Freshkills Park Blog

Earth Day Festival Highlights

On Saturday, April 23rd, the Freshkills Park Alliance hosted our first Earth Day Festival at our Studio + Gallery’s newly refurbished outdoor space. In the weeks leading up to the event, dozens of volunteers helped beautify the space to promote the growth of environmentally beneficial plants and to prepare it for hosting our community for a day of fun and educational activities.  

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Nest Box Tips from Freshkills Park

Highlights:

  • There are some important general features of nest boxes to benefit birds
  • Nest boxes are generally designed with a particular species in mind,
  • Location is important when deciding which species you wish to attract
  • Remember to report your sighting to Project NestWatch

Within the next few weeks, migrating birds will be returning to our area for the spring and summer.

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Research Spotlight: Arthropods of Freshkills Park With Derrick Chen and Daniel Alshanksky

During the summer of 2021, Derrick Chen and Daniel Alshansky of Staten Island Technical High School conducted arthropod (arthropods: phylum Arthropoda, a group of invertebrates that includes insects and arachnids) surveys at Freshkills Park as part of their Terra New York City STEM Fair research project.

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Construction Nears Completion at North Park Phase 1

On a balmy day in January (40 degrees and sunny) several Freshkills Park staff visited North Park Phase 1 to observe the progress and watch the erection of the bird tower.  Thanks to one amateur photographer, we can bring you behind the construction in the video below. 

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Christmas Bird Count 2021

Highlights:

  •     Seven groups of 40 volunteers recorded 25,287 individual birds, and 118 species
  •     The most common birds recorded were Canada Goose, European Starling, Ringed-bill Gull, Herring gull and White-throated Sparrow
  •     Highlights for the Freshkills Park territory included Orange-crowned Warblers and a Baltimore Oriole

 On December 18th Staten Island held its annual National Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count.

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Winter Birding at Freshkills

The trees are bare and snow flurries have started, signs that the heart of winter is approaching. As we brace for frigid temperatures and layers upon layers of clothes, it is hard to imagine this weather could be favorable for wildlife.

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Photographer-in-Residence Jade Doskow on her latest Exhibition

This past Fall, the Tracey Morgan Gallery presented Jade Doskow: Freshkills, a new exhibition of photographs taken at Freshkills Park.  The exhibit was on display from September 17 through October 30, 2021.

Doskow’s large-scale photographs of the iconic New York City landfill-turned-park make clear its’ paradoxical, ethereal beauty, while creating an important archive of a major chapter in the story of New York City’s infrastructure.

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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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