Carbon Sponge Tours


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Join Designer-in-Residence Brooke Singer, and her collaborators in Carbon Sponge this summer to enjoy the garden and discuss the project. Please drop-in any time during the two-hour open session to learn about this exciting and important project. Free with NYSCI admission.

This interdisciplinary effort aims to understand how various conditions affect the amount of carbon stored or released in soils with a focus on urban and exurban conditions. Soil is an important retainer of carbon, second only to our oceans. Carbon Sponge is a living laboratory to learn how we can turn our soils into a better sink and slow down the release of carbon as a means to reduce CO2 and mitigate anthropogenic climate change.

Some of the garden beds include electronics housed in clear plastic boxes. These boxes contain microcomputers that use sensors to continuously monitor soil moisture and temperature. Data is transmitted to the Carbon Sponge website. Other soil properties are measured in a lab including microbial biomass and composition (the number and kind of microbes), nitrogen cycling and respiration rates. Through observation, we are recording factors like rate of plant growth and root lengths.

Tours will be held:
Saturday, June 16; noon – 2 pm
Tuesday, June 19; noon – 2 pm
Tuesday, July 17; noon – 2 pm
Saturday, July 21; noon – 2 pm
Tuesday, July 24; noon – 2 pm
Saturday, August 25; noon – 2 pm

The Carbon Sponge project was initiated in 2018 by Brooke Singer as a Designer-in-Residence at NYSCI and produced with Sara Perl Egendorf (soil scientist), Maha Deeb (soil scientist), Marisa Prefer (ecologist), Daniel Fabricant (technologist), Victor Flores/Sumaq K.(botanist), Ashley Yalaju (illustrator), Sahery Arain (NYSCI Explainer), and Cara Lambrento (NYSCI Explainer).

The project is in partnership with the Brooklyn College Urban Soils Institute, the Advanced Scientific Research Center (ASRC) at The Graduate Center of The City University of New York, the Jacob Riis Settlement House at NYCHA Ravenswood, the NYC Mayor’s Office of Environmental Remediation (OER) and La Casita Verde (a GreenThumb Garden).

Carbon Sponge is funded by NYSCI, Patagonia and the Advanced Scientific Research Center (ASRC) at The Graduate Center of The City University of New York.

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