Tags: ecology

Next Freshkills Park Talk: Tuesday, June 14th

The Freshkills Park Talks lecture series continues next Tuesday with a presentation by elementary school science teacher Howard Warren.  Out of sheer interest and commitment, Howard has become one of the City’s leading experts on the history and present condition of Barren Island and Dead Horse Bay, at the southeastern corner of Brooklyn. 


Everglades tree islands made from historic garbage

Maybe the earliest landfill-to-park precedent we’ve come across yet: archeological evidence in southwest Florida indicates that many of the “tree islands” of Everglades National Park—marsh islands supporting terrestrial vegetation—have developed from refuse piles from over 5,000 years ago. Credit for the early landfill operations is given to the now-extinct Calusa tribe, who deposited bones, shells, charcoal, and other ancient garbage in middens upon which they could settle, hunt or fish.


Study examines wildlife-friendly biofuel crops

A two-year study at Michigan State University finds that growing native prairie grasses for biofuel harvesting is more beneficial to wildlife populations than monoculture stands of corn. The research team, headed by biologist Bruce Robertson, attempted to identify ecologically sound biofuel alternatives that are as cost-effective as corn, which is currently the primary feedstock for deriving ethanol in the US.


The Society for Ecological Restoration speaks

The Dirt recently provided a thorough review of presentations made at this year’s Society for Ecological Restoration (SER) conference.  The conference focused on “novel ecosystems”—new combinations of species that result from the influence of people—and the issues restoration ecologists must consider in the face of unrelenting urbanization. 


USDA’s analysis of American urban forests

A report produced last summer by the US Forest Service’s Northern Research Station highlights the benefits of trees in urban environments, quantifies levels of existing tree cover in urbanized areas across the US and elucidates some of the issues and challenges involved with expanding urban forests (for the study, “urban forests” included all trees found within an urban region, such as on streets, yards, parks, etc.). 


Insight into bird vision could influence turbine design

A new study conducted by Dr. Graham Martin at Birmingham University investigates how bird sight effects collisions with human infrastructure, including wind turbines.

“When in flight, birds may turn their heads to look down, either with the binocular field or with the lateral part of an eye’s visual field,” says Martin.


Mel Chin’s ‘Revival Field’

Vulgare recently highlighted artist Mel Chin’s Revival Field: Projection & Procedure (1990-1993), a 60 square foot phytoremedation test plot at the Pig’s Eye Landfill in St. Paul, Minnesota. While in residence at the Walker Art Center, Chin worked with scientists at the USDA to design gardens of hyperaccumulators—plants that can uptake heavy metals from contaminated soil (at Pig’s Eye, the soil was contaminated with cadmium, zinc and lead).


Artists take on healing relationship with nature

An exhibition called Nurturing Nature: Artists Engage the Environment, at Concordia College’s OSilas Gallery in Bronxville, NY, features contemporary art projects focused on “healing our relationship with the living eco-system.”

This exhibition will focus on various spiritual or ethical traditions in relationship to our care of the planet, what Christianity terms ‘stewardship’, Tikkun Olam or ‘repair the world’ in Judaism, and in Buddhism ‘compassion for all sentient beings.’


Symposium on dance and ecology next weekend

The Interdisciplinary Laboratory for Art, Nature and Dance will be holding its third annual symposium next weekend, to survey and discuss interdisciplinary work at the intersection of dance and ecology.  “Slow Networks: Discovering the Urban Environment Through Collaborations in Dance and Ecology” will include presentations from past participants in iLAND’s residencies, general discussion panels and hands-on workshops in the field. 


Waste Management enhances wildlife habitat

Waste Management, Inc. (WM) recently reached a company goal of supporting at least 25,000 acres of wildlife habitat across 100 of its properties, most of which are landfill sites.  Environmental projects on WM land vary  from pollinator gardens and birdhouses to wetland creation and native habitat enhancement, with many projects involving community involvement and environmental education components. 


Interdisciplinary art & ecology residencies available

iLAND, the Interdisciplinary Laboratory for Art, Nature and Dance, has released a Request for Proposals for applications to their iLAB Collaborative Residency Program. The goal of the program is to support multidisciplinary teams of residents in creative processes that meld New York City ecological issues with public performance- and movement-based art. 


Sustainable stormwater management, animated

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/15225376 w=500&h=300]

A follow-up (or preface) to Dana Gumb’s lecture: as part of its series of sustainable design videos (including the brownfield remediation piece we featured recently), the American Society of Landscape Architects has produced an animated video on designing landscapes to assist in stormwater management. 


Dana Gumb on sustainable stormwater management

Our thanks to this month’s speaker in our Freshkills Park Talks series, Dana Gumb, as well as to everyone who came out to see his talk at the Arsenal last week.  Dana explained a host of innovative approaches, implemented by the NYC Department of Environmental Protection within the Staten Island Bluebelt and other outer borough watersheds, to capture and treat stormwater as a way of restoring native habitats, beautifying neighborhoods, preventing floods and mitigating the environmental impacts of sewage overflow.


Next Freshkills Park Talk: Tuesday, January 25th

The Freshkills Park Talks lecture series continues at the Arsenal on Tuesday, January 25th, with a talk by Dana Gumb, Director of the Staten Island Bluebelt at the New York City Department of Environmental Protection.  Dana will be talking about sustainable and ecologically sound approaches urban stormwater management, through the lens of the Bluebelt, one of the most ambitious stormwater management efforts in the northeastern United States.


Studies of New York City’s contemporary geology

The bloggers behind Friends of the Pleistocene hold forth on Urban Omnibus to outline the ethos behind Geologic City, a series of field reports that are part urban exploration and part geologic survey. The project aims to investigate and reflect on New York City’s contemporary landscape and the relatively recent interaction of humans with geological strata in the context of of vast timescales.


Dr. Steven Handel on urban ecological restoration

We’re playing catch-up recapping some of our recent events.  Last month’s talk by Dr. Steven Handel, Director of the Center for Urban Restoration Ecology (CURE) at Rutgers University, was an informative and engaging overview of Dr. Handel’s work, including a discussion of ‘ecological services’ and why urban ecology is so important. 


The Staten Island Greenbelt, unconcealed

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/17476706]

The PBS Thirteen series The City Concealed recently featured a segment on the Staten Island Greenbelt. This 2,800-acre continuous corridor of green space provides a host of natural recreational opportunities–including some of the best and most serene hiking in New York City–and acts as a refuge for native wildlife. 


Land art films at Anthology this weekend

This weekend, Anthology Film Archives presents Site Recordings: Land Art on Film and Video, a series devoted to films by and about artists associated with the Land Art/Earthworks movement.

In the late 1960s and early 70s, modernism’s affirmation of fixity, permanence, and autonomy lost its hold on the Western imagination, shaping the manner in which a whole host of artists engaged with the moving image.


Next Freshkills Park Talk: Monday, November 22nd

After a late summer hiatus, our Freshkills Park Talks lecture series resumes next Monday with a talk by Dr. Steven Handel, Director of the Center for Urban Restoration Ecology (CURE) at Rutgers University.  CURE’s research and practice focuses on ‘ecological services’ provided by patches of native habitat in urban and other degraded areas, and how to ensure the sustainability of those services with relatively low maintenance costs.


Deer crossing

Visitors on the Freshkills Park tour are always excited when we mention that there are deer on-site, but they rarely experience a sighting; deer can be shy when large vehicles and groups of people are on the approach.  But there have, in fact, been a number of sightings. 


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