Archives for posts with tag: Gowanus Canal

For one day, we brought the Gowanus Canal to the middle of Park Slope.  On Saturday, May 21, GCC held the second annual EXPO Gowanus, a free, outdoor event where 350 community members learned in depth about problems facing the Gowanus Canal and how everyone can help to improve water quality and access to waterfront public space.

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We were happy to see and talk to hundreds of Park Slope residents at EXPO Gowanus. The upland neighborhoods of Park Slope, Carroll Gardens and Prospect Heights all make up the Gowanus Watershed. Each year about 377 million gallons of polluted water end up in the Canal from street runoff and raw sewage from 120,000 Watershed residents when the combined sewer system overflows during rain storms. Pollutants from Combined Sewage Overflow (CSOs) hurt water quality and biodiversity and continue to be a nuisance to the neighborhood.

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At EXPO Gowanus, visitors learned in depth about why CSOs are a problem and the many ways we can all help reduce the volume of polluted water that enters the Canal every year.

Visitors of all ages flowed through 20 interactive stations and activities exploring the Gowanus Canal, Edge and Watershed.  Each station highlighted exciting projects that are underway by volunteers, designers, schools, organizations and public agencies.

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The newest generation of Gowanus student scientists reported on their investigations into Canal water and soil quality and proposed their ideas for a cleaner Canal and waterfront, which included impressive physical models of proposed green infrastructure and public space.

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Our bioswale volunteers-in-training explained how public dollars are being invested in NYC Green Infrastructure, including thousands of bioswales across the city that will mitigate sewage overflow in the Gowanus Canal and other polluted waterbodies.

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Visitors collaged waterfront designs for Gowanus Greenscape, an emerging master plan for parks and public spaces that will center on the Canal.

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Additionally GCC led volunteers from National Grid and neighbors who deployed across the adjacent Washington Park and weeded, mulched and re-planted several areas in need of stewardship.

Don’t miss next year’s EXPO!

2016 Exhibitors: ArtBuilt; ArtLab Gowanus; Balmori Associates; Climate Urban Systems Partnership (CUSP); Decades Out; dlandstudio; Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group (CAG); Gowanus Creek Scene Investigation (CSI); GrowNYC; the Open Sewer Atlas; NYC Parks; NYC City Councilmember Brad Lander Participatory Budgeting Committee; NYC Department of Sanitation; Parsons Architecture Department; POOP Project; thread collective; and local schools: PS 32; MS 51; MS 88; MS 839 and Brooklyn Urban Garden School (BUGS);. See the full EXPO program here.

EXPO Gowanus 2016 was developed in partnership with Old Stone House and MS 51 and sponsored by AECOM, National Grid and Con Edison.

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On October 28th, the eve of the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez, DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd, and the Gowanus Canal Conservancy celebrated the 6th Street Green Corridor. Watch the video here!

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(l-r) GCC Board Chair Andy Simons, GCC Board Member Stephen Kline, Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez and DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd marked the occasion with a few words.

The 6th Street Green Corridor is a pilot green infrastructure project in the heart of the Gowanus, marking the first of a network of hundreds of bioswales that the DEP will be constructing in our community. We managed the design and construction of this project, working with EDesign Dynamics LLC, Drexel University and Perfetto Contracting Co.  Funding was generously provided by DEP and the EPA, the latter which was secured by Congresswoman Velázquez.  This green infrastructure network will collect stormwater off of adjacent streets, lessening the impact of combined sewer overflows on the health of the Canal.  The curbside gardens will also enliven our streetscapes with trees, native grasses, flowering perennials and pollinators!

As a pioneer project, the 6th Street Green Corridor features several alternative configurations to test for success.  The project will be monitored for several years with state-of-art equipment to measure and record water volumes captured, pollutants removed and ambient temperature effects.  Drexel University and the GCC will be working together to collect and analyze results, which will provide a set of real-world lessons for the coming wave of green infrastructure design and construction.  The GCC is also developing a maintenance training course for citizen bioswale stewards, who will practice techniques on 6th Street. The lessons learned from this pilot project, as well as the community of stewards developed, will contribute to the success of the thousands of bioswales that the DEP will be constructing across New York City.

We ended the joyous occasion with a tour of all 11 bioswales, led by former GCC Executive Director Hans Hesselein.

To get involved with bioswale stewardship, please contact info@gowanuscanalconservancy.org.

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A small crowd gathered at the bioswales on 6th Street between 3rd and 4th Avenues. (photo credit – Dan Wiley)

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An aerial view of 6th Street between 3rd and 4th Avenues shows how bioswales can fit alongside a busy industrial corridor. (photo credit – Gowanus Low Altitude Mapping)

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As we tested the hydrologic function of the bioswales on 2nd Avenue, a Monarch butterfly feasted on the nectar of Echinacea purpurea. Bioswales provide many benefits for our urban environments, including stormwater capture and pollinator habitat.

At this July Clean & Green at the GCC 20 volunteers came out to Detective Mayrose Park to revitalize the park gardens. Among a variety of flowers donated by the conservancy, volunteers also brought GCC’s own stash of monthly compost to add a nutrient boost the soil to help native flowers to grow at the park.

Plans for the urban garden were drawn up by Leah Wener, a conservancy volunteer with an expertise in gardens and horticulture. One of GCC’s greatest strengths is the amount of volunteers with a variety of specialties that all serve the purpose of GCC to conserve the Gowanus Watershed area in creative ways.

During this Clean & Green, volunteers set out to perform different tasks to implement this new native plant garden at Detective Mayrose Park. From raking and turning soil to incorporate GCC’s nutritious compost, to cleaning up the park and installing plant plugs according to the garden map plans, Mayrose Park turned into a beautiful community green garden space alongside the Prospect Expressway.

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Picking up winter mint flowers from the Salt Lot to bring over to Mayrose Park.

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Mayrose installation plan.

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Weeding out old plants and trash to turn compost and install native flowers.

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Volunteers installing plugs.

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Young volunteers helping with the garden project.

CitiBank’s #CitiVolunteers joined us on June 7, 2014 for some garden and tree stewarding! After Executive Director Hans Hesselein led the volunteers on a tour of the Canal from the Whole Foods Market, they arrived at the Salt Lot to be divided into groups by our awesome volunteer coordinators.

While a small group helped sift compost and propagate seeds at the Salt Lot, others headed out into the neighborhood to prune the street trees along Second Avenue. The rest of the volunteers cleaned up, weeded and mulched the garden by the Whole Foods Market on 3rd Street. Being on a main thoroughfare through the neighborhood, the garden picks up its fair share of trash, but the plants are blooming! Cleaning up the garden allowed for three new species to be planted and watered by the CitiBank volunteers.

The day concluded like most Clean & Green days — volunteers were treated to hot dogs, hamburgers, veggie burgers provided by Whole Foods Markets and shared a few drinks, especially some beers, courtesy of our sponsor, Brooklyn Brewery.

Thanks for your service, #CitiVolunteers! We hope you had a great time discovering the Gowanus neighborhood on that beautiful Saturday morning.

The day began with a tour of the Canal starting at the Whole Foods Market Promenade.

The day began with a tour of the Canal starting at the Whole Foods Market Promenade.

Propagating plants at the Salt Lot.

Propagating plants at the Salt Lot.

 

The trees along Second Avenue and its side-streets got a lot of love on this hot, sunny day!

The trees along Second Avenue and its side-streets got a lot of love on this hot, sunny day!

3rd Street Garden Crew!

Smile for the camera, 3rd Street Garden Crew!

The Conservancy’s Clean & Green Program is supported by the following sponsors:

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May 17 marked the installation of our Wildflower Corridor on 9th Street! After a long, humid and wet week in Brooklyn, the sun came out on Saturday accompanied by a light breeze — perfect weather for a volunteer day. Not only were the 24 wildflower planters installed, but volunteers also participated in tree stewardship activities along 8th and 9th Street and Milo’s Garden in Carroll Park.

You can download a plant care guide with names and pictures of the wildflowers used in the corridor here. (PDF, 2.4 MB)

You can also download a map of the wildflower corridor here. (PDF, 241 KB)

Executive Director Hans Hesselein explains the work day to volunteers.

Executive Director Hans Hesselein explains the work day to volunteers.

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American Legion Post 1636 graciously allowed us to set up our home base next to their building on 193 9th Street. The central location of the post also made for a great place to treat our volunteers to a grilling session after the work day.

Volunteers eat some burgers and hot dogs fresh off the grill after a long day of work.

Volunteers eat some burgers and hot dogs fresh off the grill after a long day of work.

Installed and watered!

Installed and watered!

Over a hundred volunteers and volunteer coordinators participated not only in the installation, but the design and fabrication of the Wildflower Corridor project since it was first proposed in February. We would like to thank everyone who participated in this project from its conception through its realization.

Special thanks to our organizers:
Andrea Parker, GCC Board
Sarah Snow, GCC Staff
Alexandria Donati, GCC Volunteer Coordinator
Zenobia Meckley, Future Green Studio
Cecil Howell, Future Green Studio
David Seiter, Future Green Studio
Marielle Anzelone, NYC Wildflower Week

We would also like to thank our sponsors for the support and materials they provided and donated:

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The Conservancy celebrated this year’s Earth Day (April 22) with National Grid! 40 employee volunteers spent a few hours composting, caring for street trees along 2nd Avenue, and stewarding the guerrilla garden by the new Whole Foods Market on 3rd Street and 3rd Avenue.

Let these photos tell the rest of the story!

The Salt Lot underwent a little decorating to set a stage for the morning's speeches.

The Salt Lot underwent a little decorating to set a stage for the morning’s speeches.

L-R: Conservancy Executive Director Hans Hesselein, D39 Councilmember Brad Lander, Congresswoman Nydia Velasquez, Conservancy Board Chairman Andy Simons, National Grid President Rudy Wynter

L-R: Conservancy Executive Director Hans Hesselein, D39 Councilmember Brad Lander, Congresswoman Nydia Velasquez, Conservancy Board Chairman Andy Simons, National Grid President Rudy Wynter

Clockwise from upper-left: Director Hesselein, President Wynter, Congresswoman Velasquez and Councilmember Lander  delivered opening speeches introducing the Canal, praising the two organizations' 6 year partnership, lauding the volunteers for their service, and emphasizing the push for more environmental education.

Clockwise from upper-left: Director Hesselein, President Wynter, Congresswoman Velasquez and Councilmember Lander delivered opening speeches introducing the Canal, praising the two organizations’ 6 year partnership, lauding the volunteers for their service, and emphasizing the push for increaesd environmental education.

National Grid employee volunteers were briefed on safety before breaking out into groups.

National Grid employee volunteers were briefed on safety before breaking out into groups.

Director of Education Programs Christine Petro assists a volunteer by the soil and compost sifting area.

Director of Education Programs Christine Petro assists a volunteer by the soil and compost sifting area.

Mr. Wynter lending a hand in turning the compost windrow.

Mr. Wynter lending a hand in turning the compost windrow.

Shoveling compost for the nursery and windrow.

Gathering compost to be distributed to tree beds and the 3rd Street Garden.

Sifting out fine soil and compost for use in our wildflower planters!

Sifting out fine soil and compost for use in our wildflower planters!

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Adding compost to tree beds to treat the soil and cultivate tree growth for the new spring season.

Adding compost to tree beds to treat the soil and cultivate tree growth for the new spring season.

Smile, everyone!

Smile, everyone!

Photos by Jason Diaz.

Want to see pictures from this event and more? Check out our Flickr, follow us on Twitter, and Like us on Facebook!

Worms live in soil. What else do they do? As twenty-three fourth grade students learned on April 9, they poop out compost!

Students from the Young Scholars’ Academy for Discovery and Exploration (PS636) didn’t just learn about worm poop on this windy spring day. They played with it! After Director of Education Programs Christine Petro gave a brief history of the Gowanus Canal, the energetic 9-year-olds incorporated food scraps into a compost windrow, sifted compost, and cared for nursery plants. In-between all of the work was playtime with the hundreds of worms buried under our compost piles.

“I found a worm!” one student shouted. As two classmates leaned over to look, two others passed by with a wheelbarrow of fresh mulch to be delivered to the nursery. After a few seconds, the worm wrangler chucked his new friend into a compost pile and continued to build the compost windrow.

Worms weren’t just something to ogle at for these energetic kids. “Worms poop out compost,” a student recanted while shoveling mulch. “It’s good for the plants.” Worms, compost and the outdoors aren’t just the stuff of after-school playground games. As the Young Scholars experienced, the foundations of environmental science can be taken from something as simple as a natural love for things that live in the dirt.

Program Manager Natasia Sidarta teaches a lesson on composting.

Program Manager Natasia Sidarta gives a lesson on composting and windrow turning. Photo provided by One To World

Collecting mulch to plant in the nursery.

Collecting mulch to plant in the nursery. Photo provided by One To World

Posing in front of the sifting table!

Posing in front of the sifting table!

To find out more about the program that brought PS636 and the Conservancy together, please visit One To World’s website.

For more information on School Clean & Greens and the Conservancy’s education programs, check out our Education page.

 

 

It was an amazing night.

After two and a half months of intensive planning, collecting $30,000 in sponsorships, and selling out to a crowd of over 300 people, AntiFreeze 2014 proved to be the Conservancy’s most successful winter fundraiser to date. With live performances by Aabaraki and Trixie Whitley, a wealth of silent auction items, food catered by Lot 2, Brooklyn Brine Co. and Whole Foods, and beer lovingly provided by Brooklyn Brewery, how could it have gone any differently?

True to the fundraiser’s new name, the midday snow shower did not deter guests from the corner of Bond St. and Degraw, where Ray Smith Studio opened its doors to an early VIP reception at 6 PM. Among these early guests included community leaders such as Borough President Eric Adams and Craig Hammerman, district manager of Brooklyn Community Board 6, as well as Comptroller Scott Stringer and Congresswoman Nydia Velasquez. At 7 PM, AntiFreeze officially opened its doors, and guests flooded in through the main door to escape the snowfall that lasted into the evening and found refuge in the relative warmth of the studio provided by a few powerful heaters reminiscent of jet engines.

Conservancy Executive Director Hans Hesselein kicked off the party with a great speech.

Hans joined by Borough President Adams, GCC Board Chairman Andrew Simons, and GCC Board Member Ted Wolff, Esq.

Guests followed up their dinner with the smooth sounds of Aabaraki, and as the party moved into the night, Trixie Whitley shared her strong voice and mellow melodies with a very enthusiastic crowd. Twenty-five of our donated silent auction items found homes at the end of the night, including Miska Draskoczy’s Egret, a piece displayed on the New Yorker!

As with many of the Conservancy’s major events, the major force behind the party was its volunteers. Twenty-six volunteers donated their Saturday nights to ensure that AntiFreeze ran smoothly, from set-up to check-in, collecting Silent Auction prizes, and selling ever-popular beer tickets. The Conservancy would like to extend its thanks to all of our volunteers – the show couldn’t have gone on without you!

There’s not much more we can say about this party unless you were there, and if you were there, you know exactly how it all went. For those that weren’t able to make it, let these pictures tell the rest of the story!

Setting up the sound.

Trixie’s sound check.

Volunteers help set up.

Mannequin strikes a pose wearing a jacket donated to our silent auction by Patagonia.

A beautiful painting of a street tree donated by Jessica Dalrymple is hung for display next to a series of photos by Patrick Schnell. All four auction prizes found homes that night.

Before…

…and after.

Aabaraki works the crowd!

Enjoying that Brooklyn Brew!

Board Chair Andrew Simons chats with a crowd.

Bunch of cool people.

Trixie lights up the stage. It’s a black and white photo, but we assure you that she did indeed light it up.

It was as fun as the pictures show, and more. If you couldn’t make it this year, look forward to next year’s fourth annual winter fundraiser! Everything the Conservancy does will only get better from here.

AntiFreeze 2014 was sponsored by:

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New York City’s 2014 began with a great snowstorm. The Conservancy’s 2014, however, began under a warm winter sun that welcomed volunteers, members and staff back to the Salt Lot for the first time since December 22’s Composting Gowanus event. The warmth presided over what became a productive day of service centered around the collection and mulching of discarded Christmas trees around the watershed – Mulchfest!

With the assistance of our sponsors Arborpolitan and Urban Arborists, volunteers collected 460 trees and turned it into mulch. Meanwhile, our younger volunteers worked to sift .5 cubic yards of compost, while our tree stewards pruned 4 street trees and returned 100 lbs of pruned material back to the Salt Lot.

After the majority of our 26 volunteers assisted in turning our November and December windrows, the newly harvested mulch was spread around the compost area and on top of our windrows. Volunteers left the Salt Lot not with the all-too familiar smell of compost, but with the fresh piney smell of Christmas morning in their noses.

On this sunny day, hundreds of discarded trees helped breathe back life into the Salt Lot after the snowstorm that delayed Mulchfest for one week. January 12 was the perfect day  to beautify the Salt Lot just before the chilling polar vortex and its snowstorms descended upon Gowanus for the rest of the month.

Arborpolitan unloads the trees they collected.

Volunteer Committee Compost Co-Chair John Craver and Director of Education Programs Christine Petro biked around the neighborhood collecting trees!

John diligently binding the trees together so they don’t roll off the wagons.

Volunteers loaded up collected trees onto Urban Arborists’ truck…

…where they were ferried to the far end of the Salt Lot to be turned into mulch.

The fresh mulch was brought back to the main work area, where it was spread over the deep, muddy puddles formed after the snowstorm that kicked off the year.

Busy at work!

Volunteer Markley Boyer walks across the freshly placed green mulch.

Interested in volunteering at the Salt Lot before Clean & Green kicks off in March? E-mail volunteer@gowanuscanalconservancy.org and ask for opportunities such as weekly windrow turns!

Over 60 volunteers joined the Conservancy during our Clean & Green on November 16. Among the volunteers that joined us on this unexpectedly bright and sunny day were groups from Con-Edison, St. John’s University, and a group of Georgia Tech alumni from the New York/New Jersey area. During this year’s final Clean & Green, volunteers assisted in garden stewardship, street tree stewardship, and windrow turning.

Garden Stewardship

The bulk of our volunteers participated in assisting with the stewardship of our gardens on 2nd Ave., Huntington Street, 3rd Ave., and Degraw East.  A total of over 300 seeds were propagated into 1-gallon containers for the Salt Lot nursery, and 20 perennials and shrubs were installed in the 2nd Ave. Gardens. A total of nearly 4,000 square feet of green space was stewarded by our volunteers!

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Street Tree Stewardship

Bob Lesko led a small team of volunteers to cut and prune 35 trees on 9th Street as part of our Street Tree Stewardship program.

It is notable that under the guidance of Bob, over 100 street trees were managed over the course of the month of November! Thank you, Bob!

Windrow Turning

Finally, a portion of the volunteers helped to turn the September windrow into a curing pile, where it will rest in the back of the lot for two weeks. Moving the September windrow cleared space for the November windrow to be built the next day.

In terms of composting, 350 lbs of organic materials were collected, 700 lbs of compost was distributed, and 250 lbs of trash were collected.

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At the end of the day, all volunteers were treated to some great grilled burgers and hot dogs, courtesy of our friends at Whole Foods. November’s Clean & Green ended up being an extremely productive way to end the year! From the bottom of our hearts, we would like thank our volunteers for their extraordinary service this day. To those seeking further volunteer opportunities this year, there’s one more Composting event on December 22nd – e-mail us for more details and availability. But for those that won’t be able to make it, whether you’ve become interested through this post or just wish to come back – we hope to see you in March at our first Clean & Green in 2014!

Happy Holidays!