We seek to reintroduce native plants and animals and control invasive species. Our restored landscape provides visitors with an opportunity to learn about plants and animals that are native to our area while improving the ecology of the Park and Little Neck Bay.
From the President's Desk
In 1927, B. G. DeSylva, Lew Brown, and Ray Henderson wrote a song, The Best Things in Life are Free. The words they wrote are:
The best things in life are free.
The stars belong to everyone,
They gleam there for you and me.
The flowers in Spring,
The robins that sing,
The sunbeams that shine,
Are the best things in life free? I suggest to you that perhaps they are not so free!!! The fifth report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to be completed sometime in 2014 suggests that we have been too free with our Earth’s resources. This report is a product of several years’ work by hundreds of climate scientists around the world. In their first report in 1990 they showed that the CO2 in our atmosphere was 354 parts per million. Today we have crossed the 400ppm barrier. This is far higher than it has been in a million years as witnessed by gases found in ice caps known to be dated from that era. They point to carbon emissions as the fault. They add that it is extremely likely that humans are largely responsible – burning fossil fuels, cutting down forests, etc. Higher emissions lead to global warming causing mountain glaciers and ice caps to melt with a resulting sea level rise and an increase in severe weather events. Sea level rise has accelerated. After Superstorm Sandy we are more aware of an increase in extreme weather events. Record breaking hot months occur 5 times more frequently than they would in a stable environment. Hot dry conditions cause droughts, wild fires, poor harvests, and loss of life. If we do not act, we will leave our children and grandchildren struggling to adapt to rapidly rising seas and devastating weather. New York City is already preparing for these events in our future.
I would like to make this proposal. Let’s all try to shift to clean energy, to reduce pollution and, therefore environmental damage. We need a strong concerted effort to protect the health of our economy, community, children, and future. You might also consider supporting APEC however you can.
The Alley Pond Environmental Center endeavors to keep us all healthier by protecting our natural habitat and advocating for sustainable environmental policies as well as educating us in how to keep our world a healthier, happier place.SEE YOU AT APEC!!!
Rita Sherman, APEC President
Nature NookBy Laura Shepard and Dr. Aline Euler
Don’t let the barren trees and chilly weather keep you inside! Make the most of the short daylight hours, bundle up and hit the trails around Alley Pond Park! See the sun glitter through the snow-lined branches and observe the birds and squirrels in peaceful, bug-free silence.
And just as this may not be the way you are used to enjoying the park, the plants and animals also adapt to the colder temperatures and lack of food through hibernation, migration and other strategies. Snowshoe rabbits even turn white to camouflage in the snow!
Most of Alley Pond Park’s trees are deciduous, which means they shed their leaves, which then decay and become hummus on the forest floor. The trees themselves stand dormant as they endure frigid temperatures and strong winds. Conifers, or evergreens, are better suited to cold weather. Their waxy, cutin-coated needles last two or three years and help retain water, so they don’t dry out.
Squirrels, owls, wood ducks, and songbirds take refuge from severe weather beneath the needles of conifers and within the cavities of hardwoods. Others animals take shelter in holes, logs, under rocks, leaves or underground. Chipmunks and other rodents dig tunnels to store food and hibernate. Trees and bushes produce hearty fruits and nuts to help animals survive the winter, such as crab apples and berries. Some animals gather extra food in the fall, store it for the winter, while some spend the season nibbling on moss, twigs and bark.
And though many birds are known for flying south, some stick around. Cardinals, blue jays, woodpeckers, chickadees, and gold finches stay and feed off the thickets of berry bushes in the park.
Keep an ear out for bird calls and an eye out for animal tracks in the snow when you go walking in your local winter wonderland!All are welcome to join us for a winter walk on Saturday, January 18, 2014 at 12 p.m.