25 Species That Call Tibbetts Brook Home

Volunteers helping the Friends identify various species of macroinvertebrates for the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation's WAVE program.

Volunteers helping the Friends identify various species of macroinvertebrates for the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation’s WAVE program.  Photo by Stan McCleave.

Today is World Wetlands Day and to celebrate we wanted to share with you a list of 25 species you probably didn’t know call Tibbetts Brook home.  Wildlife of many sizes call Tibbetts Brook home from the large carp that can be seen cresting the waters surface during the late summer, to the small protozoa that cannot be seen with the naked eye. It is important for an urban area to contain this species richness for genetic diversity and importance to human and nature interactions. The Friends are thankful for the wetlands that assist in protecting this precious Bronx water body and look to continue to improve wetland habitat related to the Brook in the future.  Each month this year, the Friends will share another list of 25 as we celebrate our 25th Anniversary. Read more »

25th Anniversary of the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park

The Friends of Van Cortlandt Park (FVCP) is pleased to announce that we will be celebrating our 25th Anniversary in 2017. Founded in 1992, the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park is an independent community based organization that actively promotes the conservation and improvement of Van Cortlandt Park, the third largest park in NYC, through environmental education and restoration and enhancement of Van Cortlandt Park, its forests and trails. We will be celebrating our 25th Anniversary with a variety of special events throughout the year.

“Twenty-five years ago, I along with five civic-minded friends began FVCP.” said Felicity Nitz, FVCP Founder and current Board Member.  “We collaborated with Riverdale Neighborhood House to bring teens to work in the park.  Little did we know this was the genesis of 25 years of advocacy for and change in this jewel of the Bronx.  It is a time of celebration– for the work of our excellent Executive Director, our hard-working Board of Directors, some of whom have been on the board since its inception, all the teens who have worked with us as well as the many other volunteers who have, and for the Van Cortlandt Park community, which is not just the neighbors of the park but also the many visitors from all over city and state as well.  We are all proud of our many accomplishments.”  Visit our timeline to see our various accomplishments over the last 25 years. Read more »

Friend of the Month- December 2016

Felicity Wasser our December 2016 Friend of the Month is a true friend to Van Cortlandt Park and other greenspaces.

Felicity Wasser our December 2016 Friend of the Month is a true friend to Van Cortlandt Park.

The Friends of Van Cortlandt Park are proud to announce that our December Friend of the Month is Felicity Wasser. Felicity began volunteering with the Friends just last year, but has quickly become one of our most active and trustworthly volunteers. As part of our Trails Crew and Tibbetts Water Monitoring crew, we see Felicity on a weekly basis in the Park assisting in making the Park a better place. It is very rare that you find a volunteer with the amount of knowledge that she holds. Felicity has great skill in plant identification and very routinely is teaching us in the Park. Her love for nature and the environment is contagious and we are very happy to have her as part of the VCP community.

How and when did you get involved with the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park?
I saw kids and adults carrying garden tools around in the park one day when I was jogging and asked about what they were doing. I have been volunteering for a year, with trail work, invasive removal and water sampling. It has been great fun because I have seen and learned about many new plants and animals while helping make the park better for people and wildlife. Read more »

Friend of the Month- November 2016

The Friends of Van Cortlandt Park are happy to announce our November 2016 Friend of the Month- Nilka Martell.  Nilka is an active volunteer and advocate for not only Van Cortlandt Park but for all of our Bronx Parks.  In 2010, Nilka founded G.I.V.E (Getting Involved, Virginia Avenue Efforts) and ever since she’s been a strong fighter for our Parks.  In addition to Van Cortlandt Park, Nilka can often be found volunteering with the Bronx River Alliance and the Friends of Pelham Bay.  She is co-chair of the Bronx Coalition for Parks and Green Spaces and helps plan the annual Bronx Parks Speak Up (save the date- February 25th, 2017).  Nilka Martell is a true friend for Bronx Parks and for that the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park are truly grateful.

Nilka Martell Friend of the Month- Friends of Van Cortlandt Park
How and when did you get involved with the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park?
I learned about the Friends group in 2011, and started volunteering in 2012. Read more »

Friend of the Month- October 2016

Our October 2016 Friend of the Month- Benigno Veraz- getting ready to help with our weekly water quality monitoring.

Our October 2016 Friend of the Month- Benigno Veraz- getting ready to help with our weekly water quality monitoring.

The Friends of Van Cortlandt Park are happy to announce our October 2016 Friend of the Month- Benigno Veraz. Beni, an avid member of the Van Cortlandt Track Club, has become an extremely important part of our Water Monitoring Crew of Tibbett’s Brook. Volunteering his time nearly every week, Beni’s eye for detail provides amazing insight while out on the water and allows him to assist in training other volunteers how to accurately sample the water quality. We are extremely honored to have volunteers such as Beni join us in our programs.

How and when did you get involved with the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park?
When I was invited to join the Van Cortlandt Track Club, back in 2011, I discovered that the Park had something to offer beyond running in its trails.

What is your favorite place in the Park?
Any where there is water, and invertebrates, by the lake, the Tibbetts Brook and wetlands, there you’ll find me. Read more »

Friend of the Month- September 2016

Braedon Cohen at the Friends' Garden & Compost Site in Van Cortlandt Park.

Braeden Cohen, our September 2016 Friend of the Month, at the Friends’ Garden & Compost Site in Van Cortlandt Park.

The Friends of Van Cortlandt Park are happy to announce our September 2016 Friend of the Month- Braeden Cohen. As the Organics Recovery Coordinator for the NYC Compost Project hosted by the New York Botanical Garden, Braeden has played a key role at our Garden & Compost site since the spring of 2015. In a short time he helped to lay the foundation of our weekly food scrap collection, picking up where the previous person had left off and taking it to the next level. He is always willing to jump in and show our interns the finer points of a compost system, helping them to understand that there isn’t always a quick answer to a problem but that they need to observe and think through what is happening to come to the best solution. Rain or shine, Braeden is a welcome addition to the work we do and while he is now only dropping by to check on us while we manage the system on our own he is always available to trouble shoot or tell a joke. Thank you, Braeden for all that you do for the Friends and our Garden & Compost Site.

How and when did you get involved with the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park?

I started working with the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park in April of 2015. That’s when I started my job as an Organics Recovery Coordinator for the NYC Compost Project hosted by the New York Botanical Garden. Last year, with the help of awesome volunteers, I staffed the Tuesday Food Scrap Drop-Off where we currently accept food scraps from the public and use them to make compost for the Friend of Van Cortlandt Park’s Garden. I am no longer staffing the Tuesday drop-off because I am setting up new sites in the Bronx, we have passed the pitch-fork to FVCP. Next time you drop off your scraps, be sure to thank Alex for doing such a great job! Read more »