SUGi Creates NYC’s First Miyawaki Method Pocket Forest in Collaboration with iDig2Learn, Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation and the Lenape Center on Roosevelt Island

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Manhattan Healing Forest

Volunteers begin planting New York City's first Miyawaki Method pocket forest in Roosevelt Island's Southpoint Park
Volunteers begin planting New York City’s first Miyawaki Method pocket forest in Roosevelt Island’s Southpoint Park

Roosevelt Island, New York, April 08, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — In an effort to spotlight new ways to restore green spaces within the concrete hardscapes of cities, and highlight the role the community plays in rebuilding habitat, four organizations — SUGi, iDig2Learn, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation and the Lenape Center — have collaborated to plant the first Miyawaki Method pocket forest in New York City on Roosevelt Island.

The new “Manhattan Healing Forest,” located in Roosevelt Island’s Southpoint Park, includes more than 1,000 native trees and shrubs planted together in close proximity over 2,700 square feet of space. This unique method of planting, known as the “Miyakwaki Method,”  creates dense, biodiverse forests that improve climate resilience and overall ecological sustainability in the areas where they are planted. 

“SUGi has created high-impact urban pocket forests all around the world, but finally ‘making it’ to New York feels like a perfect confirmation of our promise that these native ecosystems can thrive anywhere. Community and collaboration — of plants and people — is crucial to resilience, healing, and growth; here, we couldn’t have asked for more,” stated Elise Van Middelem, Founder & CEO SUGi.

“We now understand that rebuilding soil health positively affects the health of all surrounding life. By respecting local natural resources — we happily received large donations of nutrient-rich compost from Big Reuse’s community food scrap program and wood chips from Green-Wood Cemetery grounds — we are completing the full cycle of life to feed the new Pocket Forest trees,” shared iDig2Learn Founder, Christina Delfico. She added, “This method of tight-knit planting allows roots to share nutrients underground, boosting their growth, which mirrors perfectly how diverse communities can come together above ground to support each other and strengthen the land.”

“RIOC is proud to make a commitment to create a pocket forest in Southpoint Park in partnership with SUGi and iDig2Learn,” said Dhruvika Patel Amin, Chief Financial Officer and co-Interim Leader for the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation. “This will not only further beautify the island but is vital to the community for biodiversity, improving air quality and overall well-being. RIOC looks forward to more projects such as this to enrich the island and the community.”

Added Gerrald Ellis, Deputy Counsel and co-Interim leader for the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, “RIOC hopes this new forest, with its unique method of planting in a relatively small space, can serve as a model for other urban centers that are looking to improve their overall biodiversity and ecological sustainability. Thank you to Christina, Elise, our RIOC Grounds team, and everyone in the community who came together to bring this wonderful project to life.”

“We are excited to be a part of this pioneering project to mitigate flooding and enhance biodiversity,” said Mary Cunneen, Acting-Chief Operating Officer for the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation. “The project holds great promise for increasing the ecological resiliency of the park. We are thankful for our partners, Christina Delfico and SUGi for helping bring this to the island and helping us show our commitment to sustainable urban development and environmental stewardship.” 

Lenape Center supports projects to restore and regenerate the ecosystem of our territory,” shared Executive Director and Co-Founder, Joe Baker. “This Nature-based solution to ecosystem loss, climate change, and inequitable access to green space depends upon native plant species working in collaboration; in parallel, many local organizations are also joining in to support the project with in-kind donations, including the following: “Green-Wood’s contribution of wood chips to build the Forest extends the benefit of our living collection. The wood harvested and chipped from our trees will support the soil moisture and microbes on which Forest depends,” stated Sara Evans, Director of Living Collections and Curator, Green-Wood Cemetery.

“Big Reuse is happy to provide compost to Manhattan Healing Forest. The compost was made locally from food scraps and Parks yard waste,” added Justin Green, Executive Director and Founder, Big Reuse. 

“Trees New York is a longtime partner with iDig2Learn providing education and resources to expand New York City’s urban forest,” shared Nelson Villarrubia, Executive Director of Trees New York.

About SUGi

SUGi are pioneers in creating green infrastructure, reimagining urban life, and restoring the human connection to nature. Their signature strategy for building biodiversity, climate resilience and wellbeing is based on the proven Miyawaki Method of planting ultra-dense, biodiverse forests of native species only. Since launching in May 2019, they have created 200 SUGi Pocket Forests in 42 cities on 6 continents and reconnected 52,000 youth & community members to Nature. SUGi has evolved from a grassroots movement to become a leading voice on civic rewilding, from the World Economic Forum, 1t.org, and UN Decade for Ecosystem Restoration, to numerous highly visible public projects and iconic brand collaborations.

About iDig2Learn

iDig2Learn’s programming aims to transform the way humans see and connect with the living breathing life surrounding us outdoors. We invite the young and young-at-heart to explore nature and rediscover the origin of food through plant life. Spotlighting smart waste reduction practices brings neighbors together to form deep bonds while supporting a healthy environment. Celebrating twelve years of service, iDig2Learn is a project of Open Space Institute, Inc. – a nonprofit 501(c)3 public charity – which serves as our fiscal sponsor as part of its Citizen Action Group Program.

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About Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC):

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) was created in 1984 by the State of New York as a public benefit corporation with a mission to plan, design, develop, operate, and maintain Roosevelt Island. With a focus on innovative and environmentally friendly solutions, RIOC is committed to providing services that enhance the island’s residential community. RIOC manages the two-mile-long island’s roads, parks, buildings, a sports facility, and public transportation, including the iconic aerial tramway. Additionally, RIOC operates a Public Safety Department that helps maintain a safe and secure environment for residents, employees, business owners, and visitors.

About Lenape Center:

LENAPEHOKING, HOMELAND OF THE LENAPE

Lenape Center is a nonprofit organization fiscally sponsored by the New York Foundation for the Arts. For over sixteen years, our work has been the creation and development of exhibitions, public art, symposia, music, opera, theater, education (workshops, lectures, curricula). We are currently in our fifth season of seed growing in partnership with Hudson Valley Farm Hub. Lenape Center proudly acknowledges that the Lenape diaspora includes three federally-recognized nations in Oklahoma and Wisconsin. Lenape Center does not speak for these nations and recognizes they have active thriving tribal governments that speak for themselves.

For more information, please see Manhattan Healing Forest To join the conversation about this day, please use hashtag #nycpocketforest and/or tag @sugiproject @idig2learn @rooseveltislandny and @lenapecenter

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CONTACT: Bryant Daniels Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation 3473984700 [email protected] Elise Van Middelem Founder & CEO, SUGi [email protected] Christina Delfico Founder, iDig2Learn [email protected] 

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