March 29: Reservoir Training!

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Neversink Education Training at LaGuardia Community College

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Learn about our city’s beautiful drinking water system, a wonder of nature and engineering! Share that new knowledge with NYC youth and kids!

LaGuardia Community College, Room C463.

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Please share this to build our volunteer base for this program!
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Come get trained to be a Watershed Docent, a volunteer who’ll help introduce NYC school kids and other youth to our drinking water supply. This is NOT paddling skills training and you needn’t be an expert paddler; this is a night to learn about our drinking water system and the Neversink Reservoir itself. This program will activate HarborLAB’s second boat fleet on the Neversink Reservoir in the Catskills. This program is made possible by the NYC Department of Envionmental Protection, the Catskill Watershed Corporation, and HarborLAB volunteers.
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Please email harborlab@gmail.com with the subject line “Neversink Training” to participate. Additionally, please join and share here: https://www.facebook.com/events/968029069940341/
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Volunteer candidates will be screened by our volunteer co-managers and ED.
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(If you received Red Cross certification funded by HarborLAB’s sponsors you have a special responsibility to this program. Please make every effort to ensure its success.)
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HarborLAB & Open Space Institute!

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We are very happy to announce that Open Space Institute now serves as HarborLAB’s fiscal sponsor. We’re grateful for this new relationship, which followed months of research and transitional preparation. All tax-deductible donations to HarborLAB are made through Open Space Institute’s Citizen Action program. Here’s OSI’s nutshell explanation of the service:
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The Open Space Institute’s Citizen Action program fosters the growth and success of community-based organizations focused on environmental causes. Offering a range of technical and professional support and services, Citizen Action mobilizes newly-formed nonprofits to achieve their mission and meet their organizational goals.
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Other highly esteemed organizations offered to sponsor HarborLAB, but OSI brings much more than fiscal functions and technical assistance to its work with our volunteers. OSI has unique skills and experiences in conservation of habitat areas and watersheds in the Catskill Mountains, a region of growing HarborLAB activity through our ReservoirLAB program with the NYC Department of Environmental Protection and Catskill Watershed Corporation. Thanks to this greater capacity, look for our programs to grow even more educationally valuable and inclusive of our city’s diverse communities. HarborLAB’s home base, the GreenLaunch, will be even greener and more secure as we add new plantings and environmentally sensitive structures.
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HarborLAB remains deeply grateful to Earth Day Initiative for fiscally sponsoring us through three years of rapid growth from inception to establishment. This service was above and beyond that organization’s normal functions and stretched capacities. We will continue to honor Earth Day in our city and the organization that does most to promote it. We look forward eagerly to partnering with Earth Day Initiative on fun volunteer projects and environmental education.
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HarborLAB is independently incorporated as an educational nonprofit in New York State. We are working toward our own federal 501(c)(3) status at a schedule that our legal and business managers and partners deem secure and sensible. In the meantime, we appreciate that our past and present fiscal sponsors have placed our mission on a solid foundation. Now the rest us up to us volunteers. We hope you join in the fun, meaningful work!

Scientist Spotlight: Sarah Durand

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Spartina boxes. Photo by Newtown Creek Alliance. 

WNYC ran a great radio and web story today about the Newtown Creek field work of Sarah Durand, PhD, of the Natural Sciences department of CUNY LaGuardia Community College. Dr. Durand has built habitat structures to encourage shellfish to anchor and other invertebrates to shelter. Cornerstone species like spartina, or saltmarsh cordgrass, attract other species to a waterway in need of much fuller recovery.

We’re very grateful to have Dr. Durand as a HarborLAB adviser, and her colleague, Holly Porter-Morgan, PhD (director of the CUNY LaGCC environmental science program), as a board member.

Stay tuned for HarborLAB’s mussels-to-milkweed coastal habitat restoration!

 

The SUPergirls Are Super Women!

 

This Women’s Day we salute two women today who’ve completed a remarkable voyage, stand up paddleboarding (SUP) from New York City to Miami! “Atlantic SUPergirls” Julieta Gismondi and LouAnne Harris launched on October 12, racing ahead of winter for the 1,500 miles until they arrived warm, safe, and sound before Valentine’s Day! They’re back in now-thawing New York City, reading to lead trips again for Manhattan Kayak Company.

Gismondi and Harris added environmental science value to their adventure by testing for nitrates and phosphates along the way, thanks to help from Columbia University. Nitrates and phosphates cause Eutrophication “dead zones” where biodiversity and complexity have fallen to smothering algae blooms. Often the sources for nitrates and phosphates are agricultural fertilizer runoffs and sewer overflows and discharges.

The surely sore duo also raised funds along the way for charitable causes. You can still support First Descents to boost the morale of young adults who are fighting cancer by sharing outdoor adventures or Mission Blue ocean conservancy. Mission Blue was founded by another waterways-loving woman of accomplishment, Sylvia Earle. Just go to the Atlantic SUPergirls’ Gofundme account to help them close the gap.

We look forward to meeting these super women on the water again this summer!

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Julieta Gismondi with her day’s plastic trash haul. The two SUPergirls also promoted jewelry from upcycled plastic fishing line that once littered coasts.

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Gismondi and Harris arriving in Miami.

Green for Grass: Thank You!

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Three generous couples have fulfilled HarborLAB’s vital marsh grass seedling budget for 2016! We give great thanks to Katherine Bradford and Gregory Leopold, Maura Kehoe Collins and David Collins, and Dylan Geil and Thomas Dieter for sponsoring 1,000 spartina (or cordgrass) seedling plugs that HarborLAB will plant along its Newtown Creek shore and in Jamaica Bay. These seedlings were grown by the Greenbelt Native Plant Center on Staten Island. This greenhouse and seedbank is part of the Natural Resources Group that cares for the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation’s wild preserves.

You can help us plant even more native species by donating in HarborLAB’s name to the Natural Areas Conservancy.

Please make your donation online or by check here:

Natural Areas Conservancy
http://naturalareasnyc.org/donate/

Be sure to put “HarborLAB” in the comment section online or in the memo line of your check! 

We’ll also continue to grow spartina from seed through our Cordgrass in the Classroom program as supplies become available. In addition to the profound educational and emotional benefits to youth that paddling and planting days provide, there are great economic benefits to New York City. Learn more about the value of estuary marsh ecosystem services in this paper.

 

World Water Walk, March 20!

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FREE EVENT for World Water Day
11AM Fountain in Washington Square Park to 3PM Reservoir in Central Park.
Fact: In much of Africa and Asia, women walk an average of 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) for water:
Proposed: A 6K-Plus walk up Fifth Avenue from the Washington Square Park fountain to the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir in Central Park to raise awareness, and possibly funds, to address this crisis.
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HarborLAB has a second boat fleet on the Neversink Reservoir that we’ll use to teach young people about our drinking water supplies, another way life in our region contrasts with world scarcity. This walk, to highlight the soon-following UN World Water Day (http://www.unwater.org/worldwaterday) will shape future fundraisers and greater presences.
This World Water Walk will help build the team that envisions and implements the greater event in future years.
This year we’ll walk the route an note companies and entities that might sponsor, publicize, or otherwise get involved in future mass Water Walks. We’ll also look for the best spots for rallies and telegenic events. Fifth Avenue’s famous fountains ae natural fits: Rockefeller Center, Plaza Hotel, and Metropolitan Museum of Art.
To participate please email volunteer@harborlab.org with the subject line “Water Walk.” Also join here: https://www.facebook.com/events/342450479281658/