Members Area

GCA Restoration Initiatives Provide Disaster Relief in NY and CA


March 29, 2023

The Little GCof Rye, Three Harbors GC, and the Santa Barbara GC awarded funds for clean-up efforts

In 2023, The Garden Club of America awarded three $10,000 grants to clubs that assisted in restoring areas affected by natural disasters. These included the Little Garden Club of Rye (Rye, NY), Three Harbors Garden Club (Huntington, NY) and the Santa Barbara Garden Club (Santa Barbara, CA). All three clubs proposed initiatives to restore areas devastated by severe weather including hurricanes, fires and severe rainstorms.

When Hurricane Ida landed in September of 2021, it brought high winds, heavy rainfall, and severe thunderstorms, prompting a State of Emergency for the NYC area. Nanderwhere Pond, a large vernal pond at the Rye Nature Center, was one area that was severely damaged. The Little Garden Club of Rye initiated a project to remove debris, clear the pathways around the pond, and restore the wetland buffer to this important educational tool for Rye Nature Center programs. This project also includes the repair and restoration of the Education Platform for studying the pond.

Caumsett Historic Park Preserve, a public garden and community park, was also ravaged by the hurricane. Over two hundred mature trees were lost to the storm—many were part of Frederick Law Olmsted and Marian Cruger Coffin’s original landscape designs for this “Gold Coast” estate. Three Harbors Garden Club plans to offer a “walk and talk” about the importance of trees and their place in the park on the statewide I Love My Park Day held the first Saturday in May. They will continue their collaboration to add more educational workshops as well as composting, native plant, and seed saving workshops at the Caumsett classrooms.

On the opposite coast, fierce winter rainstorms in 2023 wreaked havoc on land left barren from the 2018 Thomas Fire and subsequent mudslides in Santa Barbara. The Garden Club of Santa Barbara, working with local landscape architects and the Montecito Community Foundation will restore the Montecito Triangle—a planted area at the hub of community activity. The club plans to publish a native plant planting guide for building a resilient garden. They will also create a QR code to explain the history of the debris flow and how proper planting, cultivation, and clearing of vulnerable areas can mitigate future danger. This project is intended to honor the lives swept away by the fire and mudslides.

The GCA established the Restoration Initiative in 2017 in response to the urgent needs caused by weather related natural disasters such as catastrophic storms, hurricanes, floods, fires, and mudslides, to assist member clubs involved in public landscape restoration and conservation projects. Twenty-two grants, totaling $220,000 have been awarded to clubs in California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Louisiana, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and West Virginia.

Grants are awarded annually to approved applicants. Applications are due by  February 1 for events that happened within 24 months of the filing date.



See All News