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Daily Plant Masthead

Volume XXVIII, Number 5794
Monday, Feb 11, 2013

Sustainable Parks Corner: Will You Be My Composter?

Caught Green Handed: Sibel Ozbek

Assistant Landscape Architect Sibel Ozbek has spread her love for composting since she joined Parks more than four years ago. Not only is she helping divert significant amounts of waste from the landfill and cutting methane gas emissions, but she has reached out and encouraged over 100 fellow Parks employees from her office to get more involved. When not helping design stormwater capture greenstreets and green roofs around the city, Sibel oversees three different composting systems at Capital Projects and Central Forestry & Horticulture headquarters in Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens. The group composts everything from wood chips, leaves, shredded paper, food scraps and coffee grounds. Compost checklists adorn the refrigerator in her office. Parkies use the finished product for their vegetable gardens and tree beds. Sibel also uses compost for a variety of landscaping projects, including a new art form called the “Green Wall” where she will be landscaping the trailer that is adjacent to the Olmsted Center. Sibel is a true leader and inspiration to her fellow Parkies agency-wide. Encourage your loved ones to compost on Valentine’s Day and every day that follows!

Sibel was nominated by Dave Barker, Director of Sustainability Initiatives.

Valentine’s Day Tips

Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate those who are important in our lives. But showing your love does not have to be another costly, waste-producing holiday. Make green the new red with some of these tips!


As of 2009, more than 80% of all cut flowers were imported from Colombia and Ecuador. Flowers also can have up to 50 times more pesticides than they allow on food. Purchase organic flowers or look for seasonal, local flowers from your Greenmarket. Show your love lasts by giving a potted plant rather than cut flowers for longer enjoyment. And whenever they wilt, make sure to compost them!


Over 180 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged annually. That is plenty of paper, chemicals, and gas being used to produce and ship these items. Cut the waste and save some green by sending an electronic card or get creative and make your own from reusable items!

If you are going out to eat, choose a restaurant that serves local, seasonal and organic foods. Want to avoid the Valentine’s Day crowds? Head down to your local Greenmarket and pick up some farm fresh vegetables, locally baked bread and cook up your own meal.

Showing you care does not have to mean buying more stuff. Plan some fun things to do with that special someone. You could catch a movie, go to a museum, see some live music or go for a hike! Check out the Parks events calendar for countless free and low cost things to do in parks citywide! If you don’t have time for an event, think about limiting your waste when it comes to gifts. Give recycled jewelry, find some hidden gems at thrift stores or do it yourself!


“We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology,
in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.”

Carl Sagan
(1934 - 1996)
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