GCEF

Newtown Creek Alliance Partners with Greenpoint Students this School Year

Preparing the NCA curriculum, via Newtown Creek Alliance

Happy first day of school, Greenpoint! This year, the local conservationists at Newtown Creek Alliance are bringing the creek to the curriculum as part of the National Wildlife Federation’s Greenpoint EcoSchools initiative.

NCA will pioneer its new STEM Urban Ecology curriculum in the four Greenpoint Public schools: PS 31, PS 34, PS 110, and MS 126. The learning modules and field trips, designed for elementary and middle school students, cover Flora and Fauna relationships, invasive and native species, topography, water and soil quality, ecological health and legacy and ongoing pollution sources.

Each lesson will culminate in a “design based applied learning project,” and NCA staff will serve as expert guides, leading classes through related activities and offering guest lecturers in the classroom.  Continue reading

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Ecology to Take Center Stage at Monitor Museum Site

A rendering of the Monitor Museum restored shoreline, via Brooklyn Paper in 2015
A rendering of the Monitor Museum restored shoreline, via Brooklyn Paper in 2015

The USS Monitor, built here in Greenpoint by Continental Ironworks in 1862, was one of the first iron-clad battle ships in the US Navy. During the Civil War, the Monitor took part in the “Battle of the Ironclads,” and money from the building of the Monitor contributed to the building of the Church of the Ascension (127 Kent Street).

Given The Monitor’s deep role in the industrial, naval and ecclesiastical history of Greenpoint, and the United States itself, lifelong Greenpoint residents George and Janice Weinmann have been advocating for a museum dedicated to the boat since 1996.

The couple secured land for the museum on Quay Street at the Monitor’s construction site in 2003, and scored a grant from GCEF to fund the museum in 2015. The project requires a restoration of the ecological shoreline at the Quay Street property, and the museum has been working with design and engineering firm AECOM to make it happen. On Wednesday, June 13, friends of the Monitor Museum teamed up with AECOM to host a public info meeting about the current status of the project.  Continue reading

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FREE Perennials in Greenpoint! Pick Yours Up Next Week (6/13)

Echinacea+purpurea
Echinacea purpurea, via Greening Greenpoint

Greening Greenpoint is giving away free flowers for you to plant in neighborhood tree beds! You can register online for your free flowers and pick them up at the Monitor School next Wednesday, June 13th from 2:30pm-5:30pm.

Here’s info about all the flower types offered, and here’s where you can sign up online. You must agree to plant the flowers in Greenpoint, and tend to them. Let’s help make Greenpoint greener!

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Make Greenpoint Greener by Submitting a Project Proposal to GCEF!

GCEF

Have you ever explored the Kingsland Wildflowers Green Roof? Paddled along with the North Brooklyn Boat Club? Relaxed in the Urban Oasis in McGolrick Park? Worked in the Java Street Community Garden? Then you know the power of GCEF Grants! Those are just a few of the 40 creative and impactful environmental improvement projects that have received funding from the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund.

And your project could be next! GCEF is calling for grant proposals, and has $1.2 Million to award in grants ranging from $25,000 – $100,000. 

GCEF grants are Greenpoint specific, awarded to projects carried out within the bounds of the 11222 zip code, and the entirety of McCarren Park. The funding supports “projects that address community environmental improvement priorities, such as improving water quality, groundwater, open space, toxic pollution, and air quality.” Non-profit organizations, local government, academic and educational institutions are all welcome to apply, but individuals and for-profit businesses are not eligible.

Think you’ve got the greenest project in Greenpoint? Click here for in depth information about submitting a grant application. Proposals are due 3/15/2018! 

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Notes from Wednesday’s Community Development Meeting

Rendering of 21 India Street via Corcoran
Rendering of 21 India Street via Corcoran

On Wednesday, Greenpoint residents came together at the Polish and Slavic Center (176 Java Street) for a community development meeting organized by Councilman Stephen Levin. The meeting promised information about how new construction along the waterfront, will impact Greenpoint.

Representatives from Greenpoint Landing, The Greenpoint (21 India Street) and Heritage Equity Partners (25 Kent) presented the most recent developments regarding their on-gong construction projects, and took questions from community members. Then community organizations took the floor to discuss their recent work. Neighbors Allied for Good Growth, the Department of Environmental Conservation, Curb Your Litter, and Evergreen all turned out to detail their ongoing efforts on behalf of Greenpoint. Here are notes from the 2 hour meeting:

Continue reading

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Construction on Greenpoint’s New Library and Environmental Education Center is Officially Underway!

Breaking ground on the new Greenpoint Library and Education Center. Photo by Lucie Levine
Breaking ground on the new Greenpoint Library and Education Center. Photo by Lucie Levine

The Greenpoint community, including students from PS 34, joined Brooklyn Public Library President and CEO Linda Johnson and a host of local elected officials, to break ground on Greenpoint’s new Library and Environmental Education Center this Monday afternoon, October 23rd. The new library will stand on the site of the recently demolished Greenpoint Library (107 Norman Avenue). That location has been home to a library since 1906. The original Greenpoint Library, torn down due to structural damage in the 1970s, was one of Brooklyn’s first Carnegie Libraries, a group of institutions founded “to promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding.” The new Library and Environmental Education Center will help further that mission in the 21st century. The new library, designed to exceed the standards for LEED Silver Green Building Certification, will be double the size of the old Greenpoint Library, provide over 300 hours of environmental education per year, and sport a variety of exciting features including an accessible green roof and a public plaza with flexible meeting and event spaces.  Continue reading

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Green Thumbin’ It: North Brooklyn Community Garden Roundup

61 Franklin Street Community Garden. Photo by Lucie Levine
61 Franklin Street Garden. Photo by Lucie Levine

It’s planting season, and North Brooklyn’s giving us lots of opportunities to play in the dirt. This past weekend community members turned out for OpenHouseGCEFBushwick Inlet Park’s Daffodil Planting, Free Garden Workshops at the McCarren Park Demonstration Garden, and Transmitter Park’s Weeding Workshop. On Saturday, you can participate in the Friends of Cooper Park Daffodil Planting. If you’re a Greenpoint Resident, you can even become a licensed Citizen Pruner for just $15 by completing the Trees New York Tree Pruning Course beginning This evening, October 16th.

If the current Columbia study on lead levels in Greenpoint’s soil has you steering clear of all things growing, community gardens could help you find a safer place to try out your green thumb: the study finds that public park spaces have significantly lower concentrations of lead than private yards. Further, based on Cornell’s 2014 study of New York City community garden soils, NYC Parks GreenThumb (which administers the city’s community gardens) prioritized clean soil deliveries to affected gardens.

So, ready to pull a Joni Mitchell and get yourself back to the garden? With over 600 community gardens throughout all five boroughs, New York City has the largest community gardening program in the nation. This handy NYC Parks GreenThumb Community Garden Guide lets you search by zip code or address to find the ones closest to you. Read on for a roundup of local community gardens. Continue reading

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Cutest Dog Contest (+ More From The GCEF) in McGolrick This Weekend! (10/14)

WHAT: OpenHouseGCEF!
WHERE: McGolrick/Winthrop Park, Russell St. and Driggs Ave.
WHEN: Saturday, October 14, 11am-3pm (NOTE: If heavy rain the 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. event will be cancelled!)

If you haven’t heard about the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund, it’s the silver lining resulting from our neighborhood’s heavily industrious past—the disastrous Exxon oil spill, which leaked between 17-30 million gallons of oil into Newtown Creek over the course of several decades. The state was awarded millions of dollars ($19.5 mill to be exact), to be earmarked toward grants for Greenpoint-based environmental organizations. Since the GCEF was established in 2011, 46 grants totaling $16.8 million have been awarded to 40 projects, and the fund has leveraged an additional $37.6 million in matching contributions from grantees.

McGolrick Park. Photo: Megan Penmann

This Saturday, the second annual OpenHouseGCEF, hosted by the GCEF and the McGolrick Park Neighborhood Alliance, will be a fun-filled day at McGolrick for adults and kids alike, featuring: live music, flower planting, crafts, story time readings, a “cutest dog” contest and other activities. And you’ll get to pow-wow with many of the community organizations that have received GCEF grants, like the McGolrick Park Neighborhood Alliance, the Newtown Creek Alliance, the Greenpoint Library, the Greenpoint Monitor Museum, the North Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, NYC Audubon and others. Continue reading

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Who Sees the Trees? Greenpoint’s Citizen Pruners!

Emerald City. Photo by Lucie Levine
Emerald City. Photo by Lucie Levine

We might live in the concrete jungle, but according to this fantastic interactive tree map made by the New York City Parks department, Greenpoint is blessed with arboreal abundance. Our lovely neighborhood trees benefit from the care of volunteer environmental stewards, known as Citizen Pruners. 

Greenpointer Sarah Balistreri, the fabulous force behind the instagram account @wildgreenpoint, who helped conduct the tree census that informs the map, is a Citizen Pruner. After taking a tree identification course at the Brooklyn Brainery, which sparked a love of urban street trees, Sarah took the Trees New York Citizen Pruner course and became a licensed tree-hugger.

The Citizen Pruner course trains and certifies New Yorkers in “tree care, biology, identification and pruning.” Sarah explains that all of these skills and areas of knowledge are intertwined when it comes to properly caring for New York’s Trees, because knowing about a tree’s species, and the specific challenges that species has with weather or growth, helps inform how you prune it.

Trees New York is the only organization in the city that trains and certifies Citizen Pruners, and only certified Citizen Pruners can legally prune street trees in New York. Trees New York certifies about 200 Citizen Pruners every year, but Greenpoint residents are particularly lucky. Anyone who lives in zip code 11222 is eligible for the Greening Greenpoint Scholarship, and can take the course for just $15, thanks to funding from the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund! Continue reading

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Explore Kingsland Wildflowers’ Flourishing Green Roofs this Saturday (9/23)! Food, Beer, Talks, Tours & More!

Join The Kingsland Wildflowers Festival this Saturday, September 23rd (12-4pm) and explore three flourishing green roofs! Entering into its second year, the 22,000 square foot Broadway Stages’ rooftop space has been planted with a mix of indigenous grasses and wildflowers native to the New York landscape. Community organizations will be tabling and running activities to engage families and children. The festival offers access for Brooklyn residents to learn about environmental initiatives while exploring green infrastructure dedicated to native plants and birds.

Festival Details

When? Saturday, September 23rd 12pm-4pm
Where? Broadway Stages (520 Kingsland Ave, Brooklyn 11222)
RSVP on Facebook

Activities

Tours of green roofs with wildlife and plant experts
Interactive activities for kids and families
Music, food, and beer from local breweries
Partner community organizations discussing local conservation projects
Panoramic views of Brooklyn, Manhattan, & Queens

How to get there: Kingsland Wildflowers is accessible by the G train (Greenpoint Avenue stop)-Check weekend MTA schedules!, and by the B24 bus at Greenpoint Avenue and Kingsland Avenue. Continue reading

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