Governors Island 9-22-23 © Julienne Schaer

Governors Island Nature will feature free public events, educational activities, and exclusive online tools tied to learning about the Island’s diverse ecosystems

Trust to host launch event on Saturday, November 4

The Trust for Governors Island today announced Governors Island Nature, a new initiative that will dramatically expand visitor engagement with the Island’s 120 acres of natural and built open spaces. Through learning, public programs, and community science, Governors Island Nature will educate Island visitors and all New Yorkers about horticulture, biodiversity, and the impacts of climate change on our natural surroundings. 

“Governors Island provides New Yorkers with the unique opportunity to connect with the natural world through a mix of historic and newer green spaces,” said Clare Newman, President & CEO of the Trust for Governors Island. “Each year, nearly one million New Yorkers experience the Island’s incredible historic, cultural, educational, and recreational resources, and we are excited for the opportunity to enhance the visitor experience through Governors Island Nature.” 

“We are firm believers that anyone can develop meaningful connections to nature, even—or especially—in the heart of New York City,” said Logan Fisher, Horticulture Supervisor at the Trust for Governors Island. “Through Governors Island Nature, we will all be able to come together to understand our shared ecological responsibility, interact with Island wildlife in a meaningful way, and participate in native habitat cultivation through community science and volunteering.”  

The program will launch with a free public kickoff event in Nolan Park on Governors Island on Saturday, November 4, 2023, from 12 to 3pm featuring a lecture by Dr. Steven Handel, professor Distinguished Professor of Ecology and Evolution Emeritus at Rutgers University, focused on the realities of habitat restoration in urban areas followed by a Q&A moderated by the Trust for Governors Island horticulture team along with an interactive seed ball workshop and arborist-led fall foliage tour of the Island’s vast tree canopy. 

Through Governors Island Nature, the Trust will present regular free events and activities, including monthly nature walks, insect ecology classes, community science events, and volunteer stewardship. These programs are accompanied by a new suite of digital content at that features in-depth information on the Island’s diverse natural areas and the ecological horticulture practices employed, an interactive map of the Island’s 3,500+ trees that allow visitors to explore species information and ecosystem benefits, and a “Plant Watch” page that highlights seasonal plants throughout the Island. 

Governors Island has undergone a tremendous transformation over the last decade, including the creation of a resilient 43-acre park, a growing arts and cultural program, year-round public access, and remarkable growth in audience. The Island is home to a diverse number of year-round tenants, including the Urban Assembly New York Harbor School, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the Billion Oyster Project, Shandaken Projects, Beam Center, the Institute for Public Architecture, and QC NY Spa, as well as the soon-to-open Buttermilk Labs—a new multi-tenant hub for coastal climate solutions.

In April 2023, following a two-year competitive process, Mayor Eric Adams and the Trust for Governors Island announced the selection of a new anchor institution for the Center for Climate Solutions on Governors Island. The New York Climate Exchange, led by Stony Brook University, will be a first-of-its-kind, cross-sector nonprofit organization dedicated to climate research, solution development, education, workforce training, and public programs on Governors Island. 

The Trust also recently announced the launch of the Governors Island Living Lab, a new platform for research, partnerships, and programs to amplify climate action that includes an annual climate solutions challenge open to nonprofit organizations, entrepreneurs, and start-ups; the launch of climate field trip programs; and an interim community convening space on the Island. 

About the Trust for Governors Island

The Trust for Governors Island is the nonprofit corporation created by the City of New York that is responsible for the redevelopment and operation of 150 acres of Governors Island. The Trust’s mission is to realize the full potential of Governors Island for the inspiration and enjoyment of all New Yorkers, demonstrating a bold vision for public space. For more information, visit 

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