Greenpoint Eco-Schools: Creating a Legacy of Sustainability 2020-08-14T19:46:22+00:00

Project Description

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
Total GCEF Funding: $2,796,285
2014 GCEF Grant: $1,646,776 2015 GCEF Grant: $99,927
2015 Budget Addition: $212,043 2017 Budget Addition: $728,289 2019 Budget Addition: $109,250
Total Matching Contributions: $8,456,546
2014 Matching Contribution: $8,456,546 2015 Matching Contribution: $0
Project Completed: July 2019

In 2014, through a competitive process, the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) was awarded a GCEF grant of $1,646,776 (and provided $8,456,546 in matching funds) to implement an innovative environmental education program at four 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 involved 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 focused on enhancing communication between schools, parents, and the community, and expanding community-school partnerships. The project sought 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 $99,927 GCEF grant and, through a separate competitive process, an additional $212,043 in funding 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 included 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. The afterschool program also provided educational programming on water, waste, wildlife, and “green” STEM careers, and offered numerous opportunities to students to apply their learning to improving their local environment in order to emphasize connections between schools and the Greenpoint community.

In 2017, NWF was awarded a second competitive $728,289 addition to its budget in order to support such activities as increasing capacity and environmental leadership at the 4 schools by refining and supporting school-wide organizational structures, embedding environmental and sustainability concepts across the curriculum, and sharing best practices with teachers and administrators. These activities sought to institutionalize environment-based educational practices and policies at the participating schools, as well as to 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. The activities also built the schools’ and community’s capacity to sustain program elements as GCEF-funded NWF staff transitioned out of Greenpoint in July 2019. In addition, with GCEF funding, NWF partnered with the Newtown Creek Alliance to develop an educational and stewardship curriculum about Newtown Creek that teaches Greenpoint Eco-Schools students about the Creek’s ecology, connects them to its history, and inspires them, and the larger community, to protect and improve it. Finally, each participating school developed a Greenpoint Toolkit detailing best practices at their school 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.

Kids Go Green: Waste Less. PBS Cyberchase video.

Kids Go Green: Waste Less. PBS Cyberchase video. [3:46] Credits.

  • Hired 4 Sustainability Coaches to work full time to support project initiatives at 4 Greenpoint Eco-Schools
  • Facilitated 3 community focus forums, designed to introduce the Greenpoint Eco-Schools project to the 4 schools and the local community, attended by approximately 50 people
  • Facilitated approximately 160 regular monthly professional development workshops for teachers and principals at the 4 Greenpoint Eco-Schools, including a 3-day professional development workshop conducted in partnership with the Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation
  • Facilitated a total of 7,414 activities for students including regular classroom instruction with ecological themes, community-based learning opportunities, field trips, afterschool classes, and guest expert lectures
  • Coordinated 555 activities, including events, workshops and meetings, in order to increase connections between Greenpoint schools and the community that reached over 20,000 school families and community members and collaborated with 35 community partners
  • Diverted 555,779 pounds of waste from landfills by introducing schoolwide organics collection and waste sorting (to encourage recycling)
  • Prevented the release of 11,257 metric pounds of carbon by introducing more energy efficient systems and encouraging smarter energy usage
  • Prevented more than 100,000 gallons of water from being wasted by installing outdoor rain gardens and encouraging smarter water usage
  • Distributed 160 indoor plants for cleaning indoor air
  • Created and distributed 110 green cleaning products to classrooms
  • Added approximately 10,000 square feet of green space and gardens to school grounds and over 1,500 square feet of community wildlife habitat in community gardens, playgrounds, and parks
  • Facilitated in-kind contributions from city agency partners to reduce each of the school buildings’ ecological footprint by installing systems that tracked water usage, reduced combined sewer outflows, reduced energy usage and diverted waste from landfills
  • Awarded each school $30,000 for a lasting environmental project which included the installation of water bottle filling stations, the creation of outdoor gardens and classroom, and an indoor greenhouse classroom and technology lab
  • Awarded each school $5,000 for a Community Stewardship Action project that directly improved Greenpoint’s environmental health and engaged school families and residents in service which included a weekly composting program, a soil testing and safe soils program, a renovation and greening effort at American Playground, and the installation of a rainwater collections system at 61 Franklin Street Community Garden
  • Developed the “Urban Schoolyard Habitat” curriculum which includes 15 lessons, teacher introductions, worksheets, and extension activities which was distributed to Greenpoint teachers during the 2019-2020 school year.
  • Over a two-year time period designed and delivered nearly 440 lessons to approximately 260 students as part of the Eco-Schools Green STEM Afterschool Club which covered topics which included compost and soil, landfills, recycling, gardening, biodiversity, the New York City watershed, wastewater infrastructure, green infrastructure, and introduced technology as a means for environmental discovery, monitoring, and problem solving
  • Involved approximately 100 parents in the program thru field trips and student showcases
  • Reached approximately 550 Greenpoint residents during community and family events
  • Implemented a new place-based STEM curriculum about Newtown Creek in which teachers conducted 196 lessons for approximately 200 students
  • In 2019, collaborated with Newtown Creek Alliance and Greening Greenpoint to host a community stewardship event at Manhattan Avenue Street End Park at which over 100 community members volunteered and installed over 800 plants to create a 1,000-foot meadow
  • Created and published the “Greenpoint Eco-Schools Sustainability Toolkit”, a resource that describes the outcomes and impact of the Greenpoint Eco-Schools program

Climate In Crisis: TODAY donates 2 trees to Brooklyn garden (TODAY, September 19, 2019)

Eco-Schools: A Strong Finish (Go Green Brooklyn, June 6, 2019)

Kids Go Green: Eco-Fashion (PBS Learning Media – Cyberchase, July 2018)

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 (, February 12, 2015)