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Native Plant Center

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.

Native Plant Center

Richard Lynch, director, Greenbelt Native Plant Center at William T. Davis Wildlife Refuge describes the rescue operation of 1990. (Staten Island Advance/Steve Zaffarano).

Native Plant center

This aerial view shows Travis, Staten Island, in 1934. The view shows farm fields and a barn in the middle. A road runs along right edge of fields. Houses and trees can also be seen at right and in distance. (Staten Island Historical Society).

Native Plant center

Two men are seen standing with a horse, which is being harnessed to a horse-drawn sawder in this September 1939 photograph of the Mohlenhoff family farm on Victory Boulevard. (Collection Staten Island Historic Society).

Native Plant Center

This 1988 photo shows some of the farm equipment from Mohlenhoff family farm, 3808 Victory Boulevard. (Staten Island Advance)

Native Plant Center

Catherine DelTufo is a horticulturist and Tim Williams, the field manager of urban forest education and education for Parks Department, walk through the Native Plant Center’s greenhouse in 1995. (Staten Island Advance/Mike Falco)

native plant center

The Greenbelt Native Plant Center is located on Victory Boulevard in Travis on 13 acres of land that was once part of the Mohlenhoff family farm. It has been in existence since the early 1990s and is managed by the city Parks Department. Many of the buildings are still in use today. (Staten Island Advance)Staten Island Advance

native plant center

Quonset huts or hoop houses are the old military term for these tent structures. Nate McVay, the nursery manager, and his colleagues at Greenbelt Native Plant Center call them Quonset Huts. They will be shown on April 1, 2022. (Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)Staten Island Advance

native plant center

The view is taken from the back Greenbelt Native Plant Center at Victory Boulevard, Travis in 2019. (Tom Wrobleski/Staten Island Advance) Staten Island Advance

native plant center

Nate McVay displays his collection of pitch pine seed on April 1, 2022. (Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)Staten Island Advance

native plant center

Lucy Rubino is the director of the Greenbelt Native Plant Center. This facility, which covers 13 acres of New York City Department of Parks & Recreation property, is located in Manhattan. She oversees the nursery and seed bank facilities and grants much-needed funding. She is shown on April 1, 2020. (Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)Staten Island Advance

native plant center

The Greenbelt Native Plant Center greenhouses have seen plants begin to sprout on June 16, 2011. (Staten Island Advance/Irving Silverstein) Staten Island Advance

native plant center

Travis looked more like Kansas when Joe Spinelli struggled with tarpaulins at the Greenbelt Native Plant Center in 2012, while Travis looked more like Travis. ( Staten Island Advance / Irving Silverstein ) Staten Island Advance

native plant center

These are flowering seeds for dogwood. The collection contains over 600 species and is being sold to NYC Parks in 2022. (Staten Island Advance/Jan Soma-Hammel)Staten Island Advance

native plant center

On April 1, 2022, ferns will be grown from spores at Travis’ Greenbelt Native Plant Center. (Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)Staten Island Advance

native plant center

The Greenbelt Native Plant Center will produce soil for gallon-sized plants by April 1, 2022. (Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)Staten Island Advance

native plant center

Catherine Molanphy is the Greenbelt Native Plant Center’s greenhouse coordinator. She is hard at work April 1, 2022. (Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)Staten Island Advance

native plant center

The Native Plant Center in Travis’ greenhouses, seen from Richmond Avenue, were wrapped for winter on March 18, 2010.(Staten Island Advance)Staten Island Advance

native plant center

In June 1999, the Native Plant Center displayed thriving trees from seed. (Staten Island Advance)Staten Island Advance

native plant center

The Greenbelt Native Plant Center keeps detailed records of every seed collected. (Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)Staten Island Advance

native plant center

The Greenbelt Native Plant Center keeps detailed records of every seed collected. (Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)Staten Island Advance

native plant center

Here, a staff member separates seeds from the general collection on April 1, 2022. (Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)Staten Island Advance

native plant center

The Greenbelt Native Plant Center in Travis has greenhouses. (Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)Staten Island Advance

native plant center

The Native Plant Center, Travis, has Sumac plants. It was opened on April 1, 2022. (Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)Staten Island Advance

See Also

native plant center

This team spends a lot of time collecting and categorizing seeds from all over Staten Island. Every plant they cultivate is from seeds. The Greenbelt Native Plant Center is a remarkable place that does incredible work. (Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)Staten Island Advance

native plant center

The history of the land is described in the sign that hangs in the Greenbelt Native Plant Center’s office building on April 1, 2022. (Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)Staten Island Advance

native plant center

13 acres of the former Mohlenhoff farm are home to the Greenbelt Native Plant Center, located on Victory Boulevard. It has been in existence since the early 1990s and is managed by the city Parks Department. Many of the original buildings are still in use on the site in 2022, such this barn. (Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)Staten Island Advance

native plant center

This is the in-ground area that the Greenbelt Native Plant Center will be using on April 1, 2022. (Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)Staten Island Advance

native plant center

This 2001 photo shows an interior view of the Greenbelt Native Plant Center’s new greenhouse, Victory Boulevard. (Staten Island Advance)Staten Island Advance

native plant center

The Greenbelt Native Plant Center is located on Victory Boulevard, Travis. It aims to restore ecosystems to their original condition before humans came. This 2019 photo shows a grow house that contains high marsh cordgrass, which will be planted at Jamaica Bay. (Staten Island Advance)Staten Island Advance

native plant center

The 2019 photo of the Greenbelt native plant center on Victory Boulevard in Travis can be seen here. (Tom Wrobleski/Staten Island Advance)
Staten Island Advance

native plant center

The final seeds are separated and cleaned up on April 1, 2022. (Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)Staten Island Advance

native plant center

The Greenbelt Native Plant Centre on Victory Boulevard, Travis, has one of its main tasks, shown in 2022. Its job is to restore Freshkills Park’s plant life to what it was before it was used as a dump. (Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)Staten Island Advance

native plant center

The Greenbelt Native Plant Center displays salt marsh cordgrass on April 1, 2022. (Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)Staten Island Advance

native plant center

On April 1, 2022, the Greenbelt Native Plant Center displayed piles of soil for planting. (Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)Staten Island Advance

native plant center

The Catskills Sugar Maple Trees were shown in this photo on April 1, 2022. The Greenbelt Native Plant Center is a remarkable place that does incredible work. (Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)Staten Island Advance

native plant center

Red Maple trees will be available at the Greenbelt Native Plant Center from April 1, 2022. (Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)Staten Island Advance

native plant center

Guy Molinari, Borough President, speaks with Carl Mohlenhoff in 2001. He was the former owner and operator of Travis’ Native Plant Center. (Staten Island Advance)Staten Island Advance

native plant center

On April 1, 2022, Scarlet oak seed produced a radical at the Greenbelt Native Plant Center. Next, they will be placed in soil or small pots. (Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)Staten Island Advance

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