Conservation is the Key to Longevity

Conservation is the Key to Longevity

By Nicole Meyers

old-new-york

It’s hard to imagine that before New York City became a concrete jungle, it was just a jungle. Manhattan’s natural state of ecology boasted biological and ecological diversity that supported wildlife and sustained humans for thousands of years. There were valleys, forests, fields, freshwater wetlands, salt marshes, beaches, springs, ponds and streams. It was home to bears, wolves, songbirds, and salamanders. Fish, porpoises and whales swam in the harbor. Then the Europeans came along. In 1609, the wild and lush landscape became increasingly industrialized, and the land’s primitive ecology gave way to an urbanization.

Nature in New York City still exists. On the outskirts of our urbanized city center, New York’s natural areas continue to support diverse plant and wildlife populations. In the face of rapid development, resource conservation has been a pulsing matter.  A number of key organizations have emerged to preserve new york’s natural habitat through advocating for coastal restoration, forest conservation, neighborhood parks, gardens, and green spaces.

A number of key organizations have emerged to preserve new york’s natural habitat.  The Natural Areas Conservancy (NAC), partners with NYC Parks to restore and conserve 10,000 acres of forests, meadows, and wetlands citywide. NAC was founded on the idea that our city’s ecological health is critical to it’s greatness.  They work across all five boroughs to ensure healthy forests through tree plantings and long-term management, improve coastal resilience by rebuilding dunes and marshes, and motivate New Yorkers to get outside through volunteer events, tours, and lectures. Click here to learn more about NAC’s upcoming events.

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The Nature Conservancy also plays a vital role in protecting New York’s green heart. Addressing land conservation on a larger scale, The Nature Conservancy is the leading organization working around the world to protect lands and waters. Their New York City chapter provides a number urban conservation programs that aim to make the city more livable, such as their recent project in Jamaica Bay. In partnership with the National Park Service (NPS), The Nature Conservancy has launched a collaborative project to improve the ecological health of habitats and increase resiliency at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, which is part of the Gateway National Recreation Area in Queens. Land management strategies on coastal park lands is fundamental to enhancing our city’s resilience to climate change.

Founded in 1995 by singer and songwriter Bette Midler, The New York Restoration Project (NYRP) is dedicated to transforming open space into green space in low-income communities citywide. In fact, NYRP is the only conservancy for under-resourced communities. They provide free environmental education for all ages that teach New Yorkers about composting, sustainable horticulture, and native plants. They also work to restore and maintain community gardens throughout the five boroughs. Click here to find a garden in your neighborhood!

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