NYPA Press Release

NY Power Authority Supports New Green Classroom Initiative Promoting STEM Education in Brooklyn Schools

For Immediate Release: 11/3/17

Contact: Lynne Smith | Lynne.Smith@nypa.gov | (914) 681-6916

Partnership with Brooklyn Borough President Will Help Students in Environmental Justice Communities Learn About Sustainability, Environmental Science and Food Production 

The New York Power Authority today announced a new Green Classrooms initiative to help students at six Brooklyn schools learn about sustainable development, environmental science and food production. The effort, funded by the New York Power Authority (NYPA) and the Brooklyn borough president’s office, will give students from inner-city communities the opportunity for a hands-on learning experience in an urban farm science lab.

NYPA partnered with Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams to announce the program today at a newly renovated rooftop greenhouse and science lab at the Edward R. Murrow High School in the Midwood area of Brooklyn. NYPA is providing funding to the school for a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curriculum and teacher training using these new teaching resources.

The effort supports Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s commitment to STEM education by enhancing student awareness of technology and innovation, and teaching skills in urban food production, sustainability, and environmental science.

“For our young people to be inspired to be part of the green economy, we need to provide them opportunities to learn the latest and greatest in science, technology, engineering and math,” said Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA president and CEO. “This Green Classrooms initiative will give students from inner-city communities a fun and rewarding learning experience and help them understand their role when it comes to building a sustainable and innovative food system.”

Edward R. Murrow High School is one of six Brooklyn schools that have converted classrooms into dedicated science labs this fall using NYPA-provided resources. The initiative is part of NYPA’s Environmental Justice STEM program, which provides educational resources to students from underrepresented communities in close proximity to NYPA’s power assets statewide. The Brooklyn borough president’s office has allocated more than $10.1 million in capital funding to build hydroponic (soilless) greenhouses in 23 schools across the borough as part of its “Growing Brooklyn’s Future” program.

“I am excited to partner with NYPA to further expand Growing Brooklyn’s Future by providing programming support at several participating schools. By expanding urban farming and horticultural activities, we are developing the next generation of young people who will make healthy nutritional choices, understand the importance of protecting our environment, and be prepared for jobs in the future of agriculture,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. “Green spaces provide healing and nourishment for the mind, body, and soul. Developing new greenhouses, seeding stations, and composting stations at schools, particularly in food deserts and historically underrepresented neighborhoods, are helping Brooklyn raise healthier children and families.”

At Edward Murrow, the newly renovated greenhouse is a science laboratory and urban farm that includes hydroponic and aquaponic systems, seeding stations, a composting station and a pedal-powered smoothie station for the study of energy and healthy cooking. Different learning modules will also allow the lab to become a resource for an interdisciplinary curriculum in classes such as biology, earth science, chemistry, physics, engineering, robotics and genetics.

NYPA Trustee Tracy McKibben noted that greening classrooms is an innovative way to demonstrate environmental responsibility.

“More than 5,000 youngsters will potentially benefit from this collaboration, which is designed to initiate thinking about global issues and environmental impacts and ensure that resources are used to the advantage of all New Yorkers,” McKibben said.

NYPA awarded a $103,506 grant to NY Sun Works, the non-profit that partnered with the Brooklyn borough president to build the citywide network, to deploy their educational curriculum in the six schools closest to its small clean power plants.

 

"It’s important for us to invest in our children’s futures by stimulating student interest in science education and offering hands-on learning about energy, technology and science,” said Lisa Wansley, NYPA’s vice president of Environmental Justice and Sustainability.  “The goal of this NYPA environmental justice initiative is to expand opportunities for children to engage in STEM education. The Green Classrooms program brings these concepts home in a fun and engaging way for students."

NYPA is also providing support to five additional Green Classrooms in Brooklyn at the following schools:

- Academy for Environmental Leadership, 400 Irving Avenue
- Academy of Urban Planning, 400 Irving Avenue
- PS 383 Philippa Schuyler Middle School for the Gifted and Talented, 1300 Greene Avenue
- K377 Alejandrina B. de Gautier, 200 Woodbine Street
- PS 21 Crispus Attucks, 180 Chauncey Street

“Since focusing our attention towards developing a STEM curriculum, we’ve seen a wave of inspiration throughout the building,” said Edward R. Murrow High School Principal Allen Barge. “Students are engaged in research that they can turn into careers. Whether they want to work in robotics or sustainable food production, this new green classroom is going to be an incredible resource. The skills they are acquiring will transcend all curricula to ensure opportunities for their future.”

A second phase of the greenhouse project at Edward Murrow will focus on energy reduction, with solar panels and a wind turbine planned for the adjacent roof, and a retrofit that includes air sealing, a retractable heat blanket and evaporative cooling system.

“Partnerships like this are crucial to leveling the educational playing field in New York City public schools, and we are very proud to be working with NYPA and Borough Hall on growing a greener future,” said Sidsel Robards, chair of the NY Sun Works Board of Directors. “This will be a game changer for the students and their school communities.

The partnership between NYPA and NY Sun Works will provide curriculum, professional development and ongoing teacher training for the school's science department, and will help engage the community through special events. The programming focuses on science, sustainability, climate, energy, urban planning, food justice and health.

About NYPA:

NYPA is the nation's largest state public power organization, through the operation of its 16 generating facilities and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. NYPA uses no tax money or state credit. It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity. More than 70 percent of the electricity NYPA produces is clean renewable hydropower. For more information visit www.nypa.gov and follow us on Twitter @NYPAenergy, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and LinkedIn.