Archives for posts with tag: Gowanus

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 May 19 6:30-8PM, our Living Things in an Urban Ecosystem series ended on a high note with Beyond the Honeybee: Exploring Critical Pollinators where we explored the role pollinators play in urban ecosystems and the ways in which individuals and community groups can support their habitats.

Ecologist Howard Ginsberg, Ph.D. from United States Geological Survey first presented a brief survey of native and non-native bee species typically found in NYC.  He found that our city has approximately 50 different species of bumble bees, compared to 100 found in more natural environments which is great news for our urban ecosystem. One fun fact is that bees tend to pollinate on specific seasons because they favor flowers in bloom during that time.  One example is Halictus ligatus, a communal or non-territorial summer bumblebee whose nests are typically found in holes in the ground and their workers are daughters of the queen, unlike honeybees whose workers are typically male.

Summer bee

Halictus ligatus – Summer bee

Our second panelist Tina Harrison, Ph.D. candidate from Rutger’s University Department of Ecology, presented some key ways to support our pollinators here in NYC.

Pesticides used in gardens

Chlorantranilliprole kills less worker bumble bees in a 2013 study

Gardeners and horticulturists should be mindful of the primary chemical used in the pesticide. For example, a study by Larson, Redmond and Potter showed that pesticides containing chlorantraniliprole kills only a small amount of worker bees, especially compared to clothianidin. So be sure to read those labels!

Effects of pesticides on bumble bee populations

Effects of pesticides on bumble bee populations

And finally, biologist Sam Droege, also from USGS, focused his presentation on the challenges of studying bumble bee populations.  He not only highlighted his work on cataloguing bee species (view the beautiful photography here), he spoke on the challenges scientists face when studying bees. One fascinating example was the attempt to study the Bombus bimaculatus, a bee species that, in natural settings, kicks out and takes over nests built by chickadee birds.  After scientists recreated these nests to attract this bee species, they were unable to replicate this occurrence in a controlled setting. Clearly there is more to be studied on attractive bee habitats, which, once successful, would lead to more effective methods of attracting and keeping them within our city.

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We then segued into the panel discussion, moderated by landscape architect Hans Hesselein, where we were truly able to unpack the issue of bee colony collapse (which actually does not effect bumblebees), action steps we can take to support their survival, and the potential for future on bee habitats studies .  Listen here for the entire discussion.

We at the Gowanus Canal Conservancy send our heartfelt thanks to our venue sponsor Threes Brewing for generously offering their event space, our panelists, volunteer coordinators and most of all our audience for being part of such a vibrant season.  Stay tuned for the fall schedule!

Join us on our next Clean & Green July 18 11AM-3PM by signing up at volunteer@gowanuscanalconservancy.org where volunteers will participate in the Tree Census and other stewardship activities.

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

On March 24 6:30PM we kicked off the second lecture of our 4-part Urban Ecology Lecture Series series where we continue to unpack the theme Living Things in an Urban Environment, with our first panel discussion, Oysters: Limits and Possibilities.

Our panelists included, Chester Zarnoch, Assistant Professor of Environmental Science at Baruch College presented his current research on the potential effects of oyster reef restoration on nitrogen cycling, an overabundant nutrient that impacts water quality, and its implications on our waterway systems.

Assistant Professor of Environmental Science at Baruch College, C.U.N.Y.

Assistant Professor of Environmental Science at Baruch College, C.U.N.Y.

Marit Larson, Director of Wetland and Riparian Restoration of NYC Parks, spoke on salt marsh and shoreline restoration projects where she highlighted, the Oyster Reef Restoration Program , a partnership with NY-NJ Baykeepers to install oyster reefs and stocks as an oyster larvae attachment source.

Director of Wetland and Riparian Restoration at NYC Parks

Director of Wetland and Riparian Restoration at NYC Parks

Pete Malinowski, Director of the Billion Oyster Project, presented the mission of Billion Oyster Project, their partnership with the New York Harbor School, and the impact made not only on water quality but on the hundreds of thousands of student volunteers who otherwise would not have been exposed to our waterways, potential career opportunities and most of all the ecology of New York Harbor.

Director of Billion Oyster Project

Director of Billion Oyster Project

The panel discussion, moderated by Gena Wirth, our very own GCC Volunteer Coordinator and landscape designer, urban planner and horticulturalist at SCAPE Landscape Architecture.

Landscape architect, horticulturist and volunteer coordinator of the Gowanus Canal Conservancy

Moderator for the Oyster: Limits and Possibilities panel discussion

By opening the discussion on how the history of oysters in NYC influenced the panelists, each touched on the pride of being a native or transplant New Yorker, the desire to reach its ecological potential and the need to create healthier spaces for our community, a theme carried throughout the entire evening. Click here to listen.

It was a dynamic, thought-provoking evening, beers and all and we could not have done it without our venue sponsor Threes Brewing who generously provides their event space for our lectures.

If you are now all fired up about all things ecology and want to put your passion into action, here is a list of resources to help you get started as a volunteer:

www.gowanuscanalconservancy.org

www.billionoysterproject.org

www.nycgovparks.org/opportunities/volunteer

Continue the conversation and join us on:

April 28, 6:30-8PM for Native and Not: NYC’s Dynamic Flora, a conversation moderated by Leila Mougoui Bakhtiari of NYC Parks. We will unravel native and invasive urban plants, stewardship practices, and their ecological implications.

May 18, 6:30-8PM for Beyond the Honeybee: Exploring Critical Pollinators, a conversation moderated by Hans Hesselein of Apiary Studio.  We will discover the critical role insects play in urban ecology and the ways we can support their survival.

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

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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Last summer, our Citizen Pruners conducted an inventory of over a thousand trees within two blocks of the Gowanus Canal. Over the past few months, our partners at TreeKIT organized the data collected to map these trees, and we’d like to share their work with everyone.

Street Tree Species mapped (click to enlarge):

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Screenshots of Tree Inventory on www.treekit.org/map (click to enlarge):

a) North: In this image we see what the inventory looks like around the northern portion of the Canal. Note that there are many street trees on lower-density residential streets -- but none on a public housing super-block nearby.

a) North: In this image we see what the inventory looks like around the northern portion of the Canal. Note that there are many street trees on lower-density residential streets — but none on a public housing super-block nearby.

b) Southwest: In this image we see what the inventory looks like around the Southwestern portion of the Canal. We were pleased to find so many trees growing in the predominately residential portion of this area. Note that many residential blocks do not have street trees.

b) Southwest: In this image we see what the inventory looks like around the Southwestern portion of the Canal. We were pleased to find so many trees growing in the predominately residential portion of this area. Note that many residential blocks do not have street trees.

c) Southeast: In this image, we see what the inventory looks like around the Southeastern portion of the Canal. As in the southwest, we found many trees growing on residential blocks, but few in the industrial areas.

c) Southeast: In this image, we see what the inventory looks like around the Southeastern portion of the Canal. As in the southwest, we found many trees growing on residential blocks, but few in the industrial areas.

Complete Tree inventory.

Complete Tree inventory.

To download the Excel file of our Tree Inventory, please click here:
T304833 Gowanus Tree Inventory with Key and LatLong_150527.

This project was funded by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Environmental Protection Fund.

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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Restoring the environment in a post-industrial landscape involves finding ways to attract animals and insects to the neighborhood. In other words, real estate for the birds and the bees. While ground for new residential complexes on the Canal, we’ve been busy with smaller residential complexes of our own: Introducing the Wildflower Corridor!

A row of planters.

A row of Wildflower planters.

The Wildflower Corridor project aims to install wildflowers down 9th Street from 2nd Avenue to Prospect Park. May 17 will see the installation of 24 planters between 2nd and 5th Avenue. The plants were adopted by residents and businesses who are volunteering their services to keep the plants alive and healthy.

The Salt Lot has been really busy lately.

The Salt Lot has been really busy lately.

During April’s Clean & Greens on the 12th, 13th and 27th, volunteers put together the 24 wildflower planters with the help of Future Green Studio. Plants and materials were donated by The Home Depot, North Creek Nurseries, Greenbelt Native Plant Center, Quadrozzi Enterprises, Build it Green!NYC, and Scout + Gather.

Assembly line!

Assembly line!

Volunteers install cladding on a planter.

Volunteers install cladding on a planter.

The wildflowers will hang out and grow in our nursery until May 17.

The wildflowers will hang out at the Salt Lot nursery until May 17.

The planters are looking great, and we can’t wait to finally install them in a few weeks. We’ll even be celebrating after the event with a block party on 8th Street! We hope to see everyone there. Save the date – May 17!

If you’re interested in signing up for a Clean & Green event, our schedule for 2014 is posted up on our website.
As always, check our events page for more goings on at the Conservancy!

[Photos by Jason Diaz]

Thanks again to the Wildflower Corridor’s fantastic sponsors for helping us make this project a reality:

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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!

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!