Diverse signs of life in our back yard is a good thing. It is good for us, our city, society, and planet.  After all life is interconnected and interdependent in complex ways.  It is fair to say the more we know about the health of plant and animal life around us including our life and our impacts, the better off we are.  The 100-year old urban planners principle ‘act local-think global’ sums this model up nicely.  It is also fair to say that the lack of urgency and broader social organizing around this old principle, has led us to where we are today, with increasing warnings from the science community of species decline and growing impacts of climate change.   
Building on the walking tours of the Four Coves Biodiversity Project, Life Signs is an awareness campaign designed to engage community members with stewardship efforts in northern Manhattan.  
Life Signs is a collaborative effort, inspired by the ideas and hard work of Friends of Inwood Hill Park, New York Restoration Project, Manhattan Wetlands and Wildlife Association, Friends of Sherman Creek, and Riverkeeper.  Life Signs received support from the New York - New Jersey Harbor & Estuary Program and the Hudson River Foundation, Citizens Committee for New York City, and the Partnerships for Parks Inwood Parks Grant, made possible by Columbia University.  Special thanks to Guy Meyer for the project name. 

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iNaturalist App
The iNaturalist App helps us identify the plants and animals around us and connect with a community of over 750,000 scientists and naturalists who can help us understand more about nature. iNaturalist provides a place to record and organize nature findings, meet other nature enthusiasts, and learn about the natural world. Conservancy North encourages nature walk participants to download the iNaturalist app and contribute to the study of biodiversity in Inwood Hill Park and other blue-green areas of northern Manhattan.
Waterfront Community Stewardship Areas
Despite the efforts of various well-intentioned public agencies and private organizations, New York City’s 520 miles of waterfront are a largely untapped resource for both the city and its communities. This may seem counterintuitive, given the amount of investment we have seen into waterfront revitalization in the last 20 years. But in a city surrounded by water, why do we need to leave town to enjoy a living waterfront? Where is the flourishing neighborhood waterfront culture?
Policy Recommendation
North Cove, Home of the Birdman
Founder of Manhattan Wetlands and Wildlife and NYS-licensed animal rehabilitator James Cataldi, the ‘Birdman of Inwood’, worked singlehandedly to clean North Cove for years before community members and church, school, and green groups joined him in his efforts.
Four Coves Biodiversity Project
Conservancy North hosts periodic nature walks in Northern Manhattan as part of the The Four Coves Biodiversity Project (FCBP). This multi­-year community science effort strives to identify, catalogue, and monitor the diverse animal and plant species found in the Muscota Marsh, Inwood Hill Cove, North Cove, and Sherman Creek areas. The project values urban green spaces as both places of recreation for humans and vital refuges for a diverse range of plant and animal species. 
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Council Rock, Inwood Hill Park
The spirit of the Algonquin Landkeepers is still strong on Manhattan Island; we can find inspiration in them as to how to make positive environmental changes and get ourselves off the dead-end road we’re speeding down and onto the Red Road again, which, as the Hopi say, leads to a world where children will be safe to grow up. Due to the COVID virus we have to reschedule the walk for later this year. Please say tuned.
Inwood Hill in the Winter
The woods are frozen, snow turned to ice covering the forest floor. It is dusk. I am moving – tentatively – first one step, and then another, under the Clove’s forest canopy. This unique and important island of trees is a secret habitat defined by a clove-shaped ridge line that protects it from the city that surrounds it. Suddenly, I crash through the crust with a thud. The sound echoes off the stones and trees.
Photo: Cristóbal Vivar
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