Wildflower Week in NYC - May 1 - 9, 2010

Because I live in the concrete jungle, or perhaps in spite of it, I am crazy about getting my son involved in nature activities and events in the five boroughs.  I don’t want him to think he lives in a place devoid of nature - because it just isn’t true. Here in New York City we have many diverse natural environments and thankfully we have lots of groups full of passionate people dedicated to preserving them.  One of these groups is the Torrey Botanic Society, who is sponsoring Wildflower Week in New York City.  A week of educational program all around the city devoted to exploring and hopefully conserving the plants indigenous to New York City.

Saturday is the kick off and there are a lot of really cool and interesting things scheduled for adults, kids and families.  Here are some highlights of  NYC Wildflower Week 2010:

The first thing to do is go see the Native Plant Garden in Union Square. I am actually a little embarrassed to say I didn’t even know it was there until last week!  It is gorgeous, full of flora and fauna that have lived and thrived in New York City since before it was New York City. Follow the garden path to view the plants. Or go on a tour Sunday, May 2nd at 11:00. 15th Street and Union Square West

More Botanical Walks and Garden Tours:
There are tours available of native plants in practically every garden in the city.  Check the Wildflower Week website for these and more. Children under 16 must be accompanied by a parent. Registration required.

Family Plant Walk

Saturday, May 8: 10:30
Meet at 9th Street entrance to Prospect Park by the statue
Families with children aged 4 years and older can explore Prospect Park and learn how trees, shrubs and even grasses are all wildflowers.

High Line Walking Tour
Time: Tuesday, May 4, 12:00pm
Learn about the High Line’s gardens and the unique challenges facing this garden.  

Wild Project Green Roof

Saturday, May 1, 10:00am - 2:30pm (Sunday sold out)
The Wild Project Theater - 195 East 3rd Street (between Avenues A & B)
We have all been hearing a lot about these green roofs popping up all over town. Here is a chance to visit one that is 1,500 square feet with solar panels and pavers made of recycled materials.

Hunter Island, Pelham Bay Park

Saturday, May 1, 10:00 am
Meet at the northeast corner of the Orchard Beach parking lot
Take a tour of this rustic park in the Bronx and see some of the giant oak and tulip that have been here longer than we have and the largest concentration of native plants in the city.

Learn about New York City’s native plants and wildflowers:

Children, tweens and teens can join in learning about their natural world at one of these free programs designed specifically for Wildflower Week.  Registration required.

Little Kids:

Ages 18 months to 4 years old
Baby Bugs
Wednesday, May 5, 10:00
Native Plant Garden, Union Square Park
An introduction to the natural world with songs, stories, and hands-on explorations for children and their caregivers. Kids can explore the garden after class.

For Ages 2-4 years old
Baby Bugs
Saturday, May 1, 10:00
Audubon Center, Boat House, Prospect Park
An introduction to the natural world with songs, stories, and hands-on explorations for children and their caregivers.
For Ages 5 to 8 years old
Blossoms, Bugs, and Beats
Saturday, May 1, 11:00
Audubon Center, Boat House, Prospect Park
An interactive nature workshop for children and their caregivers with songs, stories, and hands-on explorations.
Tweens and Teens:

Saturday, May 8, 2:00 - 3:00pm, for ages 7-12 years old
Saturday, May 8, 3:00-4:00pm for ages 13-17 years old
Experience Life as a Plant
Native Plant Garden, Union Square Park
Explore the life of a wildflower growing in NYC and compare to your own life through improvisational words and movement.  No experience necessary.

Saturday, May 8, 1:00 – 2:00pm for ages 8-12
Saturday, May 8, 2:00 – 3:00pm for ages 13-17
Plant Poetry
Native Plant Garden, Union Square Park
Children can create poetry using plants and wildflowers as inspiration. Poems will be collected, edited and published in a brand new arts and horticulture magazine, “Deep Seed”; the first issue is planning for a spring 2010 publication.

Play with Native Plants:
Interactive Plant Fair
Saturday, May 8, 10:00am - 2:00pm
Solar One, On the East River just south of 23rd Street under FDR Drive
Kids can experience native plants by planting one to take home, touring the native plant garden, get their face painted and make some fun crafts with paper. Or if so inclined they can dig in the dirt and learn about composting.  

Get Your Hands Dirty:
Stop by the Native Plant Garden in Union Square on May 1st to get a native plant seedling to take home and plant or ask for some gardening information and advice from the experts.

Tuesday May, 4, 2010
11:00 – 1:00 pm
Visit the Battery Park Conservancy (right outside of Battery Gardens restaurant) to purchase wildflowers that are not only native to NYC but also divisions from the originals planted by famous gardener, Piet Oudolf.
Do some gardening with one of these community gardens as they plant indigenous plants - be sure to bring your tools, gardening gloves and a sun hat if you have them.
Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy Green Team
Tuesday, May 4, 6:00 - 8:00pm
Meet at the entrance to the park at the corner of Main and Plymouth Streets in Dumbo, Brooklyn (across from 1 Main Street)

NYCHA Chelsea-Elliot Houses Gardens
Friday May 7, 12:00 - 3:00 pm
415 W. 25th Street
Eat Some Native Plants
Fiddle heads, ramps and nettles are all native and all edible.  Although these dining and cooking events sound cool, they are not necessarily child friendly.   You will need a baby sitter if you want to check them out.