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Annual Report 2013 | Environmental Education


Habitat Restoration and Water Health

Digging and getting outdoors is far and away our students favorite activity – that it inculcates classroom lessons is great, that the connection to the earth stays with them always- even better. Mulching and caring for existing trees completes our study of watersheds and water health, and directly connects to the NYS Regents Earth Science Syllabus, by stressing water retention, soil permeability and management of storm water runoff. With all the trees planted citywide under the “Million Trees” initiative, it is imperative that these younger trees be properly cared for. 950 students participated in a water quality program, creating and modeling watershed displays to peers and parents, educating them about watershed preservation. In total, they planted 1,615 herbaceous plants, bulbs and trees in two NYC parks, in several neighborhoods, and on five school campuses. They also removed invasive plants from 5,600 square feet of shoreline in Inwood Hill Park and along the Bronx River.

“I feel this program has changed the way we see our environment. It made us realize that we can make a change for our neighborhood.” – DeWitt Clinton student

Solar Energy and Green Design

solor energy

Our energy programs are a great way to get outside, put students in the role of teachers and help New Yorkers learn about energy choices available to them.  Several hundred families have participated in energy workshops at the Get Green festival in the South Bronx, GrowNYC’s New Green City event at Union Square Greenmarket, our own Con E

At PS 59 in the South Bronx, fifth graders built solar ovens alongside second graders. Such was the success, several were planning to cook more food at home in their ovens.dison sponsored Energy Fair and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation’s Adventures NYC in Central Park.

At James Madison High School in Brooklyn, teens studied green/environmentally benign water, energy, transportation, food, solid waste and other systems and then built models of green design streetscapes,residential and commercial buildings and college campuses. Imagining a city where low environmental impact / closed loop systems are a part of daily lives never fails to galvanize students and always fills us with hope for the future.

 Greening Western Queens 

Greening western queensIn an area with scant greenery, Western Queens has become a GrowNYC focus.  In just this past year our youth have mulched 318 trees and planted nearly 1,100 herbaceous plants in tree pits and on school campuses in Western Queens, which helps to better manage storm water runoff and improve the health of local street trees. Aviation H.S. held a school wide assembly highlighting students’ habitat restoration work, including an original video of the work done by all students involved. The school was so happy with the results of this project that they are partnering with another nonprofit to build a bioswale garden on their school block.

EE Participating schools: Aviation HS (Queens), Young Women’s Leadership School of Astoria (Queens), IS 230 (Queens), PS 122 (Queens), William Cullen Bryant High School (Queens), DeWitt Clinton High School (Bronx), CS 211 (Bronx), Manhattan Comprehensive Day and Night HS (Manhattan), Edward R. Murrow High School (Brooklyn), James Madison High School (Brooklyn).

The Long-Term Effectlong- term effects

For almost four decades, GrowNYC’s Environmental Education (EE) Program has played a tremendously impactful role in the revitalization of the parks and communities of NYC. For example, in Inwood Hill Park alone, over the past several years, students have removed invasive plants from 21,500 square feet of land and planted 4,500 trees and 2,200 ground cover plants along the Hudson River. As they improve the physical environment, they’re improving themselves: learning the value of hard work, the importance of stewardship and the qualities of good leaders. Our students’ efforts are creating a landscape better suited to preserve habitats, prevent erosion, and maintain water quality. By getting outside and connecting to the urban habitat, they are creating a rich interior life and hope for themselves and a foundation for a healthier ecosystem.