Dragonflies, Downy Woodpecker, swans, Garter Snake, ladybugs, Red-winged Blackbirds, beetles, ducks and a just hatched aquatic turtle who really wanted to make its first trip to the pond. That is not typically the list of wildlife one expects to find while viewing the skyline of downtown Manhattan, but all of these species are living just behind the Statue of Liberty.
Google Maps, Gmail, Images, Earth, Finance and Analytics are all products on which much of the world has come to rely for living on the internet. On June 5, Liberty Park relied on a group of Googlers to help them restore park wildlife habitat after hurricane Sandy. Liberty Park is just across the Hudson River from downtown NYC, just offshore is Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. The park was devastated by the hurricane – the park staff only recently was able to return to occupy their offices after severe flooding. Liberty Park is an urban park jewel, it includes a natural area with wooded trails, pond and butterfly garden. Naturally this is the kind of area where National Wildlife Federation wanted to focus a restoration effort.
Snapdragon, American Holly, Milkweed, Bayberry, Foxglove, Coneflower and Winterberry are all plant and tree species that Google trucked in to put in the ground one by one. National Wildlife Federation partnered with Google to bring in this native vegetation to repair a site that will benefit the whole community, this natural area and garden is used for educational programs for the public and school groups. Inner city school kids, many of whom never play in outdoor settings, will now be able to spend time here learning about ecosystems, exploring a new environment and getting connected to nature. Googlers in NYC now know where they can escape the city, view local wildlife and maybe get inspired to create a new app – Google Wildlife.