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Category Archives:

Sustainability

green goats

Due To Covid-19, Twenty Goats Will Soon Be Eating Lower Manhattan

green goatsStuyvesant Cove Park, New York NYNew York City’s parks are proving to be yet another unwitting victim of the pandemic crisis. Short staffing, budget cuts, and reduced volunteer opportunities have left many of our green spaces to their own devices, and the weeds have been having a (literal) hay day. Compounding the issue is the fact that as New York residents have needfully turned to parks as safe outlets for socialization and recreation, they have also, sadly, left excessive trash and trampled plantings in their wake.

“It’s just a lot for our two person team to handle”, says Candace Thompson, the manager of Stuyvesant Cove Park in lower Manhattan. “Mother Nature really got the jump on us with the weeds this spring and I feel like we’ll never catch up on top of everything else.”

Which is why that particular park has decided to hire some help of the non-human variety. Starting September 8th, 20 goats from Green Goats of Rhinebeck will be taking a Manhattan mini-vacation within a fenced off area of “Stuy Cove” Park, a 2 acre native food forest on the East River. During their tenure, the goats will be charged with a simple task: eat everything in sight. Solar One, the environmental education non-profit that manages the space, hopes this will assist park staff in minimizing excessive plant biomass while also fertilizing the soil for next season, all in just a few short days. While goats may seem an unorthodox fix to a weed problem, foraging animals have long been used in sustainable agricultural practices to manage overabundant species, and Green Goats in particular have been lending their services to public spaces and institutions across the greater New York area for over 15 years.

“When Larry and I first started our goatscaping company, my family back home in Guayana all teased me.” says Annilita Cihanek, co-owner of Green Goats of Rhinebeck. “Now we work full time on contracts for city, state and national parks, we travel constantly, and get lots of press. Let me tell you, my family isn’t laughing any more!”

Over the past three decades goatscaping has become increasingly popular as an herbicide-free way to manage invasive species. Goats have been used for weed control both on Chinese tea plantations and in California forests for brush control and wildfire prevention. Now they’ll be taking a stab (or nibble, as it were) at Stuy Cove’s bindweed problem.

Interested in being a part of the action? You can sign up to volunteer, support Stuy Cove’s GOAT FUND ME, or follow along with these walking weedeaters from home via the park’s Instagram. With remote and in-person learning starting the same week here in NYC, students and teachers alike can visit the park’s ‘Goat Cam’ to check their progress, or take a Zoom break and come watch sustainable land stewardship in action.

Solar One (CEC Stuyvesant Cove, Inc.): Solar One is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization whose mission is to design and deliver innovative education, training, and technical assistance that fosters sustainability and resiliency in diverse urban environments. We empower learning that changes the way people think about energy, sustainability, and resilience by engaging and educating a diverse set of stakeholders and beneficiaries. Our programs help individuals and communities explore new ways of living and working that are more adaptive to a changing world.

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For more info contact Candace Thompson, Stuy Cove Park Manager at candace@solar1.org or Michael Barry, Solar One Communications Manager at (646) 741-5225 or via email at barry@solar.org.

 

NYC DoE Holds First Climate Summit

Teachers, Instructional Coaches, and Educators from across the DOE participated in the first NYC DOE Climate Summit at the NY Hall of Science in Queens, NY. The Summit was organized by the Office of Sustainability, Solar One, and the Climate and Urban Systems Partnership in an effort to profile the diversity of climate change and how it relates to a variety of school activities and curriculum.

Activities in the two Round Robin sessions included mapping visualizations, climate themed simulations and games, school climate risk assessments, data analysis, health impacts, and climate advocacy.

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Celebrate and Learn About Native Plants at NYC Wildflower Day

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.

Ascendant Neighborhood Development to Solarize Buildings in East Harlem

Ascendant Neighborhood Development (AND), an affordable housing company working in East and Central Harlem, has been working since 2015 on a plan to renovate and modernize 21 buildings in its portfolio, and Solar One is delighted to have partnered with AND on the solar portion of their strategy.

Our Here Comes Solar Affordable Solar team did the site assessments and provided technical advice to AND about which of their buildings were best suited for solar installations, and did the estimates of how big the systems could be and how much electricity they could generate. As a result, AND will be installing a 197 kW array, which will generate more than 235,000 kWh every year- enough to provide electricity to all the common areas of all 21 Ascendant Heritage buildings.

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The Green Bronx Machine & The Power of a Plant

The Power of a Plant tells the engaging story of Bronx educator Stephen Ritz and his journey to embody his three Cs- “collisions, connections and co-learnings” through creating the Green Bronx Machine at the National Health, Wellness and Learning Center at CS55 in the South Bronx. Students learn a a variety of curriculum-tied skills while also learning about health, nutrition and the environment.

As he evolves from “Mista”  in the 1980s to “Mr. Farmer Steve” in the 21st century, Ritz was inspired by his students’ brightness, creativity and hunger for positive reinforcement; working with special education students in the city’s poorest congressional district meant that positive reinforcement was the last thing his kid were getting. By encouraging each student to “make your thinking visible” helped students to gain the confidence to take on ever-more complex problems. Soon students who had been basically written off as hopeless were taking on beautifying projects in the South Bronx and making the evening news.

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Here Comes Community Solar

This post was originally published on the Here Comes Solar blog, and was written by Affordable Solar Program Manager Anika Wistar-Jones.

It’s finally here, the dream of solar enthusiasts all over the city: solar for apartments. For years, while single-family homeowners have been installing solar right and left,  New Yorkers have clamored for solar that fits the city lifestyle where most people don’t own their apartments, let alone the roof several floors above them.  So New York State made it possible to participate in what’s called “Community Shared Solar”, where one large array – in a field or on a warehouse roof – can send solar credits to anyone in the same utility zone. After months of planning and building, for the first time, this is possible in New York City, and you can join now.

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