Public events coming up over the next two months which I am hosting, leading, or otherwise involved.Continue reading
The annual New York Restoration Project Tree Giveaway starts in a month. This year, they’re offering the largest variety of native tree, and some shrub, species I’ve seen yet.
Consider the mature size of each species. The larger trees will grow too large for most urban yards. I highlighted shrubs and smaller tree species that max out at no more than around 50′ high and wide, without considering existing vegetation, outdoor structures, etc. Your conditions will vary!
Shrubs and Smaller Trees
- Allegheny Serviceberry
- American Hornbeam
- American Persimmon
- American Plum
- Eastern Redbud
- Flowering Dogwood
- Highbush Blueberry
- Swamp White Oak
- Sweetbay Magnolia
- Washington Hawthorn
- White Fringe Tree
- Winged Sumac
- American Beech
- Bald Cypress
- Black Cherry
- Black Gum
- Black Locust
- Eastern Red Cedar
- Honey Locust
- Northern Red Oak
- Pin Oak
- Red Maple
- Willow Oak
Advance registration is mandatory. You select your preferred species when you register. Note that each location will only have 6-8 species. Some locations, especially smaller sites, are already “sold out” of some species.
Here are this year’s Brooklyn sites and pick-up dates.
- April 15: Red Hook Farms(Red Hook, Brooklyn)
- April 15: Wyckoff House Museum and State Senator Kevin S. Parker (Canarsie, Brooklyn)
- April 29: I.S. 318 Project Roots Community Garden and Councilmember Lincoln Restler(Williamsburg, Brooklyn)
- May 6: BPL Marcy Library and Councilmember Chi Ossé(Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn)
- May 13: BPL Brownsville Library(Brownsville, Brooklyn)
- May 20: Citizens(Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn)
The annual City Nature Challenge (CNC) is this weekend, from Friday April 29 through Monday May 2. I put together a presentation on Slideshare with a brief overview of New York City’s participation in CNC.
I’m one of the Brooklyn Borough Captains for the NYC Battle of the Boroughs, a friendly inter-borough competition among the boroughs to promote CNC participation across NYC. Following is a list of all the planned events and participating greenspaces in Brooklyn. You can also find this list on the Brooklyn CNC 2022 iNaturalist Project Journal.
Friday, April 29, 2022
Calvert Vaux Park
CNC BioBlitz: Birds, Plants, and Pollinators!
Host: Torrey Botanical Society
Description: Calvert Vaux Park is an under-explored park in Brooklyn with several trails and a waterfront view of the Verrazano Bridge. The event will take place during low tide to take advantage of the exposed shoreline. Participants of all levels are welcome! Local naturalists with expertise in plants, birds, and insects will share their knowledge on the biodiversity of the park and how to make meaningful observations. The bioblitz will be led by Chris Kreussling, Jen Kepler, and other local urban naturalists.
Starting Location: [Pollinator Place Garden](https://goo.gl/maps/sZL2cotYE5vJ7cXt9), Calvert Vaux Park, near the pedestrian bridge over Shore Pkwy
Saturday, April 30, 2022
Ridgewood Reservoir (Highland Park)
Birds and Insects Walking Tour
Time: 10a – 12p
Host: NYC H2O
Description: Let’s put Highland Park and Ridgewood Reservoir on the map! Our first walk will be led by Ken Chaya – a consultant for the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG), perhaps best know for mapping the location of all 19,933 trees in Central Park to produce the prolifically illustrated “Central Park Entire” map.
Plants and Herbals Walking Tour
Time: 12p – 2p
Host: NYC H2O
Description: Let’s put Highland Park and Ridgewood Reservoir on the map! Our second walk will be led by Jocelyn Perez-Blanco – a local educator, conservationist, and Herbalists Without Borders (HWB) NYC Queens Chapter Coordinator.
Registration: Via Eventbrite:
Sunday, May 1, 2022
City Nature Challenge: Green-Wood BioBlitz
Host: Green-Wood Historic Fund
Description: Join Sigrid Jakob and Potter Palmer, the project leads of Green-Wood’s Fungi Phenology Project, and Sara Evans, Green-Wood’s manager of horticulture operations, on a guided bioblitz.
Starting Location: inside the Main Entrance at Fifth Avenue and 25th Street
Fort Green Park
City Nature Challenge: Spring Blossoms
Host: Urban Park Rangers
Description: NYC Parks is participating in the City Nature Challenge and is recruiting you to help. Join the Rangers as we walk the park to observe and collect data for the City Nature Challenge, a friendly competition taking place April 29-May 1 between cities around the world to see which is most biodiverse. This program will focus on identifying spring blossoms. Participants are encouraged to download the iNaturalist app to collect data.
Registration: None needed. For more info, visit: https://www.nycgovparks.org/events/2022/05/01/city-nature-challenge-spring-blossoms
Starting Location: Fort Green Park Visitor Center
Monday, May 2, 2002
Prospect Park Nothing scheduled, but if you want to meet up for an informal CNC, let me know.
Parks and other Green Spaces
Other Brooklyn Parks and Green Spaces that are participating without any scheduled events:
City Nature Challenge
- 2018-04-9: City Nature Challenge 2018
- 2022-03-17: Torrey Lecture, Wednesday March 30
- 2022-01-13: Insect Year in Review
- 2021-11-19: Hot Sheets Habitat
- 2021-10-29: Documenting Insect-Plant Interactions
- 2021-09-13: iNaturalist Workshops, The High Line, Saturday September 25
- 2021-06-14: Native Pollinator Walks, Wave Hill, Sunday, June 27
- 2020-05-14: Home of the Wild
- 2019-06-08: Sunday 6/23: Pollinator Safari: Urban Insect Gardening with Native Plants
- 2018-08-19: Plant Blindness [Phytoagnosia] and Urban Ecology
NYC CNC iNaturalist Projects
- NYC CNC 2022
- NYC CNC 2022 – Battle of the Boroughs
- NYC CNC 2022 – Greenspace Race
- NYC CNC – All Years
NYC CNC iNaturalist Projects- Past Years
Battle of the Boroughs – Past Years
Parks and Green Spaces
It’s a busy season for me this Spring! NEXT WEEK is New York City NYC’s GreenThumb community gardening program annual conference, known as GrowTogether:
Part 2 of the GreenThumb GrowTogether conference will be hosted in-person in community gardens in all five boroughs in celebration of Earth Week. Join us for workshops about growing food, healthy eating, native pollinators, flower arrangement, planting seeds, screen printing garden swag, volunteer projects, and more. All the activities are free and open to the public!
… The theme of this year’s GrowTogether is “Deeply Rooted: Growing Community Connections.” Community gardeners from across New York City have been gathering at the GrowTogether conference each spring since 1984 to celebrate the start of the garden season with a day of learning, networking, and reconnecting with friends. – Ibid.
As noted above, all GrowTogether workshops are open to the public. Please register, as some workshops have limited capacity.
This is my first time participating in GrowTogether. I’ll be giving two different workshops on how to use iNaturalist, Friday in Brooklyn, and Saturday on Staten Island.
Friday, April 22
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
(Rain Date: Saturday, April 23, same time)
Location: Vernon Cases Community Garden, 42 Vernon Avenue, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn
iNaturalist is a community/citizen science platform where anyone can record their observations – photos or audio recordings – of any living thing anywhere in the world. Community gardeners and visitors can use iNaturalist to document and keep records about their gardens, such as flowering and fruiting times; identify and keep track of common weeds; and identify insect visitors, whether pests, predators, or pollinators.
In this workshop, we will use iNaturalist “in the field” to make observations of plants and insects and upload them to iNaturalist, creating a record of the biodiversity in a community garden. If you have access to a smartphone, please download the iNaturalist app in advance and bring it to the workshop!
Saturday, April 23
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
(Rain Date: Sunday, April 24, same time)
Location: Hill Street Community Garden, Staten Island
New York City is home to hundreds of species of pollinating insects. While butterflies and bumblebees are easily-spotted inhabitants of our community gardens, meet a few of New York City’s lesser known pollinators—including wasps, flower flies, and specialist bees— during this workshop with Sarah Ward from National Wildlife Federation and Chris Keussling (aka Flatbush Gardener). During a walk through the garden, participants will learn tips and tricks for observing pollinators and welcoming them into our gardens. Participants will also learn how to use the community science app iNaturalist to identify pollinators and contribute valuable data about pollinators in New York City.
Torrey Lecture, Wednesday March 30, 2022-03-17
For more information, or to register, for either/both workshop:
- Using iNaturalist for Community Gardens and Gardeners, Friday 4/22, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., Vernon Cases Community Garden, Brooklyn
- Meet and Greet New York City’s Native Pollinators, Saturday, April 23rd, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., Hill Street Community Garden, Staten Island
This season’s native plant sales in and around New York City. Events are listed by date. For year-round sources of native plants, see Sources for Native Plants.
Tufts Pollinator Initiative – Native Plant Sale
- Date: Sunday, June 20th (start of Pollinator Week) – Rain Date Sunday, June 27th
- Time: 9am – 4pm
- Address: 574 Boston Avenue, Medford, Massachusetts
Native Plant Center at Westchester Community College
- Pre-order only
- Minimum order $200
- They will schedule your pickup for mid-May
NJ Pinelands Preservation Alliance Online Native Plant Sale
- Virtual Native Plant Sale from April 22nd to April 28th
- Plant sales managed by Pinelands Direct
- Curbside pickups at Pinelands Direct
- Smaller items can be directly shipped
Gowanus Canal Conservancy, Brooklyn
- Saturday, April 24th, 10:30am – 1:30pm
- Saturday, May 8th, 10:30am – 1:30pm
- Saturday, May 22nd, 2:00pm – 5:00pm
I received an unexpected, and much-welcomed, message from a colleague, asking how I was doing. My response ran a little long, so I thought I would reproduce it here. Annotated with links, where applicable.
I’ve been writing about the experience on my blog. I started on the Solstice, when I’d already been working from home for weeks. Later posts borrow from my Twitter thread, and past blog posts. I’m sure I’ll be writing more in the days and weeks and months ahead:
I even got a short piece published in McSweeney’s. And that got picked up to be re-published by YES Magazine. Nothing online yet.
I had multiple engagements planned for this Spring, and into the Summer: speaking on a panel about pollinators in NYC, a neighborhood plant swap, workshops with community gardens. All cancelled. On paper, I’m still going to Eiseman’s leaf-miner course in Vermont in August, but I expect that to be cancelled, as well.
NYC has just started to turn the corner of the immediate crisis the past few days. Recovery – economic, psychological, sociological, political – will be ongoing over generations. There will be an immediate need for trauma and grief support and recovery for emergency, health care, and other front-line workers.
Every night at 7pm, everyone goes outside, into the street, onto their porches, or leaning out their windows, and makes noise for all those working through this, from ER docs to grocery clerks to delivery drivers.
Before everything went whack, I bought a big birding lens. I’ve been out 3 times during this period to Prospect Park. The lens weighs a ton, but it makes all the difference. Adding all my photos as Observations to iNaturalist, of course!
The garden is a salve. I ordered seeds and plants, neither of which I’d been planning to do. I’m giving away plants from my garden to my neighbors to make room for my new acquisitions.
I’ve got a new bee species record for my garden! Just awaiting confirmation from a second identifier.
I’ve vacation coming up, for Earth Day and City Nature Challenge. Planned before all this began. I extended it to make it a solid week. We’re not supposed to be taking public transit for non-essential activities, but I have a car and can get around to most places. Gardens are closed, but public parks are still open, for now. I’m looking forward to some intense observartin’. Both “abroad” and in the garden.
It’s been barely a month since the first handful of COVID-19/SARS-CoV2 cases were reported in New York State. On March 4, there were 6 confirmed cases.
As I write this:
- There are nearly 5,000 dead in New York.
- Nearly 3,500 have died in New York City alone. If NYC was a country, it would be 6th in the world in deaths.
It’s not over. We face the worst in the days ahead. But an end – for New York, at least – is in sight.
It is a strange hybrid collective trauma we are working our way through. So much has changed so quickly. It’s not quite four weeks since I started working from home. My husband started working from home three weeks ago. A week after that, all NYC restaurants and bars were forced to stop admitting guests. On the equinox, I first wrote about living through an epidemic for the second time in my life.
We’ve had the advantage of being able to make (some) preparations for it. Yet we have months of loss and grieving to come.
There is no clear roadmap for how we should react, respond, and recover. Those of us who have survived past epidemics can draw on our experiences, but none of us have ever lived through anything quite like this.
Here’s an excerpt from “The Layers” by Stanley Kunitz (1905-2006), from which I borrowed for the title of this blog post:
When I look behind,
as I am compelled to look
before I can gather strength
to proceed on my journey,
I see the milestones dwindling
toward the horizon
and the slow fires trailing
from the abandoned camp-sites,
over which scavenger angels
wheel on heavy wings.
Oh, I have made myself a tribe
out of my true affections,
and my tribe is scattered!
How shall the heart be reconciled
to its feast of losses?
In a rising wind
the manic dust of my friends,
those who fell along the way,
bitterly stings my face.
The “weedy” remnants of my front lawn, where Viola sororia, common blue violet, has taken charge. Easily overlooked, it seeds itself readily without any help from me (or any other gardener). Yet this species is native to New York City. It’s one of my iNaturalist observations from my garden for this year’s City Nature Challenge.
Today, Sunday, April 29th, is day 3 of the global City Nature Challenge, which continues into tomorrow. Building on the explosive popularity of iNaturalist as a platform for observations, this gamified bioblitz pits cities against each other, to see which can identify more taxa of living species in a 96-hour period.
NYC is currently is 6th place globally, and 4th nationally. There are still plenty of opportunities to join special events organized for New York City, with events in 4 of our 5 boroughs today, and more tomorrow.
I wasn’t able to take part in yesterday’s festivities. This weekend, I have to get my garden ready for this season’s garden tours. Armed with only my phone, I kept an eye out for anything I might see, uncover, or unearth. I was rewarded.
I came up with 16 observations yesterday. In addition to Viola sororia introduced at the top of the post, I observed:
- Moss, one species
- A weedy Prunus (I think)
- Taraxacum officinale, dandelion
- Slug, adult and eggs
- Cepaea nemoralis, grove snail
- Shell of another unknown snail
- An earthworm, genus Lumbricus
- Spiders, 2 species
- Millipedes, maybe 2 species
- Armadillidium vulgare, Common Pillbug
- An unknown fly
Today I made my way to my first Gowanus Canal Conservancy Native Plant Sale. Today is Earth Day 2018, and today’s sale was held at their nursery location, the Salt Lot where Second Avenue ends at the Gowanus Canal. They have two more sales this season. The next, on May 19th, conflicts with the NYC Wildflower Week tour of my garden.
A wide range of species are listed are available on their nursery page. Not all of them are still in stock. In compensation, they had other unlisted species available at today’s plant sale.
I used their published list of species to make a shopping list, always a good idea when heading out to plant sales. I cross-checked their list for species that 1) I didn’t already have, and 2) were native to New York City. Since they list the Greenbelt Native Plant Center as a partner, I suspected many of their species would be NYC-local ecotypes. I made a few exceptions for cases where I have the species, but not a NYC-local ecotype, e.g.: Solidago sempervirens, seaside goldenrod.
I had the chance to speak with a few of their staff and volunteers, including Diana Gruberg, their Horticultural Manager for the whole operation. I was pleased when she confirmed that some 90% of their species originated with Greenbelt. They are now successfully propagating many of these species themselves, both vegetatively and from seed.
Today’s acquisitions, listed alphabetically by botanical name:
- Carex albicans, white-tinged sedge
- Carex comosa, bristly sedge
- Euthamia graminifolia, common flat-topped goldenrod
- Juncus greenei, Greene’s rush
- Monarda fistulosa, bee-balm
- Oenothera biennis, common evening primrose
- Quercus bicolor, swamp white oak
- Schizachyrium littorale, dune blue-stem
- Solidago sempervirens, seaside goldenrod, N YC-local ecotype
- Symphyotrichum ericoides. heath aster
- Veronicastrum virginicum, Culver’s root
I confirmed with Diana that the seaside goldenrod was propagated from a Greenbelt collection, so it’s a local ecotype. I don’t know for sure which of the others also are. Odds are good that it’s most, if not all, of them.
Podophyllum peltatum, mayapple
Vaccinium corymbosum, highbush blueberry
Viola sororia, dooryard violet (several different varieties)
Zizia aurea, golden alexanders