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 were held on Long Island in Suffolk and Nassau Counties, helping families develop and implement plans, and purchase materials to transform a minimum of 100 square feet of their own home yard. As a result of these workshops and free plant giveaways, over 17,000 square feet of ecosystem friendly habitat has been installed within the Long Island Sound watershed.
- 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.
- Click here for resources used during the project including: information on how to create a pollinator friendly garden that also helps the Long Island Sound, a list of demonstration gardens, good sources for locally adapted and sourced native plants specific to Long Island, NY.
If you have questions about this program, please contact Angeline Judex with the Maritime Explorium at firstname.lastname@example.org or Jacqueline Grennon Brooks in the Department of Technology and Society at Stony Brook University at email@example.com. For questions about native plants and landscaping, please contact Lauren Hubbard at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following projects represent the types of restorations that were completed by homeowners and volunteer groups:
Girl Scouts transform a lawn into a meadow!
Wildflowers with a whimsical border
Milkweed, blueberries, iris, and mixed natives restore a curbside garden
A patio garden is transformed
A new native garden on Setauket Harbor
Lawn removal creates new habitat and a new look
Natives replace invasives
Native shrubs and forbs grace a sideyard
Milkweed, Liatris, New England Aster and more await butterflies
Tucking Liatris into a perennial border
Natives grace a shade garden
Another curbside garden for wildlife
Butterflies find this transformed hillside habitat
Native shrubs increase biodiversity
A new native border
Natives edge a lawn
Adding Winterberry to a shade garden