The light and the air in mid-November have a special quality that is hard to put into any words, and our garden community of people also has a special quality of collaboration and kindness that is hard to put into words. Tanya Starace caught this in her photos of our work day on Sunday November 14th. We saw so many Members and Associates who were able to be out helping. Four new Members received their plots . We had volunteers from La Scuola d'Italia in Manhattan and also from Roosevelt Island working alongside so many of all ages. Take some time to enjoy these beautiful photos.
Roosevelt Island neighbors and other visitors often ask how they can help out and get exercise alongside us in the gardens. In October this year we reached out to some of those who have emailed or spoken up and they joined us alongside some teens out for service hours. We enjoyed a working morning of tool clean up, path repair, and compost materials prep. Thank you all!
The Standards Committee favorite job is to acknowledge the excellent work that gardeners do. Our review is conducted over time, in the course of the year, for plots in sun or shade, for flowers or vegetables.
Best May Garden: A02 Ali Schwayri
Best June Garden: A03 Aiesha Eleusizov
Best July Garden: A01 Beverly Shutes
Best August Garden: C28 Curtis Lowrey
Best Sept Garden: D05 Dorothy Skelin
Most Improved: D01 Jorg Meyer
The gardeners on the Standards committee work hard every year and this year they had to reboot our regular seasonal inspections. Standards motivates us all to take the time to slow down and to come out and garden! As a community garden, we take our responsibility to the earth and to our neighbors on the waitlist seriously. We promote active gardening in this space that we share with the visiting public and the standards committee works hard to help us do that. Join them!
Some plot holders keep vegetable gardens, others choose herbs, flowers, and berries. Some garden in sun and others in shade. Some gardeners prefer a natural style with native plants for birds and pollinators, others plant perennials and annuals into a formal rock garden or traditional style. Whatever gardeners choose, it is important to be active and to come out to enjoy your plot.
Thank you, RIGC Standards!
Despite the ongoing challenges of Covid 19, the Outreach Team who were interested in offering free garden classes was able to make a come back this spring and fall 2021. Laura Laderman and Julia Ferguson both enjoy "teaching" these gardening classes and they were glad to be able to start again this year. We offered 6 weeks of free classes in May and June and then again another 6 weeks of free classes in September and October.
Plot D12 is super shady with many tree roots, but we persist. We also were able to use some sunny spots in C-38 and C-39 in the summer for corn, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Plot D12 has produced lots of kale, purple beans, a few radishes, and now Swiss chard, lettuce, and garlic for winter crops. We have some native pollinator plantings ,one hydrangea, and a few impatiens. Most of all Plot D12 gives youth ages 9-13 a place to learn with a cycle of activities that we repeat in some way each week:
This fall at our final class we had two boys and two girls and a guest scientist. (Thank you, Alexander Dvorak.) We also had three children of member gardeners - now a "tradition" since 2014 when one high schooler, the daughter of a member in the B section, got it all started. Click here for the article
Stay tuned for more. The last thing these young people said was:
" When is our next class?"
NYC Pollinator Group Visits Wonderful Roosevelt Island Community Garden To Learn And Share Best Practices On Bees, Native Plants, Composting & More!
Please read and watch this post by The Roosevelt Islander for much more information. We could not have been more excited to host passionate professionals from all around NYC for a visit and seed swap at the gardens on Friday afternoon October 15th: Parks professionals, Landscapers, National Wildlife educators, Native plant enthusiasts, Arborists, Entomologists and more! Thank you so much Christina Delfico @iDig2Learn for organizing this social gathering for nature!
A visitor from Manhattan enjoyed some regular weekend visits to RIGC for photography this fall. He preferred to remain anonymous, but graciously sent some of the pictures he enjoyed capturing in our gardens. Thank you, NYC neighbor, for this wonderful glimpse of the some of the beauty and life in the gardens.
Thanks to our Associate, Annavaleria Guazzieri, RIGC was able to host a group of 20 students from "La Scuola d'Italia G, Marconi" in Manhattan to visit the gardens on the afternoon of the 1st of October. Most 10th and 11th graders, these students were a mix of native speakers of Italian and native speakers of English. They visited several sites on Roosevelt Island: Blackwell House, then the Cornell Tech and Four Freedoms Park, and finally the gardens before heading to the Octagon, where a photo exhibit was on show. They were also lucky enough to get a composting lesson from Anthony Longo during their visit. Thank you to "La Scuola d'Italia G, Marconi" and director Michael Prater for honoring us as part of this Roosevelt Island visit.
Thank you to all who came out and helped out on September 25th at RIOC's FALL FOR ARTS FESTIVAL. We had both new and longtime members helping out and so many families came by to make watercolors and enjoy some art, beauty, and gratitude for nature, our home.
RIGC called our table activity FALL FOR THE ART OF NATURE and invited folks to reconnect with our home and our kin on this earth by working with watercolor stencils for butterflies, birds, bees, flowers, and more.
It was a beautiful, sunny afternoon as families stopped by the Meditation Steps lawn. Murals and artists were all around us and the river shown in the background. We highlighted our future as connected to our earth and all those creatures who share this life on our planet. A responsible relationship with the future can also include acknowledging our past and all those who were here on this land before us. So we posted the following statement at our table.
We acknowledge those who were removed from this land, their homeland. This wonderful place we know of as Roosevelt Island was originally part of Lenapehoking, the Lenape name for Lenape land, which spans from Western Connecticut to Eastern Pennsylvania, and the Hudson Valley to Delaware, with Manhattan at its center. In the 1800s the US government forcibly removed most Lenape remaining in the east, sending them further west and far away from their homeland. Today the Lenape peoples now reside in many places and their diaspora includes five federally recognized nations in Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and Ontario.
As we learn more about and from Indigenous peoples and Indigenous science and ways of being, we can reconnect with our living earth home and our kinfolk, both human and non-human living beings.
SPOTTED LANTERNFLIES, an invasive pest, are in NYC now: please kill and report to NYS Environmental Department.
Report your sighting to the state at this link.
Click and read one of these articles for pictures and more information on our responsibilities. For more complete information see these articles:
These insects are active late in the day and at night. Bring your rolled up newspapers, your fly swatters, your boots with heals and crush this enemy of our trees and plant. We need to move fast because they move like grasshoppers.
Now is the time, the month of September is when they lay their eggs. Look for that brown peanut brittle spread. It could be on the bark of a tree or on any hard surface, rocks, bricks, metal, wood. Remove it, destroy it.
And don’t bring any to the garden. They are notorious hitchhikers. Please try not to bring them from any gardening center in another borough, NJ, or PA. Let's act early and vigilantly before they can establish their swarming colonies.
Cornell has been mapping the sightings (as have New Yorkers have been mapping the sightings via the iNaturalist app.)
It was our pleasure to serve as the Beneficiary Representative for Brendan Hyne’s Eagle Project. Board Members, Jack Burkhalter and Julia Ferguson, both served as his RIGC advisors for the project that began in the summer of 2020 and was completed this month.
Brendan’s thought process evolved as he researched the idea of supporting pollinators in the garden. He learned that, as much fun as the idea to get a livestock permit to raise honeybees might appear, the wiser ecological choice and the more urgent need was to support endangered native bees and provide homes for them. After designing the bee boxes, Brendan reviewed the plans with gardeners possessing woodworking expertise. Once Brendan had constructed the prototype, he demonstrated to Jack and to me that he had been resourceful in doing extensive online research and in learning about woodworking. Among other things, Brendan reached out to the Xerxes Society for Invertebrate Conservation for advice on the technical aspects of what homes would best suit the native bees. In so doing, he learned important details, including that the bee homes must face east or southeast, as the creatures are dependent upon the sun to warm them.
The project proved to have many steps: research, fundraising, shopping for untreated wood, purchasing wood, cutting wood, determining the best way to construct the boxes, assembling the boxes, drilling the holes, and installing the boxes. Challenges, especially in this era of COVID-19, were ever-present but Brendan grew and persisted. He rose to each occasion and then reflected on his learning. It is my understanding that one key aspect of the Scouts BSA Eagle Project is the need to lead others in service. During the course of Brendan’s project some 40 people were led in service to the environment.
The finished product is sturdy, attractive, and most importantly, should meet the needs of the native bees. One of the boxes is installed on the RIGC fence facing the East River, and we look forward to educating the public about the bee boxes, and the need to continue to support native pollinators. According to the Xerces society, "30% of native bees are cavity nesting such as leaf cutter and mason bees. These species need cavities in dead wood, hollow stems, or brush piles." These nesting shelters are designed with these bees in mind and should be posted on a steady spot facing east or southeast. For detailed instructions please download this pdf from Xerces.
I hope you will agree with us that Brendan Hynes has earned the rank of Eagle Scout. We at RIGC certainly do support his promotion.
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