FREE Life Saving Training!

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FREE adult and pediatric CPR, First Aid, AED, and Water Safety certification training from the Red Cross (http://www.redcross.org/ux/take-a-class)! We have 12 spots available for committed volunteers who’ll be active this coming season. Please tell us if you’re interested by emailing volunteer@harborlab.org by Thursday with your scheduling preference, weekend or week night, under the subject “CPR.”

This training is generously provided by ExxonMobil’s Community Commitment, part of the company’s participation in the US EPA Superfund cleanup of the Newtown Creek.

Volunteer and Student Meeting, March 29

If you’ve volunteered for HarborLAB in 2014 or 2015, or participated in our programs as a student, we encourage you to join our March 29 pre-season meeting. This meeting will help get¬†all hands ready for 2015 and inform Executive Director and Board Member Erik Baard’s presentation to the full board.

This meeting will be held at The Creek & The Cave (10-93 Jackson Avenue, LIC, NY 11101), so bring your appetite to support this community-spirited local business! Also, please come at noon to hear Newtown Creek Alliance Historian Mitch Waxman explain how development proposals for the Sunnyside Rail Yards could impact our waterway’s ecology. Our GreenLaunch work day follows immediately after. Please help prepare our site for 2015!

Please email suggested agenda revisions under the subject “Agenda” to harborlab@gmail.com.

HarborLAB Pre-Season Meeting, March 29, 2015
Date/Time: March 29, 12:30PM
Location: The Creek & The Cave (please eat!) ūüôā
Attendees: All volunteers.
Meeting Purpose: Preparations for 2015 Season
Outcome: Report to Board, Committee Empowerment.
**DRAFT** AGENDA ITEMS Presenter(s) in person or by letter.
1230: 2014 overview. Erik Baard
1240: Finances. Expenditures, deficits, fundraising. Erik Baard, Finance Committee Rep.
1:00: Governance and Incorporation. Erik Baard, Joel Kupferman, Sally Attia.
1:10: Programs and Events. Erik Baard, EJ Lee, Davis Janowski
1:20: Projects Erik Baard, Patricia Erickson, Roy Harp.
1:30: Educational Strengthening. Safiya Sabir, TK Zeller.
1:40: Closing comments. All.
Note: Brief discussions to be followed by emails, committees.

Women and Water, Making History

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HarborLAB is honored and deeply grateful that the United Nations Federal Credit Union is one of our founding and sustaining sponsors. Our very local work is always done with a global consciousness.

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United Nations World Water Day falls within Women’s History Month, and 2015 is the capstone year of the UN “Water for Life Decade for¬†Action.” How do these calls to be conscious of water issues and women’s history relate?¬†The United Nations and the U.S. State Department respect that women have always been among our global water leaders. Recognition of this fact clarifies that we must strive for gender equality (men and women, and all aspects of gender identification and socialization) through education and empowerment if we are to share a sustainable water future.

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Women have kept traditional societies alive since the dawn of history by finding, assessing, and delivering water to their communities. Even today, women are the primary providers of water in much of the world. Collectively women¬†labor 200 million hours each day carrying water, in much of the world walking an average of 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) to access this life giving resource. But that labor isn’t always rewarded with clean water or power commensurate with their contributions.

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Action:

HarborLAB encourages educators to make us of these resources from the United Nations for kids and youth. There are additional resources for educations here.

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We might also consider this idea: ¬†Imagine a Women and Water Walk up¬†Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, from the fountain at Washington Square Park to the¬†Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, pausing before¬†its famous fountains at Rockefeller Center, the Plaza Hotel, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It would be a 6K-Plus walk honoring the walks women make for water each day. It could raise funds, or simply awareness. What do you think?

Norooz on the Newtown Creek!

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HarborLAB is grateful that volunteers from the National Iranian-American Council (NIAC) chose to celebrate Norooz, the Persian New Year, by helping us! Since ancient times, Persians and those influenced by their culture have heralded the new year with spring’s regeneration. Special foods and charitable acts mark the occasion, and on Saturday HarborLAB was the beneficiary of the latter. As for fireworks, those will come in the form of wildflowers exploding with color in warmer months, sustaining butterflies and bees who need new habitat areas more than ever! These hardy plants will also help stabilize shorelines, at the Newtown Creek GreenLaunch and beyond.

An added bonus for us was that several of the volunteers were engineering students and graduates from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. NIAC event day organizer Matini Hekmat is a structural project manager at Tishman Construction, a unit of Newtown Creek stakeholder AECOM Company. Matini and his friends are kindly among those advising HarborLAB on our GreenLaunch goals, which rely on new, innovative structures and an accurate assessment of our lower bulkhead. Keeping our gathering lively and insightful was Kayvon Afshari, an accomplished journalist and host of the satirical Mideast Show!

The incessant rain forced us to revamp of plans for the day from Newtown Creek GreenLaunch site work to a brief bit of seed gathering and then seed ball making. For instruction in¬†this habitat restoration technique and a starter bag of dune grass and beach pea seeds, we’re grateful to Seedball NYC. For gathering most of our seeds (aster, pokeweed, goldenrod, milkweed, pine, and more), we’re grateful to HarborLAB volunteers, students from Hunters Point Community Middle School, and Baruch College, park managers for Gantry Plaza State Park and Hunters Point South Park, and¬†expert guidance from Hunters Point Parks Conservancy Vice President Mark Christie. HarborLAB Founding Sponsor Green Apple Cleaners provided the red clay powder needed for our seedballs, and compost and other gear needed came in part via a Citizens Committee for NYC grant. Many thanks to all!

As so often is the case, a special thanks to HarborLAB Facilities Manager Patricia Menje Erickson for helping make the day happen with her organizational skills and logistical support!

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With all that rain, we needed indoor space, and found it through our new friends at the Newtown Creek Group, a community service nexus for companies cooperating with the Environmental Protection Agency under a settlement to study pollution of the waterway, a Superfund site, with the aim of reversing the damage. Deep thanks to Tyquana Henderson Parsons of Connective Strategies, which represents the Newtown Creek Group, for helping find options, and to the group’s attorney, Marc Lavaia for hosting us at The Powerhouse in LIC at Ms. Henderson-Parson’s request.