23 September 2013

Common Lecture: Gowanus Canal Conservancy

RULA Common Lecture – September 25, 2013
Cook/Douglass Lecture Hall, Room 110, Cook Campus

Hans Hesselein graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture from North Carolina State University in 2004. He has spent time working internationally in Germany as well as at several domestic landscape architecture firms, including his most recent position as an Associate at Dirtworks, PC in Manhattan. Hans joined the Gowanus Canal Conservancy as the Director of Special Projects in December, 2010 and was asked to serve as Executive Director in 2013. Throughout his time at the Conservancy, Hans has been responsible for developing and managing green infrastructure projects, watershed planning initiatives and volunteer stewardship programming. Hans comes to the Conservancy with a strong background in horticulture, construction, community engagement and landscape architecture.

Presentation Summary: Listed as a federal Superfund site in 2010, the Gowanus Canal is one of America's most polluted bodies of water and one of Brooklyn's hottest neighborhoods. Subjected to almost 200 years of industrial pollution and sewage overflows, it is also the subject of local folklore and affection. Join us for a presentation that will illuminate the complex natural history and cultural forces that shaped the Gowanus Canal, a discussion of what contamination exists, where it came from and what is being done to address it. The presentation will also explore the Gowanus Canal Conservancy's open space planning initiatives and volunteer program, which organizes direct-action stewardship events that are focused on cleaning and greening the watershed.

Gowanus Canal Conservancy Overview: 
The Gowanus Canal Conservancy is a community-based non-profit organization that was formed in 2006 to serve as the environmental steward for the Gowanus Canal Watershed. Our vision is an open, clean and alive Gowanus Canal Watershed, which involves the following focus areas:

Making it open: Creating green space and park land along the Canal’s shores. Getting it clean: Ensuring the water, soil and air of the watershed are healthy. Bringing it alive: Fostering ecological, business and cultural activity in the watershed.

Among our most significant current activities include the Conservancy’s Clean & Green Volunteer Program (1,400 volunteers and 5,700 hours served over past 12 months), Green Infrastructure design and construction projects (about $1.6 million), open space planning initiatives (award-winning Sponge Park masterplan) and our compost program which provides rich compost to help restore soil health in public green spaces, parks and tree pits (100 tons processed in 2012).

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