Wildlife Where You Least Expect It; Freshkills Park
The reclamation of what was once the largest garbage dump, and indeed, even the largest manmade object on Earth continues at its stately pace: Staten Island's Freshkills Landfill is about halfway through its transformation into the second-largest park in NYC, and the largest new park since the 19th century.
At this point in its redevelopment, Freshkills Park has become a habitat for species considered rare within the city limits. Researchers at the site have found three bird species considered endangered in New York State, nine classified as threatened and seven more the state deems “of special concern.” Several others are breeding within the city limits for the first time in decades.
On the mammal side, coyotes, red foxes and hundreds of white-tailed deer — which many Staten Islanders consider a nuisance — can be found. A site next to Freshkills features the city’s only pair of resident beavers.
This spring, environmentalists have been buzzing about the discovery of a pair of upland sandpipers, potbellied shorebirds that are extremely rare in this part of the state.
“It’s like being transported back into the 19th century again,” said Howard Fischer, a leading bird expert on Staten Island. “These are birds that have actually come out of extinction, in a sense. They are that rare on the East Coast.”
You can read more about Freshkills Park from the New York Times here.