Little Green Thumbs: Students Learn About Sustainability And Ownership

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BY JORDAN GIBBONS

Students at IS 59 began working on their own garden this week as part of the school’s sustainability program with help from GrowNYC.

GrowNYC is the sustainability resource for New Yorkers that provides free tools and services anyone can use in order to improve our City and environment to produce more gardens, greenmarkets, recycling and education.

Sixth graders at IS 59 worked together to build gardens at their school this week. Councilman I. Daneek Miller even stopping by to roll up his sleeves and get dirty.

Sixth graders at IS 59 worked together to build gardens at their school this week. Councilman I. Daneek Miller even stopping by to roll up his sleeves and get dirty.

About 80 sixth graders participated during two sessions of cleaning up the lot on the side of the school by raking up leaves, putting down top soil, planting flowers and watering the gardens.

Marcia Young, the school’s sustainability coordinator, said that the students will maintain the area and prevent other children from damaging their hard work.

“We’ve wanted this for awhile and we finally got the funding,” Young said. ‘This is the first year we have these kids, so we have them for two more years. By then, we should be perfect.”

8 Feature Gardening 2GrowNYC received $5,000 from Councilman I. Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans) to support the seven-session program for four classes at IS 59.

Mike Zamm, director of GrowNYC’s environmental education program, said that the students have been working on model watershed projects for improving sustainability and resilience on the Jamaica Bay Watershed.

The students were bouncing around enjoying the nice weather on Tuesday as they got dirty in the gardens.

“I like that it’s hands-on,” Aidan Brendel said. “It’s better to do this because you’re giving back to the community.”

Justin Covington said that it was fun to get out of the classroom and learn in a new way.

8 Feature Gardening 4“We used to talk about it in class and it was very easy, but it feels really different in person,” Covington said. “And we worked together like a family.”

Kymani Philoxi said she enjoyed helping the environment as well as the neighborhood.

“We can help the plants grow to have a better environments and have clean water,” she said. “We can breathe better and have a better community.”

Brianna Poorman appreciated that she was able to learn everything from the start so she can apply it in her own home.

8 Feature Gardening“In my ELA class, she told us about the flowers, but I thought they were going to be made already,” Poorman said. “We actually got to do it all ourselves, so when we go home we can make this in our own garden.”

Rasson Johnson realized he may have worn the wrong clothes, but he was happy that he was able to do something good for the school.

“I didn’t expect for me to get this dirty,” he said. “It’s nice experience being out here though. It’s representing us as good people.”

Reach Reporter Jordan Gibbons at (718)357-7400, Ext. 123, jgibbons@queenspress.com or @jgibbons2.

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