Freshkills Park Blog

Thank you Volunteers

On behalf of the Freshkills Park Alliance and NYC Parks, we want to thank you- our volunteers- for the energy and committment you provided over the past year.   Knowing that everyone is balancing multiple priorities, it is incredibly meaningful to have had so much help from our volunteers and friends.

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Raptors of Freshkills Park

Highlights

  • Freshkills Park is home to a number of raptors throughout the year
  • New York State threatened and endangered species such as Northern Harriers, Short-eared Owls, and Bald Eagles are found regularly at Freshkills Park

Raptors are birds of prey, made up of hawks, owls, vultures, eagles, Osprey, falcons, kites and Caracaras. 

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Insectageddon & Environmental Health

September 26th was World Environmental Health Day. The health of the environment is dependent on rich biodiversity, from the oceans to the forests to the grasslands. Freshkills Park is an active reclaimed grassland environment that is home to a wide variety of birds, fish, mammals, and insects.

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Freshkills Park Grasslands Curriculum: A Teacher’s Perspective

 

Piece Contributed By Mary Lee  

Mary Lee is a Science teacher and Science enrichment coordinator at St. Clare School and an adjunct professor at St. John’s University in the Education Department on Staten Island. After connecting with Rachel Aronson, the Education Programming Coordinator with the Freshkills Park Alliance, she involved her students in piloting the new Freshkills Grasslands Curriculum at different levels.

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Jade Doskow: Freshkills, a new exhibition hosted by Tracey Morgan Gallery

Tracey Morgan Gallery is pleased to present Jade Doskow: Freshkills, a new exhibition of photographs taken at Staten Island’s Freshkills Park. Reception for the artist, Friday September 17, 6-8PM.

In operation from 1948-2001, Fresh Kills Landfill in Staten Island became the largest household garbage dump globally, receiving 150 million tons of New York City’s solid waste during that time.

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Heavy Rain & The City “Spills out” Trouble

Rain, Rain, go away, too much at once worsens our waterways.  While too much rain may not seem like a problem, in a highly developed city with a combined sewer system, excessive rain “spills” out trouble.  This past weekend, Tropical Henri brought a lot of heavy rain, flash flooding, and coastal surges to the NYC area.  

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Sedge Wren Return to Nest at Freshkills Park

For a second year in a row, Sedge Wren (Cistothorus platensis), have returned to nest Freshkills Park. 

Last summer, on August 6, 2020 a singing Sedge Wren was found on East Mound during our bird banding operations. Over the next few days it was joined by three additional singing males, all in close proximity to each other.

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It’s Fledgling Season for the Osprey at Freshkills Park

Highlights 

  • Osprey populations have rebounded since the 1970s when DDT and other agricultural pesticides were attributed to nest failure 
  • Ospreys build large nests, and pairs of Osprey will return to the same nests year after year
  • At Freshkills Park we had seven successful nests in 2021, with 13 young about to fledge as of July 29th!
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iNaturalist Scavenger Hunt – Trees of the New Springville Greenway

Lace up your shoes, download the free (and easy to use) iNaturalist app and head to the New Springville Greenway for a scavenger hunt.  Along the path you’ll encounter a variety of trees, some native to the region and some less welcome pushy volunteers. 

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Cliff Swallows Confirmed Nesting on Staten Island for the First Time Since 1880, at Freshkills Park

Highlights:

  • Seven Cliff Swallow nests were found at Freshkills Park in 2020, confirming that this species has at least recently attempted to breed there, the first on Staten Island since 1880
  • In June 2021, two active Cliff Swallow nests were found at Freshkills Park
  • Cliff Swallows are currently re-establishing themselves in the New York City area, and are now breeding in four out of five boroughs (excluding Manhattan)

Cliff Swallows (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota) are gregarious, fast moving birds that—with keen eyes and a stroke of luck—can be seen picking insects out of the air.

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Farm To Table, Then What?

We talk a lot about the supply chain of food from the farm to our table, but what about food going from our table back to the farm?

In the past few decades, the farm-to-table movement has grown, with a focus on fresher, more nutritious, in season produce in our kitchens and on menu offerings at restaurants. 

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Bivalves and Waterfront Restoration

Melody Simon is a senior at the New York Harbor School and environmental science intern here at Freshkills Park. Here she tells us a bit about oyster restoration in New York City.

Bivalves are returning to our waters. Bivalves such as oysters, mussels, and clams were once very populated organisms in New York Harbor.

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City Nature Challenge Results

The sixth international City Nature Challenge took place earlier this month from April 30th through May 3rd and the wildlife observations have been counted.   Together, 52,777 community scientists throughout 419 cities across 44 countries observed and recorded 45,300+ unique species using the free iNaturalist app.  

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Balloons: Up, Up, and into the Waterways!

As the leaves are filling out trees this spring, you may be starting to notice fewer plastic bags entangled in the bare branches due to the NYC plastic bag ban in 2020. However, the waving metallic and brightly colored ribbons from balloon litter have not gone unnoticed.

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Environmental Science Intern: Melody Simon

Hi, my name is Melody Simon and I am a high school intern at Freshkills Park. I attend the New York Harbor School and I am a senior in the aquaculture program there; doing aquaculture for 3 years has made my previous love for animals and the environment turn into something I am passionate about.

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Mannahatta: Before the Concrete Jungle

Every day, I look around up in awe as I walk along the streets of this majestic city: New York, NY. Manhattan is practically synonymous with “skyline”; the iconic towering buildings serve as a testament to the creativity and dominance of mankind.

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Community Engagement Coordinator: Ashley Frenkel

Ashley Frenkel is the Community Engagement Coordinator at Freshkills Park. An educator by training, she’s taught in all five boroughs including her birthplace of Brooklyn and her hometown of Staten Island. Ashley has a passion for interdisciplinary and collective learning and believes that at the intersection of art, science, history, and math we can learn to take new perspectives and honor the creativity, self-expression, and experiences of ourselves and others.

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Imagining the future – Freshkills Park in 2041

The Fresh Kills landfill closed 20 years ago and in marking the anniversary, we decided to imagine a fast forward to 20 years in the future, 2041, when all 2,200 acres of the park are open to the public. What follows is an aspirational imagining:

The 2020 pandemic highlighted the critical need for parks and open space and the need for more equitable access to open space all across NYC.

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Jane’s Walk: Exploring Freshkills Park

Freshkills Park, an icon of transformation in New York City, is thrilled to be participating in Jane’s Walk in 2021. The self-guided tour below will introduce you to New York’s largest new park project in over a century and trace through the history of Fresh Kills as a wetland, a landfill, and today, an emerging public park.

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The Greenest Borough

With the formal start of Spring next week, many of us are excited for our parks to be in full bloom.  Now is an exciting time to get out and experience parks as they transition out of winter and begin to wake up.   

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