November 2, 2017
by Megan Nordgrén
Photo by Ari Burling, courtesy of NY Sun Works
While the federal government currently eschews all mention of climate change, more and more New York City schools are embracing sustainability education. One such opportunity for a solid STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program is turning students into urban farmers, as they learn the mandated science standards.
The Greenhouse Project
is the brainchild of New York Sun Works
, a small non-profit that builds innovative hydroponics laboratories or state-of-the-art greenhouses in schools. Students learn about sustainable urban farming through project-based learning that emphasizes climate change education. This hands-on approach extends knowledge by connecting concepts such as water resource management, efficient land use, climate change, conservation, contamination, pollution, waste management, and sustainable development.
NY Sun Works’ inaugural project was The Science Barge, a sustainable urban farm prototype and education center on the Hudson River. It was the only fully functioning demonstration of renewable energy supporting sustainable food production in New York City. A second project, the Sun Works Center (PS333), was completed in 2010. It provides K-8th grade students with hands-on exposure to food production paired with rigorous science education. As the first year-round rooftop farm to exist at any New York public school, the Sun Works Center is considered an educational and environmental landmark by the NYC Department of Education and School Construction Authority.
September 2, 2016
by Megan Nordgrén
As New York City’s public school students get back to the classroom on Sept. 8, students in 100 of these schools will see some changes to how they dispose of their waste. Included in a pilot program, these newly-designated Zero Waste Schools are being set up as models for recycling and organics collection. The goal is to identify best practices for diverting waste from landfills so that the lessons learned can be brought to other schools throughout the city. Schools were selected in Brooklyn and Manhattan, based upon existing Department of Sanitation (DSNY) collection routes. These Zero Waste Schools are receiving new recycling bins and signage, but also outreach, education and technical support to increase the rates of recycling. The Program is one of eight Zero Waste Initiatives outlined in Mayor de Blasio’s April 2015 One New York: The Plan for a Strong and Just City.