The GreenApple Corps works to restore natural areas throughout New York City by doing intensive, hands-on ecological restoration work in the more than 12,000 acres of undeveloped parkland managed by New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. Corps members remove invasive and exotic plant species from forests, meadows, marshes, and freshwater and coastal wetlands, while helping to re–plant degraded areas with native species. Corps members also work to slow down erosion of slopes caused by inadequate drainage as well as foot and bicycle traffic, using cribbing techniques and materials that are designed to blend in with the natural surroundings. Additionally, throughout the program, Corps members take on exciting projects such as installing green roofs, building rainwater harvesting systems, and spearheading community plantings and coastal cleanups.
The GreenApple Corps collaborates with several other restoration groups, including Parks’ Natural Resources Group, Prospect Park Alliance, Central Park Conservancy, Grow NYC and the Gaia Institute. The combined efforts of the GreenApple Corps and its collaborators allow for increased amounts of ecological restoration work to be done, while also giving Corps members the opportunity to learn from practitioners with years of field experience.
Conference House Park
A large forested area on the southern tip of Staten Island had been virtually blanketed by the invasive vines Asiatic Bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus), Porcelain berry (Ampelopsis brevipendunculata), English Ivy (Hedera Helix) and Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) and crowded out by exotic mulberry (Morus alba), Ailanthus and Paulownia trees. In an ongoing effort, since 2007, Corps members have been manually eliminating these problem species from substantial tracts of the forest and planting native species in their place.
In anticipation of the reopening of the Highbridge — the first bridge to link Manhattan and the Bronx — to pedestrian and bicycle traffic, GreenApple has done extensive work to remove dense stands of invasive species that are threatening the health of the native forest near the Manhattan side of the bridge, below the historic Highbridge water tower. GreenApple Corps will continue the ongoing work of invasive removals and reforestation of the area, which lies along a recently-opened extension of the city’s Greenway.
Bronx River Island
GreenApple Corps has been working on the only natural island off the Bronx River in New York City, to remove highly- invasive/exotic Japanese Knotweed, and restoring the island with native riparian vegetation. Invasive vegetation removals, revegatation, and monitoring efforts will be ongoing.
In anticipation of the relocation of Prospect Park’s ice skating rink, the GreenApple Corps worked with the Prospect Park Alliance Ecology team to rescue fish from a portion of the lake that will be temporarily drained for construction. GreenApple Corps will provide ongoing help in planting native species along the new, extended lakefront shore, in order to create a more naturalized lake shore to benefit both park patrons and wildlife alike.
GreenApple Corps has installed several green roofs around New York City and continues to deliver hands-on environmental education programs to help sustain them. At Parks’ Five Borough headquarters on Randall’s Island, GreenApple Corps secured grant funds from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation/EPA/Long Island Sound Future’s Fund to install two greenroof pilot projects totaling 12,000 square feet. In addition, GreenApple Corps has worked in conjunction with Parks’ Technical Services staff to help install, monitor and maintain a total of 16 different greenroof systems. GreenApple Corps will be working with the Technical Services Division, The Greenbelt Native Plant Center and Columbia University to use best practices learned from our work at Five Borough to install 10 new greenroofs atop Parks Recreation Centers citywide.
GreenApple Corps organizes annual volunteer cleanups of coastal habitats in need of restoration. Consistent cleanups have contributed to better functioning and more diverse coastal habitats throughout the city. Below are pictures from a GAC coastal cleanup adjacent to Coney Creek in Kaiser Park, Brooklyn.
Before Coastal Clean–up
After Coastal Clean–up