This spring, the Friends’ staff had the pleasure of hosting 8th grade students in Van Cortlandt Park from Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School in Queens for two days for our “Wetland Stewardship for a Healthier Bronx” educational program which is funded by an Environmental Protection Agency Environmental Education Grant. During their time with us in the Park, we focused on Water Quality Monitoring and Daylighting Tibbetts Brook while exploring around Van Cortlandt Lake. Read more »
Happy Summer Solstice. We hope you will be spending some of your summer in Van Cortlandt Park and to help you plan what to do- here are 25 Things to Do in Van Cortlandt Park during the Summer of 2018 (in no particular order). Get out and explore VCP this Summer!
1.) Take a Rowboat Out on Van Cortlandt Lake
Fridays June 22nd to August 24th from 4:30pm to 7:30pm Village Community Boathouse will provide FREE rowing in their fleet of traditional wooden rowboats. Children under 18 years old need a parent present to sign waiver. Enter the park at Van Cortlandt Park South & Bailey Ave. Meet near the Lake. Read more »
Written By Alex Byrne
With over 1,100 acres of park land Van Cortlandt Park stands as one of New York city’s last refuges for animals adapted to forest and wetland habitat. It truly is where NYC discovers, with great potential for the park to be used as a natural laboratory to understand how urban environments differ from their rural counter parts and how science research can improve our understanding of the effects of different restoration, enhancement and management practices. Starting in May of 2018 ecologists at the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park with help from two college interns have begun a largescale assessment of arthropods to characterize community structure andto generate a park wide map of arthropod diversity (insects, spiders). Additionally, one location for our study, the Tibbetts brook flood plain, is slated for ecological enhancement by FVCP staff to increase the native biodiversity and integrity of ~2.5 acres of flood plain habitat. The data we collect will be used to understand how arthropods, typically highest in animal biomass, respond to the removal of non-native invasive plants and how they reassemble themselves as the habitat recovers from management. We chose to target arthropods as a function of their lack of attention by NYC Parks which typically concentrates a majority of their work and site assessments on the presence or absence of plants. Establishing an arthropod sampling protocol and providing species data will diversify and aid the efforts of NYC Parks. Additionally, we will be collecting a suite of environmental variables to better understand the relationship of arthropods to landscape characteristics with an emphasis on the effects of coarse woody debris, invasive plants, habitat type and soil chemistry. Read more »
Tree Plantings Ceremony for Friends of Van Cortlandt Park’s Founders
Monday April 16th at 1pm
Van Cortlandt House Museum
The Friends of Van Cortlandt Park (FVCP) celebrated 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. FVCP celebrated their 25th Anniversary with a gala on Sunday October 15th, 2017 where we honored our 6 Founders: Felicity Nitz, Frances Beinecke, Susan Morgenthau, Elizabeth Scheuer, Jane Sokolow and Sybil Wailand and promised to plant trees in their honors.
At 1pm on Monday April 16th, 2018, the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park along with the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation will plant 6 “Green Mountain” Sugar Maple Trees in honor of FVCP’s 6 Founders along the southern fence of the Van Cortlandt House Museum. Read more »
Friends of Van Cortlandt Park’s Executive Director gave the following testimony at the NYC City Council Parks Committee Preliminary FY19 Budget Hearing on Tuesday March 27th, 2018.
Good afternoon. Thank you for allowing me to testify. My name is Christina Taylor and I am the Executive Director of the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park. First of all, I want to thank our Councilman Andrew Cohen for his vital support of parks.
We all know that NYC Parks is underfunded. They have been for many many years and this needs to change. The Friends would happily join you to urge Mayor de Blasio to increase funding for NYC Parks.
A few years ago, NYC Parks approved a comprehensive Master Plan for the first time in the park’s history, however that Master Plan will never be accomplished in 20 years with the current rate in which project are funded and implemented. Read more »
Editor’s note: In honor of World Water Day (March 22nd annually) today’s Natural Selections post is focused on Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies) who call Tibbetts Brook and Van Cortlandt Lake home. Alex Byrne will introduce you to these fascinating creatures and share with you why you spend some time watching them in the Park.
It takes about half a day to get there, if you travel by Dragonfly.
By: Alex Byrne
Predators have always been a part of human culture and experience. Our intimacy with this act, read in tooth and claw, is a product of being predator and prey, hunter and the hunted. In some way the elevated status we have granted the predator in our species is a reflection of our own inherent and learned sensitivity to danger. The walls of caves have been manipulated through the use of saliva and plant fruits to display cave bears, dire wolfs and hunting human (Siva 2007). The Egyptians created gods out of birds of prey and the predatory perfecta, the felines (Pettigrew 2003). We have managed to take the big bad wolf and create 339 different dog breeds. In 1902 the US Army Medical Corps adopted the caduceus as an emblem which displays two snakes entwined around a staff, a behavior consistent with the mating behavior of serpents. The evidence for a predator centric society is abound, however a common theme in these predatory idols is the lack of entomological (insect) admiration. Most people do not spend their weekends in wetlands watching dragonfly’s hunt, but they should. Read more »