Meet Rusty, our newest Zero Waste advocate! Join him on a journey to discover where all of our stuff comes from and where it all goes after we throw it awa


     Rusty's Journey to Away (1-2nd grade)

     Rusty's Field Trip to Dead Horse Bay (3-5th grade)

     Rusty's Plate Waste Audit (2-4th grade)

Click the sections below for more Rusty lessons and Activities.



Targeting the 3rd grade, this standards-aligned lesson follows Rusty as he explores different regions, biomes, ecosystems, landmarks, and countries around the world. During the lesson, Rusty and students encounter, learn about, and work together toward solving waste-related environmental issues.

Watch the short introductory video and then use the provided lesson plan and worksheets.


          Rusty Lesson Plastics & The Ocean

          Read-Aloud Letter from Rusty

          Rusty Postcard

          Slideshow Rustygram (PPT), (PDF)

          Station Guide

          Group Handout Fish Friend Fish Foe



Join Rusty as he explores various locations, neighborhoods, and landmarks in and around New York City. Rusty and students learn about New York City’s rich history, its connections to waste and environmentalism, as well as current issues and contemporary solutions.

Rusty Field Trip from GrowNYC's Recycling Champions on Vimeo.


Choose Your Field Trip:

Rusty goes to Inwood Hill Park

          Rusty Lesson Inwood Hill Park

          Slideshow Inwood Hill Park (PPT, PDF)

          Venn Diagram Worksheet

          NYC Then & Now Worksheet

          Archeology Worksheet



Rusty goes to Dead Horse Bay




Rusty becomes the official of a “race to decomposition” between two pieces of food. One goes to the trash bin and the other to the organics bin as students follow these foods along their divergent and microscopic paths. In the end, students learn how this understanding can guide their everyday decisions about what to do with food waste.



          Rusty Lesson Race to Away

          Activity Rusty Madlib Fun

          Worksheet Rusty's Rot Race




Every day, GrowNYC employees see first-hand the impact they have on the environment and the lives of New Yorkers in all five boroughs. Join our team! 

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  • Zero Waste

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  • Green Space

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