Blog Archives

Posts from June 2020

Thank you to Shell and Batture LLC for the help!

Water Hyacinth

Donor Highlight: Thank you to Shell and Batture LLC for helping us keep our waterways healthy during the pandemic. Their support has allowed the Park to keep up with the removal of water hyacinth, an invasive plant, from our lagoon systems. 

These efforts intended to complement and advance the goals of City Park's comprehensive water management plan by targeting and inhibiting invasive water hyacinth growth. This will greatly improve the health of the Park’s lagoon system and enable community access to thewaterway.


Water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) is a free-floating aquatic plant, native to the Amazon basin of South America. In its native habitat, the fast-growing water hyacinth is kept in check by natural predators that feed on its leaves. Outside of the Amazon basin, without any natural population controls, the water hyacinth quickly becomes a noxious weed, forming thick mats all across waterways and causing severe damage to native ecosystems. As the water hyacinth covers waterways, it shades out native plants and animals, depriving plants of sunlight and animals of oxygen. When the hyacinth dies (which, in the Southeast, only happens after a long freeze), the decay process further depletes oxygen in the water, often causing die-offs of native fish or turtles. Due to mild winters, water hyacinths and other nuisance aquatic weeds can clog
the Parks waterways without proper mitigation.


In 2018, City Park was awarded funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) as part of the Five Star and Urban Waters program to focus on the Park’s lagoon system and riparian areas. Shell employee volunteers were featured prominently in this video (click here) which further demonstrates Shell’s commitment to conservation and City Park. This project included removal of water hyacinth. To maintain this work and removal of nuisance aquatic plant growth within the lagoon system, Shell and Batture LLC contributed to continue these treatments during the COVID-19 pandemic. 


If you are interested in how you can help City Park during the pandemic, please contact Casie
Duplechain, Chief Development Officer, at cdupelchain@nocp.org.

 

Submitted by

Casie Duplechain, Chief Development Officer

cdupelchain@nocp.org.

National Pollinator Week is June 22-28

The 2020

This week is dedicated as a time to celebrate all that pollinators do for us and to be reminded of all the things we can do for them!

“Thirteen years ago the U.S. Senate’s unanimous approval and designation of a week in June as “National Pollinator Week” marked a necessary step toward addressing the urgent issue of declining pollinator populations. Pollinator Week has now grown into an international celebration of the valuable ecosystem services provided by bees, birds, butterflies, bats and beetles.” See this link to learn more!


In addition, World Bee Day was celebrated on May 20, 2020, and the celebration continues into National Pollinator Week! Here is a list of some activities you can do to help the 20,000 incredible bee species worldwide!

Learn how to identify different types of bees in our Bee ID blog by Amber Barnes, Pollinator Partnership’s Wildlife and Conservation Ecologist.

Watch the Protecting Our Pollinators webinar hosted by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and learn about the importance of pollinators to our food system, the threats they face, and best practices to safeguard them.

Watch the Exploring the World of Pollinators webinar by Anthony Colangelo, Pollinator Partnership’s Communications Coordinator and learn about native bees and a few of the fantastic programs Pollinator Partnership has to offer for parents and kids that are fun, educational, and beneficial to pollinators!

Download the Insight Citizen Science App and spend some time outside monitoring and recording observations of the bees visiting your garden!

Check out this article on how to protect bees in your garden or balcony!


New Orleans City Park, especially areas with flowers and native plants, is a great place to visit to watch pollinators in action. Take a walk through The New Orleans Botanical Garden, along the Native Plant Trail at Big Lake, or through Couturie Forest and see how many different pollinators you can spot! If you see a bee hive in the Park in an unsafe spot, or if the bees are being aggressive please contact our Safety Coordinator Carrie Ann Ducote at 504-483-9358. We will contact Bee Guyz to relocate the bees safely to a safe habitat. Remember to always observe from a safe distance so as not to disturb their important work!

- Lindsay Kirsch

Environmental Program Manager, New Orleans City Park

“This World Environment Day, it’s Time #forNature”

The foods we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink and the climate that makes our planet habitable all come from nature.

Yet, these are exceptional times in which nature is sending us a message: To care for ourselves we must care for nature.

It’s time to wake up. To take notice. To raise our voices.

It’s time to build back better for People and Planet.

This World Environment Day, it’s Time for Nature.

#FORNATURE

June 5, 2020 was World Environment Day. The website for this celebration shares the fact that we are on the verge of mass extinction as one million plant and animal species risk extinction, largely as a result of human activities. “If we continue on this path, biodiversity loss will have severe implications for humanity, including the collapse of food and health systems… If current trends continue, by 2050 the global urban population is estimated to be 6.3 billion, nearly doubling the 3.5 billion urban dwellers worldwide in 2010," writes the Convention on Biological Diversity in its report Cities and Biodiversity Outlook. "More than 60 percent of the area projected to be urban in 2030 has yet to be built. Most of this growth is expected to happen in small and medium-sized cities, not in megacities." As we humans take over more of the Earth, biodiversity suffers.
“Reversing biodiversity loss is the only way to restore and sustain a healthy planet.  This will only be possible when we understand the web of life in which we live and appreciate that it functions as a whole system.  It is time to reimagine our relationship with nature and put nature at the heart of our decision-making.”

New Orleans is no exception to what is happening in cities around the world, and so City Park has recently been working on increasing the biodiversity of one area of the Park!
Have you noticed any changes at Big Lake?! The garden beds on what was called ‘The Louisiana Trail’ have been getting attention thanks to a new partnership between City Park, The Native Plant Initiative and The New Orleans Town Gardeners. The goal of the new ‘Big Lake Native Plant Trail’ is to demonstrate the benefits and beauty of native plants, and to increase biodiversity in the Park! Local native plants such as American beautyberry, coral bean, blue mistflower, purple coneflower, cardinal flower, and yaupon holly, among many others, have been added to provide habitat and food for native wildlife.

The world’s food web is built on the presence of native plants since insects depend on native plants as food sources and cannot thrive without them. Currently, 80-90% of our landscapes are composed of non-native plants which insects are unable to use, and since insects are a major food source for many other forms of wildlife including birds and many mammals, without a robust insect population, the food web deteriorates.

The monoculture created by turf grass and the foreign plants that make up most of our gardens takes the place of the native plant species that would naturally be there. Native plants evolved here in our climate and soils, so they are adapted to our weather extremes and perform better than plants from somewhere else. Many native plants can handle the wet soils, heavy rainfall and hot temperatures that are common here. They also have developed defenses against disease and insect pressures that exotic plants do not, therefore, they tend to require less herbicide, pesticide, fertilizers and less fussing over in general in comparison to non native plants.

There are many beautiful native plants that can provide greater interest and diversity in our gardens and landscapes, while also enhancing the biodiversity of our area. So, on this World Environment Day, take a moment to think about what you can do #fornature and biodiversity in our city. If you decide to add some natives to your yard, be sure to watch for plant sales at the Pelican Greenhouse at City Park- it’s a great source for local natives! Also, check out the schedule of what’s happening all over the world for World Environment Day (even if it's a few days late to celebrate on the actual day). 

Written by:

Lindsay Kirsch

Environmental Program Manager