Citizen Action Program News: Winter 2016

Manhattan Henge Citac HarborLAB

Citizen Action Program Update

We have refreshed our webpages and you can check out the new Citizen Action brochure here. Learn about the program’s focus, goals and accomplishments. Special thanks to Essex Farm Institute, Honoring the Future and Black Urban Growers for being awesome CitAc groups and their content contribution.

Upcoming Events

Isham Park Restoration Program

May 22, 5:00pm - 6:30pm, Dr. Deceiverini Radio Play, at Bruce’s Garden in Isham Park with Fred Matzner. Come hear a live cast perform classic ol’ time radio ‘Who Done Its…’

May 24, 5:30 - 7pm, The Art in Our Gardens: "Everyday Heroes", at Bruce’s Garden in Isham Park with Symphoni Sobers. There are potential heroes everywhere. Every day that you see may bring with it opportunities to act upon the hero within. Let's talk about it! Sing about it! Let's snap to spoken word about it! Invite your friends. See you there!

Click here to read more about upcoming IPRP events.

HarborLAB Fish CITAC


May 21, 1:30-5pm, GreenLaunch Gardening Day! at 53-21 Vernon Blvd, LIC. Help create spartina habitat, weed out invasives, build a rain-permeable platform, organize educational materials, care for habitat areas and orchard trees, make seedballs, and other vital work to creating a green and welcoming space on the Newtown Creek, a waterway that needs all the love it can get! Public volunteers are welcomed to take brief paddling excursions with experienced staff volunteers. Volunteers needed. Click here for more details. There will also be Gardening Days on May 28 from 11am-4pm and May 29th from 9am-4pm.

May 30, 7-9:30pm, Manhattanhenge Afloat 1 at Gantry Plaza State Park. Come see the sunset through the Manhattan grid, a beautiful bit of accidental urban planning, aboard a kayak! HarborLAB provides boats and safety equipment at Gantry Plaza State Park for brief introductory paddles within a protected cove. Kid friendly. Event depends on both weather and water quality. Watch the HarborLAB Facebook event listing for updated information. The second Manhattanhenge Afloat of 2016 is July 11. Volunteers needed.

June 4, from 10am-3pm, Bunker and Bun-Ker Bound! at 53-21 Vernon Blvd, LIC. Learn about what's been dubbed "The Most Important Fish in the Sea" in a canoe tour of one of its haunts, the blighted Newtown Creek. Sadly, in the creek last year we saw a large die-off of Menhaden, locally called bunker fish. This swimming filter feeder can help control algal blooms and is a fundamental prey fish in our oceanic ecosystem. This species has periodically been severely overfished. The bunker fish canoe tour will stop over for lunch at the famed Bun-Ker Vietnamese restaurant. Click here for more details.

June 5, from 10am – 5pm, Gantry Plaza State Park Paddle Clinic at Gantry State Park. Come learn basic kayaking paddle strokes from American Canoe Association certified instructor Eun Jung "EJ" Lee, who is HarborLAB's operations chief! She'll be assisted by other volunteers to ensure lots of individualized attention. You'll learn basic paddle strokes to propel, turn, and reverse your vessel. You'll also see basic rescue demonstrations and perhaps participate yourself! With these skills you'll enjoy safe and fun estuary exploration, and you'll be able to focus on environmental science learning and service. Event followed by an "Instruction for Inclusion" Partner Paddle Clinic with a youth education organization. Please apply for 12-20 participants by emailing with the subject line "Youth Instruction at Gantry." Click here for more details.

Rondout Valley Growers Association

June 12 from 5 – 8 pm. Rondout Valley Growers Association are recipients of Mohonk Consultations’ 2016 Distinguished Achievement Award! Please come celebrate with them in the Mohonk Mountain House Parlor. RVGA’s mission is to strengthen the ties between the Rondout Valley’s farms and the local community. The annual Award ceremony will be followed by a reception with light fare from the Mohonk Mountain House chefs and local farms. Click here to register. Advance registration is required. The cost is $40 per person.

Rondout Valley Growers Assoc.Receiving the award on behalf of RVGA are its President Nicholas Cipollone and Executive Director Deborah DeWan. Photo by Patty Matteson.

Past Events

Christopher Park Alliance

The Garden Party benefiting Christopher Park on May 2 was a delightful success. The event raised more than $6,000 for the park's upkeep. Special thanks to Jeffrey's Grocery for providing all the essentials so that every dollar donated goes directly to supporting the park.

On May 9, the Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, and the Director of the National Park Service, Jonathan Jarvis, joined city and state elected officials in a community meeting to hear the voices of Greenwich Village residents in response to a proposal to create a Stonewall National Monument, based in Christopher Park. The grass-roots initiative to establish the first national monument to commemorate LGBT rights in our country has gained broad support. It would entail transferring Christopher Park from the city to the federal government. (You may have seen recent stories about the initiative in the  New York Times, Washington Post, New York Magazine or other media outlets.)


Riversweep CitacStuyvesant Pathways

At RiverSweep, May 7, a total of 14 volunteers (plus a Dutchess County crew of 8 at Nutten Hook) cleaned at Stuyvesant Falls, Swyer Preserve and Stuyvesant Landing, collecting an estimated 30 bags of trash plus 7 old tires, a big roll of old fiberglass insulation and one old TV set. We are grateful to Town of Stuyvesant and Cal Burch and Martin Roby who took care of final trash bag disposal from all 4 sites. Mario’s True Value of Valatie NY and Lowell George of American Rivers donated trash bags. Cal Burch repurposed used goat feed and bird seed bags for sharp stuff as well. Here are pictures of happy trash collectors.


In May, with funding from the Horace and Amy Hagadorn Fund, LICAN (Long Island Community Agriculture Network) designed and installed a colorful children's garden at the ELIJA School (Enlightening Long Island's Journey thorough Autism) in Levittown, N Y.

Childrens Garden LICAN

Honoring the Future

Applicants for the  Honoring the Future® Sustainability Award at the April 2016 Smithsonian Craft Show in Washington, DC, brought a new dimension to the prestigious 35-year old show’s 6,500 visitors: conversation about sustainability. Each of the 18 participating artists posted a sign saying “Ask Me About Sustainability” in their exhibition booth. The award winner, Massachusetts ceramic artist Paula Shalan, estimates more than 80% of the visitors to her booth invited her to explain how she draws inspiration from national parks, uses local clay, and pit-fires with recycled fuel to “respect our earth’s limited resources.” And the conversation continued beyond the Show: Shalan’s award was featured in a Berkshire Eagle article on “100 Everyday Amazing Individuals and groups.”

"Full Moon" ceramic bowl by Paula Shalan

“Full Moon” ceramic bowl by Paula Shalan

Sustainability Practice Network

On May 4 SPN held an event at Pratt School Architecture, as part of Programs for Sustainable Planning and Development - “Giving More Than They Take: Net Zero in NYC" Panel Discussion. Moderator: Max Driscoll, AIA, LEED AP BD+C; Director Sustainable Development, SPN [business ecology]; Panelists:  Deborah Moelis, AIA, Senior Associate, Certified Passive House Designer, Handel Architects; Adrian Tuluca, Senior Principal, Vidaris; John Lee, Deputy Director, Green Buildings and Energy Efficiency, NYC Mayor’s Office of Sustainability; Robert DaRos, Vice President Sciame Construction.

Compost for Brooklyn CITAC 2Compost for Brooklyn

On April 16, Compost for Brooklyn hosted their 7th tree giveaway in partnership with New York Restoration Project. 150 trees went home with residents of Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. On May 7, they held a plant sale and compost giveaway to raise funds for on-going projects. A new laminated sign is now posted on the entrance gate that clearly highlights open hours for each month. This is part of an effort to reach a multi-lingual community. They also recently planted annual flowers, herbs and heir loom tomatoes to harvest and share with neighbors this summer.

Follow CitAc on Google +

In addition to upcoming events we share information about workshops, grant opportunities and grassroots environmental news. Click here to see our Google + page.