Archive | December, 2017

6 Ways To Participate In CV MulchFest

29 Dec

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1. Donate Your Tree

You don’t have to hold onto it until Jan 13th, the date of the event. You can bring it to your building’s compactor room. See office guidelines for disposal here: CV Mulchfest 2018

2. Donate Your Wreath, Other Decorative Items

See “Red,” the reindeer made from pine tree scraps.  He won’t be thrown into the wood chipper — but he could be!

3. Enter the MulchFest Contest

Guess how many trees will be put into the chipper and you could win a prize! Send your guesstimate to CVEarthlab@gmail.com the night before. Find more info here.

4. Watch the Wood Chipping

We’ll gather behind 195 Adams Street at 10am on Sat Jan 13th. Donuts and hot cider will be served.

RELATED:  Scenes from 2016 CV MulchFest

5. Help Move Mulch

Work with your neighbors to shovel freshly-ground mulch into the play area falls zones, so it can act as safety surfacing for the play equipment at the same time it improves the soil. ***Able bodies much needed! Volunteer here:  http://signup.com/go/PSknuvZ  Many hands make for light work! ***

RELATED: Why I Love Mulch by Ansley Samson

6. Serve Hot Cider and Donuts

We’ll need extra hands to set up and clean up the treats and upcycle any food waste on the morning of Jan 13, around 10 am and around 12noon.  Sign up here.

 

Guess How Many Trees: CV MulchFest Sweepstakes

29 Dec

On Saturday January 13th a wood chipper will be on site to mulch all the CV trees collected. How many total trees we will have to mulch? 3? 30? 300?

The more trees, the merrier for the soil and the kids. Mulch is a valuable and sustainable resource for ground cover that protects soil, helps reduces runoff, and suppresses weeds. Plus, mulch is the primary safety surfacing for the play area play ground and protects against potentially fatal head injury from falls.
Cast your vote for the total number of CV trees! The winner gets a prize! Send your entry with the resident’s name, email address, phone number and age of resident guesser to cvearthlab@gmail.com by 8pm on Friday January 12th.

One entry per resident, multiple entries per household are encouraged!

RELATED: And the Winner Is…

Volunteers Needed for CV MulchFest 1.13.18

19 Dec

Please help make CV MulchFest a success!

Volunteers are needed the morning of Saturday Jan 13th.  Sign up to help serve hot cider and donuts or to shovel wood chips here .

To learn more about the magic of mulch, check out Ansley Sampson’s essay.

RELATED:  Scenes from 2016 CV MulchFest

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Why I love mulch!

18 Dec


Way back in 2010-11, parents formed a group to work together on improvements to the Children’s Play Area (the “backyard”), which had become more popular because parents had — with the approval of the CV Board — installed a fence “to keep the kids in, not to keep others out!”

We knew we wanted some play equipment, but we went back and forth on (1) exactly how much and what kind and (2) how it would fit in with our in-progress larger designs for the space.  I work (part-time) for public interest environmental groups and was excited to implement something that would fit (in a very small way!) into ongoing efforts in the city to better manage stormwater runoff AND to have a more natural area in which for my kids to play.  The group as a whole decided to take a more natural approach, and mulch was part of that vision:

  • Why not a bigger play structure with built-in synthetic safety surfacing? Because of the size of play structure and required safety surfacing, play equipment would have significantly reduced habitat for species, which the committee sought both for benefits to our kids, as well as to our community (we have intentionally planted native butterfly habitat in the Children’s Play Area and kids are introduced to several species of butterflies, other insects like ladybugs and their larvae, and earthworms — kids have even photographed and video-recorded Black Swallowtail butterflies making their chrysalises on 2 occasions!). In addition, the required safety surfacing would have likely required us to cut down the large tree that dominates the play area, eliminating natural shade and visual beauty.
  • Ok, so no huge play structures, but why not synthetic, permeable safety surfacing? It might have required less maintenance (hard to know), but in addition to habitat value, we thought there might be some benefits in terms of soil quality from bringing in mulch. We tested our soil, and although all our tests from the backyard came back under NY standards, soil lead was elevated from background levels (as it is throughout NYC and other urban areas); we learned that bringing in healthier soil, compost and mulch could help improve our soil quality (when the mulch decomposes, it creates new soil), and potentially make lead and other toxins in our soil less available to people and the broader environment, though that’s harder to know.
  • We have plenty of trees in CV and if the soil is a problem, why not just put in as much synthetic stuff as possible? Increasing impermeable surfaces (like playground equipment and most safety surfacing) means more runoff into NYC’s combined sewer system. During large rainfall events, the system is overwhelmed and sewer waste combines with stormwater to flow untreated into the East River. By improving our soil and being thoughtful about what we plant, we may also increase our soil’s ability to capture stormwater flow and reduce demands on NYCs stormwater system. Grass and soil don’t work as safety surfacing (too hard!), and when you plant native plants and add mulch, you may actually improve the ability of soil to allow for the infiltration of rainfall. I’d love to create an actual rain garden or bioswale . . . but that takes more careful planning and money . . . but maybe? Someday? Maybe kids could even help with design and implementation.

At this point, my kids and I aren’t out in the backyard as much as we used to be, and my kids pretty much refuse to garden with me, especially now that they are entering their teen and preeteen years.  But they spent many happy years as toddlers, preschoolers, and early elementary schoolers looking for earthworms and seeking butterfly eggs, larvae, and chrysalises. My daughter did a science fair project in second grade trying to determine when birds were more likely to be in the play area — early morning or later afternoon (before or after school, basically). We’ve found an impressive patch of four-leaf clovers, picked them with friends and pressed them for posterity.  There are lots of other things they’ve liked about the backyard over the years, but the small ways in which it has allowed them a means to interact with their natural environment in the heart of NYC have felt particularly special.

Harvesting snap peas in June 2013

The happy girl who discovered the caterpillar right before it formed its chrysalis!.

Save the Date: Sat Jan 13th Is CV Mulchfest 2018

15 Dec

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We’ll gather ’round the wood chipper, watch it transform Christmas trees into fragrant wood chips, then work together to spread fresh chips around the play area and other parts of the grounds. Donuts and cider will be served!

RELATED: MulchFest 2016 Photos; Exciting News @ Your Tree

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