Tatiana Morin, USI Director/Laboratory Manager.
Being a co-founder and subsequently named Director of the NYC Urban Soils Institute is a natural progression to Tatiana Morin’s work. With beginnings in Geology, she moved to hydrogeology and eventually found herself working on Green Streets, a research project where she handled water and soil research in stormwater capture systems. She was a member of the steering committee for SWIM NYC (Stormwater Infrastructure Matters) and served as a Stormwater Technician for NYC Soil and Water Conservation District for eight years. Currently she is working on her Masters in Environmental Science while overseeing daily operations for the NYC Urban Soils Institute.
Zhongqi (Joshua) Cheng, Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Earth and Env. Sciences, Brooklyn College of The City University of New York.
Dr. Cheng is also a faculty for the Earth and Environmental Sciences PhD Program and Macaulay Honors College at The City University of New York and an adjunct faculty at Pratt Institute. Dr Cheng has a background in environmental and analytical geochemistry, with specific training and expertise in contaminants such as lead and arsenic. His research currently focus on two main topics: urban soil contamination and green infrastructure. Dr. Cheng received grants from USDA, NSF, EPA, NIEHS, NYC DEP for various research projects, and has been working with NYC Mayor’s Office of Environmental Remediation, NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, New York City Housing Authority, Green Thumb on soil-related projects. Dr. Cheng has authored and co-authored nearly 40 peer reviewed articles, many of interdisciplinary by nature. In 2009 Dr. Cheng initiated a garden soil screening program and since then developed the only nonprofit soil testing lab that are currently providing affordable soil screening services to gardeners in New York City and beyond. The Soil Lab has since built a database of heavy metal levels for over 3,000 urban soil samples from community and home gardens, parks, restoration areas, and tree pits, as well as a unique soil sample repository. The lab has also built strong connections with gardener associations, individual gardeners and agencies and helped address numerous questions in our capacity. Dr. Cheng has volunteered dozens of workshops and lectures for various organizations in the City, and hosted many visits from school children and youth groups. As the director for the Environmental Sciences Analytical Center at Brooklyn College, Dr. Cheng oversees a suite of advanced instruments for environmental research and about two dozen faculty and graduate student researchers. Dr. Cheng serves as a member on the Advisory Board for Cornell University’s Healthy Soils Healthy Communities Project, and as technical advisors for Earth Matter, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Gowanus Conservancy and several other community groups. Dr. Cheng is an associate editor for the Journal of Environmental Quality.
Shino Tanikawa, Executive Director, NYC Soil & Water Conservation District
Shino Tanikawa is District Manager with the New York City Soil and Water Conservation District. She has worked for the district for over 15 years, developing and implementing programs in stewardship, environmental education, stormwater management and urban soil survey. She has a Master of Science degree in Marine Environmental Sciences from the Marine Sciences Research Center at Stony Brook University. Shino is a founding member of the Bronx River Alliance, an organization dedicated to revitalizing the Bronx River as a resource for the communities along the river; past President of the Metro Forest Council, a regional organization dedicated to preserving urban forests; a board member of the Lower Hudson Long Island Resource Conservation & Development Council, a not-for-profit with the mission to facilitate economic growth that is environmentally sound. She is also a member of the Steering Committees of the Lower Hudson Coalition of Conservation Districts as well as the Stormwater Infrastructure Matters Coalition. She serves as the alternate to the NY Co-Chair of the Citizens Advisory Committee of the NY/NJ Harbor & Estuary Program.
Shino is an environmental educator and volunteers in public schools in New York City. She takes students of all ages to Jamaica Bay for seining, the Hudson River for water testing, and Frost Valley in the Catskills for watershed education.
Richard K Shaw, NJ State Soil Scientist, Natural Resources Conservation Service
Richard K Shaw serves as State Soil Scientist for the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service in New Jersey. His responsibilities include providing technical soils assistance to internal (NRCS) and external customers in New Jersey and New York City, serving as liaison to National Cooperative Soil Survey partners, and overseeing the management and distribution of local soils information. Dr. Shaw began his career in soil science as a laboratory technician, in the Department of Soils and Crops, Rutgers University, in 1979, providing technical support for soils related research. He joined the USDA-NRCS as Project Leader in 1996, serving six years in Northern New Jersey, followed by ten years in New York City. His soil survey experience has included Sussex and Essex Counties in New Jersey, and the five boroughs of New York City.
Shaw received a B.S. in Natural Resource Management from the University of Maine and the M.S. & Ph.D. degrees from the Department of Soils and Crops, Rutgers University.
Paul Mankiewicz, Director, the Gaia Institute
Paul received his Ph.D. from the City University of New York/New York Botanical Garden Joint Program in Plant Sciences. He holds patents on a modular, in-vessel composting system, on ultra-lightweight green roof plant growth media, and for a biogeochemical reactor to breakdown dioxins and PCBs. Past president of the Torrey Botanical Society, chair of the NYC Soil & Water Conservation District, and former chair of the Bronx Solid Waste Advisory Board. He has designed and built natural landscapes to remove and sequester metals, hydrocarbons and excess nutrients from runoff and wastewater, capture carbon, and lower air conditioning and heating costs. Beginning in 2002, Dr. Mankiewicz began design work on the first community garden constructed for lead mitigation and stormwater capture at El Jardin del Paraiso on E 4th St. on the Lower East Side. Beginning in 2004, the first green roofs in the Bronx were installed at St. Simon Stock Convent and grammar school followed by the first industrial-scale stormwater treatment meadow and green wall at Sims Recycling- a zero discharge ecologically based storm water capture system on the six acre truck-to-barge material handling facility on the Bronx River. In 2009, the Gaia Institute designed and installed the first process water/greywater treatment green roof on the Linda Tool Corporation in Red Hook, Brooklyn, and in 2010 put in the first ten of the Mayor’s PlaNYC 2030 enhanced tree pits for street-side stormwater capture. This past year, the first green roof over blue roof was put in place on the 22,000 sq.ft. Falk Recreation Facility at Einstein Medical College in the Bronx to be irrigated with repurposed backwash water from the swimming pool filter.