8PM, we had our third panel discussion on Native and Not: NYC’s Dynamic Flora as part of our spring theme Living Things in an Urban Environment, where panelists from NYC Parks and Brooklyn Botanic Garden discussed the state of native flora, invasive species management and what we as a community can do to increase floral biodiversity.

Uli Lorimer, Curator of Native Flora from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, brought us beautiful photos alongside sobering news about the declining trend of urban flora in our region.


Native Flora – Arethusa bulbosa


NY Metropolitan Flora Project Native Flora Survey Results


Kristy King, Director of Forest Restoration of NYC Parks, revealed the surprising number of urban forests, salt marshes and other natural landscapes in NYC while revealing NYC Parks goals for forest restoration.

NYC Parks Goals for Forest Restoration

NYC Parks Goals for Forest Restoration

NYC's Surprising Amount of  Natural Areas

NYC’s Surprising Amount of Natural Areas


And Katerli Bounds, Director of Stewardship of NYC Parks, presented us with fantastic ways the NYC community can get involved in stewardship activities through both NYC Parks and the Gowanus Canal Conservancy.  A great upcoming project being TreesCount! 2015 where NYC Parks enlists the help of the NYC community to map and catalogue every tree in NYC.


Trees Count! 2015


Stewardship Opportunities in Forestry, Salt Marshes, Fresh Water Wetland and Bioswales


Then Leila Mougoui Bakhtiari, our very own volunteer coordinator of the Gowanus Canal Conservancy’s Urban Forestry program moderated the discussion, bringing up fascinating questions such as:

At what point is a plant species considered to be invasive?

Can invasive species be used to our benefit?

And what are everyones thoughts on the controversial book Wild Urban Plants by Peter Del Tredici?

To listen to the entire panel discussion click here for our audio player.

The evening ended with the quote “if you build it, they will come”, a great segue into our next panel where we delve into urban pollinators. Join us on May 19 6:30-8PM at Threes Brewing for Beyond the Honeybee: Exploring Critical Pollinators where we expand our idea of pollinators, why they are particularly important in an urban setting and action steps the NYC community can take to support their survival.  We will be joined by Sam Droege, head of the bee inventory and monitoring program at the US Geological Survey (click here to see his beautiful bee species photographs), Howard Ginsberg, entomologist for USGS who studies the impact of invertebrates on natural systems and Tina Harrison, Ph.D. candidate for ecology at Rutgers University who is studying the impact on bee genetic diversity in disturbed sites compared to undisturbed sites. Click here to RSVP.

Follow us on Twitter at @GowanusGreen and on Instagram @gowanuscanalconservancy for GCC news, volunteer events and trivia.


This summer, we’re excited to start a new project geared towards tree enthusiasts: the NY Department of Environmental Conservation awarded the Conservancy a grant to map all tree pits within 2 blocks of the canal. With this information, we hope to expand green space around the canal, one of the most sparsely forested areas in Brooklyn. We also plan to present the information gathered to the public in August.

Gowanus Forestry Study Area:

To gather data, TreeKIT has developed simple site-surveying methods for geolocating street trees. They aim to map all the tree pits in NYC, which will include the data that we gather. Data such as tree pit size, diameter at breast height (DBH), tree identification, and relative health of the tree will help us better understand the scope of the Gowanus urban forest.

, they rock.

To kickstart this project, we hosted a meeting for many of our Mapping Stewards this past Thursday–the Conservancy is lucky to host such an enthusiastic group of folks to lead this venture. We came out of the meeting ready to tackle tree pits with a clipboard and a measuring wheel (as shown below):

Mapping Stewards will get trained as Citizen Pruners, as well as TreeKIT data collection; they’ll then lead volunteers on four Mapping Days.

Keep your eyes peeled for tree mapping action this summer!

If you are interested in volunteering, email Additionally, more information on getting licensed as a Citizen Pruner can be found on the TreesNY website.

On May 26th, the Gowanus Canal Conservancy partnered with the Gowanus Alliance to clean up Ennis Playground, located on 11th Street between 3rd Avenue and 2nd Avenue.

Planting in the playground garden

We planted some new perennials in the playground garden, planted three new street trees along 2nd Avenue between 11th Street and 12th Street, pruned and maintained existing trees in the playground, mapped the area with kites, and removed trash and debris.

A local Citizen Pruner felt inspired to prune a sick Willow Oak

The Gowanus Alliance provided barbeque to our volunteers following the stewardship activities.

Waiting for food after working hard

The Gowanus Alliance also arranged for an exciting performance by Raízes do Brasil Capoeira Brooklyn, a local Capoeira studio located on 8th Street between 3rd Avenue and 2nd Avenue.

Capoeira skills

We wrapped up the day with a plant propagation workshop led by Hans Hesselein and Andrea Parker.

Plant Propagation

A special thank you to the Brooklyn Tech High School’s Red Cross Club and to all the neighborhood residents who came out to clean up Ennis Playground!