New York City: Do You Hear the Buzz?

Pollinators in New York City, NY and across the country are buzzing with glee thanks to several huge National Wildlife Federation victories last week.

Since 2014, NWF has partnered with the National Park Service on Growing a Wild NYC, a pollinator recovery program that engages NYC public school students in restoring native pollinator habitat in parks and local schoolyards. The program has served 2,000 students and close to three-dozen teachers from 17 schools in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan. Participating schools have created pollinator gardens at their schools and planted at several sites in Gateway National Recreation Area and in Battery Park in Manhattan.

Last week, we took that momentum to a new level – 1,454 feet up in the sky, to be exact! On Thursday, June 22nd, we lit the iconic Empire State Building yellow and black (like a bee!) to celebrate National Pollinator Week. Celebrity guest and beekeeper Daymond John, of Shark Tank fame, joined NWF and NPS staff and teachers and students from PS 197 to shine a light on pollinators’ dramatic decline and the need to restore their habitat, especially in urban areas.

Left to right Mary Phillips (NWF), Floyd Myers (NPS), students Alia Ulanbekkyzy and Julia Cherchever, Daymomd John, Curtis Fisher( NWF), Jennifer Palmer (NWF kneeling), Emily Fano (NWF), Lauren Monchik (NWF), Val Dolcini (Pollinator Partnership), teacher Denise Richford, Ranger Dan Meharg (NPS). – Photo: Teri Brennan

The festivities at the Empire State Building were just the beginning of our pollinator victories in the Big Apple last week. We’re also thrilled to announce that Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams signed NWF’s Mayor’s Monarch Pledge, making Brooklyn –with 2.6 million residents – the largest city in the U.S. to take this important step for monarch butterflies and all pollinators.

NWF, National Park Service, and PS 29 staff joined Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams in PS 29 Brooklyn’s pollinator garden for Adams’ signing of NWF’s Mayor’s Monarch Pledge, June 22. – Photo: Teri Brennan

Adams announced his pledge at Green Flag Eco-School PS 29, with Principal Rebecca Fagin and teacher Tina Aprea-Reres and her second graders. Tina – herself a passionate gardener – has participated in the Growing a Wild NYC program since its inception and has established a magnificent pollinator garden at PS 29 which made quite an impression on BP Adams, leading him to exclaim that he wanted every Brooklyn school to have a garden like Tina’s! We’re on board with that!

Margaret Frazier and Raquel Lachman from S’well joined us and generously provided their beautiful bottles for our guests – Photo: Teri Brennan

That night we celebrated with dozens of partners, funders, and NWF members on a rooftop with incredible views of the Empire State Building. As the Empire State Building lit up at sunset, cheers erupted all around. Our friends from S’ip by S’well donated a special gift for guests: bee-patterned bottles that were perfectly suited for the event.

We were honored to have Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer stop by the Monarch Bar to join in the festivities that evening. The following day, June 23, BP Brewer signed the Mayor’s Monarch Pledge, making Manhattan the third largest Pledge in the country, after Houston’s 2.2 million people, at 1.6 million people.

Everyone – not just New Yorkers – can help pollinators. Find out how you can help pollinators in NYC specifically or click here to support our work.