Inside The New York Botanical Garden

Garden News

Celebrating 30 Years of Bronx Green-Up

Posted in Garden News on December 16 2018, by Plant Talk

Ursula Chanse is the Director of Bronx Green-Up and Community Horticulture at The New York Botanical Garden.


Bronx Green-Up

What do rubble-strewn vacant lots, asphalt-covered playgrounds, tiny tracts of land wedged between intersections and train tracks have in common? Each is a perfect location for creating a community garden and urban farm. For 30 years Bronx Green-Up, NYBG’s community gardening outreach program, has worked together with our community partners to create vibrant gardens in the most unlikely spaces.

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Keeping it Local: Sustaining the Soil

Posted in Garden News on December 16 2018, by Plant Talk

Jodie Colón is the Compost Project Manager at The New York Botanical Garden.


NYC Compost ProjectAlthough silver traditionally marks a 25th anniversary, may we suggest gold for ours? Black gold, that is! Specifically, the rich, dark compost made by Bronx residents of all ages trained by the NYC Compost Project at NYBG since 1993.

At that time, as it still is today, food scraps and yard trimmings comprised nearly one-third of what New Yorkers discarded. The NYC Department of Sanitation began funding NYBG Bronx Green-Up staff to engage local residents and our community and school gardeners in composting those materials as a way to reduce waste and revive urban soils.

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Volunteer Profile: Herb Stein

Posted in Garden News on December 14 2018, by Plant Talk

Photo of Herb Stein
Started: 1993
Lifetime Volunteer Hours: 8,489

How long have you been a NYBG volunteer and what was the inspiration for becoming one?
I have been volunteering at NYBG for more than 25 years and have worked in many areas, including the Native Plant Garden, Perennial Garden, and the Nolen Greenhouses. I joined as a volunteer after seeing a mention of the NYBG Volunteer program in the brochure for an evening concert that my wife and I attended many years ago.

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Conservation Starts in Our Gardens

Posted in Garden News on December 11 2018, by Plant Talk

Jessica Arcate Schuler is the Director of the Thain Family Forest at The New York Botanical Garden.


Photo of a garden

Many gardeners view their gardens as separate and isolated from the larger landscape. In reality, the larger landscape is a connected patchwork of ecosystems that support life. Having an invasive species in our garden does impact a local natural area, planting a diversity of plants including native species benefits wildlife, efficiently managing stormwater, fertilizer, plant health, compost and water use determine a garden’s resilience.

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Volunteer Profile: Robert Gallanty

Posted in Garden News on December 7 2018, by Plant Talk

Photo of a volunteer

Started: 2005
Lifetime Volunteer Hours: 6,088

How long have you been a NYBG volunteer and what was the inspiration for becoming one?
After retiring from the Navy, I moved from Norfolk, Virginia, to Riverdale, New York, and saw an advertisement in The Riverdale Press from The New York Botanical Garden. I had volunteered at botanical gardens before and wanted to volunteer again at another garden. After visiting the Garden and learning about the diverse opportunities for volunteering, from helping out in the Children’s Adventure Garden to giving tours for visitors, I decided to sign up for the program.

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NYBG Partners with Local Schools

Posted in Garden News on December 4 2018, by Plant Talk

James S. Boyer, Ph.D., is the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Vice President for Children’s Education at The New York Botanical Garden.


With funding from the New York City Council, NYBG’s Children’s Education department piloted a new and engaging multisession program in 2017–2018 with five local partner schools that have a long-term relationship with the Garden. These P–5 schools had the option of visiting the Garden—several times throughout the year—providing the opportunity for children to learn multiple garden-based concepts, while experiencing the seasonal changes in this natural landscape. Each session included garden-based, science and nature investigations, allowing children to explore the Garden in different seasons. These field trips provided opportunities to address grade-appropriate standards and practice developmentally appropriate process skills.

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Growing School Gardens and Growing Minds

Posted in Garden News on November 27 2018, by Plant Talk

Judith Hutton is the Manager of Teacher Professional Development at The New York Botanical Garden.


A photo of teachers in the Edible AcademyNow in its 24th year, the Garden’s Professional Development Program for Teachers reaches more than 3,000 teachers annually from the New York City and Tri-State area. Teachers participate in a range of high quality professional development, including customized workshops and Seasonal Institutes. Courses promote new pedagogy that goes beyond the classroom by utilizing outdoor and informal resources emphasizing real-life science learning.

Seasonal Institutes are dynamic, intensive graduate-level courses, which aim to deepen content knowledge in science, increase comfort level in incorporating science across an interdisciplinary curriculum, and provide tools to use informal resources to support instruction. Science-rich experiences help students understand the natural world, use appropriate scientific principles and processes in making personal decisions, and ultimately engage intelligently in public discourse.

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New Library Visitors Explore the Special Collections

Posted in Garden News on November 13 2018, by Plant Talk

Esther Jackson is the Public Services Librarian and Samantha D’Acunto is the Reference Librarian for The New York Botanical Garden.


Photo of Library book platesThis past spring, LuEsther T. Mertz Library staff invited several NYBG Adult Education classes to view treasures from our special collections. The classes were given tours of the Library and the Rare Book Room where they viewed special collection titles related to their class subjects.

The students from the class Orchid Next Door with Dr. Matthew Pace joined Library staff for a viewing of the First Annual Catalogue of North American herbaceous plants, orchids… (1882) by James Galen, The orchid hunters: a jungle adventure (ca. 1939) by Norman MacDonald, and many other exciting titles. The Hidden World of Lichens class with Dr. James Lendemer joined the Library staff in two sessions to view materials related to the chronological history of lichenology through various materials in the Library’s collection. Other sessions included a viewing of 17th- century bulb literature for students of Landscape Plants: Bulbs! with instructors Michael Hagen and  Marta McDowell; a review of 19th-century, hand-colored floral illustrations for the students of Designing with Tropical Flowers with Bridget Vizoso; and a peek at the Library’s mounted-insect collection for the students of Entomology with Tam Nguyen.

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Conservation Starts in Our Gardens

Posted in Garden News on November 9 2018, by Plant Talk

Jessica Arcate Schuler is the Director of the Thain Family Forest at The New York Botanical Garden.


Photo of a garden

Many gardeners view their gardens as separate and isolated from the larger landscape. In reality, the larger landscape is a connected patchwork of ecosystems that support life. Having an invasive species in our garden does impact a local natural area, planting a diversity of plants including native species benefits wildlife, efficiently managing stormwater, fertilizer, plant health, compost and water use determine a garden’s resilience. On November 28, Cultivating a New Garden Ethic will showcase three distinguished speakers, Larry Weaner, Scott Freeman, and Jan Merryweather, to explore how gardening practices can create beauty and help heal the larger environment.

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Saving the American Ash: Calling All Citizen Scientists

Posted in Garden News on November 6 2018, by Plant Talk

Brian M. Boom, Ph.D., is the Vice President for Conservation Strategy and Bassett Maguire Curator of Botany, and Daniel Atha is the Director of Conservation Outreach at The New York Botanical Garden.


Photo of a volunteer measuring an American ashAshes comprise one of North America’s most widespread and ecologically important groups of trees. Yet since 2002 an invasive beetle, Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), has killed tens of millions of Ash trees across the Midwest and this pest is moving rapidly eastward through New York and New England. Ash tree mortality is nearly 100 percent within several years of beetle infestation, and there are no viable biological or chemical control solutions at the landscape level.

Most conservation efforts on behalf of North American Ashes have focused on controlling the EAB. With generous support from The Manton Foundation, The New York Botanical Garden has taken a different approach, one focused on documenting and characterizing Ash species diversity, and searching for rare individual trees that might have resistance to the EAB. Such trees are termed “lingering” Ashes—trees that appear healthy in the midst of a stand of EAB infestation. The only way to preserve the role of Ash trees in their native habitats may be through breeding of lingering Ash or genetic manipulation of resistance traits.

As part of this project, NYBG established a citizen science project in the Catskills region, which is the most intensively EAB-impacted part of New York State, and indeed in all of the Mid-Atlantic and New England regions. Since spring 2018, the project has established the target of five study plots in Catskill forests having heavily devastated Ash populations, and from regional workshops has recruited a small team of citizen scientists. These dedicated volunteers are scanning the Catskills’ forests for elusive lingering Ash trees, which, if detected, NYBG will report immediately to the USDA Forest Service’s EAB-resistant Ash tree breeding program. But this large and important project needs MORE citizen scientists.

This article originally appeared as part of a series on responsible citizenry in the 2018–2019 issue of Garden News, NYBG’s seasonal newsletter. For further reading, view the issue online and discover a sampling of stories about our current efforts and activities that promote, engage, and support active and responsible citizenry on local, regional, and global levels.