Elizabeth Figueroa is the Associate Vice President of Community Relations at The New York Botanical Garden.
On Wednesday, November 20, we were overjoyed to once again host our annual Puerto Rican Heritage Month Celebration here at the Garden, with over 400 school students and visitors in attendance for a day of workshops and presentations commemorating the occasion.
Kids were treated to demonstrations of Bomba Dance and drumming history by Julia Gutierrez and Redobles de Cultura, a NYC-based bomba group who are proud members of today’s younger generation of Bomberos, cultural workers, and educators. Sandra Rivera brought plenty of canvas for students to paint and learn about the famed coqui of Puerto Rico, and Taino petroglyphs also made an appearance, as Mia Roman taught visitors about these symbols and invited them to paint and create their own necklaces with natural beads. Tanya Torres’s tile painting further helped kids to understand the flora of the amazing El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico.
Congratulations to all of the young writers who submitted poems to this year’s Young Poets contest, and the winners who joined former U.S. poet laureate Billy Collins for December 15’s annual reading. You’ll find their poems on display here at NYBG through the end of the Holiday Train Show.
Plants love the sun—but they’re also careful to avoid sunburn, even in winter. Inside the Haupt Conservatory, you’ll find Biophilia: Sharing Our #plantlove, an exhibit that spotlights some of our curators’ most fascinating plants, and the stories they reveal about nature, adaptation, and human culture. Here, see how they use waxy coatings, succulence, small surface areas, and even hair to serve as sunscreen.
Another beautiful annual tree and menorah lighting ceremony. Thank you to the soaring voices of Celia Cruz High School choir and special guests Senator Alessandra Biaggi, New York State assembly members Jeffrey Dinowitz and Nathalia Fernandez, and NYC council members Andrew Cohen, Mark Gjonaj, and Rafael Salamanca. A wonderful time was had by all!
Whether you’re looking to finish up your holiday shopping or you’re just getting started, NYBG is the perfect place to find unique gifts for the plant lovers on your list. Start your search with some of our favorites.
As part of #plantlove at NYBG, we’re talking with people from all over the Garden about what inspires their passion for plants. Today, meet Rob Naczi, Curator of North American Botany at The New York Botanical Garden.
I grew up north of Wilmington, Delaware, and I loved to explore, to discover, and to be out in nature. When I was in elementary school, my neighbor turned me onto birding. I would go on bird walks with him and our club nearby, the Delmarva Ornithological Society. On one of the trips, there were some people pointing down at some spring wildflowers, the ephemerals in the deciduous forest. I looked and thought, Hey, that’s interesting. Gradually I got so interested in plants that I wanted to take every moment I could to go out and explore.
Fallen leaves are no less beautiful. As this season of transition continues, don’t forget to look down as well as up—you might catch the bright yellows (like these Ginkgo leaves), reds, and oranges of the recent forest splendor still carrying on toward winter.
It’s almost here—the Holiday Train Show opens tomorrow! Hear from Laura Busse Dolan, President of Applied Imagination, giving you a sneak peek into what’s new this year from their workshop, including Central Park’s iconic landscape and architecture and all-new train track layouts. It’s all presented in an immersive indoor winter wonderland.
Shift your focus to the conifers. As we make our way through fall, the vibrant red and orange leaves falling from the deciduous trees give way to the rich, deep hues of the evergreens. Some of them, like Cupressus nootkatensis ‘Sparkling Arrow’, show fascinating variegated (the white scales lack chlorophyll) foliage, while the needles on Pinus strobus ‘Contorta’ take on unique, swirling forms you might not expect.
In honor of Veterans Day we’re pleased to announce the THRIVE program, an initiative that commemorates NYBG’s long history working with service members—dating back to World War I when we first invited returning veterans into the Garden for rehabilitation and learning new skills. Hear from Carrie Rebora Barratt, CEO and The William C. Steere Sr. President of The New York Botanical Garden, and discover how we’re continuing that legacy in collaboration with the James J. Peters Veterans Administration Medical Center in the Bronx.