Saturday, October 24, 2015

iDig2Learn Hosts Roosevelt Island Monarch Butterfly Corridor Milkweed Planting With Kids Of All Ages At Lighthouse Park - Archaelogical Dig, Crafts, Face Painting, & Storytime Too

Roosevelt Island's iDig2Learn hosted a Monarch Butterfly Corridor Milkweed planting at Lighthouse Park last Saturday, October 17.

iDig2Learn 10/17 Milkweed Planting At Lighthouse Park Image From David Stone & Deborah Julian

Free family friendly iDig2Learn

Vicki Feinmel & Judy Buck Welcome iDig2Learn Planters Image By David Stone & Deborah Julian

activities included an archaeological dig box to hunt for shark's teeth and fossils,

Image From David Stone & Deborah Julian

story time by Eva Bosbach,

Image From David Stone & Deborah Julian

face painting by Liyan Chen,

Image From David Stone & Deborah Julian

butterfly themed art with Neha Sharma,

Image From David Stone & Deborah Julian

 and of course, planting milkweed plants for the Monarch butterflies.

Image From David Stone & Deborah Julian

According to iDig2Learn Founder Christina Delfico:
... In the past two decades, the Monarch butterfly population has decreased in North America by 95%. Planting milkweed, the plant Monarch butterflies depend on, will increase their chance of survival. Monarch butterflies travel over 3000 miles from Mexico to Canada and back and they fly through New York City. We can help restore their habitat by planting the milkweed plant to create a flight corridor for Monarch butterflies on their migrations south to warmer weather every fall. If we plant it they will come!....
Here's more on the Monarch Butterfly migration


and October 23 Press Release From iDig2Learn:
Citizens Committee for New York City, Grow to Learn, and The City Gardens Club of New York City recently awarded iDig2Learn several grants in order to enable the Roosevelt Island-based initiative’s efforts to build a monarch butterfly corridor on the island. These destinations will serve as a flight corridor for monarch butterflies on their migrations north in spring and south to warmer weather every fall.

iDig2Learn, an initiative that promotes green spaces and provides children with hands-on education using plant life, TEAMS UP with residents and community groups to bond while working with nature.

The Citizens Committee for New York City (CCNYC) chose iDig2Learn’s restoration event as its corporate service day and pitched in to plant milkweed, the one plant monarch butterflies depend on to survive, this past Saturday. Its CEO, Peter H. Kostmayer, said, "We're thrilled to provide a 2015 Neighborhood Grant for iDig2Learn's volunteer project that helps restore wildlife micro-habitats right here in the city and we would like to acknowledge Wells Fargo for the 2015 idig2learn grant. When neighborhood groups team up with local schools to better the environment, the entire community benefits and young student leaders are born. We're grateful for their dedication and happy to be a small part of these remarkable local efforts."

The City Garden Club of New York City’s grants committee member, Vicki Hartman, who was on hand to support the transformation, said "It is great to see our grant funds in action, our club has been a long time supporter of Roosevelt Island, and projects like iDig2Learn's habitat restoration effort, are exactly the type of endeavors we want to encourage."

Grow to Learn also awarded iDig2Learn a grant for this important educational project. Grow to Learn NYC was established by The Mayor's Fund and GrowNYC. Grow to Learn NYC supports the citywide school garden initiative and community efforts to inspire young people and promote garden learning across New York City.

Christina Delfico, who, as iDig2Learn’s founder, had the vision to create a monarch butterfly corridor on Roosevelt Island, stated, “It is such a thrill to receive support from Citizens Committee for NYC, Grow to Learn, and The City Gardens Club of NYC to build out a corridor of milkweed plants for the butterflies. Monarch butterflies are an indicator species, meaning loss of their population is a warning sign to us. When you think about monarch butterflies traveling 3000 miles from Mexico to Canada, and the danger of losing them, I wanted to do something. Roosevelt Island is the perfect community to get behind a big endeavor like this because they love to mobilize. If it wasn’t amazing enough that caterpillars become butterflies, knowing that humans can plant milkweed to help monarchs seems like a no brainer.”

Notes the Roosevelt Island Garden Club's Secretary, Julia Ferguson, "In addition to actively partnering with iDig2Learn for the phase one site just outside the community garden, many of our members are already growing milkweed plants in their own garden plots and more members are stepping up to join them. As gardeners we are excited to share knowledge of pollinators' needs and of local and native plants with our Roosevelt Island community. Knowing we have lost 95% of the monarch butterfly population in the past two decades, we are committed to participation with this important project."

"We are always enriching the offerings for our students” said 217PTA president, Olga Shchuchinov, “and working in the community to restore wildlife builds on our science curriculum."

“Congratulations to iDig2Learn for continuing to build a stronger community through green initiatives, these are exactly the kind of projects RIRA likes to support,” said Jeffrey Escobar, President of the Roosevelt Island Residents’ Association, who was also in attendance with his family.

Girl scouts were among those who spent hours learning about the plight of the monarch butterfly and its loss of habitat, along with ways to raise awareness and to encourage residents to attend the milkweed planting event. Aiesha Eleusizov and Heather Smith, Girl Scout leaders of Troop 3001, sponsored by Manhattan Park, said "It's been so exciting to learn that monarch butterflies come through New York City on their eastern migration, and for our troops to work together to restore the butterfly’s habitat makes a real difference in our world." Janine Schaefer, leader of local Girl Scout Troops 3244 and 3245, sponsored by the Roosevelt Island Beacon Youth Program, added, "We learned that monarch butterflies only eat and lay their eggs on milkweed – that's why it's so important to create these milkweed gardens. We also learned some fun facts, like if a monarch butterfly has two black spots on its wings, it is a boy. We enjoyed being a part of this event. It builds on what we already know: that nature is amazing and needs to be preserved."

Stated Eva Bosbach, founder of the Roosevelt Island Parents’ Network, “Thank you to iDig2Learn for bringing the community together for a beneficial and fun cause that will beautify our island and help nature. This project will teach our children that no matter how small they are they can do something big to help nature thrive"

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) fully supported this endeavor and made every effort to make this idea a reality. “The iDig2Learn team is an absolute pleasure to work with and has a clear vision and understanding of community green and sustainable initiatives. We value resident led initiatives and admire the wealth of knowledge and leadership that Christina and all our volunteers bring to Island projects strengthening the social fabric of the Roosevelt Island community,” said RIOC's President & CEO, Charlene M. Indelicato.

Groups and individuals involved in this project include funders Grow to Learn, GrowNYC, Citizens Committee for New York City, and The City Gardens Club of New York City. Partners include RIOC, 217PTA, Roosevelt Island Youth Program, Roosevelt Island Garden Club, Roosevelt Island Parents’ Network, Liyan Chen, Neha Sharma, Kim Massey, Judy Buck, Vicki Feinmel, Ellen Polivy, Dawn Price, Dr. Ali Schwayri, Vaughn Anglesey, Jose Leon, Anthony Longo, Roosevelt Island Girl Scouts (troops 3244 and 3245 sponsored by RI Beacon Youth Program and troop 3001 sponsored by Manhattan Park), RIHS, RIRA, The WIRE, Roosevelt Islander Online, Rivercross Tenants’ Corp., Manhattan Park, Urban American, Riverwalk, Shops on Main, Island Kids, Gristedes, Wengerd Farms, New Yorkers for Parks, North Creek Nurseries, Pinelands Nursery, Greenbelt Native Plant Center, Fantastic Gardens, Butterfly Project NYC, and iDig2Learn.
As previously reported, the planned Roosevelt Island PS/IS 217 Green Roof will include a managed milkweed haven to serve as a flight corridor for monarch butterflies.

More information on iDig2Learn available at their web site.