Starting with Greenpoint: Reflections and Recommendations from Greenpoint Eco-Schools Students

By Sarah Ward, of Greenpoint Eco-Schools

Happy New Year from Greenpoint Eco-Schools! The celebration of a new year makes us reflect on all the successes and experiences that took place during the previous year.  

2016 was a great year for Greenpoint Eco-Schools. Among many other accomplishments, the four Greenpoint Eco-Schools (PS 31, PS 34, PS 110, & MS 126) kept thousands of pounds of waste out of landfills, created new native plant learning gardens, and took action to make their neighborhoods cleaner and greener.

We asked a few students from the four Greenpoint Eco-Schools to reflect on their most memorable Eco-Schools learning experiences from the past year and to offer advice to Greenpointers on how they can practice sustainability in their homes and their community.  

[Olivia, Kristen, and Siri from PS 110 display their signs that will be installed in neighborhood tree beds]

As you and your school have made changes to become more environmentally-friendly, please share a memorable learning experience you’ve had as part of the Greenpoint Eco-Schools program.

Ada | PS 34 5th Grade

“We have Cafeteria Rangers who help other people recycle garbage in the cafeteria so we don’t waste.” (Note: Cafeteria Rangers are student leadership jobs modeled after Cafeteria Culture’s program)

Arthur | PS 31 1st Grade

“We have planted in the garden, we planted a lot of peppers and eggplants.”

Auden PS 34 4th Grade

“It’s amazing to see how the school has changed.  We used to throw out all of our trash into one garbage can, now we are actually recycling and composting…and helping our environment! We are taking one step at a time to help the Earth, starting with Greenpoint.”

Kamora | MS 126 6th Grade

“[When I work as a green leader to monitor the cafeteria and help students recycle properly], I  notice that the students are doing a very good job, an excellent job, especially Class 706—they really help out a lot even if they weren’t supposed to! I am really glad for that and I am very thankful.  I feel good about doing this work, it keeps me active!”

Kristen | PS 110 5th Grade

“My favorite experience was walking around the neighborhood and noticing that there is not a lot of wildlife.  Also, there’s litter in the tree beds, I never really noticed this before.   I wasn’t really interested in this stuff before I joined Afterschool [the Eco-Schools Green STEM Afterschool Club]. We just started studying water and now I think about where does water come from? How much water do I use every day?”

Olivia | PS 110 5th Grade

“I have learned so much, even about CSOs….[My teacher] told me that we know more than some adults about these things, they don’t know what CSOs are. (Editor’s note: learn about CSOs here). We made signs to go in the tree beds, I painted a picture of a tree and wrote, ‘Keep Us Clean’.”

Ryan | PS 110 5th Grade

“I liked when we pulled the weeds in [McGolrick Park] because that was really fun. I’m glad that we get to help the community.”

      

[PS 34 students examining one of Greenpoint’s solar trash compactors]

Do you have any recommendations or advice for people who want to make their homes or Greenpoint greener?

Ada | PS 34 5th Grade

“I would like to see more solar-paneled garbage cans and to plant more trees.  Manhattan Ave doesn’t have trees so the air is not as fresh there.  Write notes to City Council and we can tell them what we need!”

Arthur | PS 31 1st Grade

“I want people to take care of plants.  They can water them and please don’t step on them.”

Auden | PS 34 4th Grade

“Write notes to City Council and tell them what we need. Not all houses have composting [DSNY organics collection] bins, we should get those for all the houses in Greenpoint.”

Komora | MS 126 6th Grade

“I want people to realize that if you don’t clean and take care of the Earth, it will fall apart.”

Kristen | PS 110 5th Grade

“We were talking about climate change, and you should go listen to the song called “Take Aim at Climate Change”, it’s a really good song! It helps us learn stuff about STEM. Also, we need to get recycling garbage cans on the street, here in Greenpoint.”

Olivia | PS 110 5th Grade

“Talk to the newspaper [about litter issues in the neighborhood]. Make a bunch of flyers and put them in mailboxes, send them out to the community. We can meet in the park and talk about how to save the environment.  Write a letter to someone, maybe the President, or Stephen Levin so the neighborhood can get recycling garbage cans.  Where are the recycling cans here?”

Ryan | PS 110 5th Grade

“Learn what weeds look like…you don’t want to pull out flowers or plants! You should get all the correct recycling bins and get stickers for them. Make sure you can recycle at home and in the neighborhood!”

  

We are so proud of the effort our students put into learning about their environment and community. We believe that teaching this younger generation about conservation means the world – literally! We look forward to the work that these incredible students will do for our earth, and hope that their dedication and passion inspires all who read about this journey!

By Romey Louangvilay