NY SUN WORKS is crucial because it is helping students to develop 21st century skills that will lead them to find viable solutions to issues of sustainability. As principal of The Manhattan School for Children , I have seen how our whole community has been excited and inspired by the Greenhouse, and how quickly the themes of sustainability science have become part of our schools core. I'm proud of all the progress our students have made so far and I am excited to see where The Greenhouse Project will take them in the future.
As the founder of Cape Eleuthera Island Schoo, www.islandschool.org, my life work has centered on how to model sustainable living out on the periphery. I am proud to be associated with NY Sun Works and our focus on how to live well in an urban environment and inspire people of all ages to believe that we can shift towards a more sustainable future.
I audited a 12-week class at NYSW's hydroponic greenhouse in the Manhattan School for Children (MSC). The course, entitled "Waste, Water, Energy," was a sustainability PD course for K-12 teachers taught by MSC's science teacher and NYSW educator Shakira Castronovo. Shakira is a great teacher who is herself completely devoted to sustainable living and environmental education, and has a clear command of the subjects she teaches. She is also the person who maintains the hydroponic greenhouse, so part of the class involved her teaching us about the elements of hydroponic greenhouse maintenance including measuring Ph, nitrates and ammonia levels in the water. This was very interesting. She introduced the three topics of the course - Waste, Water, Energy - to participants in a very natural way through PowerPoints, discussions, and hands-on activities that included making your own vertical gardening kit and your own vermi-composting bin. Some of the classes included visitors from organizations like NYC H2O, Solar1, Food Fight, and MSC's own Sustainability Coordinator Jen Prescott who spoke about the topics being addressed in the class. They each brought interesting elements to our discussions. The course also required teachers to complete projects and design curriculum prototypes that they could bring back to their classrooms. There was also a fair amount of peer review and feedback given on these projects. It was fascinating to see the evolution of the teachers in the class over the 12 weeks. I would say that a majority, if not all, came away with a clearer understanding about the many aspects of sustainability education, the need to educate students about the issues that will impact their future, and the ways in which it can be done. I wish all teachers could take this kind of training.
New York Sun Works (NYSW) is a gem in New York City! The Computer School partnered with NYSW and created hydroponic science lab known as The CS HydroFarm Project. Thank you NYSW! Your organization is invaluable to schools in NYC. I hope more schools connect with NYSW so more kids can learn more about sustainability. When a child learns to how food is grown from seed to harvest, it changes their world.
NYSW could be an answer to the Next Generation Science Standards. Engaging students in scientific practices such as asking questions, developing and using models, planning and carrying out investigations, analyzing and interpreting data, using mathematics and computational thinking, constructing explanations, designing solutions, generating and justifying evidence-based arguments and evaluating and communicating data.
Preparing students with 21st century skills in a full-scale greenhouse lab has been very exciting. Students are engaged, learning about hydroponic gardening chemistry to ensure plants grow. This year the HydroFarm is growing lettuce, tomatoes, sugar snap peas, pattypan squash, cucumbers and a variety of herbs like basil, thyme, lemon balm and mint. Our young farmers are also giving guided tours to other students. They explain how the hydroponic systems work to all visitors.
Great work NYSW! See some of the work we have been able to do at the CS HydroFarm due to NYSW
NYSW brings me a new window to learn about sustainable knowledge, especially the hydroponic farming . when I walked into the greenhouse lab at first time, I was impressive by the facilities, the teachers's professional teaching and the children, they touch, feel, record and learn. Even for me, the graduate student, I can't clearly explain the greenhouse basic working principle but thanks to NYSW, it provide a platform to educate children by using the hands-on ways. Although I worked as volunteer over last two months to assist NYSW manage social media platform and develop media plan, it's absolutely a amazing experience to engage with all of them.
I spent a brilliant month working with NY Sunworks in their greenhouses over the summer. Work was fun and varied, and we were given a good amount of responsibility as well as a good grounding in understanding hydroponics. I think it's a fantastic charity with a clear and positive objective to get more children interested in and knowledgeable about sustainability and the world around them, particularly in areas where they might not normally have access to this. I would highly recommend a month spent volunteering with them!