About the Website Author,
Betsy McCully
Thank you for visiting my website. As an environmental educator and writer, I am motivated by my desire to provide a deep historical perspective on how a place has evolved and how humans have altered the region. I believe that knowledge of the ancient history of a place, of the powerful natural processes that have shaped and continue to shape the region, helps us to appreciate the magnitude of human-induced changes.

Some of these changes are irrevocable -- we cannot bring back to life a species we have driven to extinction; we cannot re-create an ecosystem that has been thousands or millions of years in the making. But we can restore at least remnants of old habitats, and preserve what's left.

I am a contradiction, I suppose. I love New York City, which has been my home since 1984, and I love nature. I believe green cities, that is environmentally sustainable cities, are possible. Density is more sustainable than sprawl as long as we do not over-run the carrying capacity of the land. I believe in a bio-regional model that places human communities within the larger biological community: we share our space with other living beings. As human beings, we have the consciousness to choose a sustainable lifestyle, and to design cities with the smallest possible ecological footprint. As urban dwellers, we need nature as much as we need food and water and air to breathe -- and as you see, these necessities of life are dependent on healthy eco-systems.

My book, City at the Water’s Edge: A Natural History of New York (Rivergate/Rutgers, 2007), grew out of twenty years researching its natural history.

I have a Ph.D. in American Literature from George Washington University (1989). I recently retired from Kingsborough College of the City University of New York, where I was a professor of English for 17 years. It was at Kingsborough that I co-founded the award-winning Eco-Festival and Environmental Symposium. My retirement ends a thirty-plus-year career in teaching and academic service.

It is my hope that these pages will not only inform you about New York's rich natural history but will also inspire you to explore the city's diverse natural environs. In addition to the information I give, I have provided a number of links on each page to enable you to explore further. I have also provided reading lists for those of you who would love to read more. For the scholars among you, I have provided the sources I have used. I have made every effort to give credit where credit is due. I have also made every attempt to be accurate. If you perceive errors, kindly email me; be sure to identify yourself.

Contact betsymccully@yahoo.com
Page last updated 2015
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