Hannah Schanzer is a Park Intern at Solar One this summer, working in Stuyvesant Cove Park. She is a rising junior at Washington University in St. Louis, studying Environmental Policy and Urban Studies. She has come to the Park this summer to learn more about urban park stewardship and urban ecology.
For my summer research project, I really wanted to focus on studying how the urban setting impacts the biodiversity of the park. Stuyvesant Cove Park is situated between a gas station, a power plant, and the highway. Additionally, it is located on the former site of a cement mixing factory.
Preliminary testing revealed that the soil in some beds of the park have slightly elevated levels of lead, although not enough to cause concern with park operations (highest lead concentration in a bed was 80 ppm (parts per million), anything less than 100 ppm is considered safe for children to play in). I was curious to find out whether there was a way to “clean” the soil with the highest lead concentration without treating it with chemicals or replacing it with imported soil.
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It’s spring in Stuyvesant Cove Park! It seemed like the weather would never warm up this year, but the first spring ephemerals are blooming and now is the perfect time to catch them before they’re gone for the season.
Some of the species currently in bloom include Virginia bluebells, violets, trout liles, zizia and bleeding hearts (pictured). While the zizia could bloom for months, the others will be gone within weeks, to be replaced by the next wave of flowers.
And if you’re REALLY interested in native wildflowers, join Solar One for Wildflower Day on Saturday May 12th from 10am-1pm. Suitable for all ages, Wildflower Day activities will include soil explorations, native plant potting, making seed bombs and our annual Ladybug Release*! Please RSVP to murphy[at]solar1[dot]org.
*UPDATE: Due to a lack of availability, we will not be releasing Ladybugs this Saturday.
While most people look to spring as the season when flowers start blooming in NYC, some plants don’t care that the weather is cold. And as it happens, both Madison Square and Stuyvesant Cove Parks are home to a few…and the ones in Stuy Cove are, of course, native species.
Zizea aurea, or golden Alexander, a native perennial that can be found across the entire East Coast, from Canada to Florida. It generally prefers moist conditions in woodlands or prairies, and grows in Stuy Cove. Last winter, it flowered continuously!
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Saturday November 18 th was the last Community Volunteer Day of 2017 at Stuyvesant Cove Park, and there couldn’t have been any better way to celebrate. A first in many years, the event was a partnership between Stuyvesant Town and Solar One- the rekindling of the collaboration between neighbors that will grow into next season. New York Cares, who has been a strong partner of the park for quite some time also joined for a healthy turnout of almost fifty people of all ages.
Stuyvesant Town has a new initiative called the Good Neighbors Program, which is a volunteer group of staff and residents who help with projects in the community city and statewide, and it was through this wonderful group that there were so many new faces of all ages helping out and becoming better acquainted with their neighborhood waterfront park!
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Stuyvesant Cove Park Angels
This week, Liza Mindemann, Park Manager of Stuyvesant Cove Park, wrote this op-ed for the local Town and Village newspaper, all about the importance of native plants like the ones we grow in the Park. Reblogged from the T&V blog:
As many of you already know, Stuyvesant Cove Park is a native species plant park. When we have school groups one of the first questions I ask is, “can anyone tell me what a native plant is?” It’s a harder question to answer than one might think, but the simple answer is that native plants are those species that naturally occur in a region and have evolved and adapted over many thousands of years to the specific conditions of that geographic area.
Many of us don’t think of gardens as having any purpose outside of providing beauty, or perhaps growing food to eat. But today, our gardens are actually one of the last chances we have to preserve the diverse species of plants, insects and wildlife that once prolifically populated our region.
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The Solar One Education team is excited to launch our new, enhanced website, thegreendesignlab.org!
The new website is easy to navigate and offers new features for registering for our Professional Development Workshops, the Green Design Lab Energy Challenge, and a host of resources for our Sustainable Schools Network members!
Since its inception 6 years ago, the Green Design Lab has grown to reach teachers and students in over 400 schools. During this time, Solar One Educators have provided professional development training for teachers on our hands-on curriculum, in-class programming for students, and support for energy reduction and school sustainability projects. With the development and growth of the Green Design Lab Sustainable Schools Network (SSN), Solar One Educators have reached teachers across the United States.
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