My Yard, Our Sound: Helping the birds and the bees and the fish!

A Maritime Explorium project funded by the Long Island Sound Future Fund, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

 

The Maritime Explorium, in collaboration with Flax Pond Marine Laboratory, Avalon Park and Preserve, Bailey Arboretum, The Long Island Native Plant Initiative, Stony Brook University Department of Technology and Society and NCSCE created a model initiative in which families transformed their own home gardens and yards using sustainable practices that foster improved Long Island Sound ecological health. The initiative forged a network of citizens who, with increased knowledge of the value and impact of native plants and their role in reducing the use of fertilizers and pesticides, created and cared for home landscapes that produce cleaner stormwater run-off, restore the resiliency of the Sound’s waterways, and re-establish wildlife biodiversity.

Citizen engagement occurred and is ongoing through the following project stands:

  • Free native plant landscaping workshops held on Long Island in Suffolk and Nassau Counties helped families develop and implement plans, and purchase materials to transform a minimum of 100 square feet of their own home yard.
  • Annually, 10,000 visitors to the Maritime Explorium and the Eastern Long Island Mini Maker Faire experience the interactive My Yard, Our Sound Exhibit and learn how and why native plants directly impact the health and living resources of Long Island Sound. Visitors “Take The Pledge” to transform their landscape with natives and seasonally take home native plants or seeds to transform 2 square feet of land.
  • An estimated 50,000 visitors to the Maritime Explorium and adjoining Harborfront Park have the opportunity to explore the surrounding park and landscape to learn about the native plants and their impacts on the waterways with information available through a free backpack check out system and signage in the park.

If you have questions about this program, please contact Angeline Judex with the Maritime Explorium at ajudex@maritimeexplorium.org or Jacqueline Grennon Brooks in the Department of Technology and Society at Stony Brook University at jacqueline.brooks@stonybrook.edu. For questions about native plants and landscaping, please contact Lauren Hubbard at lhubbard@maritimeexplorium.org.

The following projects represent the types of restorations that were completed by homeowners and volunteer groups:

C3

Girl Scouts transform a lawn into a meadow!

C1

Wildflowers with a whimsical border

N1

Milkweed, blueberries, iris, and mixed natives restore a curbside garden

B1

A patio garden is transformed

G1

A new native garden on Setauket Harbor

N2

Lawn removal creates new habitat and a new look

J1

Natives replace invasives

H2

Native shrubs and forbs grace a sideyard

C2

Milkweed, Liatris, New England Aster and more await butterflies

D1

Tucking Liatris into a perennial border

O1

Natives grace a shade garden

C4

Another curbside garden for wildlife

W1

Butterflies find this transformed hillside habitat

H3

Native shrubs increase biodiversity

H1

A new native border

S1

Natives edge a lawn

A1

Adding Winterberry to a shade garden