STATEN ISLAND N.Y. What do those dome-like tents look like in Travis?
Quonset huts, an old military term or hoop house, are tent structures that are used to grow native plants from seeds. Nate McVay is the nursery manager at The. Greenbelt Native Plant Center.
McVay tells that the Sanitation and Parks departments purchased the Mohlenhoff family farms in 1992. Carl Mohlenhoff was the nursery manager until his retirement in June 2002. Ed Toth was the one who suggested the idea of a native plants center and pressed the city to create the facility we have today.
Lucy Rubino (the Greenbelt Native Plant Center Director oversees the 13-acre facility, which includes nurseries, greenhouses and a large seed bank. She also writes grants for much needed funding.
These native plants are truly remarkable because of the work involved. The nature center offers advice and supplies seeds and plants that are appropriate for local conditions.
The workers take care of the plants at every stage, from collecting the seeds to cataloging them, to planting them, to watching them grow to maturity, and then selling them to local customers. It is a labor of love, patience, and hard work.
The Statement of missionAccording to the website, only plants grown from locally harvested seed can preserve the integrity and health of local populations.
Many of the original buildings are still in existence and have been re-purposed.
The Greenbelt Native Plant Center has a remarkable history. It does amazing work in restoring balance to the environment and reminds people of Staten Island once upon time.