We’re a Certified Wildlife Habitat!


Thanks to years of planting and tending by HarborLAB volunteers, our once neglected waterfront has become a place of life and beauty. Our launch is now a Certified Wildlife Habitat recognized by the National Wildlife Federation.

We hope you can join us in maintaining and growing this green and welcoming community space. To join our gardening crew, please email volunteer@harborlab.org with the subject, “Gardening Crew.”

Since 2012 we’ve repurposed or removed and donated 80,000-100,000 bricks, removed hundreds of pounds illegal dumping, and created thousands of pounds of fresh soil through “lasagna composting” of cocoa shells and jute bags donated by MAST Brothers and our own kitchen scraps. We’ve planted scores of wildflowers and dozens of native trees, and bushes: milkweed, goldenrood, pokeweed, shadbush (aka service berry), sugar bush, beach plum, sumac, hackberry (aka sugar tree) among them. We also have Kazakh apple, apricot, Asian pear, and other orchard fruit trees growing in containers and awaiting final placement after we install our learning lab and storage containers.

These plantings have attracted many species of butterfly, and we particularly wish to help migrating Monarch butterflies. Muskrats have swum up and raccoons leave their tracks in the snow. Birds nest and feast on our berries, especially drying poke berries as autumn deepens.  In 2018 we’ll install formal bird baths and scatter even more seed for them. We’ll build upon our earlier efforts to grow mussels and oysters and plant spartina where high tide covers the shore. Further over the horizon will be green walls and fruited vines for shade.

HarborLAB has long enjoyed working with the National Wildlife Federation’s Eco-Schools USA program. We’re excited that our partners are recognizing and promoting our greening of the Newtown Creek. Next up, registration as a community garden!