As New York City’s greenest agency, we have been putting an increased focus on sustainability measures, from office procedures to infrastructure. Across the agency, we’ve seen several important milestones in just the past few weeks.
• Last month, the Sustainability Initiatives Office collected its 1000th Green Pledge from Queens Urban Park Ranger Marc Sanchez. Marc pledged not to print unless necessary, to use the electronic format of commonly printed documents, and to print on both sides of paper. The pledge program was launched in March 2011 to inspire dialogue about sustainable practices at Parks and help the agency conserve energy, fuel, paper, and other resources. Parks’ network of 30 Green Gurus helped us surpass the 1000 pledge mark through their enthusiastic outreach and education efforts. It’s not too late to follow in Marc’s footsteps and make a pledge.
• Out at the Olmsted Center, we marked the beginning of Parks’ area-wide green infrastructure contracts. Forestry and horticulture staff have been busy out in the field locating green infrastructure projects in the Bronx River and Flushing Bay sewersheds. Eventually, these contracts will build almost 200 stormwater capture installations, including greenstreets and right-of-way bioswales that capture street runoff. Capturing storm water runoff and keeping it out of the storm sewers will help keep our harbor waters cleaner and reduce the need for expensive storm sewer projects. I’m excited about this cutting-edge initiative and look forward to watching it develop.
• Two weeks ago at our state of the art Urban Field Station, Parks hosted the second in a new series of seminars aimed at keeping Parkies informed about current research and developments that impact the way we manage our natural resources. It’s also an opportunity for Parks staff to showcase all their great work. This most recent seminar was on reforestation and featured Tim Chambers, of our Natural Resources Group (NRG) speaking about propagation experiences at the Greenbelt Native Plant Center. The next seminar will take place in April and will focus on urban wildlife ecology. Keep an eye out for details and try to attend this informative series.
There are many Parkies making these sustainable initiatives possible, and chief among them is Jacqueline Lu, Director of Research & Analysis for Forestry, Horticulture, and NRG. Jackie juggles an array of complex projects that dramatically improve the functioning of Forestry, Horticulture, and Natural Resources but often go unnoticed as they are behind-the-scenes. Her portfolio is impressive; Jackie played a large role in the creation of the Forestry Management System (ForMS) database, which manages all street and park tree information, oversees the Urban Field Station, completed a mapping analysis that has helped us prioritize our street tree planting work, and has given us a crucial view into how vegetation cover has changed in the city over the past two decades.
What is most impressive about Jackie, though, is that she is an excellent supervisor who invests in both the personal and professional development of her staff, a quality that is becoming more and more important in these tough budget times. In fact, I heard about Jackie’s good work from Peter Tiso, one of the Parkies who works with her. I was particularly struck by one thing Peter said: “My own career at parks would be much poorer without Jackie’s guidance.”
Thank you for all the good work that you do, Jackie.
QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
“It’s wonderful what we can do if we’re always doing.”
(1732 – 1799)