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:||424 Leonard Street|
|Fact Sheet:||Brooklyn Native Wildlife Restoration Project PDF|
|Project Status:||Completed (December 2015)|
In 2014, John Ericsson M.S. 126 received a $24,998 GCEF grant (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 were to include: 1) helping to lower urban air temperatures, improving storm water filtering, providing a research venue for students; and 2) offering a location to engage 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 to be included in 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, 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, learned about plants and their care, with a focal point being the ongoing maturation of the garden. The “Green Team” of the GCEF-funded Greenpoint Eco-Schools project is maintaining the garden with the supervision of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) school staff.
NOTE: In 2015, PCBs were found in the soils surrounding the school, including the wildlife garden. To keep students and staff safe, all of the contaminated soil and existing plants were removed and replaced with clean soil during the summer of 2016. The garden was re-planted in July 2017.
Since the fall of 2017, the GCEF funded Eco-Schools project has been working with the school and families to renovate the back garden space (near Manhattan Ave) into an outdoor classroom, and will be recruiting students and families to form a garden committee and working with teachers to find opportunities for using the plants and outdoor areas for lessons. The goal is for the garden committee and student volunteers to continue maintaining the gardens.
- 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