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PS 126/Jacob Riis/Manhattan Academy of Technology
A PreK-8 Title One School, located in the Alfred E Smith Public Houses in the Two Bridges area of Chinatown, New York City, has particpated in many environmental projects reports Barbara Caporale, 1st Vice President - Parent’s Association.
From PreK classes to the Principal, the environmental consciousness our school has exploded during our Green Week. Our 3 years of construction scaffold just came down. The student appreciations of their connection to the environment, and their impacts upon it, have been put into action during National Gardening Month and National Green Week.
We began by planting blooming tulips in the courtyard and front of the school, to brighten up our week.
Our PreK classes had studied ladybugs, and planted amaryllis. They made the connection with the fact that they themselves grow, as do plants. They decorated our main floor with their oral reports and artwork from their study. They displayed 3-D tissue paper flowers and birds. Our Lower School art teacher engaged the 5th grade students in creating close-up watercolors of flowers. These were matted and displayed for Green Week, decorating our main stairwell.
Three 3rd Grade students painted a large cloth earth mural, children recycled in the lunchroom, and students from all grades made ‘green pledges’ about what they can do to lessen their environmental footprint, and posted them on our walls.
The Technology teacher Ms Hau-yu Chu, engaged student building small wind turbines and measuring voltage.
Our 7th grade science teacher Matthew Carpenter’s classes had planted seeds in the south facing science classroom. For the 10,000 gardens challenge, the school began our new Dragon Garden (our school’s mascot is the dragon). On Saturday, four 12x2 planter boxes were built by the teacher, Wednesday, the ground base soil in the boxes was tilled by middle school student volunteers. Long-term construction, and environmental fall out from the fires at the World Trade Center had made the soil quality poor, so our science teacher purchased soil. On Earth Day, plants from our indoor jungle began to go into the ground.
On Monday, backpack mail advertised our Parents Association’s Flower Power fundraising drive, (which ended on Friday). The parents formed a courtyard committee to beautify the inside of the school, as well as lift the spirits of all. Some plants and flowers we purchased sent to the school.
Joining with the principal, Kerry Decker, the parents have also just formed Green Roof Committee.
Our middle school after school program, It’s Your River, sponsored by the Immigrant Social Services, partnered with the Lower East Side Ecology Center, and had students testing the East River water quality, and exploring the marine life in our urban river by fishing and looking in traps, and noted and released their finds.
Our school is committed to continue to build upon our student’s connectivity to the earth. We hope to make more raised beds, create art planter boxes for our courtyard together, take field trips to abortoriums, botanical or community gardens, and to make a greenhouse and maybe even our green roof, a reality.