MGC Civic Projects & Scholarship Awards Supported in 2020
Cary Institute, Millbrook, NY
Project Name: Nitrogen fixation in African savanna trees study by Arielle Biro
Arielle, a fourth year PHD candidate at Yale is conducting research focused on measuring nitrogen inputs and understanding the impact of nitrogen fixation in savanna systems. Nitrogen is an essential nutrient and plays an important role in ecosystem health, agricultural yields, and climate change mitigation. Nitrogen is necessary for plant growth and photosynthesis, tightly linking nitrogen and carbon together. This tight link is important for the future of climate change, as nitrogen can determine how much carbon an ecosystem can uptake, allowing plants to act as a carbon dioxide (CO2) sink if enough nitrogen is available (Gruber and Galloway, 2008).
In March 2020, Arielle collected root samples to quantify nitrogen fixation rates from over 300 trees in Kruger National Park, South Africa, one of the largest protected areas in Africa. The samples must be ground to a fine powder and analyzed at the Cary Institute, where Dr. Sarah Batterman has a specialized lab for isotopic samples. The control roots must be processed at Yale University to avoid cross-contamination.
4-H Grows Here -Cornell Cooperative Extension Dutchess County, Millbrook, NY
Project Name: 4-H Grows Here
4-H Grows Here brings together local children to learn about agriculture and gardening. It is hoped that COVID restrictions will ease and that in 2021 the children will be able create and nurture a community garden to provide food for the families and locals in need. In addition to gardening, youth will take part in community service activities. One planned activity is to raise money by selling pollinator seeds to buy books for ESL children of immigrant families in the community. Educational field trips include nature walks at the Cary Institute, apple picking and visits to local farms to learn about sustainable agriculture. Through activities, and running their club, youth learn life-skills such as communication, record keeping and leadership skills. The highlight of the year will hopefully be to exhibit at the Dutchess County fair and help educate the public through demonstrations.
The Giving Garden – Food of Life Food Pantry, Amenia Union, NY
Project Name: Repairing the garden beds
The Giving Garden, in its sixth year, will be granted funds to repair the original beds in the food pantry’s on-site Giving Garden. This project would ensure their continued ability to provide their 321 weekly food recipients with fresh, locally grown and nutrient dense produce. The original sixteen beds were built with locally sourced cedar logs. In addition to shoring up the beds, there will be the advantage of expanding each bed’s size, which means more plants and more food!
4. Housatonic Valley Association, Cornwall Bridge, CT
Project Name: River Stewards of Tomorrow
MGC will continue its River Stewards of Tomorrow program. They provide the opportunities to learn water conservation stewardship to a diverse group of 6 youth.
Innisfree, Millbrook, NY
Project Name: Restoration of Dumpling Knoll Daylily Bed
MGC will be providing support to restore one of Innisfree’s most widely visible areas that serves as a focal point in the garden, the Daylily Bed on Dumpling Knoll. In the 1980s, landscape architect Lester Collins planted yellow daylilies (Hemerocallis sp.). With grant support from the Millbrook Garden Club, Innisfree Foundation will be able to rejuvenate the existing planting bed and purchase many additional daylilies to restore the lush feeling and bold look of this cup garden. The new varieties will be selected for beauty of form, harmonious color, and to significantly extend the flowering season.
North East Community Center, Millerton, NY
Project Name: Community and School Gardens
This grant supports the gardens at both NECC and the Webutuck High School which are such wonderful, important programs for NECC. They serve as an educational tool for Teens and the community garden has become a popular staple along the Rail Trail. The produce from both gardens has also been used in our summer meals program serving over 100 area children daily. The collaboration among staff, volunteers, and interns is the perfect example of how NECC works within the community.
Sharon Audubon, Sharon, CT
Project Name: Self-guiding Paths at Sharon Audubon: For Exploring, Connecting, and Inspiring Action
The Sharon Audubon will be enriching their visitor experience with support of MGC. This will include new signage and other features which will extend a welcome to all, allow self-guided exploration, and invite visitor participation via written comments, uploaded observations and photos, or conservation actions.
Wethersfield, Amenia, NY
Project Name: Wethersfield Horticulture Intern
MGC will continue to support Wethersfield’s internship program under the guidance of Director of Horticulture, Toshi Yano. The interns will learn how to propagate plants from seeds and cuttings, how to properly plant, weed, stake, deadhead and feed a garden bed, and how to make basic pruning cuts. He will go over basic plant morphology and metabolism, binomial nomenclature, and plant classification.
Millbrook Garden Club is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization