Brooklyn Native Wildlife Restoration Project at John Ericsson M.S. 126
|Project Lead:||Center for Educational Innovation – Public Education Association and John Ericsson M.S. 126|
|Project Location:||John Ericsson M.S. 126: 424 Leonard Street|
|Project Completed:||December 2015|
In 2014, through a competitive process, John Ericsson M.S. 126 received $24,998 in funding from GCEF (and provided $25,000 in matching funds) to create a native plant garden for use as a wildlife demonstration site at the school. The benefits of this GCEF-funded project included helping to lower urban air temperatures, improving storm water filtering, providing a research venue for students and engaging students and their families in community greening activities.
The Center for Educational Innovation – Public Education, a project partner and its fiscal sponsor, led the effort to select native plants for the garden, tested the soil to check for lead content, prepared garden soil for planting, and recruited students and families to participate. Approximately 100 students and 20 adult volunteers were involved in creating the garden, and planting 80 trees and shrubs, and more than 2000 native plants and flowers. A garden shed, which gives students and staff easy access to gardening equipment and supplies to maintain the garden, has also been installed. The John Ericsson M.S. 126 Native Plant Garden was unveiled at an event held in June 2015. In the fall of 2015, students from 6th, 7th and 8th grade science classes (a total of 390 students), aided by a curriculum from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, used the new garden to learn about plants and their care, with a focal point on the garden’s ongoing maturation.
In 2015, PCB’s were found in the soils surrounding the school, including in those of the garden. As a result, in the summer of 2016, all of the contaminated soil and existing plants were removed and replaced with clean soil. The garden was re-planted in July 2017.
In the fall of 2017, the GCEF funded Eco-Schools project began working with the school and families to renovate the back space of the garden near Manhattan Avenue into an outdoor classroom. Students and families were recruited to form a garden committee, and work with teachers to find opportunities for using the plants and outdoor areas for lessons. The garden committee and student volunteers continue to maintain this garden.
- Created a native plant garden and wildlife demonstration site at John Ericsson M.S. 126 through the planting of 80 trees and shrubs and more than 2000 native plants and flowers
- Involved 100 students and 20 adults in the preparation and planting of the garden
- Used the garden to educate 390 students from 6th, 7th and 8th grade science classes about plants and their care