NPS PHOTO by Park Ranger Konrad Wisniewski.
Nature in New York Harbor? Absolutely! Gateway is a large park that includes several ecosystems, from ocean beaches to maritime forests, freshwater ponds and salt marshes. Each provides food and shelter for a variety of wildlife. The park is also an important migratory stopping point along the Atlantic Flyway. More than 300 bird species visit the park as a stopover during spring and fall migration, where they rest and refuel.
What IS nature in an urban park?
Nature is more than the collection of plants and animals (including birds, mammals, insects, reptiles, amphibians and "other") you will find in the park. It includes the natural features and ecosystems where different species can be found on land, in the water and places in-between, like salt marshes.
In an urban park such as ours, nature and humanity cannot truly be separated. Gateway is lucky to preserve several areas which escaped commercial development because they were used as military bases, airfields and former city parks. Science and research conducted by Gateway scientists and other scholars can help us all make choices to help us live in harmony with nature and to create a more sustainable future in a world that is always changing, especially now.
Gateway Research Learning Center
The Gateway Research Learning Center, formerly called the Jamaica Bay Institute, was created as a testament to this commitment. The mission of the Learning Center is to promote and improve the ecological health and social relevance of Jamaica Bay through research, education and informed decision making.
Through partnerships with academic institutions, state, and federal agencies, Gateway National Recreation Area is able to gain access to sophisticated and multidisciplinary scientific information. This up- to-date scientific knowledge will be shared with park management, local community leaders, and the public to foster science-based decisions.
Important aspects of the science investigations needed at Gateway are urban ecology themes, including: environmental justice, resource conservation versus visitor access and integrated management of cultural and natural resources. Although these projects are of high importance, we welcome research proposals in any area of scientific, historic, cultural, or social inquiry.