Van Cortlandt Park Alliance “Cultivating the Bronx” Award May 16, 2024

May 20th, 2024 Posted in Front Page News, President's Blog, Putnam Rail Trail, Tibbetts Brook Daylighting, Van Cortlandt Park

President’s Blog

Van Cortlandt Park Alliance’s “Cultivating the Bronx” award and the Tibbetts Daylighting Project honor what BCEQ set out to do. In 1971, a group of Bronx environmentalists, inspired by Earth Day and the Clean Water Act, made an outrageous claim: that the only way out of our urban crises was through nature, not through more cycles of destruction and construction. Now in 2024, and with the full support of city agencies and one of the world’s finest engineering firms, we see the impossible: a natural system of forest, wetlands, and stream is being built within one of our nation’s most urbanized corridors to do the real work of environmental protection. And a stream that was diverted, piped, and buried so a city could be built on top of it is now flowing directly into the Harlem River, helping it become cleaner.

The story that Karen Argenti, Dart Westphal, Christina Taylor, and our entire BCEQ Board tell about Daylighting Tibbetts Brook is the story of Bronx people volunteering decades of their careers, family life, and personal time for green space, clean air, and clean waterways. This may be the special gift, the genius of the Bronx. It will always show us the human face of New York City’s worst policy decisions. But with this award, we make space for the human faces behind one of New York City’s most dramatic course corrects. We are indeed building our city with nature. And the largest green infrastructure project in the history the City of New York is being built in the Bronx. We are deeply grateful to Van Cortlandt Park and our city agencies for this recognition as a community stakeholder and hope the legacy of the Daylighting project is a game-changing commitment to not just to a biodiverse urban ecosystem but to the human faces that made it possible and the human needs that make it necessary.

–Robert Fanuzzi Ph. D.
President, Bronx Council for Environmental Quality

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