Common buckeye moth (Junonia coenia) c. Alliance Senior Forest Ecologist, Howard Goldstein

Flutter into Pollinator Month in Prospect Park!

June 11, 2024

June is Pollinator Month! Prospect Park’s 585 acres are a critical habitat for bees, butterflies and pollinators of all kinds. These fluttering and buzzing park residents play an essential role in keeping Brooklyn’s Backyard healthy and vibrant. Learn more about our pollinators with the Alliance’s Senior Forest Ecologist Howard Goldstein. 

Alliance Senior Forest Ecologist Howard Goldstein

Pollinators are insects and birds that transport pollen from one flower to another, which helps plants reproduce. “Without pollinators, we would lose a majority of the world’s plant species,” says Goldstein. Luckily, Prospect Park is teeming with all kinds of pollinators: bees, wasps, flies, beetles, butterflies, moths and more. Check out some of the many pollinator hotspots in Brooklyn’s Backyard.

Left, A Syrphid Fly (Syrphidae) on Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta), Right, Common Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius) in Prospect Park.

 

Bartel Woods

The Bartel Woods, which stretches from the Bartel-Pritchard Square entrance to the Bandshell, was restored by the Alliance from a mostly barren landscape to a healthy forest with a range of native trees and shrubs, and a wildflower meadow. This combination of forest layers creates a rich habitat for pollinators that is teeming with blooms. 

It is through a labor of love and keen attention to detail that the Alliance keeps the park’s natural areas lush. The Alliance’s dedicated team of gardeners, arborists and ecologists seed and plant the park strategically to have a diversity of blooms in all seasons. “We want the park blooming from March through early December to make sure that our pollinators have access to the nectar and pollen they need to survive,” said Goldstein. 

In the early spring, flowering trees are among the most important food sources for pollinators. One species, the American Basswood (Tilia americana), which blooms in June, is even known as “the bee tree.” Later in the season, keep an eye out for herbaceous flowers like smooth blue asters (Symphyotrichum laeve) and goldenrods (Solidago), which tend to flower from late August through early October. Both are members of the Asteraceae, one of the single most important plant families for pollinators in the park.

Left, Native violets (Viola novae-angliae) in the Butterfly Meadow, Right, Wasp (Vespidae) on Canada goldenrod (Solidago canadensis) c. Ellie Watts, Prospect Park Alliance, Alliance Senior Forest Ecologist, Howard Goldstein

Butterfly Meadow

Another flourishing pollinator destination created by the Alliance is the Butterfly Meadow on Lookout Hill, the park’s highest point. Discover showy goldenrod (Solidago speciosa), early blooming goldenrod (Solidago juncea), Canada goldenrod (Solidago canadensis), smooth blue aster (Symphyotrichum laeve), native sunflowers (Helianthus divaricatus), purple joe-pye (Eutrochium purpureum) and more. Each attracts a range of pollinating insects. Beardtongue penstemon (Penstemon digitalis) is important for newly hatched bumblebees (Bombus) and frigid leafcutter bees (Megachile frigida). Milkweed (Asclepias) is the only plant that monarch butterfly caterpillars (Danaus plexippus) will eat, making it an essential destination. 

Native violets (Viola novae-angliae) are visited by early flying pollinators and host the eggs of several species of butterflies. The flowers found on giant yellow hyssop plants (Agastache nepetoides) are beloved by bees of all species, as are the native yellow sunflowers (Helianthus species) that flower in June and July, and Canada goldenrod (Solidago canadensis) in September. Each of these plants ensures a full seasonal menu for pollinators of all shapes and sizes, even those that are active late in the year.

Another pollinator perk of the Butterfly Meadow is that it’s an important stop for birds. Insects are one of the most crucial food sources for nearly all songbirds found in Brooklyn’s Backyard. It can take somewhere between a whopping 350-570 caterpillars per day to feed even a pair of tiny chickadee chicks (Poecile) as they grow into fledglings. This makes all of our park’s pollinator destinations incredible spots for sighting birds as they fuel up, especially during spring and fall migration when warblers are abundant and a spectacular sight.

A monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) and chrysalis.

Picnic House North Woods

The Picnic House North Woods, found on the western edge of the Long Meadow, just north of the Picnic House, is home to plants popular among pollinators like the shrub common ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius) and wildflower, Eutrochium purpureum, Joe Pye Weed. Common ninebark is particularly attractive to bees, especially to those of the genus Andrena, but also attracts butterflies and wasps.

Prospect Park Alliance’s Landscape Management team works year-round across the park to sustain the natural areas of Brooklyn’s Backyard, and to help create environments where pollinators—and in turn our larger park ecosystem—can thrive. By planting pollinator-friendly and climate-resistant species, applying innovative restoration techniques across the park, and much more, the team ensures that our 585 acres remain resilient and thriving. From radiant yellow goldenrods, cool blue asters and rich, royal violets to cunning bumblebees, magnificent butterflies and more, these beautiful blooms and pivotal pollinators thrive throughout Prospect Park. Learn more about the Alliance’s work sustaining our environment. 

5 Tips to Celebrate National Trails Day

May 31, 2024

June 1 is National Trails Day and the kick off of our Be a Park Champion campaign in Prospect Park! Enjoy the wood-chipped trails in Prospect Park, and pledge to leave your park better than you found it every day.

Prospect Park’s 585 acres are home to Brooklyn’s last remaining upland forest and only Lake. Prospect Park Alliance sustains these scenic spaces for the benefit of our community and the flora and fauna that call it home. As we kick off the summer season, help support your park with every visit to Brooklyn’s Backyard.

Take our pledge and #BeAParkChampion today! 

Take the pledge button

5 Ways to Be a Champion:

  1. Mascot holding sign-Park ChampionCare for the park’s 30,000 trees, the lungs of Brooklyn: please do not hang hammocks or decorations, and avoid climbing or breaking branches.
  2. Stay on designated paths to protect fragile wildlife habitats: ground nesting birds make their home on the forest floor. Keep pets leashed and on paths too!
  3. Carry out all that you bring into the park: litter pollutes Brooklyn’s Backyard and harms the many wildlife who depend on our woodlands and waterways.
  4. Volunteer in Prospect Park: take a hands-on approach to caring for the park by volunteering this summer!
  5.  Enjoy our free Nature Programs: visit the Prospect Park Audubon Center to learn about park wildlife, from buzzing pollinators to our birds, turtles and so much more.

Free Health + Wellness Events in Brooklyn’s Backyard

May 23, 2024

Did you know that spending just 30 minutes in nature a day can decrease stress, lessen feelings of loneliness, lower blood pressure and promote wellbeing?

Whether admiring the trees from a park bench, enjoying a woodland stroll, yoga class or a high-intensity interval training session, there are countless ways that spending time in nature can help sustain your health.

If an Rx for Nature is just what the doctor ordered, join us for a range of health and wellness classes to make the most of your time in Prospect Park and be your healthiest self all summer long!

View our events below, and for more information visit prospectpark.org/wellness.

Prospect Park Yoga
Thursdays, May 30–August 29, 7–8 pm
Long Meadow North (Enter at Third Street or Grand Army Plaza)

Learn More + RSVP
Brooklyn’s most beloved outdoor yoga series is back in Prospect Park! Brooklyn Flow, Prospect Park Alliance and NewYork-Presbyterian present free, outdoor yoga on the Long Meadow. Brooklyn’s finest yoga teachers from different studios around the park lead free, outdoor group yoga classes in a low-pressure, beautiful environment. Join hundreds of Brooklynites each week to celebrate yoga and wellness in our treasured Prospect Park. Bring your own mat or towel, a bottle of water and friends. All levels are welcome. Please sign the waiver prior to your first class.

Free Fitness Walks in Prospect Park for Adults Ages 60+
Tuesdays, June 4–June 25, 10–11 am
Locations Vary

Learn More + RSVP
Join Prospect Park Alliance and Heights + Hills for free fitness group walks in Prospect Park for adults ages 60 and over. Explore the park while discussing the importance of exercise and movement, particularly for people experiencing arthritis. Participants will receive guidance on developing their own personal walking and exercise programs. Walks will be on the park’s paved walkways at a slow to moderate pace.

AMP’d Interval Training with Chelsea Piers Fitness 
Tuesdays, June 11–July 30, 6–7 pm
Prospect Park Long Meadow (enter at Third Street or Grand Army Plaza)

Learn More + RSVP
Join Chelsea Piers Fitness and Prospect Park Alliance to hit the grass and push your body to new limits in this high-intensity interval training class that combines bodyweight strength and cardio on the Prospect Park Long Meadow. You will move through a range of movements from running and jumping to lunges and crunches to keep you motivated and energized. All levels are welcome.

Energy Healing and Meditation Workshop
Mondays, June 10, 17, 24, July 15, 22 and Tuesday, July 23, 8:30–9 am
10th Avenue Lawn

Learn More + RSVP
Join Tell Every Amazing Lady® and Prospect Park Alliance for a free 30-minute guided meditation moderated by Jane Weedon MSPT, MFA, of Integrated Physical Therapy and Healing Arts, to help you relax and focus on your wellness before kicking off your day!

Prospect Park Wellness Walks 
Fridays through June 28, 10 am–12 pm
Prospect Park Audubon Center

Learn More + RSVP
Join Prospect Park Alliance at the Prospect Park Audubon Center for an uplifting and energizing morning walk along the scenic trails of the Lullwater, Peninsula, Midwood and park waterfalls.

Prospect Park Stroller Walks 
Thursdays through June 27, 10 am–12 pm
Prospect Park Audubon Center

Learn More + RSVP
Calling all parents and caregivers with children! Join Prospect Park Alliance naturalists for a leisurely stroll along Prospect Park’s waterways. Embrace the sound of streams and songs of birds; enjoy fragrant flowers and explore the towering trees of Brooklyn’s Backyard.

c. Elizabeth Keegin Colley

Celebrate Earth Week in Prospect Park

April 15, 2024

Earth Week is just around the corner! Prospect Park Alliance has several ways to get involved in caring for Brooklyn’s Backyard—home to Brooklyn’s last remaining forest, only lake and hundreds of species of plants and animals. Celebrate your planet this upcoming Earth Day.

Earth Day Celebration at the Boathouse
Sunday, April 28
RSVP Today
12 pm — 2 pm Nature Education Activities – Take part in family-friendly nature activities at the Boathouse on Sunday, April 28. Enjoy fun-filled seasonal discovery stations, create your own paper seed pot, and join a nature walk while tackling litter along the way to help your park shine and celebrate our earth.

2 – 3 pm The Arrival – Join Prospect Park Alliance for The Arrival, a dramatized mythical production about how water came to Earth by Something Positive, a New York City based performing arts and education organization dedicated to preserving the art and culture of the African Diaspora and its cross-cultural influences.

 

Volunteer in Prospect Park
Select Dates, Locations Vary
Join an upcoming volunteer opportunity to help care for your park while making the most of Brooklyn’s Backyard during the bustling and vibrant spring season.

 

Be a Park Champion by staying on designated paths, disposing of litter properly, leashing dogs outside of designated hours and areas, and treating flowers, plants and trees with the love they deserve.

c. Martin Seck

What’s Blooming in Prospect Park?

April 2, 2024

April is National Native Plant Month and spring is in full bloom here in Prospect Park! You may have already spotted some early-blooming flowers like native ephemerals and ornamental perennial bulbs peeking through, and the change in season means even more flowers, vines, shrubs and trees will make our green oasis a spring wonderland in the coming weeks. Prospect Park Alliance’s Landscape Management team has been diligently preparing the park’s landscapes and natural areas for the season ahead and caring for the park’s countless plant species to make Brooklyn’s Backyard haven for wildlife such as pollinators and people alike during this vibrant season.

Take a look at where to find Prospect Park Alliance’s top spots for Spring blooms, from little-known park destinations to classic landscapes. While you explore the park’s blossoming meadows, forests, and more, remember to help your park thrive by admiring blooms from afar and leaving leaves, petals and berries on trees for the wildlife who depend on them to thrive. These plants help contribute to our healthy park ecosystem, ensuring that our beloved green space can flourish for generations to come for our community of people, plants and animals to enjoy.

Pink cherry blossoms above Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch c. Martin Seck + Cherry Plum flowers in Grand Army Plaza c. Bianca Nelson

Grand Army Plaza

Grand Army Plaza is Prospect Park’s formal entrance, and features some of the park’s most ornamental flowers and trees. Among them, early-blooming cherry trees and daffodils are the first to arrive. April welcomes Eastern redbud and pink-flowering cherry trees that give way to the white Silverbells in May. As summer approaches, watch for the clustered bottlebrush buckeye flowers.

Imagination Playground Flower Field

Near Prospect Park’s Imagination Playground, a park destination beloved by kids and families for inspiring wonder and whimsy, you’ll find a native flower field complete with complimentary vibrant sights. Budding yellow Ovate Golden Ragwort is a must-stop for the park’s many pollinators. Eastern Red Columbine’s red and yellow tubular petals can be spotted. Plus, purple wood violets will be sprouting in mid-April along with the cheery bundles of Golden Alexander.

LeFrak Center at Lakeside

At Lakeside, the spring blooms attract park visitors and wildlife alike! Park goers who visit the greenroof at Lakeside in early spring will be able to catch the vibrant yellows, oranges and reds of Witch Hazel. As April advances, Lakeside receives a fresh coating of delicate white blossoms from the many Serviceberry, Chokeberry, Cherry laurels, and Foxglove Beardtongue that are buzzing with activity, as well as blooms of yellow from the Fragrant Sumac and Spicebush. Late spring brings with it a crescendo of flowering dogwoods and dewberries, and those with a keen eye might just spot a few of the subtle, deep purple blossoms of Lakeside’s paw paw trees!

Eastern Redbud tree c. Martin Seck (left) + a bed of perennial ornamental bulb flowers in full bloom in Carmen’s Garden. c. Prospect Park Alliance (right)

Litchfield Villa

The historic Litchfield Villa is a well-known destination for flower lovers. In April, tulips and Juneberries electrify Carmen’s Garden, located directly in front of the pre-Civil War-era mansion, heralding the arrival of warm weather. In May, blossoming crabapple and hawthorn trees paint the landscape in pinks and whites, while native perennials like Joe-pye-weed replace the fading ornamental tulips. Plus, don’t forget to head around to the back of the Litchfield Villa to spot the cream-colored flowering dogwood trees.

Light purple Creeping Phlox blooms in Prospect Park c. John Suhar + Magnolia blossoms by the Long Meadow c. Martin Seck

Long Meadow

Passing through the Meadowport or Endale Arch in mid-April, visitors are welcomed by the peach and white bouquet of magnolia and dogwood trees that line the Long Meadow’s north end. The warmer weather brings out lilacs, as well as the hanging flowers of the yellowwood tree. Later in the season, enjoy the view under the shade of a flowering linden tree, and take in the sweet scent of the oakleaf hydrangea near the Picnic House.

Spring Pollination Beauty Shot-Close Up

Pollinators making the most of spring in Brooklyn’s Backyard. c. Jabari Taylor

Ravine

Prospect Park’s bustling natural areas provide a plentiful stop on any bloom-focused tour of the park. Head across Binnen Bridge, past the Nethermead and into the forest to find spicebush with its clusters of yellow flowers and small red fruits that are rich in nutrients for small birds that depend on this native plant. Pond edges are home to chokeberry, and American elderberry – which are native shrubs that will later feature berries that attract a variety of wildlife, making them instrumental in the health and diversity of Prospect Park’s thriving natural habitats. 

Plus, keep your eyes peeled for the native bulbs of White baneberry, also known as “doll’s eyes,” and the airy flowers of False Solomon’s Seal in the lower midwood area of Prospect Park’s forest, along with flowering raspberry plants, and the rare and lively Pinxter azalea which will add a vibrant pop of color to the evergreening woodland areas. As you admire the forest blooms, remember to stay on mulched paths at all times to Be a Park Champion and help your park thrive with every visit. 

Bartel-Pritchard Square

Prospect Park is home to a few dedicated pollinator habitat gardens. In addition to Grand Army Plaza and Carmen’s Garden, Bartel-Pritchard Square features a variety of springtime blooms beloved by the birds, bees and butterflies that can be seen this time of year. Admire these buzzing beings from afar as they pollinate and take a look at the arching Carolina allspice – complete with unique maroon flowers that smell of strawberry anchor the native pollinator friendly beds. Plus, don’t miss the old-fashioned weigela, an ornamental shrub with beautiful trumpet-shaped lavender flowers.

Want to see these blooms and more in Brooklyn’s Backyard? Make the most of the season and plan your visit to Prospect Park.

c. Caroline Ourso

Ribbon Cut on New Fallkill Trail in Prospect Park

October 26, 2023

Prospect Park Alliance cut the ribbon on a new woodland trail in Prospect Park. Fallkill Trail (directions here), located in an area that has been behind fencing since 1995, will now invite park visitors to get a closer look at the scenic Fallkill Waterfall and experience the beauty and serenity of Prospect Park’s restored urban forest.

Prospect Park Alliance President, Morgan Monaco, the Alliance’s Landscape Management Team, dedicated volunteers and community members celebrated the opening of this path.

“We have monitored how people are engaging with the park and we adapt our uses to meet them where they are,” says Morgan Monaco, President of Prospect Park Alliance. “This new trail will invite visitors to explore a previously fenced area of the park and enjoy the beautifully restored landscape. The long-term health of our natural areas requires us to be champions and strong stewards of the park and I urge all who come to experience the park’s woodlands to stay on the designated trails, carry out all trash that you bring in, and always keep dogs on-leash to protect these delicate habitats.”

The new trail was created by Prospect Park Alliance staff and volunteers who have worked for the past year, removing invasive plants and planting native species to continue to strengthen this ecosystem, hauling logs, grading paths, and helping to formalize this trail. Through their efforts, Fallkill Trail is ready to welcome visitors into this robust forest landscape.

Prospect Park is home to 350 acres of natural areas, including meadows, forest and lake in the heart of Brooklyn—essential for the community and the plants and animals who rely on this green haven. For the past 30 years, these natural areas have been and continue to be the primary focus of Prospect Park Alliance’s work. The Alliance’s Landscape Management team works tirelessly to make the woodlands healthy and resilient to the challenges faced by an urban forest in the era of climate change. Through their management, Brooklynites will have a flourishing forest in their midst for generations to come.

The rustic nature of Prospect Park’s forest, woodlands and waterways are key to Prospect Park designer Frederick Law Olmsted’s vision for the park and his mission to offer a feeling of the Adirondacks in the heart of Brooklyn. The landscape surrounding Fallkill Falls was first restored by Prospect Park Alliance in the 1990’s and painstakingly reconstructed to Olmsted’s original vision and then surrounded by fencing to protect it from the impacts of foot traffic.

In recent years, the Fallkill area was often visited by fence-jumpers looking to get closer to the falls, resulting in trampling of the woodlands, litter and graffiti. By formalizing a mulched path and officially opening this area to the public, the Alliance aims to make this scenic area more accessible while encouraging stronger stewardship around Fallkill Falls including staying on the path, carrying out any litter, not picking bark or leaves from trees, and keeping dogs on-leash at all times in woodland areas.

Learn more about Prospect Park Alliance’s work to sustain the environment, including the new Falkill Trail. 

October is Woodlands Appreciation Month

October 6, 2023

Prospect Park is home to a thriving 250 acres of woodlands—with dozens of tree species, essential wildlife habitat and rustic trails for visitors to enjoy. Prospect Park Alliance has spent decades restoring these woodlands to great success—the ecosystem is thriving and proving resilient in the face of damaging storms. The woodlands work continues and you can do your part to Be a Park Champion and support this beloved area of Brooklyn Nature!

  • Celebrate NYC’s Urban Forest: October 14 marks the second annual City of Forest Day—a day of 70+ activities across the city’s 5 boroughs to raise awareness of the importance of the New York City urban forest, and the essential role New Yorkers play every day in caring for the “lungs” of our city. Here are the events taking place in Prospect Park:
      • City of Forest Day: Nature Exploration
        10:00 am – 1:00 pm
        Free, no advance registration necessary

        Join Prospect Park Alliance and Audubon New York for nature exploration activities at the Prospect Park Audubon Center on City of Forest Day, a citywide effort to raise awareness and celebrate New York City’s urban forest. Prospect Park is home to over 30,000 trees of more than 175 species. Each of these trees is an important part of our thriving wildlife habitat and home to many species of mammals, birds and bugs.

        • Morning Bird Walk, 9 – 10:30 am: Join Audubon New York for a bird walk starting and ending at the Prospect Park Audubon Center. This program leaves the Audubon Center promptly at 9:00 am. Binoculars will be provided but attendees are encouraged to bring binoculars if you have them.
        • Nature Around Us, 10 am – 1 pm: Enjoy different seasonal discovery stations and nature themed activities that will introduce you to the plants, insects and animals that call the park home. Learn how to use the iNaturalist App and identify species throughout our park ecosystem, view a trailer of a new documentary Clear Day Thunder: Rescuing the American Chestnut, and more. Plus, visit the Audubon New York table from 10:30 am – 12 pm to learn more about birds and how to help them thrive.
        • Animal Encounter, 11 am – 12 pm: Join Prospect Park Alliance Naturalists in learning more about the animals in the Audubon Center’s collection. This program starts promptly at 11 am.
        • Family Nature Walk, 12 – 1 pm: Prospect Park is a stopping point for hundreds of bird species each year! Join us as we search for these amazing creatures and other nature around the park. Binoculars and bird guides are provided. This program leaves the Audubon Center promptly at 12 pm.
      • Park Pitch In: City of Forest Day
        11:00 am – 2:00 pm
        Free, Registration Required
        Join Prospect Park Alliance for a Park Pitch In volunteer event on City of Forest Day, a citywide effort to raise awareness and celebrate New York City’s urban forest. Prospect Park Alliance volunteers will plant over 100 native trees to restore Prospect Park’s beloved landscape, which has seen the loss of a significant number of ash trees since 2017 due to Emerald Ash Borer, a deadly wood-boring beetle. Tree planting and other greening opportunities will be focused on the park entrance on Flatbush Avenue near Empire Boulevard, adjacent to the park’s Children’s Corner, and the surrounding park perimeter. This event is suitable for groups, teens and adults.Park Pitch In: City of Forest Day is made possible thanks to funding from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Urban and Community Forestry Program, NYS Environmental Protection Fund and the USDA Forest Service
      • Plus, check out events happening in all five boroughs across the city.
  • Volunteer this Fall: Explore your park while making a difference in Brooklyn’s Backyard. From Park Pitch-In events, Green and Go Kits, Junior Volunteer Corps and more, volunteers of all ages can help keep the park green and vibrant.
  • Woodlands Stewardship: Keep the woodlands green and vibrant!
    • Dispose of litter in designated receptacles or consider taking your litter with you when you leave the park and disposing of it at home.
    • Remember to stay on paved and wood chipped paths, and do not go beyond fencing in our woodlands: this protects fragile nesting areas and helps reduce soil compaction in delicate areas.
    • Keep dogs leashed at all times in the woodlands: off-leash hours are provided in our large meadow areas, learn more on our Things to Do with Dogs page.
    • Please refrain from building forts in the woodlands: sticks and leaf litter on the forest floor are essential for thecreatures that live in the park—leave these for the birds and bees!
  • Free Fall Wellness Opportunities: Time in nature, and specifically forests, is known to have lasting benefits on our physical and mental health. Prioritize your wellness this season with a foliage walk exploring the woodland centerpiece of Prospect Park, one of Brooklyn’s last remaining forests, rustic bridges, streams and waterfalls, and more. Plus, get active in nature with free dance classes, family nature walks and more.

Ready to Be a Park Champion? Take the Pledge today to do your part to sustain the beloved woodlands of Brooklyn’s Backyard!

c. Caroline Ourso

City of Forest Day in Prospect Park

September 20, 2023

Join Prospect Park Alliance at the second annual City of Forest Day on Saturday, October 14 in Prospect Park. Presented by Forest for All NYC in partnership with the Parks and Open Space Partners – NYC Coalition and NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, City of Forest Day is a day of activities across the city to raise awareness of the importance of the New York City urban forest, and the essential role New Yorkers play every day in caring for the “lungs” of our city. Prospect Park Alliance presents an array of activities to raise awareness and celebrate Brooklyn’s forest including nature education programming and a volunteer opportunity in Brooklyn’s Backyard.

Check out the full list of 70+ events happening across New York City!

Prospect Park Events:

Park Pitch In: City of Forest Day
11:00 am – 2:00 pm
Free, Registration Required
Join Prospect Park Alliance for a Park Pitch In volunteer event on City of Forest Day, a citywide effort to raise awareness and celebrate New York City’s urban forest. Prospect Park Alliance volunteers will plant over 100 native trees to restore Prospect Park’s beloved landscape, which has seen the loss of a significant number of ash trees since 2017 due to Emerald Ash Borer, a deadly wood-boring beetle. Tree planting and other greening opportunities will be focused on the park entrance on Flatbush Avenue near Empire Boulevard, adjacent to the park’s Children’s Corner, and the surrounding park perimeter. This event is suitable for groups, teens and adults.

Park Pitch In: City of Forest Day is made possible thanks to funding from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Urban and Community Forestry Program, NYS Environmental Protection Fund and the USDA Forest Service.

City of Forest Day: Nature Exploration
10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Free, no advance registration necessary

Join Prospect Park Alliance and Audubon New York for nature exploration activities at the Prospect Park Audubon Center on City of Forest Day, a citywide effort to raise awareness and celebrate New York City’s urban forest. Prospect Park is home to over 30,000 trees of more than 175 species. Each of these trees is an important part of our thriving wildlife habitat and home to many species of mammals, birds and bugs.

  • Morning Bird Walk, 9 – 10:30 am: Join Audubon New York for a bird walk starting and ending at the Prospect Park Audubon Center. This program leaves the Audubon Center promptly at 9:00 am. Binoculars will be provided but attendees are encouraged to bring binoculars if you have them.
  • Nature Around Us, 10 am – 1 pm: Enjoy different seasonal discovery stations and nature themed activities that will introduce you to the plants, insects and animals that call the park home. Learn how to use the iNaturalist App and identify species throughout our park ecosystem, view a trailer of a new documentary Clear Day Thunder: Rescuing the American Chestnut, and more. Plus, visit the Audubon New York table from 10:30 am – 12 pm to learn more about birds and how to help them thrive.
  • Animal Encounter, 11 am – 12 pm: Join Prospect Park Alliance Naturalists in learning more about the animals in the Audubon Center’s collection. This program starts promptly at 11 am.
  • Family Nature Walk, 12 – 1 pm: Prospect Park is a stopping point for hundreds of bird species each year! Join us as we search for these amazing creatures and other nature around the park. Binoculars and bird guides are provided. This program leaves the Audubon Center promptly at 12 pm.
c. Martin Seck

September is Tree Appreciation Month!

September 6, 2023

September has arrived and Prospect Park Alliance is ringing in Tree Appreciation Month!

Be a Park Champion and help us extend our Summer of Stewardship into the fall. Prospect Park is home to over 30,000 trees of over 175 varieties—and each plays an essential role in keeping our human and wildlife communities healthy and happy. Take a look at some of the ways you can help celebrate and support the beloved trees of Brooklyn’s Backyard this season:

  • Remember to #BeAParkChampion: While the park’s trees may appear big and strong, like all living things they are susceptible to injury and disease. With over 10 million visitors in the park each year, the trees in Prospect Park need all of our support. Please do not hang hammocks or decorations from our trees, and avoid climbing or breaking branches. Remember to also stay on designated paths in the woodlands to protect fragile wildlife habitats to help our trees thrive for generations to come!
  • Fall Volunteering in the Park: Want to take a hands-on approach to caring for the park and its trees? Prospect Park Alliance has a full slate of fall volunteer opportunities. From our weekend Park Pitch In events to Junior Volunteer Corps for kids and families, there are many ways to lend a hand in your park. Plus, mark your calendars for City of Forest Day to celebrate NYC’s urban forest on Saturday, October 14!
  • Soar Into Fall Migration: Wonder what makes Prospect Park the best bed and breakfast in town for migrating birds in the fall months? Learn about the trees that provide birds with essential fuel and protection as they make their journey to warmer climates and learn about bird watching opportunities with the Brooklyn Bird Club.
  • Enjoy the Health Benefits of Nature: Get active outdoors in Prospect Park by taking part in one of the many free wellness opportunities offered this fall, from nature walks for adults ages 60+ and a fun-filled pop dance class, there is something for everyone to get active this season. 

Want to invite friends and family to join the fun? Send an Rx for Nature Today!

Soar Into Fall Migration in Brooklyn’s Backyard

Fall bird migration is in full swing, and Prospect Park is the place to be. Located along the Atlantic Flyway, Prospect Park is a haven for birds in all seasons, with 200+ species of resident and migratory birds. Autumn is an especially notable time for bird sightings as countless feathered friends embark on their lengthy journey to warmer climates. The park is a crucial rest stop for these species thanks to the 585 acres of green space and 30,000 trees of more than 175 species which allow migratory birds to fuel up on seeds, berries and insects and find valuable protection as they venture south.

As Prospect Park Alliance embarks on Tree Appreciation Month, we’re celebrating the park’s plentiful native trees and the many ways they support the park’s bird population and keep our ecosystem healthy. “Prospect Park’s plentiful Oak trees, Hackberry trees, Eastern Black Cherry trees and Dogwood trees and even a few Willow trees are some of the most essential tree species for migratory birds during this time of year,” shares Prospect Park Alliance’s Senior Forest Ecologist, Howard Goldstein. “These trees support a huge amount of bustling insect and invertebrate life which create the best restaurant in town for migrating birds looking to grab a bite.”

Migratory Northern Parula spotted in Prospect Park.

Northern parula c. Tom Stephenson/Brooklyn Bird Club

One can’t-miss area for those looking to spot these traveling birds in the coming months is Esdale Bridge overlooking Ambergill Falls in the Ravine in Prospect Park. “It’s got everything the birds need: a forest full of native species alongside a water source makes this a valuable migratory haven,” shares Goldstein. “We see plentiful Warblers in the area feeding off of the insects and invertebrates they find in these vegetation areas.”

Migratory fall Warblers spotted in Prospect Park.

Fall warblers spotted in Prospect Park. c. Tom Stephenson / Brooklyn Bird Club

Another must-visit destination for birders is the Butterfly Meadow located on Lookout Hill. The open meadow surrounded by forest in a hilly area of the park makes it an ideal stop for migrating birds. Since the mid-1960’s, volunteers from the Brooklyn Bird Club have collaborated with Prospect Park Alliance to maintain the meadow—removing weeds and invasive plants, and promoting native plant species including diverse wildflowers that attract insects for wildlife and birds.

“The meadow is a lifesaving haven even through winters,” shares Prospect Park Alliance Eco-Zone Gardener Peter Dorosh. “It offers dried flower seeds that feed Goldfinches, White throated sparrows, Kinglets, Woodpeckers and more. The Eastern White pine grove at the east end of the meadow, named affectionately ‘Arleen’s Pines,’ serves as an important winter roost for raptors.”

“There’s no better testament to the importance of Prospect Park’s trees and natural habitat than seeing all of our migratory birds gather the food they need to make the next leg of their difficult journeys to their wintering grounds, which can be as far away as South America,” shares Brooklyn Bird Club Board Member, Tom Stephenson. “The best way to find these birds is to join one of the Brooklyn Bird Club outings and carefully watch any fruiting tree for Swainson’s Thrush, Scarlet Tanager, Baltimore Oriole, and examine the understory to spot Ovenbird, Northern Waterthrush or Hermit Thrush. Scan the treetops and you might get lucky and spot some of the park’s most brilliant sightings like Northern Parula, Blackburnian or Cape May Warblers.”

As you embark on spotting these migratory birds, remember to be a Park Champion to support the trees, birds and wildlife of Prospect Park during Tree Appreciation Month and all year long:

  • Please do not hang hammocks or decorations from our trees, and avoid climbing or breaking branches: this damages the tree bark and can make trees susceptible to disease.
  • Please stay on designated paths in the woodlands to protect fragile wildlife habitats, and make sure to dispose of your trash properly. This will help our trees grow for generations to come.

Learn about bird watching opportunities with the Brooklyn Bird Club in Prospect Park including weekly Introduction to Birdwatching Outings on Saturdays throughout the fall and First-Sunday Birdwatching Outings on the first Sunday of every month during this exciting migratory season.