Brooklyn Native Wildlife Restoration Project at John Ericsson M.S. 126
|Project Leads:||John Ericsson M.S. 126; and Center for Educational Innovation – Public Education Association|
|Project Location:||424 Leonard Street|
|2014 GCEF Grant:||$24,998|
|2014 Matching Contribution:||$25,000|
|2014 Project Completed:||December 2015|
In 2014, through a competitive process, John Ericsson M.S. 126 received a $24,998 GCEF grant (and provided $25,000 in matching funds) to create a native plant garden and wildlife restoration demonstration site at the school. In addition to providing urban wildlife a new habitat, the benefits of this GCEF-funded project included helping lower urban air temperatures, improving stormwater filtering, providing a research venue for students, and engaging students and their families in community greening activities.
With the GCEF funding, the Center for Educational Innovation – Public Education Association (CEI-PEA), the project’s fiscal sponsor, led the garden’s creation, directing efforts to select native plants, test the soil for lead content, prepare garden soil for planting, and recruit students and families to participate. Students and adult volunteers were involved in creating the garden – planting trees, shrubs, and native plants and flowers. A garden shed, which gives students and staff easy access to gardening equipment and supplies with which to maintain the garden, was also installed using GCEF grant money. The M.S. 126 Native Plant Garden was unveiled at a school community event held in June 2015. In Fall 2015, students in sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade science classes, aided by a curriculum from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, used the native plant garden to learn about plants and their care, with a focus on the garden’s ongoing maturation.
In late 2015, polychlorinated biphenyl chemicals, or more commonly known as PCBs, were found in the soils surrounding the school, including in the new garden, by the NYC School Construction Authority. As a result, all contaminated soil and existing plants around the school were removed and replaced with clean soil in Summer 2016. The garden was replanted in July 2017.
Read about additional updates to the M.S. 126 garden in 2020 when the school partnered with National Wildlife Federation and their GCEF-funded “Greenpoint Eco-Schools” project, and received a grant to restore and expand the native plant garden at the school.
- Created a native plant garden and wildlife restoration demonstration site at John Ericsson M.S. 126 by planting 80 trees and shrubs, and more than 2,000 native plants and flowers
- Involved 100 students and 20 adults in the preparation and planting of the garden
- Created an outdoor classroom at the garden with students and family volunteers
- Used the garden to teach 390 students from 6th-, 7th-, and 8th-grade science classes