Archives for posts with tag: Stewardship
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.


Over 60 volunteers joined us this weekend for our monthly volunteer day; we had guests from all over the city, tri-state area, and even from Massachusetts! This Clean & Green was especially exciting for the Conservancy as we hosted a special event: a community mural installation! In addition to the mural, volunteers also helped the Conservancy do some tree stewardship and tree mapping.

A big thanks goes out to Tonci Antunovic for his amazing photos (on our Flickr and on this blog post)! Though the day was packed with a lot of activities, it was a huge success due to the time and effort given by volunteer groups from NYCares, Whole Foods, and everyone else who spent their Saturday with us!

Tree Stewardship and Mapping
With our volunteers, we were able to clean and weed 15 trees, mulch 8 tree beds, and pull about 260 pounds of weeds and unwanted species. This goes a long way in helping keep our trees healthy!

Our Mapping Stewards finished up the southwest and southeast portions of the Forestry Study Area. We are currently 95% finished mapping, thanks to the hard work of all of our tree mappers! Look out for more details regarding when the TreeKIT map will be online for public viewing.

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Mural Installation
The Conservancy installed a mural depicting fruits and vegetables along Huntington Street.  It was designed by a volunteer artist, Ruth Hofheimer, and is meant to be a humorous contrast to its location within such an industrial neighborhood and alongside the Canal. A big thanks goes out to Build It Green!NYC for donating 20 gallons of exterior primer, Home Depot for contributing brushes, rollers, trays and 10 gallons of exterior paint, and to all those who made financial contributions to the project.  Here are some photos taken throughout the day:IMG_4630IMG_4828IMG_4821 (1)IMG_4735IMG_4723 (1)IMG_4739
And a shot of the finished product! 20130727_155149
There are plenty of pictures, so please check them out on our Flickr!
Also, don’t forget to take a look at these awesome articles about the mural from NY1 and The Brooklyn Paper!

After a long summer day, there’s nothing better than a good grill sesh, with food graciously given to us by Whole Foods. Thanks again to everyone who came on Saturday and we hope to see you at our next Clean & Green in August!

Yesterday, the Conservancy welcomed about 80 volunteers to the Salt Lot for our monthly Clean & Green event, our most yet! Volunteers participated in compost windrow building, tree mapping, tree stewardship, and a green wall workshop. We also had a group of volunteers do some stewardship work with the Gowanus Alliance at Ennis Park. There were many activities going on so thank you to our volunteers from NYCares, Whole Foods and the community for all your help!

With about 7500 lbs of food scraps, we created our June Compost Windrow! Here’s some pictures of our volunteers working hard adding layers and sculpting our new pile.

We also sifted around a cubic yard of compost with a compost sifter from DB Co-op, an organization of engineers, designers, architects, and more who create human powered machines. When someone pedals the bike, the attached mesh drum turns and sifts the compost. Who doesn’t love the idea of working out while composting? Here’s one of our enthusiastic volunteers pedaling away:
Tree Stewardship
While we did some stewardship and mapping around the Salt Lot, we also sent volunteers over to Ennis Park to help the Gowanus Alliance with their work. We pruned some bushes and picked up nearby trash.

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Then, we enjoyed some delicious food and even received shirts courtesy of the Gowanus Alliance. Thanks to them for organizing such a fun activity for us!


Green Wall Workshop
Members of our volunteer committee came up with the great idea to create green wall prototypes for the Salt Lot, furthering the Conservancy’s efforts to green more urban space. The green wall was made of readily available materials and shows that a project like this is not difficult to pull off. Volunteers helped construct, plant, and install these prototypes along the fence of the Salt Lot. A big thanks to Build It Green for providing some of our materials.

Here are some pictures of the process of creating one of these prototypes: 20130623_13291920130623_132120
Here’s two of our garden interns, Pamela and Jeanette, working on it:
And the finished project!Untitled
These prototypes are a beautiful new addition to the Salt Lot and we’re excited to see their progress!

And after a long hot day in the sun, we ended the day with a barbecue feast courtesy of Whole Foods.
Thanks again to everyone who came yesterday and we hope to see you soon! For more pictures, check out our Flickr!

We had a great turnout for our monthly Clean & Green event!  Volunteers came from all over the area to take part in installing a new garden along 3rd Avenue near 3rd Street.  The space started as a bare patch of weeds–there was a lot of work to do!

One of Gowanus’s local construction companies donated all the bricks to line the garden.  Thank you to our friends over at Monadnock Construction!

Once we turned the dry soil, it was ready to be covered with a new layer of cured compost from our Composting Gowanus project.

Pleasant Run Nursery graciously donated some plants for the garden–and the rest were propagated right here in Gowanus by our volunteers.

As always, we had a great time… both fixing up the neighborhood and meeting our neighbors!

The 2012 Clean & Green season is upon us! We have some wonderful projects this year that we are really excited about. They range from moss graffiti workshops to cleaning up street ends and installing new street trees. We will be releasing locations for all of these events within the next couple of weeks.

The schedule is as follows:

Saturday, March 24: Tree giveaway and Spring Cleaning at the Salt Lot and 2nd Avenue rain garden

Sunday, April 22: Street tree and garden stewardship and wildflower workshop

Saturday, May 26: Ennis Park and street tree stewardship, new garden installation and moss graffiti workshop

Sunday, June 17: Native plant propagation workshop and Broom corn planiting

Saturday, July 28: Street end cleaning and existing garden stewardship

Sunday, August 19: Floating Gardens launch party and Heron platform installation

Saturday, September 22: New street tree installation and new garden installation at the Salt Lot

Sunday, October 21: New garden installation at Degraw Street

Saturday, November 17: Degraw Street garden install Day 2, plant propagation workshop

After we installed the 20 street trees with the help of New York Restoration Project and Americorps, we are required to maintain them and ensure their survival. The most important consideration is making sure that the trees receive enough water, which requires a weekly visit from one of our dedicated volunteers. In order to coordinate this process and make it as easy to perform as possible, we have created 2 watering zones, mapped out below. We always need more dedicated street tree stewardship volunteers.

If you are interested in helping to care for street trees within the Gowanus Canal watershed, please contact Hans:

Street Tree - Watering Zone 1

Street Tree - Watering Zone 2