June 1 Jamaica Bay Marsh Restoration!

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(Aerial photo of planting site by Public Lab and Louisiana-based Dredge Research Collaborative. Expand to see rows of seedlings)

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American Littoral Society, Google, Citizens Committee for NYC, and HarborLAB celebrate a great day of planting spartina to restore Jamaica Bay. Great job, HarborLAB Operations Manager EJ Lee and many thanks to our partners!

On Sunday, June 1, HarborLAB brought Citizens Committee for NYC and Google to paddle and help the American Littoral Society and Jamaica Bay EcoWatchers plant spartina marsh grass, a building block of our estuary ecosystem. We were thrilled to work beside Audubon volunteers and others, and to learn more about restoring vital saltwater marsh habitat. Many thanks to American Littoral Society Northeast President Don Riepe, who organized the full event, and Lori Lichtman, Development and Volunteer Coordinator for Citizens Committee for NYC!

Over the past century our region’s saltwater marsh grass areas have been reduced by 85% due to development, pollution, and other urban pressures. HarborLAB started “Cordgrass in the Classroom” to help students understand this problem and participate in its solution. Now we are combining planting and paddling into event days that augment the efforts of those leading the challenging work of restoration. The Google gaggle took turns planting thousands of seedlings and kayaking around areas where they could see mature plants supporting shorebirds, invertebrates, and marine life. It was fun to introduce Google employees and interns to this work, and to deepen our relationship with Citizens Committee for NYC. Thanks in great part to Citizens Committee for NYC, we will soon plant spartina and other native species at our launch site on the Newtown Creek!

This event was an achievement for HarborLAB because despite being a small and young organization, we produced two simultaneous programs on June 1, this marsh grass restoration and nature paddles by canoe on Willow Lake in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. HarborLAB Operations Manager EJ Lee was our on-site leader at Jamaica Bay and Executive Director Erik Baard made the arrangements for both events while leading on-site at Willow Lake.

All photos in the gallery are by American Littoral Society and Citizens Committee for NYC.

Join a HarborLAB Google Group!

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Maybe you have that missing piece of the puzzle to make a HarborLAB program click together! HarborLAB has peer-to-peer email list Google Groups to achieve our goals in Education, Fleet and Infrastructure, Funding, Outreach and Communications, and Safety and Public Events. We encourage volunteers and prospective volunteers to join groups that match their interests, either as active participants or to monitor and stay informed. Feel free to receive updates in digest form, but we hope to keep traffic low and purposeful.

Click on the hyperlinked group names below to sign up!

Education:

Sharing information and ideas to grow and improve HarborLAB’s educational mission and programs in the harbor and watershed (Neversink Reservoir). Share ideas for curricular integration and public programming, educational grants, and other means of serving educators. Join >

Fleet and Infrastructure:

Help build, select, and maintain HarborLAB’s boat fleet, gear stocks, dock, and shoreline infrastructure. Join >

Funding:

Share tips, plans, and ideas for funding HarborLAB, and keeping us on budget. This is the email list for you if you’re interested in seeking sponsors and applying for grants, producing fundraising parties and events, and maintaining fiscal transparency and accountability. Join >

Outreach and Communications:

Help grow HarborLAB through outreach to potential and existing volunteers, community and nonprofit partners, government agencies, and media. We’ll create new website features, a newsletter, postcards, literature, and other ways of building community. Join >

Safety and Public Events:

Help plan and organize HarborLAB’s public events and maintain safety (best practices, equipment, training) across programs. Join >