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Posts Tagged ‘Queens’

Are you interested in teaching kids more about food, gardening, and cooking at your school? One option is to become an Edible Schoolyard site. The program, started by Alice Waters, turns open space at schools into gardens, and then teaches the students at the school about growing, cooking, and eating food on site.

What can your students learn by growing and eating fresh food like these tomatoes?

So far, Edible Schoolyard has one location in NYC: PS 216, right here in Brooklyn. But they are looking to expand, and plan to have one school in each borough next school year.

That’s where you come in. If you work at a public school located in the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens or Staten Island, you could apply. Your school must serve, at a minimum, kindergarten through fifth grade and be a Title I school. Accepted schools receive tons of help and resources to turn their available space into a teaching garden.

For more information about the program and to apply, go to Edible Schoolyard NYC’s website. Applications are due by February 28, 2012- good luck!

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Are you looking for ways to re-invigorate your teaching? There are lots of great options for professional development this winter! Check out these workshops that will help you add a sustainable focus to your classroom:

Environmental Explorations NYC at Van Cortlandt Park

This program uses hands-on activities to bring NYC’s local outdoor resources and nature into the classroom and enhance classroom learning. Materials covered include Project WILD, Project WET, Project Learning Tree and more, in addition to introducing teachers to local environmental resources. Teachers will be provided with new strategies for introducing environmental topics in connection with math, literacy, and art, fostering student leadership and developing higher order thinking skills.

The program is from February 20 to February 25, 2012. To register, visit the After School Professional Development’s website at http://schools.nyc.gov/Teachers/aspdp and view their spring course catalog. With questions, contact Sara Kempton, Friends of Van Cortlandt Park, 718-601-1553 or sara@vancortlandt.org.

Creative Infusion: The Art of Reuse at Materials for the Arts

Materials for the Arts is an amazing warehouse of art supplies in Queens. This course, which offers P-credits, gives you access to the warehouse and teaches you how to problem solve through reuse and how to create games, books, costumes and sets, puppets, and mosaics. The course incorporates literacy and math into activities. The program takes place over 6 Saturdays. For details and information about registration and fees, check out their website.

Other opportunities:

Do you know of any other great professional development for teachers in New York City?

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If you reuse something you no longer wants, it ceases to be waste! You can reuse by repairing a broken toy, sewing a ripped pair of pants, or turning last year’s calendar into wall art.

Even better, for kids with growing bodies and changing tastes, you can arrange to trade unwanted items with another kid. Swap books you’ve already read and get a brand new reading experience, for free!

In My Green Community, our teacher’s guide, we suggest organizing a toy or book swap in your classroom. Full instructions are in that downloadable guide.

Vieux livres 20050512Another option is to partner with a local organization like GrowNYC to take part in a bigger swap. GrowNYC handles all kinds of sustainability projects, including their frequent Stop ‘N’ Swaps. On periodic weekends throughout the year in all five boroughs, they organize a space where people can show up. You can bring your unwanted items (or not) and take other’s unwanted items, with no restrictions on what or how much you take. Items include clothes, shoes, books, toys, household items, and more. The leftovers at the end of the event get reused or recycled or taken to a swap at a later date.

Last year, three Stop ‘N’Swaps were hosted here at Brooklyn Children’s Museum, and we hope to hold more here in the future!

For more information, check out GrowNYC’s website. There are no remaining swaps in 2011, but look for one near you in 2012.

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So, just how many different species of birds can you find in New York City?

Mallards are a familiar bird here in New York City...

If you want to find out more about what birds tend to be seen in and around New York City, you can check out the New York City Audubon website. In addition to their general information, here are two sections that might be of interest to you as a resource:

First of all, check out the information about birds and their seasons, in a sort of online field guide. There, you can find year-round information about how frequently which birds can be seen, like the Double-crested Cormorant, Snowy Egret, Gadwall, American Coot, Willet, Chimney Swift, Eastern Phoebe, or American Redstart (all of which nest within New York City).

... but have you ever seen a Black-Crowned Night Heron?

Next, if you want to know where to find these birds, the website also features a list of birding locations you might consider for a birding field trip. Locations suggested spread over all five boroughs of New York City, plus a location in Nassau County. You may discover a location or nature center you’ve never heard of before!

The website is not written for kids, but has simple enough text on the seasons and birding location pages for a child to read. The website is also a great resource for you, the educator, to supplement your own content knowledge.

If this inspires you to go out and find some birds, don’t forget to bring a print field guide with you!

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In addition to Pale Male and peregrine falcons, there are lots of other large birds in and around New York City. One particularly interesting story is the osprey comeback.

The plan from the New York Osprey Initiative's website

Once upon a time, there were osprey all over New York City. But loss of habitat and pesticides decimated their population. They are returning… slowly. To help the osprey, the New York Osprey Initiative is planning to build two new osprey nests – one in Sunset Park and the other on Governor’s Island, where it will be maintained by the New York Harbor School. The eventual nests will include built in web-cameras to track the birds and solar power to keep the cameras working.

The return of the osprey is a sign that the New York Harbor’s health is improving, with clean water and sufficient fish for them to live. This is also a chance for humans to show that our impact on the environment can be positive as well as negative.

For more information, check out the website of the New York Osprey Initiative. To learn more about osprey, the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation has lots of great information. And, if you live in Queens, you can find many more osprey at Alley Pond Environmental Center.

We can’t wait to see beautiful osprey flying around New York Harbor in greater numbers very soon!

Ospreys Fern Ridge Reservoir Oregon

Osprey built a nest on this human-made platform in Oregon

PS: If you are looking for a field trip to learn more about animals coming back to New York City, check out the program Critter Comebacks here at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum. We explore human impact on their environment and the adaptations animals have made to an urban environment, including information about salt marshes, hermit crabs, and peregrine falcons. For more information, go the the Brooklyn Children’s Museum’s school programs website.

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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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Can’t get enough of parks? In addition to all those nature centers in city parks mentioned in an earlier post as well as a post on Jamaica Bay, here are profiles two more local parks and information about field trips.

A footbridge over the saltmarshes at Randall's Island

What other local parks are we forgetting? What’s your favorite park in New York City and why?

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