Greenpoint Eco Schools: Creating a Legacy of Sustainability
|Project Lead:||National Wildlife Federation|
|2014 Project Partners:||NYC Community School District 14 including: P.S. 31 Samuel F. Dupont, P.S. 34 Oliver H. Perry, P.S. 110 The Monitor School, and John Ericsson M.S. 126; Community Education Council 14; the Greenpoint Gazette; NYC Division of School Facilities; NYC Department of Environmental Protection; NYC Department of Sanitation; NYC School Construction Authority; NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services; Change My World NOW; and Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation|
|2015 Project Partners:||P.S. 31 Samuel F. Dupont, P.S. 34 Oliver H. Perry, P.S. 110 The Monitor School, and John Ericsson M.S. 126; NYC Department of Education; and District 14 Superintendent of Schools|
|Project Location:||Primarily located at P.S. 31 Samuel F. Dupont, P.S. 34 Oliver H. Perry, P.S. 110 The Monitor School, and John Ericsson M.S. 126|
|2014 GCEF Grant:||$1,646,776|
|2014 Matching Contribution:||$10,732,324|
|2015 GCEF Grant:||$99,927|
|2015 Matching Contribution:||$0|
|2015 Budget Addition:||$212,043|
|2017 Budget Addition:||$728,289|
|Fact Sheet:||Greenpoint Eco Schools PDF|
In 2014, the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) received a GCEF grant of $1,646,776 (and provided $10,732,324 in matching funds) to implement an innovative environmental education program at 4 Greenpoint schools: P.S. 31 Samuel F. Dupont, P.S. 34 Oliver H. Perry, P.S. 110 The Monitor School, and John Ericsson M.S. 126. The program’s framework involves establishing full-time Greenpoint Eco-Schools Sustainability coaches at the 4 schools and the use of 10 sustainability modules (Energy, Consumption and Waste, School Grounds, Biodiversity, Water, Climate Change, Sustainable Food, Healthy Living, Transportation, and Healthy Schools) that use school buildings and grounds, and the Greenpoint community, as learning laboratories. Other project activities funded by the GCEF grant focus on enhancing communication between schools, parents, and the community, and expanding community-school partnerships. The project seeks not only to help create the next generation of community environmental stewards, but also to reduce both solid waste and water use at participating schools.
In 2015, NWF was awarded an additional $99,934 GCEF grant and, through a separate competitive process, an additional $212,043 in order to expand the Eco-Schools program at the 4 participating Greenpoint schools, establishing Green STEM Afterschool Clubs. Major activities of the new afterschool clubs funded by GCEF are:
- Delivering environment-based educational programming, with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) based learning and activities, staffed by full-time Greenpoint Eco-Schools Sustainability coaches
- Conducting in-class projects, providing guest presenters, and sponsoring special events to strengthen students’, teachers’, and the community’s understanding of Greenpoint’s history and environmental resources
- Focusing educational programming on water, waste, wildlife, and green STEM careers and robotics
- Offering numerous opportunities to students to apply their learning to improving the local environment in order to emphasize connections between schools and the Greenpoint community
In 2017, through a competitive process, NWF was awarded a second $728,289 addition to its budget in order to institutionalize environment-based educational practices and policies, firmly establish systems and protocols for reducing waste and toxins, save energy and water, use school wildlife gardens and local spaces as outdoor classrooms, and create tools, resources, and training modules. These activities will build the schools’ and community’s capacity to sustain program elements as NWF staff transition out of Greenpoint in July 2019. The additional funding will:
- Increase capacity and environmental leadership at schools by refining and supporting school-wide organizational structures, embedding environmental and sustainability concepts across the curriculum, and sharing best practices.
- Partner with Newtown Creek Alliance to develop educational and stewardship curriculum about Newtown Creek that will teach Greenpoint Eco-Schools students about Newtown Creek’s ecology, connect them to its history, and inspire them, and the larger community, to protect and improve it.
- Design a Greenpoint Toolkit detailing best practices which each Greenpoint school developed for biodiversity, energy and water conservation, source separation and waste reduction, improved air quality, wildlife gardening, learning outdoors with community partners, and creating lasting behavior change.
August 2015: The project convened 3 community focus forums, with a total of 50 attendees, to introduce the Greenpoint Eco-Schools projects to the school and local community, and to solicit input from community members to guide the implementation of the comprehensive environmental education program. The project has also led professional development sessions for all teaching staff at the 4 participating Greenpoint schools. A 3-day professional development institute was held for each school’s sustainability team, with content centering on Education for Sustainability and introducing participants to activities and lessons that explored the interconnectedness between the environment, economy, and society. The project hired 4 Sustainability Coaches, one for each school, who will work on curriculum development, sustainable consultation and education, and other elements of the project. Meetings with several city agency partners were held and planning undertaken for the September 2015 implementation of the Eco-Schools project in each of the 4 schools.
August 2016: During the 2015-2016 school year, NWF staff educated and worked with over 1800 students, 200 staff members, and hundreds of school families at the 4 participating Greenpoint Eco-Schools. NWF Sustainability Coaches developed, coordinated, or taught 186 environmentally or sustainability-themed lessons for Greenpoint Eco-Schools students; organized and led 22 assemblies, arranged for guest speakers to visit 16 classes, and planned and co-facilitated 27 field trips related to Eco-Schools programming.
During this same time period, NWF staff also organized, facilitated, or participated in 45 workshops, events, or meetings for school families, and the community and reached over 1100 members of the school and local community. Finally, with the goal of reducing landfill waste by 10%, the 4 participating Greenpoint Eco-Schools implemented comprehensive recycling and organics collection systems that achieved an 80% average waste diversion and collectively kept over 90,000 pounds of waste from being sent to a landfill.
From January to June 2016, the Greenpoint Eco-Schools Green STEM Afterschool Clubs served over 60 students during 118 afterschool sessions with hands-on projects focusing on waste, water, and wildlife.
August 2017: On May 15th, the four Greenpoint Eco-Schools – PS 31, PS 34, PS 110, and MS 126 – were honored with the Eco-Schools USA highest award: the Green Flag. The four schools have become outstanding models of school greening and sustainability, and now because of this new distinction, are proud to call themselves a Green Flag Community.
The 2016-2017 school year was a huge success at the Greenpoint Eco-Schools, students engaged in meaning environmental education experiences all year. NWF Staff organized or co-facilitated 33 assemblies, 90 Green Team Meetings (Green Teams are comprised of students, teachers, families, school staff and community members and lead environmental action campaigns at their school), 22 stewardship events, 19 guest visits, 217 Green STEM Afterschool lessons, and 307 lessons infused with sustainability and environmental topics. They also planned over 115 workshops, events, or field trips for families and the community that reached over 7,500 members of the community.
February 2018: In September 2017, NWF Sustainability Coaches began their third school year supporting environmental and sustainability leadership and education at P.S. 31, P.S. 34, P.S. 110, and M.S. 126 as part of the Greenpoint Eco-Schools program. For reaching and exceeding sustainability targets—including measurable waste reductions and landfill waste diversion, energy and water conservation, and more—the four Greenpoint schools received grant funds to be used towards projects that will create a legacy of sustainability in their school community. P.S. 31 used the grant funds to transform two classrooms into a “Green STEAM Wing,” where the classrooms are equipped with hydroponics growing systems, organized and accessible student tools and equipment, a terrarium, plants, and new furniture. P.S. 34 installed two water-bottle filling stations to reduce the use of plastic water bottles, and converted their front yard into an outdoor classroom with native trees, grasses, and wildflowers. P.S. 110 also installed a water-bottle filling station, and established a new bird-friendly garden with trees, shrubs, and perennials that provide food and habitat for local wildlife. M.S. 126 assembled a raised bed garden with herbs, vegetables, and perennials, and built a new pergola to transform a schoolyard into an outdoor classroom for students and teachers.
August 2018: The Greenpoint Eco-Schools wrapped up a successful third school year of programming in June 2018. During the school year, NWF staff collaborated with teachers, administrators, school staff, families, and community partners to lead, develop, or coordinate environmental and sustainability education and action projects for all 1,800 students at the four participating Greenpoint Eco-Schools. During the school year, Greenpoint Eco-Schools staff supported 2,994 lessons infused with sustainability-based topics for students, with 120 of these lessons taking place in the local community and 126 taking place in a school garden. Additionally, Sustainability Coaches directly or indirectly managed 120 Green Team meetings (Green Teams are comprised of students, teachers, families, school staff and community members and lead environmental action campaigns at their school), 20 student assemblies, 49 field trips, 39 guest expert visits, 21 stewardship activities, and 76 afterschool lessons. Finally, the Greenpoint Eco-Schools staff organized, coordinated, or participated in 192 family and community activities including PTA meetings, family workshops, community service projects, or local events that reached 3,670 family and community members.
February 2019:In September 2018, the Greenpoint Eco-Schools program began its fourth school year of environmental education programming at P.S. 31, P.S. 34, P.S. 110, and M.S. 126. Sustainability Coaches kicked off the academic year at their individual schools with workshops, meetings, and individualized sustainability coaching for teachers, staff, and families.
During this final year of school-based programming, Greenpoint Eco-Schools launched the STEM Newtown Creek Urban Ecology Curriculum. Developed in partnership with Newtown Creek Alliance, the place-based curriculum teaches students about Newtown Creek’s ecology, connects them to its history, and inspires students to protect and care for this neighborhood waterway. Since September 2018, over 200 4th, 5th, and 6thgrade students have participated in 109 in-class lessons and visited over 10 sites on Newtown Creek to learn about the Creek’s flora and fauna, water quality, soil, and watershed.
Finally, the Greenpoint Eco-Schools team is currently developing a “Greenpoint Eco-Schools Sustainability Toolkit” that will highlight the successes and stories from the program, share their lessons for school greening and offer practical advice for the challenges that educators may encounter while taking action to make their schools more environmentally sustainable communities. The toolkit will include stories about PS 31’s Hydroponic Farm Stand, PS 34’s Green STEM curriculum, PS 110’s Pre-K nature-based instruction, and MS 126’s Garden Committee. The toolkit will also share best practices and tips for achieving environmental results and fostering a stewardship ethic among school communities.
P.S. 34’s Eco-Fashion Show 2018: Photo Gallery (National Wildlife Federation, July 2018)
Brooklyn Schools Earn National Environmental Award (National Wildlife Federation, May 15, 2017)
Fashion gets eco-conscious at PS 34 in Greenpoint (Queens Ledger, May 10, 2017)
4 Schools to Help Restore Greenpoint Environment (United Federation of Teachers, December 3, 2015)
New Environmental Program Starting at 4 Greenpoint Schools in January (DNAinfo, November 18, 2015)
EXCLUSIVE: Brooklyn oil spill fines to fund NYC school environmental conservation program (Daily News, November 18, 2015)
Greenpoint Eco-Schools Students Explore Nature in the City (Greenpoint Gazette, November 11, 2015)
Character Counts at PS 34 (Greenpoint Gazette, November 4, 2015)
Empowered Waste Warriors (Greenpoint Gazette, October 29, 2015)
Let’s Talk Trash (Greenpoint Gazette, October 14, 2015)
Eco Schools Program Brings Sustainability Training to PS 110 (Greenpoint Gazette, October 08, 2015)
Eco-Schools Rolls Out at PS 34 (Greenpoint Gazette, September 30, 2015)
Meet the Greenpoint Eco-Schools Sustainability Coaches (Greenpoint Gazette, September 16, 2015)
Over Three Days, Greenpoint Schools Prepare to Implement Sustainability Curriculum (Greenpoint Gazette, July 27, 2015)
Greenpoint Teachers Get Ready to Spearhead Environmental Curriculum (Greenpoint Gazette, July 15, 2015)
“Sustainability Coach” Will Help Greenpoint Students Get Their Hands Dirty (Bedford + Bowery, February 15, 2015)
Celebrating the Future Environmental Stewards of Greenpoint (Greenpointers.com, February 12, 2015)