Project image
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$1,132
pledged of $36,000pledged of $36,000 goal
21
backers
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Nov 7 2014
$1,132
pledged of $36,000pledged of $36,000 goal
21
backers
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Nov 7 2014

About

Unfortunately, I've had a family emergency and need to step away from running this kickstarter campaign. I plan to try again in February 2015. I am so grateful for all the support. Stay tuned & be well!  -Marielle

If a forest can make it in Times Square, it can make it anywhere!

You probably don’t know New York City has real, bona fide nature. Nearly 1/8 of the Big Apple is forests, marshes and meadows, more than any other city in North America. But many New Yorkers have no idea that such places exist. Worse than being ignored, many open spaces are threatened with development.

We want people to feel connected to the nature that lives nearby. Since we can’t bring every single New Yorker to nature, we’re going to bring that nature to them. The answer? A pop-up forest!

PopUp Forest: Times Square will give visitors an immersive natural area experience in the most un-natural place on the planet. We plan to transform a public plaza in Times Square into a large-scale temporary nature installation. Shipping containers will be filled with towering trees, native wildflowers, and mosses and ferns underfoot, bringing a piece of wildness to the heart of Manhattan.

The installation will feature guided woodland walks, interpretive signs, and hands-on educational activities. It will provide habitat for springtime warblers and vireos and red admiral butterflies. Street noises will be muffled, and wildlife sounds will be piped in live from nearby woods.

Imagine the installation's assembly through the night in late spring 2016. The next morning the forest stops New Yorkers in their tracks with surprise and delight. The PopUp Forest would be in place for 3 weeks. Then one day it's gone.

The funds from this Kickstarter campaign will be used for Phase 1 - initial design and marketing. Your contribution will help us get our dreams and concepts into renderings, drawings, and specifications. These will empower us to approach foundations and corporations for financial contributions to POP UP the forest in 2016!

Municial Art Society talk on nature in NYC (starts 1:50)
Municial Art Society talk on nature in NYC (starts 1:50)

 Why a PopUp Forest in Times Square?

Because we believe that experiencing a slice of New York City's nature will change people's misconceptions about urban environments. 

Standing among the thrilling hustle and lights of Times Square, it is easy to forget that modern New York City exists because of the abundant greenery that once defined it. Early Dutch sailors reported being disoriented by the scent of wildflowers wafting out to sea from Manhattan. Certainly no one has that experience today.

And yet, amazingly, forests, marshes and meadows are still here. Today, natural areas cover nearly one-eighth of the Big Apple, more than any other city in North America. Despite this rich natural heritage, New York City is still defined by taxi cabs, the Empire State Building, and Jay-Z - all hardscapes and humans. No nature.

That missing nature is a problem. Its absence made a high school student wonder whether High Rock Park is a real forest because it's on Staten Island. She's not alone, as many New Yorkers have no idea that forests and meadows exist in the five boroughs. It also means that these places don't get the management or protections they deserve.

Is this not really nature because it's in NYC? High Rock Park in Staten Island
Is this not really nature because it's in NYC? High Rock Park in Staten Island

New York City is in the biodiversity Dark Ages - especially when a local politician's solution to saving a globally-rare wildflower is "I need a plant in my office. Put it in a jar and bring it to me, and I will water it every day." Such attitudes must be changed for our urban nature to have a chance. Read the whole story in the New York Times op-ed below.

 What is the Kickstarter money for?

This Kickstarter campaign will cover Phase 1 of the PopUp Forest. You will be contributing to early programming, marketing, and overall concept design. Specifically, this will pay for work on a road map of the PopUp Forest project and initial drawings of what it will look like, development of a logo and marketing materials, and public engagement around the PopUp Forest and why nature in New York City matters. 

We've been working with Times Square Alliance 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 Phase 1 will provide the Alliance with the details to plan for the installation.

You will be more than a financial partner. With your contribution we can create a engaged community that is a voice for nearby nature. 

How much will the whole PopUp Forest cost?

This $36,000 is critical to get us started, but the project in its entirety will cost approximately $1.8 million. It's a good deal of money, but New York City isn't cheap and we are confident that the project's impact and legacy will make it worthwhile. In addition, the plants and soils will be donated to local schools and parks afterwards, so pieces of the project will continue to live on.

We have had conversations with elected officials, various companies, 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!

We launched the project on Kickstarter because we wanted to engage with those of you who believe that cities need to be redefined with nature in mind. This is especially important as more people now live in cities than rural areas, making the world an urban place. We hope you'll join us.

Who is behind the PopUp Forest?

PopUp Forest: Times Square is a project of NYC Wildflower Week– an organization that produces cultural and educational programming to engage urbanites with the wilds of the Big Apple. We are going to work collaboratively by assembling a team of designers, architects, producers and artists with the passion and talent to realize this vision.  

Marielle Anzelone is the founder and executive director of NYC Wildflower Week. Her training as an urban ecologist helps her connect people to nearby nature and determine how design, education, and government can promote this relationship.

Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg signing the biodiversity bill.
Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg signing the biodiversity bill.

Marielle is a regular contributor to the New York Times and Huffington Post. She is also advancing local biodiversity policy. A bill that she helped develop, supporting native plants in public landscapes, became law in 2013. As a mom to two small boys, she intends to make the legacy of the PopUp Forest enhanced public policy and nature education opportunites for all NYC 2nd graders. This is her first public art project.

Let's talk! Share your thoughts and suggestions about the PopUp Forest with us via facebook and twitter.

Together, let's move beyond defining New York City as Kurt Vonnegut's "Skyscraper National Park". Join us - be a PopUp Forest partner and say "yes" to urban nature!

Rewards for Backers:

$500  = PERSONAL TOUR OF INWOOD HILL PARK

Here's a video of what to expect on the tour...
Here's a video of what to expect on the tour...

An intimate tour of Inwood Hill Park for you and 5 friends. Marielle will personally guide you through the only real forest in Manhattan, with towering trees & rare wildflowers. We will also see the last salt marsh left in the borough. We'll work together to choose a date between April and November 2015  + $50 reward 

Read all about the nature in this park in Marielle's New York Times column "Autumn Unfolds". Here's the first story in the series.

$250  = LEAF ON OUR "DONOR TREE"

Your name stamped on a fabricated red maple leaf (which is native to NYC, natch). One will be shipped to you and its twin will hang on our "Donor Tree" within the actual PopUp Forest + $50 reward

$100 = BOTANICAL PRINT

An 8 in. by 10 in. botanical print from the New York Times op-art "When New York City Bloomed" by Marielle Anzelone & Wendy Hollender. Choose from 1 of 12 plants as gorgeously illustrated and signed by Wendy (be sure to visit the link and specify which plant you'd like to receive) + $50 reward

$75 = BOTANICAL BAG OF SWAG

Black tote bag with same cool double-sided graphic as tee-shirt (see below). Inside the tote is a booklet on local NYC wildflowers. Also comes with a 10x hand lens - just like botanists use! - to look at plants up close and personal. Lens hangs from a lanyard that reads "Friend of PopUp Forest" + $5 reward

$50 = VIRTUAL FOREST TOUR

Livestream head cam tour of Inwood Hill Park on a gorgeous spring day in April 2015. Marielle will virtually guide you through the only real forest in Manhattan - see towering trees and rare wildflowers! Video from the tour will be available for repeat viewings + $5 reward

Check out a tour Marielle did in Inwood Hill Park for the New York Times.

$25 = TEE SHIRT

This ain't no girly swirly floral tee! A black short sleeved shirt with white graphics featuring the locally-extinct swamp pink on front & X-NYC on back, as gorgeously designed by Electrofork. Be sure to specify size + $5 reward

$10 = NYC ACORN

A single acorn from New York City with planting instructions + $5 reward

$5 = HIGH FIVE

Botanical high five & your name added to our website as a "Friend of the Forest"

$2,500 = LOCALLY FORAGED DINNER & DRINKS 

"66 Square Feet: A Delicious Life" by Marie Viljoen
"66 Square Feet: A Delicious Life" by Marie Viljoen

You + 1 guest will join us in New York City for an intimate, multi-course dinner of locally-foraged food & drink as prepared by Marie Viljoen of 66 Square Feet in summer 2015. Delicious meal, lively conversation, beautiful surroundings, and special guest all included. Take home a bag of botanical swag + a personalized copy of Marie's gorgeous book, 66 Square Feet: A Delicious Life. (N.B. You'll have to get yourself to NYC and find a place to stay) + $250 reward

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 art 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 marketing materials and a concept design. 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.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 5 or more About US$ 5

    BUD: Botanical high five & your name added to our website as a "Friend of the Forest"

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    ACORN: A single acorn from New York City with planting instructions + $5 reward

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    Pledge US$ 25 or more About US$ 25

    SEEDLING: This ain't no girly swirly floral tee - a black shirt with white graphics featuring a NYC extinct wildflower with a big X on the back (be sure to specify size) + $5 reward

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    Pledge US$ 50 or more About US$ 50

    TWIG: Livestream head cam tour of Inwood Hill Park on a gorgeous spring day. Marielle will virtually guide you through the only real forest in Manhattan with towering trees & rare wildflowers. We will also check out the last salt marsh left in the borough. Video from the tour will be available for repeat viewings + $5 reward

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    Pledge US$ 75 or more About US$ 75

    ROOT: Bag of swag! Black tote bag with same cool, double-sided graphics as tee-shirt. Comes with a booklet on local NYC wildflowers. Plus a 10x hand lens - just like botanists use! - to look at plants up close and personal. Lens hangs from a lanyard that reads "Friend of PopUp Forest" + $5 reward

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 100 or more About US$ 100

    FLOWER: A 8 in. by 10 in. botanical print from the New York Times op-art "When New York City Bloomed" by Marielle Anzelone & Wendy Hollender. Choose from 1 of 12 plants as gorgeously illustrated by Wendy. http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2011/03/26/opinion/20110326_OPART.html?src=tptw (See link to preview all 12 species and be sure to specify which plant you'd like to receive) + $50 reward

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    Pledge US$ 250 or more About US$ 250

    LEAF: Your name stamped on a fabricated red maple leaf (which is native to NYC). One will be shipped to you and its twin will hang on our "Donor Tree" within the actual PopUp Forest + $50 reward

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    Pledge US$ 500 or more About US$ 500

    BRANCH: An intimate tour of Inwood Hill Park. Marielle will guide you through the only real forest in Manhattan with towering trees & rare wildflowers. We will also see the last salt marsh left in the borough. We'll find a date that works between April and November 2015 + $50 reward

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    Pledge US$ 1,000 or more About US$ 1,000

    TRUNK: Every single reward listed above! A veritable cornucopia of botanical wonderfulness.

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    Pledge US$ 1,500 or more About US$ 1,500

    SAPLING: Be a PopUp Forest collaborator for a day! Come to NYC and spend time behind the scenes with us. Meet the designers and participate in project planning. After lunch (our treat) we will stroll through the High Line and discuss its impact on how people view nature in cities. Take home a bag of botanical swag. We'll offer you several dates between now and next year. (N.B. You'll have to get yourself here and find a place to stay.) Select the one that works for you.

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    Pledge US$ 2,500 or more About US$ 2,500

    GROVE: You + 1 guest will join us for an intimate, multi-course dinner of locally-foraged food & drink as prepared by Marie Viljoen of 66 Square Feet in summer 2015. Delicious meal, lively conversation, beautiful surroundings, and special guest all included. Take home a bag of botanical swag + a personalized copy of Marie's gorgeous book. (N.B. You'll have to get yourself to NYC and find a place to stay) + $250 reward

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    Pledge US$ 5,000 or more About US$ 5,000

    FOREST: A sneak peak of the PopUp Forest at dawn the day it is unveiled in spring 2016! In the meantime, you'll receive every single darn reward we have to give - tour, dinner, collaboration, prints, tote - the works. Heck, we'll even throw in an extra hand lens.

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Funding period

- (32 days)