Aqueous Earth

September 29, 2015

Toxic Sites will be included in the exhibition Aqueous Earth at the International Studio and Curatorial Program in Bushwick, Brooklyn, curated by Kari Conte. The exhibition runs from October 21, 2015 through January 22, 2016. More details to come.

A great write up in Hyperallergic this week. Thanks for spreading the word. Please read and share.

Saturday when Public Lab came for a visit to the Toxic Sites tent at Photoville, the weather conditions were windy and there were (no surprise) a lot of people. This made sending the balloon up impossible and the kite very difficult. Eymund Diegel did return Sunday morning before Photoville opened and was able to have more success flying the kit with his daughter. Here are the great pics! And here is a link to the ongoing research Eymund and crew are doing on mapping ghost streams in and around Gowanus Canal to support wetland restoration and the remediation process.


2015_9_20_Photoville Toxic Sites Public Lab Kite Mapping photo gear gopro tests for Brooklyn CSI Stream Survey_Amara and Eymund Diegel_2  2015_9_20_Photoville Toxic Sites Public Lab Kite Mapping photo gear gopro tests for Brooklyn CSI Stream Survey_Amara and Eymund Diegel_25  2015_9_20_Photoville Toxic Sites Public Lab Kite Mapping photo gear gopro tests for Brooklyn CSI Stream Survey_Amara and Eymund Diegel_60

Press Mentions

September 18, 2015

Thanks to the shout outs in the press recently.


From The Literate Lens: “Closer to home, Brooke Singer is documenting Superfund sites across the U.S. and showing the results on ToxicSites.US, an interactive website she launched at Photoville. Initially, Singer was inspired by a conversation she had with a former EPA ombudsman, Robert J. Martin, who told her that “after 9/11, the whole of lower Manhattan should have been a Superfund site.” The information she has amassed is terrifying, but impressive in its clarity and accessibility. (See, for example, the page on Scientific Chemical Processing, one of three sites in New Jersey, just across from upper Manhattan.) Like Sinclair, Singer recognizes the power of photography to galvanize people, so she and others are now documenting many sites and writing blog posts about them.”


On CBS Online: New York’s Photoville


And, a mention in HyperAllergic’s article “It’s Hard not to like New York’s Harborside Photo Festival”

Gowanus Walking Tour

September 17, 2015

Take a walking tour of the Gowanus Canal with the Gowanus Canal Conservancy.


Friday, September 18 from 10:00 – 11:30am at Union Street Bridge (Union Street between Bond and Nevins Streets, Brooklyn 11215)


This tour will give an overview of the history of the canal, its ecosystem and the Superfund cleanup process. Participants will visit historical sites, see Conservancy design-build projects and learn about the environmental challenges the canal faces.


Signup for the tour in the Toxic Sites tent or email GCC (education@gowanuscanalconservancy.org).


Bio: Christine Petro is the Education Director of the Gowanus Canal Conservancy. She piloted the organization’s first curriculum for middle school students to explore the Gowanus Canal through field studies and design-based solutions. Christine also manages the Urban Ecology Lecture Series and volunteer education initiatives, including a pilot for bioswale maintenance training.




gBP Today

September 13, 2015

The Greenpoint Bioremediation Project (gBP)

Sunday, September 13 from 4-6pm in the Toxic Sites tent at Photoville


Description of Demonstration: The Greenpoint Bioremediation Project (gBP) is an artist-led creative cleanup and community partnership to innovate bioremediation practices for residents in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The Greenpoint neighborhood along the Newtown Creek EPA Superfund site is one of the most polluted urban areas in the country. The gBP collaborating with the NYC Urban Soils Institute (USI) has been conducting research that uses mushrooms to clean toxins from the soil while investigating how to enhance beneficial microorganisms already living in the soil. Together USI and gBP has been working to make visible the bacteria, minerals, and contaminants beneath our feet to discover the virtues and vices of the urban soils that support our environment. gBP members will demonstrate their work in the Toxic Sites tent.


Bios: Tatiana Morin is the Director of the NYC Urban Soils Institute to advance the scientific understanding and promote the sustainable use of urban soils through education, conservation, and research for diverse audiences. Tatiana is a geologist specializing in hydrogeology. Her research is focused on pollutant load reduction through filtration capacities of the NYC stormwater-capture Greenstreets initiative.


Jan Mun is the co-founder of The Greenpoint Bioremediation Project (gBP) and a media artist who creates social sculptures. She uses a combination of artistic and scientific processes that manifest in the form of social practice, interactive installations, and bio-art.  Jan is an amateur mycologist, microbiologist, and beekeeper working in collaboration with communities to innovate ways to communicate with each other and the larger public.


Panel Today

September 12, 2015

Brooke speaks on the panel “Affecting Policy and Change through Photography” today at Photoville 4pm.

Dr. Sarah Durand Today

September 12, 2015

Demonstration Today in the Toxic Sites tent at Photoville​ with Dr. Sarah Durand, Biologist

Saturday, September 12 from 2-4pm


Cordgrass of the tidal salt marsh once stretched for thousands of acres across Brooklyn and Queens, a wetland that was fed by both saltwater tides and the freshwater tributaries of Newtown Creek, a Superfund site since 2010. Between the grass stems were ribbed mussels at a density of several thousand per square meter. If we could bring back to the shores of Newtown Creek and the greater New York estuary the cordgrass and the ribbed mussels, two key species of a now vanished ecosystem, then our water would be cleaner, biodiversity would increase and a recovered natural beauty would do much for the human spirit. Dr. Durand and her students will demonstrate the bioremediation techniques at the center of their research with species examples for people to see and touch.


Bio: Dr. Durand is Associate Professor of Biology at City University, LaGauradia Community College where she initiated the establishment of the Environmental Science program. She has moved from an undergraduate major in marine biology to studying shore bird behavior to studying and publishing work on birdbrain neural connections that support vocal communication and then back to marine fieldwork. Over the last six years, Dr. Durand and her students have been working along Newtown Creek towards restoration of intertidal communities and service learning, an effort funded by two New York State Environmental Fund awards via the New York State Attorney General’s Office and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.


Today there are clear skies overhead and Photoville is on! While the sun is out, come on down and join us in our tent (smack in the center of things). If you are not in NYC or can’t make it, below are some suggestions for how to experience Toxic Sites online. [Tomorrow looks like more thunderstorms — so check here or the Photoville site for updates about possible closures.]