Inwood Hill Park
The Daily Plant : Tuesday, August 13, 2002
NY STATE URBAN COMMUNITY FORESTRY COUNCIL CONFERENCE
On Friday, July 12, Commissioner Adrian Benepe welcomed attendees to the opening plenary of the New York State Urban Community Forestry Council Conference at the College of Mount Saint Vincent in Riverdale. Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion Jr. and State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) Commissioner Erin Crotty joined him on the first occasion that the conference has convened in New York City. Forty representatives from Parks attended the conference including Deputy Commissioner for Operations Liam Kavanagh. Assistant Director for Street Tree Planting Doug Still, a member of the conference’s planning committee, was the MC. Other members of the planning committee included Deputy Director for Street Tree Planting Barbara Nickels and Forester Tim Wenskus. Several Parkies conducted workshops, including Chief of Forestry and Horticulture Fiona Watt, Director of New York Tree Trust Jennifer Greenfeld, Stewardship Coordinator for the New York Tree Trust Ginger Hagan, and Barbara Nickels.
New York was an ideal site for the conference. According to the Urban Land Institute, New York City has more developed parkland than any other locality in the United States. With city, state, and national parkland added together, a full 26.6 percent of the city is greenspace. Our 28,617.5 acres – 13.9 percent of the city – are as many acres as the Los Angeles, Chicago, and Denver Parks Departments combined. There are over two million trees thriving citywide that are sources of shade, and vital producers of fresh air for city dwellers. Naturally, developing knowledge of urban forestry and horticulture is a priority. Parks’ urban foresters use their expertise everyday to restore damaged ecosystems, create sustainable greenspaces in underserved neighborhoods, fight exotic pests, and educate the public about stewardship and conservation.
Conference attendees had the option of touring either the South Bronx or Inwood Hill Park, both options offering them the opportunity to see some of Parks’ best forest restoration work. Over the past three years, Parks has acquired over forty critical acres of parkland along the Bronx River, part of Mayor Bloomberg’s goal of developing the whole 320 miles of New York City’s waterfront as parkland. To date, over $90 million in federal, state and local funds have been secured towards the river’s redevelopment. In the last decade, Inwood Hill Park has become a focal point for our Natural Resources Group and Urban Park Ranger’s efforts to restore urban ecosystems. Several weeks ago, these efforts culminated in the release of 4 baby Bald Eagles, a long-missed species native to the Hudson River Valley.
One theme of the conference – which included workshops on topics ranging from combating exotic pests to planting techniques – was environmental justice. In the past few years, a number of major studies and survey reports have documented the growing body of evidence establishing the link between air pollution and public health. Parks has a number of experimental forestry projects currently underway – programs involving citizen participation in the maintenance of street trees as well as partnerships with researchers exploring the connection between trees and public health. The Reliant Energy Company, owners of the old Con Edison plant across the river in Astoria, is also sponsoring an ongoing project to plant 500 trees downwind from their facility in both Astoria and Mott Haven to improve air quality in underserved areas.
Encouraging foresters and advocates to consider their long-term goals, Commissioner Benepe concluded his remarks saying, "From scheduling ballfields to creating public programming, children are our top priority park visitors. We care for our natural preserves with an eye toward the future – their future – with the hope that we can leave them with a healthy urban environment. It is wonderful to see so many talented people dedicating their lives to this challenging task."
Written by Jennifer Keeney
THIRTEEN YEARS AGO IN THE PLANT
(Tuesday, August 22, 1989)
PARKIES VIEW "WILD SIDE" OF THE CITY
ON NATURAL RESOURCES GROUP TOURS
With summer in full swing, Parks workers have been busy trimming hedges, maintaining pools, and preparing sites for numerous free park festivals and concerts. And summer is also a time for Parkies to learn more about the native flora that abound in our parks, as a way to better care for the thousands of acres of natural areas in city parks.
On four days over the summer, a total of nearly 75 park managers from the five boroughs set out on half-day and day-long educational bus tours of some of the more pristine, less traveled natural areas with the city. Sponsored by the Natural Resources Group (NRG) and borough Parks divisions, the bus tours helped provide park managers with an appreciation of New York City’s rich and varied natural ecosystems. While leading the tours, NRG also discussed the unique managerial responsibilities associated with the preservation of these precious natural resources.
QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
"There is no terror in a bang, only in the anticipation of it."
(August 13, 1899–1980)