Did you know that New York City has nature? Nearly 1/8 of the Big Apple is forests, marshes, and meadows, more than any other city in North America. Sadly, many New Yorkers have no idea these places exist. We want people to experience the nature that lives nearby, to know their floral and faunal neighbors. We think PopUP Forest: Times Square is the answer!
We launched this project on Kickstarter because we want to build a resilient and livable city and we can't do it without you. New York City is so much more than taxicabs, the Empire State Building, and Jay-Z. Defining it as only hardscapes and humans we overlook nearly 50,000 acres of open space. By showcasing the city's green assets, PopUP Forest: Times Square will lead the way in helping all urbanites see cities differently.
Join us! Help us make this happen. Please contribute what you can and share our campaign with your friends. And let us know what you think!
PopUP Forest: Times Square will give visitors an immersive natural area experience in the most un-natural place on the planet. In the middle of the night, we'll transform a public plaza in Times Square into a large-scale temporary nature installation. Towering trees, native wildflowers, and ferns underfoot will bring a piece of wilderness to the heart of Manhattan.
The hustle and bustle of Times Square will momentarily slip away with flowering shrubs, mosses, and understory vegetation providing beauty and important sustenance for migrating birds and pollinating insects. The cacophony of street noise will be quieted and replaced by a live stream of wildlife sounds from nearby woods. Visitors' sensory experiences will be enhanced through guided woodland walks, interpretive signs, and hands-on educational activities for children. Then - after three weeks - it will all disappear.
For the past 18 months, we've had conversations with various elected officials, corporations, and philanthropic foundations - everyone is excited about the PopUP Forest. But before these organizations will contribute financially, we need to show them proof of concept. That's where you come in!
Reaching our goal of $25,000 will fund the critical first steps of this project. The Kickstarter funding will empower us with very basic design, marketing and outreach materials and a small-scale prototype to help us move toward securing the estimated $1.7 million cost of PopUP Forest: Times Square. Here is a breakdown of how the Kickstarter funding will be used:
$10,000 - Design
• First draft architectural rendings of PUF: Times Square
$5,500 - Pilot PopUP Forest in Gowanus, Brooklyn
• Design of prototype; purchase, delivery, and installation of plants, and other materials
$7,000 - Marketing, Outreach, Legal
• Developing project brand and messaging, creating a sponsor packet, assessing legal hurdles
$2,500 - Kickstarter fee and payment processing fee
After it's taken down, the forest will live on as its trees, shrubs and wildflowers will be used in pocket parks, tree pits, and school yards around the city. Visit our website for more about the legacy of the PopUP Forest and to join our mailing list.
PopUP Forest: Times Square is a project of NYC Wildflower Week – an organization that provides free educational and programming opportunities to engage urbanites with the wilds of the Big Apple.
Mariellé Anzelone is the founder and executive director of NYC Wildflower Week. Trained as an urban ecologist, she connects people to nearby nature and considers how design, education, and government can promote this relationship. Mariellé is also advancing local biodiversity policy with New York City Council and is a contributor to the New York Times.
Hugh Reed is an environmental analyst and urban garden designer whose work focuses on creating and restoring native plant communities in New York City.
The Times Square Alliance has been working closely with us to move this project forward. The Alliance’s Times Square Arts collaborates with contemporary artists to experiment and engage with one of the world’s most iconic urban places. The hope is that this Kickstarter campaign will help fund Phase 1 of the project and provide the Alliance with the details to plan for the installation - tentatively June 2016.
$5 BUD: Botanical High Five. Your name added to our donors' wall as a “Friend of the Forest” on our website.
$10 SAPLING: Virtual Forest Tour. A head-cam video tour of Inwood Hill Park on a gorgeous spring day. Mariellé will remotely guide you through the only real forest in Manhattan with towering trees and rare wildflowers. We'll also check out the last salt marsh left in the borough + $5 reward.
$25 SEED: Wildflower Seed Mix + Gardening with Natives. Seeds of wildflower species and ecotypes native to New York (for sun and shade). Comes with a pdf download of garden-tastic plants that are native to the NYC area. Suggested species for windowboxes, shady spots, and butterfly gardens with wildlife value and horticultural highlights + $5 reward.
$50 TWIG: Tee Shirt. Our tee features the NYC-extinct wildflower Swamp Pink (Helonias bullata). Big "X" for extirpated on the back. (Awesome artwork care of electrofork). Choose white tee with black or black tee with white + $10 reward.
$75 ROOT: Botanical Print. An 11 in. by 17 in. botanical print from the New York Times op-art "When New York City Bloomed" by Mariellé & artist Wendy Hollender. Please select 1 print from 12 available, gorgeously illustrated by Wendy. Click this link for a slideshow of the 12 plants.
$100 FLOWER: Bag of Swag. Our tote bag features the NYC-extinct wildflower Swamp Pink (Helonias bullata) with a big "X" for extirpated. Filled with wildflower seed mix (from $25 reward) and a 10x hand lens (just like botanists use) to look at plants up close and personal + $5 reward.
$275 LEAF: Swaggier Bag of Swag. Fill the tote bag up with all of our goodies! You'll receive our tote bag, a 10x hand lens, our tee shirt ($50 reward), our wildflower seed mix ($25 reward) & one botanical print ($75 reward).
$500 BRANCH: Native Plant Garden Design. We'll design an ecologically rich and visually stunning native flora garden just for you. Working with your site conditions and vision, we'll create a personalized plan and plant list tailored to your specific needs. (N.B This will be done remotely, no site visits involved). **LIMITED TO EASTERN U.S. ONLY**
$1000 TREE: Personal Forest Tour. A personal tour of Inwood Hill Park with you and 3-5 of your friends. Mariellé will expertly guide you through the only real forest in Manhattan with towering trees and rare wildflowers. We'll also see the last salt marsh left in the borough. Tour lasts approximately 2½ hours. You pick the date between May 30 - November 10, 2015. Everyone goes home with our Bag of Swag.
$2000 GROVE: Sneak Peak Party. Be our guest at the launch of our PopUP Forest: Brooklyn prototype this summer! Hang out in the mini-woodland installation before it opens to the public. Enjoy wildflower-inspired food and drink. *DATE TO BE DETERMINED* Everyone goes home with our Swaggier Bag of Swag.
$3500 FOREST: All Our Gifts. From Seed to Grove, your contribution will help tremendously toward making this project grow and blossom. You'll get all the gifts we have to give with our eternal botanical gratitude.
Risks and challenges
Your contribution goes directly toward making the most amazing (and only!) PopUP Forest the world has ever known. Together, we are going to make some nature magic!
The idea behind the PopUP Forest is simple but we expect the execution to be more complicated. As a public design project in the heart of a bustling city, there will be many logistical issues to tackle with adjustments and fine-tuning along the way.
The first step toward making the PopUP Forest a reality is to translate our vision into a concept design and create marketing materials. Producing this work is critical to elicit the support of organizational partners and donors.
Once we have addressed the design and feasibility issues, we anticipate the next hurdles to be permits and logistics. We have had preliminary conversations with potential partner organizations and city agencies. We know it won't be easy, but we do know it can be done.
Going forward, we will continue to work collaboratively and solicit feedback to determine the best strategies to make the project a success. We promise to be completely transparent with you as we move forward with the process.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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