Sunday 6/23: Pollinator Safari: Urban Insect Gardening with Native Plants

Me hosting the NYCWW Pollinator Week Safari in my Front Yard. Photo: Alan Riback

I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be hosting a pollinator-focused garden tour and citizen science workshop in my garden for Pollinator Week, in association with NYC Wildflower Week.

Event Details

Date: Sunday, June 23, 2019
Time: 1-4pm
Location: Brooklyn, NY, corner of Stratford Road and Matthews Place
Cost: FREE!
RSVP: Eventbrite

1-2pm: I’ll be focusing in using iNaturalist to observe and identify insects in the garden. Create a free account on iNaturalist, and install the app on your smart phone. I’ll show you how to make observations in the garden with your phone!
2-4pm: We’ll explore the garden, see examples of how to garden for insects and pollinators, look at insect-plant associations happening in the garden, and, optionally, make observations with iNaturalist.

These times are a rough guide. You can drop by any time.

What can you see?

With roughly 200 NYC-native species of trees, shrubs, ferns, grasses, and wildflowers, my garden hosts scores of native insects that use these plants throughout the year.

I’ve been documenting these residents and visitors on iNaturalist. Here’s what I’ve seen in June over the years:

My garden is registered with several programs dedicated to creating and preserving habitat:

  • National Wildlife Federation: Backyard Wildlife Habitat # 141173, May 2011
  • Xerces Society: Pollinator Habitat, June 2012
  • North American Butterfly Association: Butterfly and Monarch Garden and Habitat, July 2017

Related Content

2014 Pollinator Safari

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Citizen Pruner Training Fall Schedule

The London Plane Tree in front of my house.
London Plane Tree, Street Tree, Stratford Road

TreesNY’s Citizen Pruner Tree Care Course is being offered in Brooklyn and Manhattan this season, covering basic tree biology, street tree identification and care. Upon successful completion of the final exam, participants receive a license that certifies them to legally prune trees owned by the City of New York. In New York City where there is limited money for tree maintenance but significant need, Citizen Pruners provide a tremendous benefit to our urban environment.

The twelve hour course consists of four weekly two-hour classes and four hours of hands-on experience in the field. Participants may miss up to one classroom session. The weekend field outing is mandatory. Specific dates vary by location. Locations and Dates for classes in the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island are still to be determined.

The course fee is $100 and includes a comprehensive manual and other materials. Course fee is non-refundable.You can register and pay online with Visa, Mastercard or Discover. To pay by check, make your check payable to Trees New York, and indicate the course location on the check


Brooklyn Borough Hall
Borough President’s Conference Room
209 Joralemon Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Wednesdays, 6-8pm, Sep 15, 22, 29 and October 6, 6 – 8 PM
Saturday, October 2, 10 AM – 2 PM

Downtown Manhattan

51 Chambers Street, Room #501
New York, NY 10007
Thursday, September 23 & 30, and October 7 & 14, 6-8pm
Saturday, October 9, 10am-2pm

Uptown Manhattan

The Arsenal in Central Park, Third Floor
830 Fifth Avenue, at 64th Street
New York, NY 10065
Mondays, Oct 18 & 25, and November 1 & 8, 6-8pm
Saturday, November 6, 10am-2pm

Related Content

About Trees NY

Trees New York is an environmental and urban forestry nonprofit organization. Our mission is to plant, preserve and protect New York City’s urban forest through education, active citizen participation and advocacy.

Trees New York • 51 Chambers Street, Suite 1412A • New York, NY 10007 • (212) 227-1887 • •

Study Guide for BBG Plant ID Class

Clerodendrum bungei Steud., Rose Glory Bower
Clerodendrum bungei

This Wednesday I take the final for the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Herbaceous Landscape Plant Identification class. [Spelling counts! So please let me know of any typos.] Thursday, I start Urban Garden Maintenance, the last of the eight classes I need for my Certificate in Urban Horticulture from BBG. I started the program in Winter 2008. This is the home stretch; I can’t believe I’m almost done with it.

Unlike the “woodies” class, I already knew most of the plants introduced in the class over the past five weeks. Either I’ve grown them myself sometime over my 30 years of gardening in NYC, or I’ve researched and studied them. However, there have been several, such as the interesting Clerodendrum above, which I’ve never even heard of, or never knew the names of.

This post is the index to my photographic study guide. Plant names are listed by week, in alphabetical order by botanical name within each week. Botanical names are given, corrected for typos, as they were introduced in the class; that’s what we’ll be tested on for the final this Wednesday evening. Plant names are linked to my Flickr Set, where I have one. You can also browse my Flickr Collection for this class, where all the plants are listed by botanical name.

Week 1, 2009.07.22

Callirhoe involucrata, Purple Poppy-Mallow
Callirhoe involucrata, Poppy Mallow


Omitted (these will not be included on the final):

  • Aquilegia canadensis, Columbine. This grows as a Spring ephemeral in our region; none were available to observe at this late date.
  • Geranium macrorrhizum, Bigroot Geranium. Omitted primarily for time constraints; also, it was out of bloom by this time of the year. Too bad, since it’s a handsome plant, and there are lots of them around the grounds of BBG.

Week 2, 2009-07-29

We got 11 plants this week to make up for being two short the previous week.

Week 3, 2009-08-05

Week 4, 2009-08-12

This was the only themed week of the class, consisting solely of grasses, ferns and fern allies.

Pennisetum alopecuroides, Fountain Grass
Pennisetum alopecuroides, Fountain Grass

Week 5, 2009-08-19

The last class before the in-class final.

Angelica gigas, Purple Angelica
Angelica gigas

Botany for Horticulturists

Liverworts and Mosses, one of the specimens we examined earlier this evening.
Liverworts and Mosses

A brief note before I crash for the night. It’s been a long day. Tonight was the first time I’ve been in a classroom, outside of work, in about 25 years. It was my first class of Botany for Horticulturists, one of eight courses I need to complete to receive a Certificate in Horticulture from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

Tonight was orientation and overview. And we had time to get into the beginnings of classification.

Specimens for Botany for Horticulturists

Although the apparent stars in these pots are the carnivorous Sundews and Pitcher Plants, they were on hand to give us some close looks at Bryophytes: liverworts and mosses. Here, in a pot of Sundews, the liverworts are giving rise to fruiting bodies.

Liverwort Fruiting Bodies

Here’s some closeups of the mosses. If you look closely, we can see some baby Sundews in there, too.

Sphagnum and other Mosses

The best part, though I have no photos of it, was walking through the greenhouses at night and having them all to ourselves. It was warm and kinda spooky at the same time. We moved there to get some looks at Pteridophytes – Ferns, the earliest vascular plants – and Cycads.

This course runs seven weeks, through the middle of May. I’m looking forward to it.

Upcoming BBG GreenBridge Classes

I know Fall lingers on, and we haven’t even reached the Winter Solstice, but it’s time to start thinking about Spring! Registration for the Brooklyn Botanic Garden‘s Winter and Spring classes begins this Saturday, December 1. In addition to professional education, such as programs for Certificates in Horticulture or Floral Design, Brooklyn GreenBridge, BBG’s Community Horticulture program, offers free and low-cost education to Brooklyn residents and communities:

Brooklyn GreenBridge is BBG’s community horticulture program, including our Brooklyn Compost Project. For a free copy of our newsletter and more information about GreenBridge programs and events, call 718-623-7250. To reach our compost help line, call 718-623-7290. All classes are free, but you must preregister at 718-623-7220 unless otherwise indicated.

All classes are held at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. All classes are free but require registration. I’ve highlighted some upcoming classes below. See their Web site for registration information and the complete class schedule.

Composting in the City

Thursday, January 17, 6–8 p.m.

Leaves, kitchen scraps, garden trimmings, and weeds can all become garden gold through composting. Making dark, rich, crumbly compost doesn’t take much time, work, or space. This class covers the essentials: the composting process, how to compost even in small city yards, using finished compost, avoiding and solving problems, and helpful equipment and tools. Participants receive a copy of the BBG handbook Easy Compost: The Secret to Great Soil and Spectacular Plants.

Teacher Workshop: Worm Composting in the Classroom

Thursday, January 31, 6–9 p.m.

Working with worms in the classroom is a great hands-on way to teach ecology, recycling, and gardening. Learn how to set up a worm bin, feed worms with food scraps, and maintain the system successfully. Activities, curriculum ideas, and ways to incorporate worm composting into science, math, and language arts for students of all ages will be introduced. Teachers will receive a copy of the activity guidebook Worms Eat Our Garbage, by Mary Appelhof, and may purchase a $10 voucher for a pound of red wiggler worms and a plastic worm bin.

This class may also be held at your Brooklyn school for a group of ten or more teachers. For information contact 718-623-7290 or

Composting with Lovely Redworms

Thursday, February 14, 6–8 p.m.

Did you know that redworms have 5 pairs of hearts? Come to this workshop and learn other things about this unique species. Learn all about vermicomposting, or composting with worms, including how to make and maintain a home for redworms. Participants will receive a copy of the book Worms Eat My Garbage, by Mary Appelhof, and may purchase a $10 voucher for a pound of redworms and a plastic worm bin.

Register with Karla Osorio-Pérez at 718-623-7368.

Make Compost With a Touch of Spanish / Haz Abono Orgánico con un Toque de Inglés

Thursday, February 28 / Jueves, 28 de febrero, 6–8 p.m.

Karla Osorio-Pérez

This class addresses two audiences—English and Spanish speakers—and is translated in both languages simultaneously throughout the session. We cover the basics of composting in a complete, practical, and interactive way. Participants receive handouts and literature to review at home.

Esta clase esta diseñada para el público de habla hispana e inglés y será brindada en ambos idiomas al mismo tiempo. El taller ofrece una gran oportunidad para aprender cómo hacer abono orgánico en una forma práctica, sencilla y de una manera interactiva. Participantes recibirán material informativo para estudiar en casa.

Register with Karla Osorio-Pérez / Llama a Karla Osorio-Pérez, 718-623-7368

Resource: Garden-Based Learning

The Garden-Based Learning Program develops projects, activities, and other materials, as well as gardening content- and youth development-oriented support. Many of our materials can be found on-line at this site, or through the Cornell Cooperative Extension Media Services Resource Center.
About page, Garden-Based Learning

The Garden-Based Learning Program is based in the Department of Horticulture at Cornell University. We partner with faculty and staff in other departments at Cornell, educators in county Cooperative Extension associations, and with other agencies throughout the U.S.

Our garden-based learning team encompasses a small group of county and campus educators that meet twice each year to brainstorm new projects, share resources, and plan conference and inservices.

via Librarian’s Internet Index