Saturday, July 28, 2012
People Meet Native Plants Along Manhattan's High Line
The baseline observation, for anyone smitten by the beauty and rich diversity of native plants, is that they are almost completely missing from the world of concrete, turf and trees most people move through. Even a walk in the woods may not provide many encounters with native wildflowers, due to historic plowing, the appetites of deer, and competition from invasive species.
One of the more seductive visions for bringing this natural heritage back to the people is an urban trail bordered by native species. Locally, this concept plays out along the towpath and in a circular fashion at the Princeton High School wetland on Walnut Lane.
Back in 2000 in Durham, N.C., I organized an "adopt a trail" program in which each volunteer would tend a 20 foot section of paved trail for native species. Their work was supported by an online manual describing which plants to leave and which to weed out. The result was dazzling, but the plant knowledge and consistency of attention required was a lot to ask of volunteers.
column by Frank Bruni of the New York Times, about government's beneficial role in the greening of New York.