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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Hunters Point Eco-Day Memories

Seedball making team ! Questus at Hunters Point Community Middle School with HarborLAB.

HarborLAB and friends from new sponsor Questus shared a wonderful day improving the ecology of Hunters Point and enhancing the environmental science programs of Hunters Point Community Middle School. The students made the day even sunnier, and we got so much done!

We started the day by continuing HarborLAB’s work to turn our launch on the Newtown Creek Superfund site into a green and welcoming habitat area and orchard. We planted more shadbush and tended to our orchard trees, built up fresh and composting soil cover on our sloping bank, cleaned the shore, and gathered pokeberries for our seeding program. Questus Co-Founder Jeff Rosenblum joined HarborLAB Facilities Manager Patricia Erickson in revamping our water access, preserving our dock and replacing — and better securing — our ladder. They did a stellar job!

The rest of us headed over to Hunters Point Community Middle School with a wheelbarrow of supplies to make seed balls! Our partners were Mary Mathai’s special needs science students and the school’s Eco Club. The students were delightful, and Ms. Mathai, other faculty members, and Principal Sarah Goodman have been amazing partners with HarborLAB since before the school even opened!

Seedballs are an efficient way to distribute seeds with a nutritive soil head start, whether for agriculture or habitat strengthening. HarborLAB got its start through lessons provided by the NYC Seedball community. We make our seedballs from powdered red clay, compost, cocoa shells, a pinch of sand, and seeds gathered from indigenous shoreline plants. Our Hunters Point Eco-Day seeds were seaside goldenrod gathered by Hunters Point Community Middle School students last year. Goldenrod is a vital part of our estuary, sustaining butterflies and other beneficial insects and sheltering the nests of black skimmers, one of our most unusual shorebirds. The HarborLAB and Questus team worked with the students in two sessions, with two or three adults to a table. The group effort produced thousands of seedballs and the kids will use up leftover material next week.

This activity and our illustrated presentation reinforce curricular lessons about the purposes of flowers, fruits, and seeds, and how seeds are distributed in nature. Seedballs replicate frugivorous endozoochory, or how animals spread seeds, packaged in dense nutrition, through their droppings after eating fruits. When students gather seeds with us, they learn how to identify plant species and about how plants support other species and stabilize shorelines. We also discuss, of course, how plants can remove CO2 from our air to reduce climate chaos and ocean acidification. All spring and summer, HarborLAB volunteers and students distribute seedballs as we paddle shore to shore, under the direction of conservation groups and park and preserve authorities.

The Questus team also enjoyed peer bonding, diving into a delicious lunch provided by COFFEED LIC Landing in Hunters Point South Park and canoeing from the HarborLAB GreenLaunch to the mouth of the Newtown Creek on the East River. In both cases they were exhilarated by Manhattan skyline views.

We’re deeply grateful to Questus’ team for their support and camaraderie, and to the students and faculty of Hunters Point Community Middle School for their spirited engagement in education to meet our world’s ecological challenges.

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Questus afloat with HarborLAB!

Clearwater Festival and City of Water Day!

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Wonderful news! Thanks to our volunteers’ fantastic service last year, the two largest annual water ecology festivals in the metropolitan area have asked HarborLAB back to provide their public programs in 2014! Join us in Croton Point State Park in the Hudson River Valley for the Clearwater Festival on June 21 and June 22 and on Governors Island in the center of our harbor for City of Water Day on July 12!

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 >

Skyline Unwind, 9/20

 

Photo by David Kistner of Green Apple Cleaners.

LIC East River waterfront towers, including TF Cornerstone and Rockrose developments. TF Cornerstone is a Founding Sponsor of HarborLAB and Rockrose is also a sponsor. Photo by David Kistner, CEO of HarborLAB sponsor Green Apple Cleaners.

Unwind from the week with a mellow skyline viewing paddle on our tandem kayak fleet. This paddle is for those who are interested in volunteering for HarborLAB and would like to get to know our volunteers, other potential volunteers, and about out programs.

In short, the theme of this and a few other upcoming paddles is:

RSVP both on Facebook and by emailing volunteer@harborlab.org under the subject “SKYLINE UNWIND 9/20” with a list of your skills (not only nautical or outdoorsy!). We also value educators, artists, bookkeepers and CPAs, lawyers, programmers, writers, mechanics, woodworkers, nurses, linguists, graphic designers, gardeners, and more!

If you can, fill, and sign this ADULT waiver ahead of time:

https://harborlab.org/waivers/

We’ll meet at Natural Frontier Market (12-01 Jackson Ave Queens, NY 11101) at 6PM (triangle table) and walk over to our launch (https://harborlab.org/location-and-directions/) for a short paddle to enjoy the skyline. We’ll go against a middling East River current (between 1-1.7 knots) and see how far we can get by hugging the Brooklyn waterfront. No pressure because there’s no destination. Then we’ll drift back, chatting and enjoying the view and catching the sunset as we return.

Please wear nylons and other quick drying materials, and bring a change of clothing.

Natural Frontier Market has snacks, drinks, sunblock, and other necessities, including a nice bathroom (there’s no bathroom at the launch). Please support this local business and its neighboring LIC restaurants, museums, and galleries.

East River sunset. Photo by Ray Tan.

East River sunset. Photo by Ray Tan.

Newark Riverfront Revival!

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Come help Newark reclaim its riverfront for recreation and education! Along with other water access allies, we’re answering the call for help to make this a great introduction to the estuary. This is an event HarborLAB volunteers can happily assist but it’s not managed by us.

Here’s our Facebook event for a HarborLAB contingent of volunteers (including a Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance offer for a free ride to Newark from Manhattan):

https://www.facebook.com/events/637262316284756/

More here:

http://newarksriver.wordpress.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Newark-Riverfront-Revival/174945239233944

We need not bring our boats to this event! The Newark City government will offer 10 of the county’s sit-inside (decked) kayaks for public use for three hours. They need volunteers to welcome the public and help keep the program safe and smooth on the storied Passaic River.

On the water, you should have experience rescuing paddlers in decked kayaks. Here’s a video posted by one of our suppliers (http://www.oldtowncanoe.com/resources/safety_and_rescue/kayak_rescue_methods/), while some of our volunteers and CUNY faculty board members have received training through the American Canoe Association, nonprofit paddling groups, and outfitters like NY Kayak Co.

On the dock, life guards and first responders are especially valued. Volunteers with experience fitting life vests, giving basic paddling tips, bracing boats for entry and exit, and other forms of assistance would be of great help.

If water quality permits responsible use of sit-on-top kayaks, HarborLAB will gladly return with its own tandem fleet, team, and learning tent soon. We can also bring canoes!

Let’s make friends across state lines and the reaches of the estuary!