A FLOATING ISLAND FOR ENGLISH KILLS

In 2016 the EKP collaborated with the Newtown Creek Alliance (NCA) on a design to bring constructed wetlands to the EK tributary. There are several existing models currently being tried along Newtown Creek: Whale Creek, Dutch Kills and No Name Creek. The EKP-NCA collaboration yielded a design similar to the NCA Living Dock, which continues to exist as both a rare and clean habitat (milk crates) for small marine life and a functional boat dock. http://livingdock.tumblr.com/

The EKP trial will take a different twist to bring wetlands and habitats. A floating island designs brings the same horizontal feature, yet is mobile, modular, maximizes habitat scale and simultaneously serves as a bio-experiment to determine which of 4 different substrates (while carrying living organisms) is most sustainable in English Kills water, the most polluted part of Newtown Creek.

Our version commits more of the basic footprint to constructed wetlands (island or floating wetlands) and minimizes the dock portion. It’s H shape provides 4 bays with trays placed inside each. The experiment consists of utilizing 4 different stretched substrates: Hydroponic felt, polyflo bio-filter material, burlap and polythylene geo-textile. Each bay is a removable lattice of biodegradable materials and substrates that support and contain spartina and ribbed mussels. Spartina plugs would be planted between the lattices. Roots would expand under each tray and provide shelter and microbes for marine life.

The project will test whether one substrate can sustain itself and living organisms best and eventually released to float without being confined in the bay. A successful Floating Island project can be expanded to speculate how wetlands can extend horizontally throughout the length of Newtown Creek’s vertical bulkheads. If it can survive in English Kills’ static and polluted water, then it holds promise for sustainability in the other tributaries.

The east inlet of the EK basin would be the ideal spot for installation. Boat or barge traffic would be unhindered by the position of the Floating Island. Navigate to the Constructed Wetlands page for more detail, principles and background info.

The EKP looks forward to working with the NCA on this project. Fabrication is expected to start in the late spring.

SVA’s Bio-Art Lab talk Nov. 16th

EKP at BIO-Art Lab

Were it not for the Bio Lab at the BFA Department at the School of Visual Arts, I would not be able to produce much of the photos and videos of the small animal and wildlife of English Kills. Suzanne Anker, Chair of the BFA, founded this lab in 2011. This is the only level one bio-lab at a fine arts school in the country. I do my microscopy and magnifications here. Suzanne, invited me to conduct a talk for her Bio-Art class. Though I no longer work for SVA and Suzanne, I was still able to show some of my former students who were taking this course what I have been working on all these years. It wouldn’t be much of a lecture if we didn’t have an appearance from the Great Egret. I think it took the students by surprise. Overall, I think that Suzanne and the class was pleased. Check out the Bio-Art Lab website for more information about this innovative space.

Were it not for the Bio Lab at the BFA Department at the School of Visual Arts, I would not be able to produce much of the photos and videos of the small animal and wildlife of English Kills. Suzanne Anker, Chair of the BFA, founded this lab in 2011. This is the only level one bio-lab at a fine arts school in the country. I do my microscopy and magnifications here. Suzanne, invited me to conduct a talk for her Bio-Art class. Though I no longer work for SVA and Suzanne, I was still able to show some of my former students who were taking this course what I have been working on all these years. It wouldn’t be much of a lecture if we didn’t have an appearance from the Great Egret. I think it took the students by surprise. Overall, I think that Suzanne and the class was pleased. Check out the Bio-Art Lab website for more information about this innovative space.

THE CITY RELIQUARY August 25, 2016

The City Reliquary is one of Brooklyn’s hidden gems. I was invited by its executive director, Sarah Celentano to give a final talk for the summer. This venue was especially accommodating and helpful. Sarah and Molly were great hosts! Again, I announced my collaboration with the Newtown Creek Alliance to fabricate on a floating wetlands, salt-marsh and mussel habitat, hydroponic, bio-experiment in English Kills. This night’s talk had the largest attendance for an EKP event to date. At least 30 or so came to see the variety of work that has been produced to date. I featured new video edits of the Pubic Service Announcement and the Mussel English Kills water test. Edward the Egret paid a visit to finish off the talk. Over all everyone had a great time. I was happy to show so many people who haven’t attended previous workshops and talks. I am very grateful. Thank you Sarah!

SUNVIEW LUNCHEONETTE TALK, July 14, 2016

SUNVIEW LUNCHEONETTE  July 14, 2016 The Sunview Luncheonette is located in the Greenpoint neighborhood of north Brooklyn. It is know as a platform for artists, thinkers, community organizers to give talks or workshops. The audience this evening was a very engaged group. Everyone seemed to have comments or questions about the prospect of bringing wetlands to English Kills and Newtown Creek. This was the first time I unveiled the plans for floating wetlands and the prospect of collaborating with Newtown Creek Alliance. We are to fabricate it next year in late spring or early summer. Our design is based on the NCA’s Living Dock. Though the project will be smaller in scale, it portions a greater percentage (40%) of its footprint to habitats. This would be a bio-experiment on different substrates to understand what works best for a salt-marsh and mussel habitat hydroponic system. New underwater videos of killifish in English Kills was featured. I was assisted very ably by one of my former students Sarah Von Putkammer. We also got a special visit from the “Alba Homoniño”! 

SUNVIEW LUNCHEONETTE  July 14, 2016

The Sunview Luncheonette is located in the Greenpoint neighborhood of north Brooklyn. It is know as a platform for artists, thinkers, community organizers to give talks or workshops. The audience this evening was a very engaged group. Everyone seemed to have comments or questions about the prospect of bringing wetlands to English Kills and Newtown Creek. This was the first time I unveiled the plans for floating wetlands and the prospect of collaborating with Newtown Creek Alliance. We are to fabricate it next year in late spring or early summer. Our design is based on the NCA’s Living Dock. Though the project will be smaller in scale, it portions a greater percentage (40%) of its footprint to habitats. This would be a bio-experiment on different substrates to understand what works best for a salt-marsh and mussel habitat hydroponic system. New underwater videos of killifish in English Kills was featured. I was assisted very ably by one of my former students Sarah Von Putkammer. We also got a special visit from the “Alba Homoniño”! 

3 Young, Citizen Scientists work with the EKP

On Saturday afternoon, May 21st, I had the pleasure of helping 3 citizen-scientists with their latest science project of testing the water on Newtown Creek. They are Isabel Tribe, Lily Rudd and Indie Jacobs who attend the Salk School of Science in Manhattan. Their idea was to collect waters samples from multiple locations along the creek the same morning and to test them in the lab. The Chair of the School of Visual Arts BFA Fine Arts, Suzanne Anker was generous to provide the Bio-Lab as the setting.

This was no easy task for the young scientists, as they had to travel to the waters edge to fill recycled plastic bottles of the creek water at low tide on the same morning. The locations were at the North Brooklyn Boat Club, the Newtown Creek Nature Walk, Masbeth Ave. and English Kills. I volunteered to collect for them at English Kills due to the difficulty of gaining access.

This was no easy task for the young scientists, as they had to travel to the waters edge to fill recycled plastic bottles of the creek water at low tide on the same morning. The locations were at the North Brooklyn Boat Club, the Newtown Creek Nature Walk, Masbeth Ave. and English Kills. I volunteered to collect for them at English Kills due to the difficulty of gaining access.

Each sample (two per location) was tested for pH and total Alkalinity, Total Hardness, Nitrate/Nitrite Nitrogen, Iron, Copper, Free Chlorine and Total Chlorine. While the test levels yielded very similar results (except in the English Kills “spring” sample) the whole effort was not a waste. One has to take into account that it was done at the ebb of lowest tide and 12 hours after a slight rainfall.

Each sample (two per location) was tested for pH and total Alkalinity, Total Hardness, Nitrate/Nitrite Nitrogen, Iron, Copper, Free Chlorine and Total Chlorine. While the test levels yielded very similar results (except in the English Kills “spring” sample) the whole effort was not a waste. One has to take into account that it was done at the ebb of lowest tide and 12 hours after a slight rainfall.

Any kind of science experiment will not immediately reveal results that are anticipated. In fact, even the 2010 study of water in Newtown Creek’s Dutch Kills, completed by Dr, Durand and LaGuardia Community College students, were over a period of several months, with testing every few days.

Any kind of science experiment will not immediately reveal results that are anticipated. In fact, even the 2010 study of water in Newtown Creek’s Dutch Kills, completed by Dr, Durand and LaGuardia Community College students, were over a period of several months, with testing every few days.

What I explained to Isabel, Lily and Indie was of more importance is their methodology of collecting the samples. As far as I know it was the first such water tests that were (near) simultaneous of multiple site collection over the length of the creek! The 2010 Newtown Creek study was done the same location, Dutch Kills. Our young scientists are creating a model for more rigorous testing of Newtown Creek water (testing with time, location, distance in unison). I hope that this novel idea will be used in the future.

What I explained to Isabel, Lily and Indie was of more importance is their methodology of collecting the samples. As far as I know it was the first such water tests that were (near) simultaneous of multiple site collection over the length of the creek! The 2010 Newtown Creek study was done the same location, Dutch Kills. Our young scientists are creating a model for more rigorous testing of Newtown Creek water (testing with time, location, distance in unison). I hope that this novel idea will be used in the future.

all photos courtesy of Mark Tribe (2016).

BRIC TV features EKP on 4-21

April is turning out to be a busy month! In addition to Art & Science Collaborations, Inc extending me as their member of the month till the end of April, (http://www.asci.org/artikel1476.html), the ENGLISH KILLS PROJECT will be featured on BRIC TV. This 5-minute documentary directed by Michael Intile will be shown on their Thursday 1-3pm slot. The video is an interview with me about the mission of the EKP, records the installation of the mussel habitat in English Kills and a workshop event. See the link below to watch it live on April 21st. BRIC will soon be uploading the video on their website and YouTube. I’ll keep everyone informed about the posting of the video!

http://bricartsmedia.org/community-media/bric-tv/watch-bric-tv

MUSEE Magazine features the EKP Shrimp

MUSEE magazine has released their 14th issue about artists working in the field of Science and Technology. Im very proud to announce they have featured one of my photographs of the grass shrimp from English Kills. It’s quite an honor to be in this new, beautiful and prestigious magazine based in New York City. My thanks to Andrea Blanch and Steve Miller.

You can find the online version here: https://issuu.com/museemagazine/docs/musee_edition_14_final?e=0/34394358

You can purchase a full color hard copy here: https://www.peecho.com/sps/13666486804931707/198094-Musee%20Edition%2014

ASCI ANNOUNCES IT'S MARCH FEATURED MEMBER, Henry G. Sanchez

Well, guess what? Last week I was named the artist of the month on Art & Science Collaborations Inc. What an honor! Please see the link to read the interview and visit the feature page directly. Thank you to Cynthia and Ellen of ASCI. A special thanks go to my collaborator, who without her knowledge, experience, guidance, insight and friendship this project would not be possible; Dr Sarah Durand. Below is the email they sent to their members.

ASCI announces its February FEATURED MEMBER, Henry G. Sanchez, a bio-art environmental activist who has created the English Kills Project (EKP) to involve the community in designing bioremediation efforts to clean up this extremely polluted Superfund site in New York City. www.asci.org/artikel1476.html

EKP 2-28 WORKSHOP AT LANTERN HALL

Though I am a little late in posting this…no time like the present! The EKP had a great success in showcasing our recent work. Our event was held on Sunday night, February 28th at Lantern Hall. It is only a few steps away from the Morgan subway stop on the L train. This place was perfectly situated because of the 2-block distance from English Kills. We introduced the experimental mussel habitats, the English Kills Springs and new video of shrimp, killifish and ribbed mussels. Most importantly was the unveiling of the new design templates: DESIGN YOUR OWN MUSSSEL HABITAT and REIMAGINE ENGLISH KILLS. You can see the results on the EKP site under the MUSSELS FOR BIOREMEDIATION and DESIGN WHAT YOU WANT TO SEE IN ENGLISH KILLS pages. I give full credit to the designers, as you can see in each submission. Our participants enjoyed watching the new videos and designing mussel habitats, creating innovative ideas for new wetland construction in the English Kills basin. Thank you to all the participants for coming! Thank you to Jeff of Lantern Hall for providing the venue. I give a special thanks to Alex Bustamante for providing the photos.

photos by Alex Bustamante

photos by Alex Bustamante

photos by Alex Bustamante

photos by Alex Bustamante

photos by Alex Bustamante

photos by Alex Bustamante

photos by Alex Bustamante

photos by Alex Bustamante

photos by Alex Bustamante

photos by Alex Bustamante

Closing reception at Galerie Petite Jan. 31, 6-9pm

Galerie Petite and Tyrome Tripoli are generously having a closing reception for "NATURE MADE". The exhibit will have it open it doors from 6pm- 9pm, Sunday, Jan. 31st. See the UPCOMING EVENTS page for more details. Galerie Petite, 114 Wilson Ave., Brooklyn, NY.

AQUATORIUM TALK

Late last month I gave a long talk about the EKP and about the conditions of Newtown Creek / English Kills to a very invested group of people who have created an organization called the Aquatorium. They are composed of residents and interested folk that live adjacent to English Kills. I explained why we see what is visible today, what it used to be and what we can do to affect positive change. I went to some lengths detailing what I am doing with the EKP in terms of creating habitats and getting individuals to design and re-imagine how and what kind of change they would like to see. Im excited to say that they were very receptive and many want to be involved. Especially when it comes to creating mussel habitats in English Kills. See the participation of Elizabeth and David from last blog below. I need more partners like them. So, I am expecting of fruitful collaboration and partnership this fledgling non-profit under the auspices of the Schamonchi LLC. I am making new friends that seem to exhibit a similar consciousness with the nature that lives around them. Stay tuned for more developments with Aquatorium!

The 2nd mussel installation

Here are my intrepid volunteers Elizabeth Skolnick and David Victor Rose who placed the new mussels in the current habitat. They seem proud!

Here is the crown installed (see the Mussels for Bio-remediation page to see the video) after the mussel planting. Hopefully it will protect them and allow them to thrive.