Archive for the ‘Special Events’ Category

It’s the time for pine. If you celebrate Christmas or happen to love evergreens, you probably have a fantastic tree in your home right now…  so what do you do when the needles fall off and the whole thing turns brown?

Mulch shredded yard waste

Shredded used wood is called mulch

Mulch it!

Like composting, mulching takes organic waste and turns it into something useful, keeping waste out of the landfill, which is always good.

Every year, New York City collects used Christmas trees and turns them into mulch. Mulch is a layer of protective wood chips placed in garden beds to prevent weeds, keep moisture in the soil, and reduce garden erosion.

Gardenology.org-IMG 2515 ucla09

Mulch helped this plant grow

In other words, your no longer wanted Christmas tree will be turned into a very useful product for gardeners. Mulching your tree is one form of waste management, like reducing, composting, and recycling. Rather than ending up in a landfill, you can turn your tree into mulch.

Join the fun by bringing your tree to a participating location on January 7th or January 8th, 2012. Check out the MulchFest website for a full list of drop-off locations. There are 70 locations throughout the five boroughs. At half of those locations, you can take the mulch home with you for use in your garden!

… and if you’re dropping a tree off at Brower Park, swing by the Brooklyn Children’s Museum next door and say hi!

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Exciting news: by the end of this month, Brooklyn Children’s Museum will have 6 new exhibits on the floor all about sustainability here at the museum. As a cool preview, come to the museum this Sunday, December 11th for Light it Up!, a program about circuits and solar energy.

This program, appropriate for ages 4+,  lets kids experiment with circuits, conductivity, and sources of energy, using supplies found at a local hardware store. Brooklyn Children’s Museum uses solar panels for part of our energy and we want kids to really see solar panels at work!

If you can’t make it this Sunday, the program will be offered again a few times in the upcoming months, on December 26th, February 19th and February 20th.

… and don’t forget to come visit later in December to see our new museum exhibits about solar energy, the process of recycling, bamboo flooring, geothermal energy, and water conservation!

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Yesterday, we mentioned the route New York City’s water takes from upstate to your tap. Today: a post about a remarkable map of that very path.

One of the highlights at the Queens Museum of Art is the Watershed Relief Map. The map dates back to 1939 when the Worlds Fair was held in Queens. As part of the Worlds Fair, the Cartographic Survey Force (a branch of the Works Progress Administration) was charged with constructing a 3-dimensional model of the waterways that get water from upstate New York to New York City. The model measured 32 feet by 20 feet and cost $100,000 to make (about $1.5 million in today’s dollars). In the end, it was too big to be displayed and went into storage.

After a brief exhibition in 1948, the map went back into storage and was completely forgotten until 1991, when it was discovered by Michael Cetera, an employee of the Department of Environmental Protection. After a massive restoration, the map was put on display at the Queens Museum of Art, which is located on the site of that very 1939 Worlds Fair.

The Watershed Relief Map now on display at the Queens Museum of Art

To celebrate the map’s restoration, NYC H2O and Queens Museum of Art are hosting a Watershed Relief Map Presentation on Saturday, December 10th at noon. The kid-friendly event will feature Michael Cetera and NYC water educator Matt Malina. For more information, go to the event page.

The Watershed Relief Map is both a great source of information about NYC’s water and a fascinating object with an interesting history. This sounds like a great opportunity to learn more about both the watershed and the map!

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Do you teach 5th grade? The New York State Department of Conservation has an annual Arbor Day contest, looking for the best Arbor Day Poster. The theme for this year’s contest is Trees Are Terrific in All Shapes and Sizes. Here’s last year’s winner:

All contest entries are due by January 12, 2012 so they can be judged and the winner announced before Arbor Day, which is April 27, 2012.

Check out the contest website for full rules and details as well as lesson ideas for your 5th grade class, tying into mathematics, science, and arts standards. You can also see winning posters for past years.

What amazing art will your students come up with?

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Brooklyn Children’s Museum is closed today, so we’re on hiatus, but we wanted to share a Thanksgiving message from the Collections Department:

Click on the image to learn what each mineral is!

This Thanksgiving message is brought to you by Mineral of the Day, another blog here at Brooklyn Children’s Museum. Mineral of the Day follows the Collections Department as they catalog the extensive collection of rocks and minerals here at the Museum. Rocks and minerals are, of course, natural and taking care of rocks and minerals in a careful way is another kind of sustainability.

We hope to bring you more from the Collections Department in the future; in the meantime, enjoy the turkey! Teach Green in Brooklyn will be back next Monday.

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Icky Fest is an annual tradition here at Brooklyn Children’s Museum. Every year since our re-opening in 2008, we hosted a weekend devoted to all things gross! During the weekend festival, kids become grossologists—scientific experts on all things slimy, yucky, and downright disgusting. They can create their very own snotty slime, touch creepy creatures, smell pungent cheese, study the New York City sewers, and more!

What’s the sustainability angle? This year, we are welcoming the “Sewer in a Suitcase” team from the Center for Urban Pedagogy. Their suitcase contains a model of a New York City block. Add water and pollution and you can see the major problem with NYC’s water system… (more about that later this week or see our earlier post on the High Line)

Come to Brooklyn Children’s Museum on Saturday, November 19th to check it out. CUP will be doing demonstrations at 12pm, 1pm, and 2pm in the Commons Theater. ICKY!

Tomorrow: America Recycles Day!

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Open House New York is a wonderful annual festival, featuring behind the scenes access to fascinating sites around New York City. This year, it’s October 15th and 16th, and the full schedule is now available. It’s a big weekend, full of amazing opportunities. Here are some of my favorites, for families and educators interested in sustainability:

  • Eagle Street Rooftop Farm, Sunday the 16th starting at 10am: Check out this farm, on a roof in Greenpoint! It’s a great example of sustainable urban design. (Family friendly)
  • Visitor Center at the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, Saturday and Sunday all day: Learn about NYC’s water system and check out the nearby nature trail at this Greenpoint site. (Family friendly)
  • Water, Water Everywhere, Sunday the 16th at 1pm and 2:30pm:  A kid’s introduction to the water towers of New York City. Learn about and build your own water tower. (Family friendly, ages 4-10)
  • East River Waterfront Tour, Sunday the 16th at 3pm: Learn about the design behind this new park on the Manhattan side of the East River. (Family friendly)
  • Sun Works Center for Environmental Studies, Sunday the 16th all day: Check out this environmental education site on the Upper West Side. (Family friendly)
  • Fresh Kills by Bus, Saturday the 15th at 10am and 1pm: Once the largest landfill in the world, this new park is an sustainable masterpiece. Check out the future Staten Island park on this sneak peak bus tour. (Family friendly)
  • Queens County Farm Museum, Saturday and Sunday all day: Check out this awesome, functioning farm which, “brings agricultural history to life for our urban visitors and provides a direct tie to modern-day sustainable agricultural practices and quality foods.” (Family friendly)
  • New York Botanical Garden, Saturday and Sunday all day: Mention Open House New York for a free garden pass to this Bronx attraction. (Family friendly)
  • Rocking the Boat, Saturday the 15th from 12-5: Learn about this Bronx-based non-profit, which teaches boat building and ecology to high school students. (Family Friendly)
  • Bronx River Estuary Paddle, Saturday the 15th and Sunday the 16th at 11am:  Row the river and learn about “the river’s ecology, history and present human impacts and rehabilitation.”
  • Tour the Brooklyn Bridge Park, Saturday the 15th at 1pm and 3pm: Get a staff led tour of this amazing park. And while you’re there, check out…
  • Bike Share Demonstration in Brooklyn Bridge Park, Saturday the 15th, 11am-3pm: This is your chance for a sneak peak at the new bike share program coming to New York City.
  • Gowanus Canal Sponge Park, Saturday the 15th at 11am: The Gowanus Canal, a superfund toxic site, needs all the help it can get to be cleaned up. At this event, learn about the sponge park, which is being designed to remediate the canal and provide park access to the community.

Which events are you most excited about?

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Will you see an American Kestrel on Sunday?

This weekend, check out Raptor Fest at Prospect Park, held from 12pm to 3pm on Sunday, October 2nd. This event, run by the Urban Park Rangers and the Prospect Park Alliance, will feature “majestic raptors.” The event organizers promise that “Hawks, falcons, owls and other birds of prey will be on hand for flight demonstrations and more!”

Sounds like a lot of fun. For more details, follow this link to the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation’s website or call (718) 287-3400, extension 102.

What better way to kick off October (migration season) than with some awe inspiring birds?

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