BioBlitz Brings Macaulay Students to Brooklyn Bridge Park

@bioblitz16_butterfly crew

Hundreds of students, nature lovers and scientists will participate in the 2016 Macaulay Honors College-Brooklyn Bridge Park BioBlitz on 4pm, Sunday, September 18 through 4pm, Monday September 19, 2016. BioBlitz is a 24-hour biological inventory with a goal to find as many species of organisms as possible. The students, scientists, and volunteers will discover and catalog flora and fauna that are currently living in Brooklyn Bridge Park, a previously deteriorated stretch of waterfront that is now an 85-acre park where the public can gather, play, relax, and enjoy sweeping views of New York Harbor.

“Our goals are two-fold during BioBlitz: educating students about the science of ecology in the city and cataloguing as many species as possible in 24 hours,” said Mary C. Pearl Ph.D., Dean of Macaulay, who is also a wildlife expert. “Students will get a transformational educational experience with real scientific data collection in a complex ecosystem and also contribute to the environmental monitoring efforts of New York City.”

We are so excited to welcome Macaulay Honors College to Brooklyn Bridge Park,” said Regina Myer, President of Brooklyn Bridge Park. “Not only will BioBlitz provide a unique learning experience for the students involved, but it will also generate valuable data that will further our understanding of the Park’s biodiversity.”

As well as welcoming the BioBlitz to the Park, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy is providing essential support by underwriting the taxonomists who will be overseeing the data collection.

“Co-hosting the BioBlitz in Brooklyn Bridge Park is a terrific opportunity to explore the ecological diversity of the Park”, stated Nancy Webster, Executive Director of Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy. “We’re excited to partner with Macaulay Honors College on this event to gain knowledge about the wildlife in the Park as well as advance our many educational and environmental programs”.

BioBlitz is one part of Macaulay’s new Science Forward curriculum that gets students to practice their critical thinking and scientific skills. Macaulay’s 500 sophomores hope to get as complete a picture of species diversity as they can in a 24-hour period, and the 2016 BioBlitz will be the first such survey ever at Brooklyn Bridge Park. The effort will contribute valuable baseline data for the Park so that future scientists and land managers can track the Park’s progress as species enter and leave this changing habitat.

This is the fourth BioBlitz organized by Macaulay Honors College. In 2013, in partnership with the Central Park Conservancy, Macaulay held a very successful BioBlitz in Central Park, where its students teamed up with about 40 scientists to find a total of 571 different species in the park, including a few that had never been seen there before. In 2014, Macaulay partnered with the New York Botanical Garden where students and scientists focused on the Thain Family Forest, which is the largest area of old growth forest in New York City. At that BioBlitz, participants found 503 species, not counting the microbial analysis that happened later. In 2015, Macaulay and the NYC Department of Parks teamed with scientists and volunteers to join students in exploring Staten Island’s Freshkills Park, a former landfill that was capped in 1996. With some results still pending, the teams found 320 species at Freshkills North Park, providing the park with important baseline data.

This year, Macaulay Honors College is hoping to have similar success as students explore the unique landscape of Brooklyn Bridge Park.

About Macaulay Honors College

Macaulay Honors College at The City University of New York offers exceptional students a uniquely personalized education with access to the vast resources of the nation’s largest urban university and the largest city, New York City. Selected for their top high school records and leadership potential, Macaulay students receive a full tuition scholarship, a laptop and technology support, and an Opportunities Fund to pursue global learning, research and service opportunities. Macaulay students enroll in one of eight CUNY senior colleges: Baruch, Brooklyn, City, Hunter, John Jay, Lehman, and Queens Colleges and the College of Staten Island. For more information, see macaulay.cuny.edu.

About Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy

Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy has worked for over 30 years to bring Brooklyn Bridge Park to life. We started out as grassroots advocates, bringing together residents, government, and local supporters to transform an abandoned waterfront into the park you see today. Now an essential supporter, we work in partnership with Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation to ensure that the park reaches its full potential as a dynamic and vibrant public space for Brooklyn, New York City, and beyond. The Conservancy produces diverse and innovative programming for park visitors and cultivates volunteer and philanthropic support of this special place on the Brooklyn waterfront. Since 2000, more than 1,400,000 visitors have enjoyed the Conservancy’s free, public programs in Brooklyn Bridge Park. The Conservancy’s education program has served over 40,000 students from more than 350 schools and institutions.

About Brooklyn Bridge Park

Brooklyn Bridge Park is the not-for-profit entity responsible for the planning, construction, maintenance and operation of Brooklyn Bridge Park, an 85-acre sustainable waterfront park spanning 1.3 miles along Brooklyn’s East River shoreline. As steward of the park, BBP has transformed this previously deteriorated stretch of waterfront into a world-class park where the public can gather, play, relax and enjoy sweeping views of New York Harbor. The Park was designed by the award-winning firm of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc. and features expansive lawns, rolling hills, waterfront promenades, innovative playgrounds, a greenway, sports facilities and the popular Jane’s Carousel. BBP serves thousands of people on any given seasonal day, who come to picnic, walk their dog, play soccer, jog, bike or roller skate. Brooklyn Bridge Park is a signature public investment for the 21st Century and will be an enduring legacy for the communities, elected officials and public servants who made it happen. For more information, please visit www.brooklynbridgepark.org.

Contact: Sheila Stainback, 212-729-2924, sheila.stainback@mhc.cuny.edu