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About Little Green Shoots
Little Green Shoots, an environmental podcast brought to you by The Long Island Conservancy is our effort to educate ourselves and the public about local environmental issues. We are producing short videos, podcasts, public service announcements, and presentations all pertaining to Long Island, the many environmental challenges it faces, and what we can each do to better the situation. Please contact us below if you would like to be featured on our podcast, whether as a guest, for a PSA.
Little Green Shoots: Plantstock!
Earlier “Green Shoots”
As the host of Water Matters, an earlier environmental podcast produced by Grassroots Environmental Education and made possible by a grant from The Long Island Association, Marshall Brown interviewed 20 of the leading environmental advocates and policy makers on Long Island, covering a wide range of issues. The show ran from 2016-2017. It holds up well thanks to Doug Wood’s production chops. The science discussed remains the same. Alas the problems have gotten worse.
You can scroll through and watch some episodes of Water Matters here.
The Purpose of Little Green Shoots
There are so many issues that are confronting us, every species on the planet, really. By the same token, there are so many things each of us can do in the name of Nature and of our compassion for our fellow creatures. We are of this ecosystem, and healing it will go a long way towards healing us.
Everyone will have their own path, their own way to better the world. Here below are some ways we are looking to do this on Long Island, to restore native habitat where ever possible in order that we don’t lose the rest of our native wildlife.
Little Green Shoots: Planting Ideas
To heal our bays, we came to know that we had to heal the land first, and that had to happen on a very local level, community by community, park by park, yard by yard. But how do we reach people? What can we do to communicate to them what we need to do for local nature?
Little Green Shoots: Plant And Restore The American Chestnut
One could say that we take inspiration from The Lorax: We speak for the trees. On an upcoming episode of Little Green Shoots, we will highlight our efforts to return a native ecotype of The American Chestnut to Long Island. We have grown 200+ saplings and are now planting “Mother Orchards” of eight which in in 5-7 years time will begin to produce their own chestnuts.
At that time, they will be pollinated with a transgenic pollen that has a had a gene spliced into it from a wheat plant. That one genetic modification is producing blight resistant chestnuts and sets the stage for returning this forest giant after its near an annihilation by The Chinese Chestnut blight, which swept through the eastern seaboard starting in 1904, and wiping out an estimated 3-4 billion trees.
You can be part of this effort to restore The American Chestnut by purchasing your own Mother Orchard here. The best part of it is once you’ve produced the blight resistant American Chestnuts, you have a lot of chestnuts to harvest besides.
Little Green Shoots: Returning Wildlife
The local influxes of Northern Quail, Turkeys, River Otter, and various birds of prey should have a least an episode, as does the numbers of whales, seals and dolphins we are seeing thanks to now a healthy bunker population.
Little Green Shoots: Creating Centers For Environmental Education
We will also want to feature on an ongoing basis our work at The Science Museum of Long Island removing invasive plants and planting native. How we plant is in response to the land, We help it become what it should be. We will help the plantings tell their stories with QR Codes linked to their own pages.
Little Green Shoots: In Honor of the Roosevelts
Similarly, we will have an environmental podcast from Meadow Croft, where we have already planted a column of Red Maples and a wildflower garden. This park, also known as “The Roosevelt Estate” sits in a fork in Brown’s River between Sayville and Bayport. It covers 86 acres and needs much tending.
Little Green Shoots: Chasing Butterflies
Little Green Shoots will feature our efforts with Suffolk County’s Pollinator Task Force, led by Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn. We will be actively trying to map out where best we should be planting and what we should be planting in order to achieve certain outcomes. There are a variety of pollinators, many endangered, and many are plant specific.
Little Green Shoots: A Local Library From Our Scientists
Our environmental podcast will also local environmental and civic groups, as well as local officials and leading scientists. We want our library to be a standing public resource for all things related to habitat restoration and local stewardship on Long Island.
We have some wonderful environmental scientists here on Long Island. People who know our local insects, birds, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, land and sea, all the algae and diatoms, the shellfish, and of course the plants. Long Island is home to some unique habitat; It’s really a glorified sandbar left when the glacier melted some 13,000 years ago and dumped the sand, once rock, now pulverized, by a wall of ice a mile high. Lots of shallow bays, flat mostly rocks on the North Shore, dropped as the ice melted. People need to learn our geological / ecological history if we are to wisely chart its future.
Little Green Shoots: Celebrating Local Stewardship
We also have passionate local stewards such as Rona Fried who has been informally working to preserve their local parks, removing invasive plants, clearing trash. Rona’s recent donation is funding the removal of invasive plants from her beloved West Hills County Park in Huntington, where Walt Whitman himself once walked.
We want our content to be accessible to school children, with short films produced about our local plants, animals, and habitats. We understand the importance of production value, of visual storytelling, on expert content, and on education. It is essential for the future of Long Island that people young and old can readily identify the plants here. Native? Non-Native? Invasive? Long Island’s very future depends on our all learning to see what we are looking at.
If we are to restore Long Island’s native habitat and assure its beauty for future generations, we need to overcome “plant blindness.” A hundred years ago, we lived more within nature and knew what we saw. Now we see greenery in a park and fail to see that only 25% is native, the rest being a dense tangle of porcelainberry, multiflora rose, oriental bittersweet and Japanese honeysuckle.
Little Green Shoots: What’s In Your Yard?
With environmental podcast Little Green Shoots, our aim is to learn about the plants around us — the natives, the non-natives, and the invaders.
To prepare yourself for the show, do the following:
- Get a plant identifier app for your phone or use Google Lens. PictureThis! is a favorite here, but iNaturalist is also popular.
- Take an inventory of what is growing in your yard.
- We need according to the scientists have 70% native habitat to support local wildlife. How did we do in your yard and in your town?
Little Green Shoots: What Are You Planting or Planning?
Little Green Shoots will highlight success stories and initiatives from all over Long Island. Does your community need a pollinator garden or a meadow as part of a habitat restoration effort? We want you on our environmental podcast.
With The Long Island Conservancy, we look forward to presenting to the public the leading scientists, policy makers, and advocates as we seek to rebuild Long Island’s habitats. We need people to understand what is at stake and what we can each do to improve the future.
Little Green Shoots: Musicians Welcome
As part of Little Green Shoots environmental podcast, we will have local musicians to play out each show. Below is Steve Mall of Soundswell rehearsing.
Below is a film shot and edited by our team, and about a technology that will revolutionize how we treat wastewater and how we restore ponds, lakes and rivers.
To reach people, especially when you are asking them to learn something that runs counter to what they currently understand, you need to be a visual story teller.
Little Green Shoots: Other Films
Here is a further example of how we apply filmmaking to our environmental efforts. Below is an origin story for us– how we originally “Went Native.”
Little Green Shoots: What Should We Discuss Next?
We want to talk about dam removal, about ticks. What is the invasive plant of the week? What is the native of the week? What projects should we celebrate, and what projects need to be left aside? What parks and lakes and rivers need our help, and where and why?
Rest assured, with all the issues we face, there will be much to talk about!