Posts Tagged ‘map’

Have you been to Brooklyn Children’s Museum lately? The next time you’re here, grab a copy of our family guide, My Green Guide to Brooklyn.

The guide was designed by our friends at Tangerine Cafe. The idea was simple – just as Brooklyn Children’s Museum is a sustainable, kid-friendly destination, we wanted to highlight other sustainable, kid-friendly locations across our borough. This guide is part of our Green Threads initiative.

Based on a concept of green community explored by the National Building Museum, the guide explains five categories of green communities, includes a neighborhood I Spy activity, a community planning activity, and a map of the borough.

Unfortunately, the map is too detailed for us to post the full guide online, so we are going to, instead, use the next few weeks here on Teach Green in Brooklyn to share the map locations with you. And don’t forget to stop by the Museum and grab your own print copy!

And, as a preview, here’s a tiny image of what the whole map looks like. Come to the Museum to pick up a complete, two-sided copy!

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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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It’s here! Brooklyn Children’s Museum would like to present our new sustainability guide for educators, My Green Community.

The premise is simple: unfortunately, while nature is in the elementary science curriculum, other sustainability topics (energy, water conservation, food, waste management) are not. So, we tied study of community to study of environmentalism, linking social studies and science to create opportunities to introduce these key topics and to create interdisciplinary units of study.

The guide is divided into three sections: nature, sustainability, and a culminating project. The nature section deals with plants, birds, and insects. Sustainability covers energy, food, water, and waste. Finally, the culminating project is a mapping activity in which students examine their neighborhood for evidence of sustainability to decide in what ways their community is and is not green. Activities were designed for grades PK-2 but many will be applicable through middle school and even high school in some cases.

The full guide is available for download. In addition, you can attend a free professional development session as a supplement to the guide here at Brooklyn Children’s Museum on either October 20th or October 22nd. And, finally, this blog exists to supplement the guide. So if you love the Focus on Birds section in the guide, for example, click on the birds tag on the right of this page for more birds activities.

Please share this wonderful resource with your colleagues. If you have any feedback or would like to share how you are using My Green Community, contact us: gogreen@brooklynkids.org.

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We keep using this phrase “my green community.” By now you may be wondering, what is a green community? A green community is one that takes care of the environment. A green community provides a healthy environment for plants and animals, including people.

This definition may be sufficient for a teacher of very young students. Alternately, you may be interested in a more comprehensive look at what elements make a community truly green. For adults, one great starting point is an exhibition produced by the National Building Museum in 2008 entitled Green Community. Their website (http://www.nbm.org/exhibitions-collections/exhibitions/green-community/green-community.html) has extensive information about what a green community is and is not. This includes five categories of green and information about real places that fit into these categories.

While this is a great resource, it is designed for adults. We at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum have spent time thinking about how to take these complicated ideas and present them appropriately to children.

Here, then, are five actions that together make a community green:

Re-Invent Your City

Our city is growing! Every year, Brooklyn is home to more people. More people need more houses, more food, more everything. What do we do if we run out of space? In a green community, people think creatively about how to use space.

Example: The MTA uses a lot of power to run the subways and buses. To reduce some of their power demands, they installed solar panels on the roof of the Stillwell Avenue Terminal in Coney Island. The canopy of the station went from being wasted space, to renewable energy for the public transit system.

Travel Green

What’s the best mode of transit? You! Whether walking or biking, physical activity is good for your health and good for the planet. If you have to travel a long distance, take the bus or subway. Brooklynites are already some of the greenest people in the United States due to their massive use of public transit!

Use Less

Think of good ways to use less. Turn the lights off. Don’t leave the water running. Re-use a water bottle. Think about how to use less – less water, less plastic, less energy, less of everything!

Grow Green

Take care of the plants and parks around you. Plants are important – they provide oxygen, keep temperatures cool in the summer, provide food and shelter for animals, and look beautiful, too! Seeing nature’s green around you is a sign that you can breathe easy.

Watch Waste

What do we do with the things we don’t need anymore? Not everything needs to be thrown in the garbage. We can separate food waste and recyclables from trash that goes into landfills. Even better, we can reuse things – either reuse them ourselves or give them to somebody who wants what we don’t want anymore. After all, “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure!”

To help identify instances of these five actions, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum has developed a family guide to Brooklyn that looks for evidence of green places and practices in the borough. The print guide and an accompanying online map will be available soon. What would you include in our map of Brooklyn?

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