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Category Archives:

Sustainability

Marsh with city

Scientists Recommend Rewilding to Mitigate Climate Change

Marsh with cityRestoring natural landscapes damaged by human exploitation can be one of the most effective and cheapest ways to combat the climate crisis while also boosting dwindling wildlife populations, a scientific study finds. If a third of the planet’s most degraded areas were restored, and protection was thrown around areas still in good condition, that would store carbon equating to half of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions since the industrial revolution.

The changes would prevent about 70 percent of predicted species extinctions, according to the research, which is published in the journal Nature.

Scientists from Brazil, Australia, and Europe identified scores of places around the world where such interventions would be most effective, from tropical forests to coastal wetlands and upland peat. Many of them were in developing countries, but there were hotspots on every continent.

You can read more about this on Grist.org here.

“I Was an Urban Goatherd in Stuyvesant Cove Park”

Last month, thanks to an anonymous West Indian woman who put the idea in our heads, we undertook an experiment in urban goatscaping in Stuyvesant Cove Park. It was a resounding success- the goats did a great job and everyone loved them- and also a unique experience for Candace Thompson, the new Park Manager. Here’s her description of what it was like to spend three days and two nights as an onsite goatherd in Stuy Cove Park:

For 3 straight days, 20 goats and I did heavy “goatscaping”, and for 2 nights we slept together… under the FDR… in lower Manhattan…during a global pandemic.

It was a week for the bucket list, to be sure.

If you’re unfamiliar, goatscaping is an ancient land clearing practice in which humans allow goats to do what they do best: eat. When they’re done you’re left with a weed free, well fertilized growing space with no gas-powered machines or herbicides needed. So, last month Caramelo, Chloe, Cheech and co were let loose inside SCP’s teaching garden and given carte blanche, and while they munched, volunteers pulled weeds from other areas of the park and carried them over to their enclosure. One little girl accurately described it as “goat room service”.

When I awoke in the middle of the night to check on them they’d still be standing there, chewing away. They, too, knew this was the city that never sleeps.

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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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