Tags: sustainability

Highlighting another Sustainable Park: Canal Park, Washington DC

Canal Park in Washington DC, situated between the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers, was originally a canal before it was paved over in the early 1900’s for a multitude of uses, including use as a lot for idling buses. The area was converted into a park in 2000 and shortly thereafter, in 2004, the non-profit Canal Park Development Association sponsored a sustainable park design competition for the site.

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New York City Ranked in Top 10 Best US Cities for Urban Forests

The conservation group American Forests has just released a ranking of the top 10 best U.S. cities for urban forests, and New York City made the list! After an independent collection of data on the 50 most populous American cities, a panel of technical advisors from the U.S.

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Schmul Park is open!

Schmul Park was officially opened yesterday. This reconstructed neighborhood park is the first portion of Freshkills Park to open to the public. The reconstructed Schmul Park now features a colorful playground, new handball and basketball courts, a grass lawn, and a modern comfort station.

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Adios Goats!

Freshkills Park bids a fond farewell to the herd of goats who have spent the past few weeks “mowing” the invasive phragmites at the North Park Wetlands Restoration Site. This quirky group of goats, with names like Mozart, Haydyn and Van Goat, not only did a fantastic job of removing the vegetation from the site, but also seemed to thoroughly enjoy their pleasant surroundings at Freshkills Park.

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The Undeniable Benefits of Urban Trees

It is inarguable that trees are an integral component of a healthy life. Despite this fact, the case for trees in urban environments needs to be continually proven in order to prevent their elimination. As Atlantic Cities reports, the City of San Diego is setting an excellent precedent by collecting data which demonstrates the overwhelmingly positive mental and physical effects of trees on densely populated environments.

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Scotland’s Innovative Plans for “Climate Change Parks”

Across the pond, the nonprofit organization greenspace scotland, in partnership with Scottish National Heritage, has created a fascinating new e-resource called  “Creating Climate Change Parks.” The resource provides important design guidance for both the retro-fitting of older parks with climate change-friendly updates, such as tree planting schemes, green roofs and water management techniques, as well as guidelines for newly designed parks.

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‘Mussel Raft’ aides water filtration

An interesting experiment in water pollution management is taking place in the Bronx River estuary near Hunts Point in New York City. Scientists are testing the use of a ‘Mussel Raft’ for addressing nitrogen pollution from treated sewage that ends up in the water from a nearby treatment facility.

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The West Coast leads the way with innovative Recycling Programs

West Coast cities such as San Francisco, Portland and Seattle have recently become leaders in the effort to reduce the size of landfills by enacting a myriad of cutting-edge recycling programs. The New York Times reports that in Portland, a new biweekly garbage pickup schedule will cut back on the waste sent to landfills by 44 percent.

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More photos of Freshkills Park’s newest residents!

Be sure to check out our Facebook and Flickr pages for tons more photos of the goats in action. Our newest residents, with names such as Mozart, Haydn and Van Goat, seem to already be enjoying life (and lunch) at Freshkills Park!

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Wetland restoration on former landfill (with a little help from goats!)

With the support of a New York State Environmental Protection Fund Local Waterfront Revitalization Program grant, the Department of Parks & Recreation is undertaking restoration of two acres of wetland habitat along Main Creek within Freshkills Park that will include goat grazing as a method of invasive plant control.

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‘Light Reeds’ provide current-powered waterfront lighting

A new method for lighting spaces adjacent to urban waterways uses renewable energy powered by water currents. The ‘Light Reeds,’ from New York City-based Pensa, mimic the reeds you might find along creeks or other natural waterways and provide a more ambient light source than harsh street lights.

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2012 LAGI design competition July 1st deadline approaching

‘Renewable energy can be beautiful.’ That is the tagline for the 2012 Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI)  international design competition. The open LAGI competition calls for ideas to “design a site-specific public artwork that also functions as clean energy infrastructure for New York City.” This year the contest partners with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation and the site is within the 2,200 acre Freshkills Park on Staten Island.

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New study on link between trees and lower crime rates

Previous studies have shown that trees are associated with lower crime rates and a new study in Baltimore affirms this finding, showing the link goes beyond a correlation between the two factors. In other words, it’s not just a matter of wealthier neighborhoods having lower crime rates.

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Threatened coastal seagrasses supply more carbon storage than forests

New research shows coastal seagrass store up to twice the amount of carbon as above-ground forests, but are being threatened by dredging and water pollution, among other factors. Treehugger reports on the global analysis by Nature Geoscience showing seagrass can store “83,000 metric tons of carbon per square kilometer, versus 30,000 tons for a typical forest” and “29% of all historic seagrass meadows have been destroyed, primarily due to dredging and water pollution, with 1.5% of seagrass meadows destroyed each year.” The recent release of the New York City Wetland Strategy appears particularly timely in light of these findings.

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Goats graze at Fort Wadsworth and Governors Island

Goats are spending the summer on Governors Island in New York Harbor and Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island as a sustainable resource for park maintenance – eating weeds, trimming trees and grass. Not only do goats graze on invasive plant species, including poison ivy, they can ‘recycle’ some food scraps from visitors as part of a composting program, which is happening on Governors Island for this first time this summer.

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City outlines strategy to protect and create wetlands

Mayor Bloomberg and several City of New York agencies recently released The Wetland Strategy report, which outlines plans to protect and improve city waterways. The report contains strategies to address goals in PlaNYC 2030. Among the 12 initiatives are plans to:

  • invest $48 million in projects that restore and enhance nearly 127 acres of wetlands and neighboring areas,
  • add 75 acres of wetland to the New York City Parks system,
  • create the natural areas conservancy to encourage a public-private partnership for wetlands management,
  • create a wetlands mitigation banking or in-lieu fee mechanism for public projects.
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How building subways helps build our parks

As work on Manhattan’s Second Avenue subway line progresses, those viewing the massively scaled operation may wonder, “where does all the excavated dirt and rock go?” In the past, the ‘muck’ from expanding subway lines and other construction projects has contributed to the building of Ellis Island, Governors Island and Battery Park City, among other city landmarks – including the expansion of the Manhattan shoreline.

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Methane generates revenue at Freshkills Park

Methane gas produced from decomposing waste at Fresh Kills landfill is generating revenue for the City of New York of up to $12 million each year as the site is developed into a 2,200-acre park.

With the help of advanced landfill gas collection infrastructure throughout the landfill, the New York City Department of Sanitation is actively harvesting methane, through rigorous state and federal public health and safety guidelines, from the decomposing waste buried at Fresh Kills landfill.

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Vacant NYC Lots Host New Green Spaces

The NY Times highlights an effort by 596 Acres, a Brooklyn-based “public education project,” to galvanize community support in order to transform vacant city-owned land into gardens. Claiming that the city owns a collection of vacant land parcels totaling over 1,000 acres, the group, led by Paula Z.

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Garden mulch from beer bottles

The recent closure of a town landfill in Tennessee has spurred an innovation in the afterlife of one common discard: beer bottles. Faced with the prospect of high tipping fees associated with hauling its waste elsewhere, the Cumberland County Recycling Center purchased a glass grinder which pulverizes heavy bottles and jars – a heavy component of the town’s waste – into fine gravel, dust, and mulch-like products.

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