SG up on Brooklyn Grange

We’re up and (almost) running on Brooklyn Grange

Last week Erik and myself were able to finish up the build for our monitoring station on Brooklyn Grange. After the success with Kickstarter we joined 3rd Ward- which is a multi-disciplinary workspace and education center. Where they offer classes and have a full Wood Shop, Metal Shop and Co- working Space.

Loading dock at 3rd ward

With the help of Ben and Chase, founders of grange we were able to get this behemoth up the last half flight of stairs and onto the roof.

Erik and myeslf- next to our monitoring spot at grange

The following day (as you can see in the pictures while it was warmer than most February’s that I can remember in NYC the weather was not on our side), we got back to work lining and planting the box.


We cut down the PVC pipe and glued the drain to the piping, then we took this and inserted it into a hole at the bottom of our box- this is where our runoff will leave the system through into a tipping bucket so we can measure it.

Then we lined the box with the exact materials on Grange’s farm- root barrier, an insulating layer, drainage mat and then filter fabric.

cutting down drainage mat

sizing up insulation layer


Once that was down it was time to shovel some of the rooflite growing medium into the box.

It was there we found our hidden winter bounty.

Carrots.Lots of them.


 We were joined by Seeing Green’s intern- Laura Barron.

Here is what Laura has to say about her rainy grey afteroon with us,

As a newcomer to the Seeing Green team, I was more than excited to jump right in to helping set up shop on the Brooklyn Grange rooftop in Queens. As a first semester Environmental Systems Management graduate student, I learned about Seeing Green through Tyler’s visit to my orientation. He mentioned he works with food systems and started describing his non-profits and I immediately knew it was something I wanted to be a part of. Growing up in Texas, sustainability and urban agriculture were largely deemed an elaborate conspiracy theory, so I have been so excited to be in New York City and be exposed to so many innovative sustainable opportunities. Even though it was raining and miserable outside, it was one of the coolest experiences seeing my new team members in action! As someone who has studied environmental studies from a social rather than scientific approach, I was nervous to be such a novice to storm

water management research. We jumped right in to setting up the storm water catchment device, digging a space for in on Brooklyn Grange’s roof and attempting to have caulking dry in 100% humidity. Although I did have to secretly Google “evapotraspiration” once to make sure I knew what it really meant, it was great to hear about the process, as well as being able to take part in constructing and seeing how the storm water catchment device itself was built. I’m looking so forward to learning more about Seeing Green’s process!”

Laura Barron our new intern and Erik

The next step is a grounding wire so our equipment can be recording safely, which we’re hoping to get done in the next week and get online ASAP. More updates to come.

Erik’s First Blog Post

Hey everyone,

Our website is up and running and we’re ready to start blogging.  It’s been awhile since we last wrote and many exciting things have been happening.  Since our kickstarter was such a big success, backed by an amazing 247 of you raising over $13,000, we’ve been hard at work making contacts, constructing and installing monitoring stations, and preparing for our next steps in the spring.

Here are some updates on what’s been happening:

Seeing Green at The NYC Parks Department 5 Boro Green Roof Experimental Station

Shortly after our kickstarter success we made a visit to NYC Parks Dept 5 Boro Green Roof Experimental Station (  Located on top of the NYC Park Departments Administrative Building on Randall’s Island the city has installed 25 different green roof systems covering over 29,000 square feet of the buildings roof.  With 25 different green roof systems on site the 5 boro experimental station most likely has the most different green roof systems side by side in on one roof in the world.  On our tour we were excited to see and learn about a monitoring system currently in place on the roof.  Their monitoring station provides data on local temperature, wind speed, relative humidity, and temperature comparisons between three different green roof systems and the untreated roof.  On top of these numbers the Parks department is able to gauge how well the roof as a whole is managing stormwater by recording the amount of runoff being collected in large containers on a lower roof.

Perhaps the most exciting discovery of our tour though was a rooftop garden setup consisting of 8 rows measuring 50’ long by 6’ wide at 7.5” of depth.  The roof garden consisted of a custom growth medium mix consisting of 1/3 perlite, 1/3 mineral soil, and 1/3 compost/manure.  Over the last two years tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, lettuce and other vegetables have been grown in these beds and donated to local food pantry on Randalls Island.  Seeing how the Parks Department was already very interested in comparing different green roof systems and measuring how well they were performing environmentally, a collaboration with Seeing Green made sense.  So after talking to parks about our research it was agreed that we would install one of our research stations and collect data concerning the evaporation rates relating to the rooftop garden plots at the 5 Boro Green Roof Experimental Station.  Construction/Installation has recently commenced and we should be off and running and collecting data within the month.

Seeing Green on its way to becoming a Non Profit

As of January 1st Seeing Green is now fiscally sponsored by The Open Space Institute ( a 501 (c)(3) or non-profit organization- meaning that we can apply for grants through their organization.  This is great news for us as this allows us to secure funding help through foundations, government organizations, and other sponsors in order to help us bankroll future research projects and get the final equipment we need to set up our initial sites.

Seeing Green on Brooklyn Grange

Next week we begin the installation!  All the equipment is in or on its way and we will begin construction of our demonstration box as soon as next Tuesday.  We are extremely thrilled to be working with Brooklyn Grange and are looking forward to an amazing year of data collection.  Expect a ton of pictures in the coming weeks and status updates as data rolls in.

Seeing Green and You

We would once again like to thank each and everyone that has believed in us through this entire process.  We wouldn’t be where we are now without all the love, advice, encouragement, and support you’ve all provided.  Cheers to you and look out for more updates in the future.

Erik (& Tyler)