Community Science Spotlight: Spotted Lanternfly Monitoring
Students across New York City are visiting Freshkills Park to collect data on invasive species and take action to protect this reclaimed ecosystem.
There is a newcomer to the grasslands and wetlands in Freshkills Park: spotted lanternflies, an invasive species that can wreak havoc on trees and other plants. Spotted lanternflies feed on tree sap, leaving trees vulnerable to infection and fungal growth. These distinctive spotted red insects were first seen on Staten Island in 2020. Since then, they have taken up residence across New York City, including in Freshkills Park. By collecting data on the preferences and habits of spotted lanternflies we are better able to make informed recommendations for management and control strategies.
Students and teachers from schools across New York City partnered with Freshkills Park staff this spring on a specially designed community science project. First, classes had a virtual visit with a Freshkills Park educator to learn about Freshkills Park and spotted lanternflies. Students and teachers then visited Freshkills Park in person to collect data. They learned to identify egg masses and early stage nymphs, then went tree to tree in Freshkills Park’s North Mound, counting the number of egg masses and nymphs on each plant. This information is being collected in a data set that will be analyzed to understand their patterns of movement and host preference.
Thanks to all the classes who participated in our Community Science program this spring! We will continue collecting data through the summer and fall. If you’d like to bring a group or class to participate in this program, sign up for a visit here.