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Review for Children's Environmental Literacy Foundation, Valhalla, NY, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

The Children's Environmental Literacy Foundation (CELF) has been, and still is, an oasis in the environmental and nutritional desert of East Harlem. CELF encouraged the sustainability efforts in our former school, that was eventually closed, during its most challenging years, with a positivity, and can-do/hands-on attitude and follow through, that was authentic, contagious, and inspiring. They provided Professional Development (PD), expertise, and support for our sustainability team school during the years I spent fundraising for the Vito Marcantonio Community Peace Garden and throughout the time we spent securing and nourishing 15 trees we received from the Million TreesNYC program. And they have backed every effort to 'green' our school environs and asphalt yard. I met my most progressive and thoughtful colleagues while attending their workshops. The deep-hearted intelligence and generosity of its staff members, the thoroughness of its curriculum and PD workshops, and the flexibility of its programming to custom fit the unpredictable and sometimes chaotic school setting, exemplifies what it means to be sustainable. They enter the fray and get their hands dirty–they literally helped us build our outdoor raised beds and shovel the mountain of soil we received from the New York City Parks Department. For the last two years, the Citizen Science project that CELF introduced to our middle school students has awakened their interest and curiosity about air pollution in their neighborhoods and how it contributes to wide spread asthma. Their emerging environmental literacy empowers them and raises the likelihood that they will make a difference in their communities and their lives. Central Park East 2's principal, Naomi Smith, who leads the school community for the second year in a new building, has recently welcomed a re-energized partnership with CELF. Their mutual passion and commitment to sustainability is a propitious sign for the new year.

Role:  Professional with expertise in this field