2022-05-02

Sunday, May 22: Habitat Gardening Workshop for NYC Wildflower Week

2022-05-13 UPDATE: A second session is now available for Sunday, May 22, 12 noon to 2pm! Registration links below now point to the new event.
2022-05-09 UPDATE: Due to the rainy, windy, cold weather yesterday, we will be scheduling another session of this workshop for later this week, most likely for the afternoon of Friday, May 13th. Will update here when confirmed!
Me hosting the NYCWW Pollinator Week Safari in my Front Yard, June 2014. Photo: Alan Riback

Sunday, May 22nd 6th, I will be hosting and facilitating a workshop on gardening for habitat with native plants in my home garden. The workshop is from 12noon to 2pm. Space is limited, so please register at the Eventbrite link below.

Learn how to garden with native plants to create wildlife habitat, even in small urban gardens. In this interactive garden tour and workshop, Chris will use his garden to highlight the importance of native plants for sustaining urban wildlife, and how to create and maintain a garden for its ecological value. With nearly 200 NYC-native plant species, and over 400 documented insect visitors, you are sure to learn something new and find inspiration for improving habitat wherever you garden.

Presented by Chris Kreussling. Chris is an urban naturalist and advocate for urban habitat gardening with native plants. He has led numerous native plant and pollinator walks and workshops, for NYC Wildflower Week, Wave Hill, the High Line, and others. His garden is a registered habitat with the National Wildlife Federation, Xerces Pollinator Society, and other organizations. He’s documented this ongoing transformation on his gardening blog, Flatbush Gardener and on Twitter as @xrisfg.

- Eventbrite

Related Content

Insect Year in Review 2021, 2022-01-03
Hot Sheets Habitat, 2021-11-19
Documenting Insect-Plant Interactions, 2021-10-29
Presentation: Creating Urban Habitat, 2021-02-04
Home of the Wild, 2020-05-13
Pollinator Safari: Urban Insect Gardening with Native Plants, 2019-06-08
Charismatic Mesofauna, 2019-02-12
Pollinator Gardens, for Schools and Others, 2015-02-20
NYCWW Pollinator Safari of my Gardens, 2014-06-14

Links

Eventbrite registration page
NYC Wildflower Week

2022-04-25

City Nature Challenge 2022 - New York City

Botanizing along the Gowanus, May 2021

The annual City Nature Challenge (CNC) is this weekend, from Friday April 29 through Monday May 2. I put together a presentation on Slideshare with a brief overview of New York City's participation in CNC.

I'm one of the Brooklyn Borough Captains for the NYC Battle of the Boroughs, a friendly inter-borough competition among the boroughs to promote CNC participation across NYC. Following is a list of all the planned events and participating greenspaces in Brooklyn. You can also find this list on the Brooklyn CNC 2022 iNaturalist Project Journal.

2022-04-15

iNaturalist Workshops at GrowTogether, 4/22 & 4/23

Eristalis arbustorum (left) and and Syritta pipiens (right), thick-legged fly, on NOID Lamiaceae, 6&B Community Garden, East VIllage, Manhattan, July 2012

It's a busy season for me this Spring! NEXT WEEK is New York City NYC's GreenThumb community gardening program annual conference, known as GrowTogether:

Part 2 of the GreenThumb GrowTogether conference will be hosted in-person in community gardens in all five boroughs in celebration of Earth Week. Join us for workshops about growing food, healthy eating, native pollinators, flower arrangement, planting seeds, screen printing garden swag, volunteer projects, and more. All the activities are free and open to the public!

... The theme of this year’s GrowTogether is “Deeply Rooted: Growing Community Connections.” Community gardeners from across New York City have been gathering at the GrowTogether conference each spring since 1984 to celebrate the start of the garden season with a day of learning, networking, and reconnecting with friends. - Ibid.

- 38th Annual GreenThumb GrowTogether Conference Part 2 Conference Guide

As noted above, all GrowTogether workshops are open to the public. Please register, as some workshops have limited capacity.

This is my first time participating in GrowTogether. I'll be giving two different workshops on how to use iNaturalist, Friday in Brooklyn, and Saturday on Staten Island.

2022-03-17

Torrey Lecture, Wednesday March 30

2022-04-07: The recording is online on the Torrey Botanical Society YouTube channel.

I am proud to announce that I will be co-presenting, with Zihao Wang, a Lecture of the Torrey Botanical Society on Wednesday March 30 at 6pm. The title of the talk is "City Nature Challenge (CNC) 2022: For Plant-lovers and Botanists Alike."

Screenshot of top 30 Species Observed during NYC's CNC 2021

Note that the information we present will be applicable to iNaturalist users and City Nature Challenge observers and identifiers anywhere in the world! So, whereever you are, please join us if you can.

Abstract

Unlike most other citizen science platforms, iNaturalist allows anyone to record their observations of any living thing anywhere in the world. As it approaches 100 million Observations worldwide, it has become increasingly important to botany and other biological sciences. City Nature Challenge, based on iNaturalist, engages community members in cities and urbanized areas around the world to make observations, and provides opportunities for taxonomic experts to identify them, all over the world. Last year over 400 cities participated, with over 50,000 people documenting over 45,000 species with over 1.2 million observations, the largest bioblitz in the world. In this Torrey Talk, two iNaturalist experts will show how you can participate in iNaturalist and this year’s upcoming City Nature Challenge.

Registration

Date: 2022-03-30
Time: 6pm EDT (GMT-04:00)
Duration: 1 hour
Registration: Zoom

The talk will be recorded and made available on the Torrey YouTube channel sometime after the event. Please subscribe to our channel and enable notifications so you get updated when we publish new recordings!

Related Content

Links

Torrey Botanical Society

2022-03-11

Native Plant Profile: Amelanchier

I could probably talk about Amelanchier until my voice gave out (at least an hour!). It's such a great multi-season plant in the garden, and brings so much value to wildlife, as well. It's also a great example of how native plants convey a "sense of place" that is not imparted by conventional, non-native plants in the garden.

Although the Genus is distributed across the Northern hemisphere, the greatest diversity is found in North America. As you can see from the BONAP distribution map, Amelanchier diversity is the greatest in the Northeast. New York State hosts 14 species, varieties, natural hybrids, and subspecies. And New York City is home to 6 of those.

2013 BONAP North American Plant Atlas. TaxonMaps - Amelanchier

Amelanchier in my garden

Amelanchier was one of the key plants I included in my backyard native plant garden design in 2009. To fit my design, I needed a tree form with a single trunk and broad canopy.

2022-01-03

Insect Year in Review 2021

Observing the diversity of life that coexists in one place is one of the rewards of visiting the same natural area over a long period of time. My garden not only offers myself and passersby such an observatory. It's also a laboratory in which I can research how insects engage with their environment - both biotic and abiotic - and imagine, design, and create habitat to better provide for their needs.

The Front Garden, November 2021

I use iNaturalist to document the diversity of life in my garden. Although I only posted my first iNaturalist Observation in 2017, my garden Observations now span more than a decade. As of this year, I've documented over 400 insect species making use of my garden.

iNaturalist Observations · Flatbush Gardener - Top 25 Species - 2021-12-31

This biodiversity, and my documentation of it, is intentional. And although all of this is by design, all I can do is uncover the latent urban biodiversity in and around my garden. Each new species I find is a surprise to me.

2021-12-21

Standing Still 2021: Demeter Waiting

Today is the December solstice: the winter solstice in my hometown Northern hemisphere, summer in the Southern.

Persephone and her Pomegranate

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 'Proserpine', 1874

The millenia-old story of Persephone and her pomegranate, in all their incarnations, strikes me as a deeper analogy this Winter. Persephone was abducted, held hostage in hell, and starved. Only under this extreme duress did she eat anything she was offered: a few seeds of the pomegranate to stave her hunger.

I can relate to "being held hostage in hell". I feel as though I've endured six years of it. I know others do, as well.

2021-12-14

Garden Design Pattern Languages

Adapted from a tweet thread.

In a guest post on the ASLA's "Dirt" column, Alden E. Stone, CEO of Nature Sacred, writes:

[Our new report] is part research and part practical guide, and shares key insights gained through having co-created more than 100 Sacred Places across the country in communities, many under-resourced; in prisons, at universities, and in hospitals. A handful of these sites were also implemented as part of an expansive, decade-long design, build, and research project. ...

For the research portion of this paper, we focused our attention on four domains: nature’s impact on individual, community, economic and ecological health. ...

for many of the individual and community health benefits to kick in, people must engage with nature. Spend time in the green space. And this is where Nature Sacred has spent a lot of energy over the past two decades — looking at how to best engage the community and how to best design so that the community embraces, and spends time in, their green space.

She describes four "design elements":

  • Portal
  • Path
  • Destination
  • Surround

These design patterns recur in many different types of gardens, whether intentionally healing/sacred or not.

My backyard embodies all four elements. What follows is an exploration of the history of my backyard, from inception to its current state, viewed through the frame of those four design elements.

The Backyard, House Opening Party, October 2005 The Backyard, ready for visitors, June 2021

2021-12-01

Names

Book Cover, "The AIDS Epidemic," 1983, anthology of a NYC symposium 




These are some of the people, all men, I have lost over the years, nearly all to AIDS. With the exceptions of those additions noted, I stopped actively maintaining this list in 1994. In alphabetical order.

  • William "Wolf" Agress, a lover, died in 1990
  • Andre, a bartender at the Tunnel Bar in the East Village, now defunct
  • Vincent Barnes
  • Jerry Bihm
  • Bobby
  • Colin Curran
  • Erez Dror, co-owner and -founder of the Black Hound Bakery in the East Village, New York City, now defunct
  • Jeff Glidden, 1958-1987, a lover
  • Paul "Griff" Griffin
  • Martin Noel Jorda
  • David Kirschenbaum, 1962-1993, community organizer with the New York City Gay & Lesbian Anti-Violence Project
  • Art Kohn, founder of the BackRoom BBS in New York City, now defunct
  • John Larsen, a lover, died 2007 (Added 2021-12-01)
  • Jim Lewis
  • Luis
  • John Mangano, 1955-1991
  • Jeffrey Martin
  • Morris Matthews
  • David Mayer (Added 2021-12-01)
  • Karl Michalak, 1958-1997
  • Mark Melvin, 1962-1992
  • Norm
  • Tony Panico, my first lover in New York City, and the first person close to me to die from AIDS. His name appears twice on the AIDS Memorial Quilt, the first on Panel 05A when it was displayed in 1988.
  • Charles Pope, barfly extraordinaire
  • Gordon Provencher, 1955-1992
  • Tom Raleigh
  • Craig Rodwell, 1940-1993, founder of the Oscar Wilde Bookstore in Greenwich Village, NYC
  • Tony Rostron
  • Jurgen Schmitt
  • Giulio Sorrentino
  • Buddy Volani
  • Jeremy Wells
  • David Joseph Wilcox, 1957-1996

2021-11-30

Grief and Gardening: Extinct Plants of northern North America 2021

A Single Candle

As in past years, I'm limiting this list to northern North America for two reasons:

  1. Restricting this list geographically is in keeping with my specialization in plants native to northeastern North America.
  2. There are many more tropical plants, and plant extinctions, than I can manage.

Last year, this paper:

Vascular plant extinction in the continental United States and Canada

caused me to expand my list from 6 to 59 species, including 7 extinct in the wild. The summary is terse, and grim:

2021-11-19

Hot Sheets Habitat

A mating pair of NOID Dolichopodidae, long-legged flies, in my backyard, September 2018

My garden is registered as both a National Wildlife Federation Backyard Wildlife Habitat and Xerces Society Pollinator Habitat. The insects have certainly gotten the message. During 2021, I've been able to document 14 different species of insects mating in my garden.
  1. Acanthoscelidius acephalus, minute seed weevil
  2. Epitrix fuscula
  3. Harmonia axyridis, multi-colored lady beetle (introduced)
  4. Eumerus
  5. Orthonevra nitida, wavy mucksucker
  6. Syritta pipiens, compost fly (introduced)
  7. Toxomerus geminatus, Eastern calligrapher fly
  8. Toxomerus marginatus, margined calligrapher fly
  9. Xenox tigrinus, tiger bee fly
  10. Jalysus, stilt bug
  11. Lygaeus kalmii ssp. angustomarginatus, Eastern small milkweed bug
  12. Hylaeus modestus, modest masked bee
  13. Xylocopa virginica, large Eastern carpenter bee
  14. Danaus plexxipus, monarch butterfly

2021-10-29

Documenting Insect-Plant Interactions

2021-10-29: Transcribed and updated my October 20th tweet thread on this topic. 

I'm an active contributor to iNaturalist. While I'm not a "super-observer", I expect to surpass 11,000 Observations by Halloween, two days away.

Insect-Plant interactions are the majority of my iNaturalist Observations. I use the Observation Field: Interaction->Visited Flower Of to record which flowers insects are visiting, or lurking upon. Roughly 1/3 of my Observations use that field.

Partial Screenshot of my most recent Observations with the Visited Flower Of Field - 2021-10-29

Both the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) and Global Biotic Interactions database (GloBI) automatically import iNaturalist Research Grade observations with an appropriate Creative Commons license. I'll use one of my iNaturalist Observations as an example to show how it all works together.

2021-09-13

iNaturalist Workshops, The High Line, Saturday September 25

Updated 2021-09-25: Added Links and QR Codes to "Getting Started with iNaturalist".


I'm pleased to announce that Saturday, September 25th, I will be leading two iNaturalist Workshops "in the field" at The High Line. This is one of several workshops, and many other events, they have scheduled for Insectageddon, which runs from 3-6pm that Saturday afternoon.

Self-Portrait of an iNaturalist as an old man

I'll be doing two walks:

  • 3:15-4:15 pm
  • 4:45-5:45 pm

When not out on one of the walks, I'll have a table in The High Line's Chelsea Market Passage, between 15th and 16th Streets. Please sign up there for one of the two workshops, as space will be limited. Each walk will start out from that location.

iNaturalist Workshop
Hosted by Chris Kreussling, aka “Flatbush Gardener”
Join Chris Kreussling for a walk on the High Line to explore plant and insect interactions and learn about the citizen scientist observation gathering tool iNaturalist. Tours begin at 3:30 and 4:45; please sign up upon arrival at Chris’s table in Chelsea Market Passage. Chris is a Brooklyn naturalist and gardener specializing in gardening with native plants to create habitat for pollinators and other invertebrates.

Visiting the High Line

Note that there are weekend restrictions in place for visitors to The High Line. You must register for timed entry; pre-registration is highly recommended. The only weekend entrances open are at Gansevoort Street, 23rd Street, and 30th Street. 

Please give yourself plenty of time to get to my table in Chelse Market Passage for the start of the walk. The 14th Street entrance is exit-only on weekends. The closest weekend entrance is Gansevoort Street, at the corner of Washington Street, the southern end of The High Line. This entrance is just three blocks south of 14th Street.

Getting Started with iNaturalist

  1. Sign up at https://www.inaturalist.org/signup


    • You must be 13 or older.
    • You can link to your existing social media account, such as Twitter or Facebook
    • If you don't have an existing social media account you want to link to, you can create a new account with a valid email address
  2. If you have existing photos you want to identify, you can begin uploading them to iNaturalist through your Web browser.
  3. Recommended: Also install the iNaturalist app on your Android phone or iPhone or other Apple device. Be sure to link it to the account you just created. You can then take photos on your phone and upload them directly to iNaturalist.

    Android:
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.inaturalist.android


    Apple/iPhone:
    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/inaturalist/id421397028?mt=8


Related Content

Native Pollinator Walks, Wave Hill, Sunday, June 27, 2021-06-14
Pollinator Safari: Urban Insect Gardening with Native Plants, 2019-06-23
NYC Wildflower Week  Tour of my Gardens, 2016-05-15
NYC Wildflower Week Pollinator Safari of my Gardens, 2014-06-21

Links

iNaturalist
Getting Started

2021-09-11

Grief & Gardening: 20 Years

Written spontaneously as a Twitter thread, and transcribed to this blog post.
Anti-war graffiti on base of statue, Union Square Park, September 24, 2001 
I'm avoiding the news today. As well as the retraumatizing snuff porn documentaries. I've written about all of it before. I don't feel the need to day to write any more. I wrote this 15 years ago about Anniversaries, my first "Grief & Gardening" post:
The ways we observe anniversaries is arbitrary. For example, I was shocked to tears for weeks by the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004, which killed 100 times more people than Katrina [1st Anniversary]. The earthquake which precipitated it left the entire planet ringing like a bell. The observation of "25 Years of AIDS" at this year's World AIDS Congress is pinned only to the first official report of a cluster of unusual deaths by the Centers for Disease Control in June of 1981. The timelines of epidemics don't follow our categorizations of them.
Grief & Gardening #1: 1, 5 and 25, 2006-09-04

2021-06-14

Native Pollinator Walks, Wave Hill, Sunday, June 27

Update, 2021-06-23: These walks are now FREE with your admission to Wave Hill! Pre-registration is no longer required, but space is limited. Register on-site, the day of the walks, at the Perkins Visitor Center.

-----

I'm proud to announce that Sunday, June 27th, I will be leading two Native Pollinator Walks at Wave Hill in the Bronx. This is one of several events they have scheduled for their Native Pollinators Day, at the end of Pollinator Week.

Me hosting the NYCWW Pollinator Week Safari in my Front Yard, June 2014. Photo: Alan Riback

I'll be doing two walks:

FREE with your admission admission to Wave Hill's grounds.

Flowers attract the attention of both human and animal visitors. Honeybees, bumblebees, and butterflies are easily spotted in the garden but solitary bees, beetles, and other native pollinators are often overlooked. Learn about pollination and observe native pollinators busy at work in the garden with naturalist and gardener Chris KreusslingAges 10 and older welcome with an adult. Native Pollinators Day event.

Registration required, onsite on the day of the walk, at the Perkins Visitor Center. Space is limited. Questions? Please email us at information@wavehill.org or call 718.549.3200 x251.

Related Content

NYC Wildflower Week Pollinator Safari of my Gardens, 2014-06-21

Links

Native Pollinators Day, Wave Hill

2021-03-27

NYC Regional Native Plant Sales, Spring-Summer 2021

2021-06-09: Added Tufts Pollinator Initiative Native Plant Sale
2021-03-27: Initial listing. I will continue to update this throughout the season as I learn of more events.

This season's native plant sales in and around New York City. Events are listed by date. For year-round sources of native plants, see Sources for Native Plants.

Native Plant Acquisitions, Gowanus Canal Conservancy Plant Sale, April 2018

2020-12-03

Recipe: Maple Sugar Cookies

2021-12-13: Updated with tweaks from my latest batch, the best yet!
I also added weight equivalents for most of the ingredients.
I also added some notes for what, if anything, to adjust when doubling the recipe, which is what I usually do for giving away cookies during the holidays.

Leaves of Acer saccharum, sugar maple, Inwood Hill Park, November 2015

Living in New York City most of my life, I'm not in what one would think of as "maple country". But the northeast is rich with sugarbushes - the managed groves and forests of maple trees from which sap is harvested and boiled down to make this nectar of the gods. And nearly every NYC Greenmarket (farmers' market) has at least one farmer that sells maple syrup and other maple prodcuts, even if it's not their primary business.

2020-11-30

Extinct Plants of northern North America 2020

Wanna know what's really scary? Extinction. #ExtinctSymbol #Resist

As in past years, I'm limiting this list to northern North America for two reasons:

  1. Restricting this list geographically is in keeping with my specialization in plants native to northeastern North America.
  2. There are many more tropical plants, and plant extinctions, than I can manage.

In past years, I've only been able to find records for 6 plant species that have gone extinct. This year's list is a major update: 59 extinctions, and 7 extinct in the wild. This is largely due to the research presented in this August 2020 paper:

Vascular plant extinction in the continental United States and Canada

The summary is terse, and grim: