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Riverside Park: Celebrate Garden for Wildlife Month by Planting a Free Tree and/or Seeds!

Earlier this month, Black Rock Riverside Alliance (BRRAlliance) celebrated a major victory for wildlife in Buffalo. Incredibly, the city itself has been officially designated as a National Wildlife Federation Community Wildlife Habitat (NWFCWH). The designation means that Buffalo is the 16th largest NWFCWH in the country. The accomplishment was originally predicted to take 3 years to complete, but thanks to the fortitude of the BRRAlliance the project wrapped up in 18 months, making it the largest NWFCWH in NY State.

BRRAlliance Project Manager Anne McCooey credited the cooperative nature of Buffalo in undertaking the accomplishment, citing the City of Buffalo (Andy Rabb, Deputy Commissioner for Parks and Recreation) and its help certifying 36 parks as wildlife habitats. A number of garden organizations also participated, as did numerous citizens – altogether, there are 229 certified individual properties (and counting). Grassroots Gardens also enabled 8 schools and community gardens to be certified. That means that there are more birdbaths, native plants, pollinators, rain gardens, rain barrels, and all sorts of other ‘nature friendly’ amenities scattered throughout the city, all of which contribute to an expansive – and ecologically imperative – Habitat Project.

Now that the city has been successfully certified, the broader goal is to certify all of Erie County. That means that more nature lovers throughout the region are being encouraged to get onboard with the project, to have their yards certified.

As complement to our Erie County Community Wildlife Habitat certification project we are doing a native seed and tree seedling give-away on Saturday at Riverside Park,” said McCooey.

The seed and tree giveaway is the perfect way to connect with the community, to inform them about the project, while fortifying gardeners with free seed and tree seedlings. The end result will be more people beautifying their yards, while creating natural habitats for insects, birds, and other critters.

In order to run the giveaway during national Garden for Wildlife Month, the BRRAlliance partnered with the National Wildlife Federation Trees for Life program, the Niagara River Greenway and the Paul & Helen Ellis Charitable Trust. Giveaways on Saturday, May 15 (10a-12n) at Riverside Park will include 200 native tree seedlings and flower seeds from the 1000 Sunflower Project and the Ellis Seed Bank Project.

  • This is a drive up Covid safe event where seeds and trees will be available on a first come, first serve basis
  • Limit of one tree seedling per car and a maximum of three seed packets per vehicle
  • Cars are asked to enter Riverside Park on Tonawanda Street and exit onto Niagara Street to keep traffic flowing and minimize congestion.  
  • Each car will have their choice of either a Ninebark or Silky Dogwood tree seedling
  • Seeds varieties include: Purple Coneflower, Gloriosa Daisy (Black-eyed Susan), Zinnia, or Sunflower varieties of Juniors (perfect for pots), Gold Rush (tall, orange and branching), Feed the Birds & Bees (tall with lots of large seeds and pollen) American Giant or Kong (extra, extra tall). 
  • Planting instructions will be provided and will also be available on the BRRAlliance website at
Photo courtesy BRRAlliance

For more information on how you can be part of this grassroots movement to provide food, water, shelter and use sustainable practices to help wildlife to live and thrive in your yard or community, please visit for more details.  It is quick and easy and important as we work hard to improve the eco-systems in Western New York.

If you are interested in certifying your private garden or know of a park or school that would be interested, please have a look at the National Wildlife Federation Habitat Checklist here and feel free to contact


Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

Contact Newell Nussbaumer |

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