GCBS Notes from CFP Interns

Week 3
This week, we cleaned out the shed completely. The shed was organized with tables and chairs so that we could sit inside during periods of rain, and so that it was organized. AHRC, an adults with special needs group came to visit and volunteer. This week the supplies and planning for nature camp were finalized, as it begins next week. We also began to mark various trees of interest on a GPS map which will be used in a Girl Scout’s Gold Award project.

Week 4
The first week of Nature Camp began was this week. We had a very successful week, and the kids really enjoyed all the activities. After the kids left, we were able to get some weeding done and the grass finally cut. We were also visited by the Woodmen of America so that they may tend to the garden they had planted earlier in the semester.

Week 5
The second week of Nature Camp was this week. We were blessed to have a large group of volunteers throughout the week to help with weeding and bagging. The weeding this week proved to be a very demanding project, and has still not been completed after a week of work. We hope to eventually weed and woodchip the entire hill going into the main basin.

Week 6
This week we finished putting woodchips on different paths which did not have grass. AHRC continued to volunteer and pull areas of weeds and help us clean up the Parente Garden, which we had begun to weed. Although the garden was vastly overgrown with weeds, we made a great deal of progress and should be done soon

Week 7
This week, we finished weeding and mulching the Parente Garden. We’re proud to say that the garden is nearly restored to usable condition. We got more help from AHRC this week in pulling weeds around the Sanctuary.

Week of June 8

Last week, the GCBS saw a lot of activity, both from the patrons of the sanctuary and those working to keep it in shape. Throughout the week, we were visited by some BOCES students from Garden City High School. We all enjoyed planting various flowers around the sanctuary and making some great arts and crafts! The students really seemed to enjoy their time here, and were all excited to be starting their summer. 

Last week, many more additions were made to the Community Garden. Tulips and Annuals were planted along the northwest side of the garden, and surely will be a great addition once they bloom. Also, a new tree was planted right on the edge of the Hempstead Plains! Trails coming from the Community Garden have begun to be covered with woodchips - something that will be completed shortly by myself and Veronica. Lastly, some new signs were put in for the Butterfly Garden and the Sunny Native Garden! Be sure to spot these the next time you're in the sanctuary.

Meet our 2015 Summer Interns

Dan Brennan is the Field Manager for the Bird Sanctuary this summer. He came across this great opportunity to learn about environmental protection and non-profit organizations through the Community Fellows program at Adelphi University. At Adelphi he is a senior Psychology and English major, and actually first experience the sanctuary through community service work for his fraternity, Delta Chi. He wanted to work in the GCBS to experience a different type of summer internship outside the office, and gain the opportunity to make a real impact.

Veronica is the summer 2015 Educational Leader at the Tanners Pond Environmental Center/Garden City Bird Sanctuary.  She is a student studying Biochemistry at Adelphi University, and received the wonderful opportunity to volunteer in this position for the summer through the Community Fellows Program (CFP) at Adelphi University.  This program sponsors a number of students to work at nonprofit organizations and companies for a summer.  She is excited to work at the Center for the summer, since environmental science is one of her passions!

Victoria is the summer 2014 Site Supervisor for the Tanners Pond Environmental Center/Garden City Bird Sanctuary. She has this position thanks to the generosity of Adelphi University which sponsors a number of students as paid interns for nonprofit organizations and local companies.  Victoria is a physics major and an enthusiastic gardening fan!  She's adding a series of notes on her observations and experiences at the site.  Welcome Victoria!

Week 11

Monday, August 4th: I was pleasantly surprised by the good weather today! We avoided most of the rain and had a good number of visitors! It was only Sherifa and I who were in today working on what needed to be done. We did some weeding of the gardens and a lot of watering because things are getting a bit dry. We also checked in on our amphibian pond, we have little green frogs!

Tuesday, August 5th: Today was a tough day at work. Sherifa and I focused on the slope down into the main basin. We were clearing a large area of mugwort and other weeds/ invasives from the base of the slope to allow for replanting of grass seed in that area. We were pretty exhausted and covered in dirt when we were done but it is clear now!

Wednesday, August 6th: Today was the last day of my internship here at the Garden City Bird Sanctuary. After a little bit of mowing and weed pulling, I used the rest of my day to water the gardens and contemplate my time here. I am grateful for all of the volunteers, board members, and community members that have helped to make this place into the beautiful preserve that it is. Thank you for following along with me on this journey and I hope that you will all come back to visit us soon, I know I will!

Week 10

Monday, July 28th: I was off of work for today but I hear we had a number of volunteers in the park who did some good work!

Tuesday, July 29th: Today I worked with our volunteer named Jorge. We started by weeding some of the vegetation from the hill behind the second chimney swift tower. Then we put in new fence posts near the now filled pond and continued our post and rail fencing across the area. Lastly, Jorge painted the fencing that we put up and I gave a couple of tours to visitors who had come to the park.

Wednesday, July 30th: We split up in a couple different directions today to get a number of things done. Jorge worked on removing roots and leveling an area of ground near the top of the meadow which will serve as a platform for another shed. Brian and Lincoln cleared some mugwort and then did some work leveling the concrete benches along the trails and in the memorial garden. I took part in both of these projects as well. We wrap up the day with more vine cutting and weed removal!

Thursday, July 31th: Today started off bright and early with Brain, Jorge, and myself working on garbage pickup in the rear basin. After that, we moved on to vine removal and trail clearing. During the afternoon we cleared a large area along the main trail of mugwort. Towards the end of the day we did the watering and weeded around the small flowers in the annual garden.

Friday, August 1st: This morning Jorge, Sherifa, Lincoln, and I cleared out the gazebo area at the top of the meadow so you don't have to sit in amongst the weeds anymore! We also spent some time clearing some areas of mugwort and weeding the tree rings around the roots of the trees at the top of the meadow. This keeps the weeds from taking the nutrients that we want to get down to the tree roots. It was Lincoln's last day with us so we are sad to see him go. I will attach a picture of the blooming wildflower patch if anyone was curious about what I keep talking about! 

Week 9

Monday, July 21st: Today was a very busy day as there was only three of us: Sherifa, Lincoln, and I. First we cleared debris from the trails and watered the plant beds. Then we pulled mugwort from around the bird's nest Eagle Scout project. After a short lunch break, Sherifa and I continued to clear the post and rail fencing along the trail in between the basins. We ended the day working on our new pond project, putting in a cobblestone border and cutting back vines.

Tuesday, July 22nd: Sherifa and I were by ourselves today but we still got a lot done! There was still some remaining debris on the trail between the basins that we bagged and dragged away. After the afternoon watering was done we began repainting and touching up the areas of the post and rail fencing that had been cleared. It looks much cleaner and more finished now.

Wednesday, July 23rd: This morning Lincoln, Sherifa, and I all worked on invasive vine removal and fence clearing. We also pruned back the dead branches on one of our redbud trees. After Lincoln left the day was nearly over. Sherifa and I continued to weed and water the new pond and wildflower area until the end of the day.

Thursday, July 24th: Today was a little bit of a slow day at the park. There were no extra volunteers today although we are expecting a good number tomorrow! I did a lot of watering and continued to weed the area where the new pond is being put in. I also collected and prepared the paving bricks that will be used to line this pond.

Friday, July 25th: Today I had the pleasure of working with a truly wonderful group of people. Our other volunteers were joined today by three members of AmeriCorps. Together we leveled, lined, and filled the new pond. We also did some particularly heavy and difficult vine cutting in the area around (and unfortunately on top of) the solar panel adjacent to the pond. It was a pleasure to work with them and we accomplished a great deal of a large project! Also today, we had our Nature Camp finale animal show "Your Connection to Nature." It went spectacularly with a crowd of over 45 children plus their parents!

Week 8

Monday, July 14th: Today began our second week of Nature Camp. We were a little worried about the weather expected for today andtomorrow, but as it turns out we successfully got through Nature Camp on both days before the rain. The group of children that we have this week are particularly excited so far and that is a wonderful thing to see! After the children left, several volunteers helped me to clear out some planting space near one of the trellises to transplant some grapes vines.

Tuesday, July 15th: The rain came today but not before we got in a wonderful day at the preserve! Nature Camp went well as the kids learned about echolocation and pollination. Also, we were joined but a unique group of young adults who are visiting the United States from Germany! They came as a youth/church group and have been exploring and volunteering for the past week and a half in the Pennsylvania/New York area. They were truly a pleasure to have here and did a lot of good work!

Wednesday, July 16th: Nature Camp was a close call today! However, despite a few showers we stayed pretty dry and had a fun day of games and crafts. Afterwards we used the time to organize our newer shed that has been getting messy already! After reorganizing the camp supplies we spent the remainder of the day weeding the garden strip along the main pathway.

Thursday, July 17th: We said goodbye to another great group of Nature Camp kids today. After our Best Beak game we did two crafts: bird gliders and scratch paper. We also took some group pictures and had a short wrap up talk. Our Nature Camp finale for the children and families of all Nature Camp weeks is next Friday. We will be having a live animal show from a wildlife rehabilitator. Feel free to contact us for more information!

Friday, July 18th: Today was a very different and exciting day for us! It was my pleasure to attend the NY ReLeaf Conference which was hosted out of Hofstra University this year. We distributed flyers and answered questions at our Tanner's Pond Environmental Center/Garden City Bird Sanctuary booth as well as attended workshops on such subjects as invasive species, urban planting, and hurricane sandy relief efforts. Later on in the day a tour of around fifty people took a bus from the conference to come visit our beautiful site. It was so exciting to have them all here!

Week 7

Monday, July 7th: Nature Camp began today! To begin with we played an ice breaker game ("Find Someone Who..." has an older sister etc). Then we played a tag game to teach kids about the food chain and discussed predators versus prey. We then painted wooden bird houses and took a nature walk. After the children were gone, the volunteers and I continued the street tree weeding project.

Tuesday, July 8th: Today we began Nature Camp with a game of "Bat and Moth" to teach kids about the importance of echolocation for bats to find food. After the children tried to "see with their ears" we did a pipe cleaner pollination craft of flowers, bees, and dragonflies/butterflies. After Nature Camp ended for the day we did some planting by the pond and a lot of watering!

Wednesday, July 9th: Today our game centered around the germination of seeds. Children had to pick cards randomly to collect all the things seeds need to live (water, soil, etc.) and none of the things that kill seeds such as drought and hungry animals. After that we painted wooden lizards. Then we did some fence painting. Today we were also joined by two brothers, Jonathan and David, from the Garden City Recreation Department that are going to be our gatekeepers for the summer!

Thursday, July 10th: Today was the last day of this week's Nature Camp. We ran a nature circuit race and explored the basin a little bit. We also played "Best Beak" to teach the children how each different type of bird has a specific kind of beak that is good for the food it eats. Lastly we did a scratch paper and bird glider craft. After the children and volunteers had left, I caught up on some weeding and watering!

Friday, July 11th: Today was a rather mixed day. There was some cleaning up to do after nature camp! After reorganizing some things, myself and our volunteer John began the process of removing the mugwort from our memorial garden. We also continued the watering of the new plants and did some pruning along the trails. Lastly we did some fence repairs and painting with John, Brian (another volunteer) and I.

Week 6

Monday, June 30th: Today's journal entry is a bit different. Because you have been hearing so much about her, I thought why not have Sherifa herself tell her volunteer story. Here it is: "Hi! My name is Sherifa Kurjakovic. I have been volunteering at the sanctuary for the past couple weeks. I am part of the awesome program called SAF (Student Activity Fund) so instead of working an ice cream shop or other summer job, I can volunteer at this beautiful garden and get funding. I traded scooping ice cream for shoveling dirt and I couldn't be happier! It's really nice to be making a difference and everyday I learn something new from my amazing supervisor, Victoria." -Sherifa Kurjakovic.         Thanks Sherifa!!

Tuesday, July 1st: Besides the watering, which is becoming increasingly difficult to keep up with as the weather gets hotter, we started another big project today. For about the next, the volunteers and I will be stripping and clearing the brush around the street trees. We want to make the trail along the railroad tracks clear to promote the growth of the trees and to better display them.

 Wednesday, July 2nd: The weeding project continued today. Myself, Mirna, Lincoln, and Jackie were in today.  So far we have completed about 2/3 of the area. We are hoping to have it almost all cleared between Thursday and Friday of this week!

Thursday, July 3rd: Today was humid, but at least the watering was done by the storm last night! Sherifa and I continued with our weeding project. Also, we filled the bird feeders and planted rudbeckia flowers in the front garden of the sanctuary. Hopefully it will be cooler tomorrow

Friday, July 4th: Happy Independence Day everyone! It's too bad that it is raining today but it gave me some time to catch up on the database and my journals. We are getting very excited for Nature Camp starting on Monday! Hopefully it will be good weather.

Week 5

Monday, June 23rd: I was joined by three volunteers today: Sherifa, Lincoln, and Jackie. We began by planting sunflowers along the sunny base of the slope near one of our newly installed Eagle Scout Projects. After this Sherifa, Lincoln, and I worked on removing more of the vines crowding the trails and trees by the railroad tracks. After a quick lunch break Sherifa, Jackie and I continued with the staining of the post and rail fencing and attended to some watering as well.

Tuesday, June 24th: The painting continued today with many hands making light(er) work. After running out of paint we used the rest of the time to clear more mugwort from the garden beds. Lastly we began to pick up some of the recyclable plastics that litter the bottom of the basin. Unfortunately, anything that is thrown down the drains in the streets eventually ends up as liter here in our park.

Our volunteers: Lincoln Osborn,

Isabel Londono, and Alyssa Brouillet.

Wednesday, June 25th: Today our volunteers Lincoln, Alyssa, Isabel, and Jackie came to water our new plantings on the slope and weed some of the smaller garden beds out along Tanner's Pond Road. Alyssa and Isabel did a wonderful job of helping me clear the garden bed near our new wildflower sprouts. Then we spent the rest of the afternoon gathering trash once again. Please spread the  news about how we can protect our backyard habitat: don't litter!

Thursday, June 26th: Our volunteer Sherifa and I were extremely busy today! We planted junipers, spiderwort, a jack-o-lantern vine and flox as ground cover for the slope that now holds our Eagle Scout pond project. It was slippery work to dig into the hillside, but it is important for there to be plantings in the sandy hill to hold the soil in place. Plants help prevent erosion and hold moisture in the soil as well as beautifying the area. Afterwards we gave the new plantings a good soaking with water and tended to a number of the other garden beds. 

Friday, June 27th: Lincoln was here again today as well as our new volunteer, Mirna. In preparation for Saturday's "Twilight Tours" we finished the painting of the fence and benches around the main basin and watered all of the plants well. We also filled more bags with mugwort and ragweed plants that we removed from the slope of the main basin. We want everything to look its best for our visitors!

Week 4

Monday, June 16th: We had two volunteers Evan and Catherine who both came in this morning to help. Evan cleared the trails and cut back invasive vines. Catherine and I planted "turtle head" plants by the amphibian pond (a perfect place for them because they like shady marshes) and some tomatoes. Most importantly Catherine and I complied a complete inventory of our bird houses. We have over 70 bird houses currently up! We marked down the placement of the houses, whether or not they were inhabited as well as which ones were failing and in need of replacement. It was very rewarding work.

Tuesday, June 17th: With the days beginning to heat up watering our young trees, veggies, and wildflower sprouts is more important than ever. Besides that I also did some more trail clearing today and I am hoping to beginning the clearing of another raised garden bed soon. We have more vegetables than we can fit in one garden!

Wednesday, June 18th: The wildflower sprouts are looking hopeful! After careful watering and some sunny days they are beginning to show. Today I did some work on the plantings along the rail road tracks. I had to cut and remove the twining vines that have grown up the fence and are trying extremely hard to smother our new trees! However, for the moment they are all safely removed and the trees are none the worse for it. I will have to stay on top of it!

Thursday, June 19th: This morning I spent the beginning of the afternoon at the preserve clearing some weeds and tending to the community gardens. Ms. Liz Bailey and I also began some preparations for our fast approaching Nature Camp. As showers arrived in the later afternoon, I closed up and continued to do some database work. I also brushed up on my Garden City Bird Sanctuary history by looking through the dozens of old photographs from our first ever park cleanup!

Friday, June 20th: Today was a long but fruitful day! I spent a lot of it continuing to clear the slope into the main basin of invasive mugwort and ragweed plants. Our volunteer Jackie then aided me in planting even more tomatoes! She also removed a good deal of mugwort from the garden near our meadow. Lastly, some fence painting/staining got done to help protect our wooden post and rail fences from damage and rot.

Week 3

Monday, June 9th: Despite the rain today, there is always work to be done. I had a long day of computer work, but our database is fully updated now. It is wonderful to see the names of so many visitors to our beautiful sanctuary. Thank you all for stopping by, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Tuesday, June 10th: We were actually thankful for the clouds today! Matt and I assisted Mr. Anthony Cenzoprano (one of our directors) and his friend with the finishing of the shed roof. It gets pretty hot inside there so we were happy the direct sun wasn't shining! Our volunteer Sherifa came later to help Matt and I with branch and weed clean up. Hopefully we will have a break in the weather soon.

Wednesday, June 11th: The clouds are still here, but so are we! We had a number of lovely volunteers today. Together we added more strawberries and tomatoes to our vegetable garden. We also planted a small tree in our sunloving garden, and began the beautification of our new shed area. There is a new row of mixed Lupines and False Indigo plants that we expect to get some lovely flowers.

Thursday, June 12th: It is overcast again! Nevertheless, there is always something to do here. Today I mulched the new shed plantings as well as watered the tree that myself and the volunteer girls had put in yesterday. After that, I stacked up the tractor and began the process of moving all the pieces of our second shed delivery to their final place near the bottom of the meadow.

Friday, June 13th: Due to the downpour I was not at the sanctuary this morning. However, the time is never wasted. After completing the most recent update of our visitor database it was time to begin preparations for our upcoming Nature Camps in July. Although it is a bit early yet, I am beginning to take stock of and organize the necessary materials. I am hoping for sunny days next week!

Week  2

Monday, June 2nd: Today was another bright, busy day at the Bird Sanctuary. Matt is still working with us and between the two of us we found a home for some donated specimens and Canna Lily bulbs. Then we alternated between giving our new plantings a healthy watering and our biggest project: dragging, stacking, and binding trimmed off branches to keep our trails clean and clear. By the way, if you were wondering how our feathered inhabitants are fairing today I saw the regular robins, chickadees, sparrows, grackles, mourning doves, and cardinals, and then I caught sight of a house finch and a red-wing blackbird. Last but not least I spotted a gorgeous pair of cedar waxwings up in the trees above the main entrance. I hope they like it here!

Tuesday, June 3rd: We found more branches! Accordingly this morning we were dragging more of those out of the sanctuary as well as breaking up roots to provide a healthy bed for our new plantings. We planted more Canna Lilies today. Their large red flowers help to attract hummingbirds. We also weeded some of our garden beds of the invasive weed called "mugwort." It competes with native species and depletes their roots of water and nutrients. We also watered our new community vegetable garden! Currently we are growing tomatoes and eggplants and hope to add some more variety soon.

Wednesday, June 4th: This morning Matt and I were joined by a third volunteer: Sherifa Kurjakovic. She was a wonderful help! We raked and planted wildflower seeds near our new trees. In a few weeks we should see sprouts from sunflowers, lupines, Echinacea, and other mixed wildflowers. We were honored to have a camera team from FIOS come to do some filming for a short documentary about the Bird Sanctuary. Then, as always, there was more weeding! It definitely does look better when we get down to it though!

Thursday, June 5th: There was rain for today :[ Since our sanctuary is only open weather permitting, there was no work done inside the park today. At least the watering got done!

Friday, June 6th: Today was a big day for us! Myself, Matt and Sherifa (who, lucky for us, came back again today) set to work leveling our mold for the foundation of the new shed. Around 1:30 in the afternoon we had a cement truck come deliver to the sanctuary so that we could fill the hole made for the foundation. It took a lot of work to level and flatten the cement, but I think we did a pretty good job! 

Friday, May 30th: Early this morning we were joined by an enthusiastic group of volunteers from Liberty Mutual.

We divided them into 3 groups. One worked at staining some of our new post and rail fencing pine green. A

second group worked with me to continue to clear and mulch a portion of our gardens. The third group did some

heavy digging clearing the areas around the newly planted "street trees" along the railroad tracks. It was a beautiful

day to be out there making a difference and the help from the volunteers was fantastic!

Thursday, May 29th: While Matt operated the mower to clean up the areas around our fence line and trees I updated our ever-growing database of all the visitors to the preserve. After that, there was more watering of the bushes and shrubs and weeding of the slope down into the main basin.

Wednesday, May 28th: Today myself and our community service volunteer, Matt, were hard at work. We dug out two large holes for our new additions of trees. We then planted them and shoveled mulch around the new planting. After a thorough watering we moved on to work on our current excavation site. We will soon be erecting a brand new shed to house materials, and perhaps me when it rains!

Tuesday, May 27th: Today was my first day at the Garden City Bird Sanctuary. To start off I walked the premises to get my bearings. Then I proceeded to fill in the areas around our newly planted summer flowers with mulch to keep down weeds and help retain moisture around the roots. During the afternoon I watered the line of newly planted trees alongside the railroad tracks. Around 3pm we were visited by a troop of Cub Scouts who aided the sanctuary by refilling our bird feeders. We also took them on a short walking tour.

Hello! My name is Victoria Grover. I am the new summer intern for the Garden City Bird Sanctuary/Tanners Pond Environmental Center. I am from Adelphi University. I will be recording my daily activities at the preserve in this short journal. Follow along if you like!