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Author Archives:

Dina

“I Was an Urban Goatherd in Stuyvesant Cove Park”

Last month, thanks to an anonymous West Indian woman who put the idea in our heads, we undertook an experiment in urban goatscaping in Stuyvesant Cove Park. It was a resounding success- the goats did a great job and everyone loved them- and also a unique experience for Candace Thompson, the new Park Manager. Here’s her description of what it was like to spend three days and two nights as an onsite goatherd in Stuy Cove Park:

For 3 straight days, 20 goats and I did heavy “goatscaping”, and for 2 nights we slept together… under the FDR… in lower Manhattan…during a global pandemic.

It was a week for the bucket list, to be sure.

If you’re unfamiliar, goatscaping is an ancient land clearing practice in which humans allow goats to do what they do best: eat. When they’re done you’re left with a weed free, well fertilized growing space with no gas-powered machines or herbicides needed. So, last month Caramelo, Chloe, Cheech and co were let loose inside SCP’s teaching garden and given carte blanche, and while they munched, volunteers pulled weeds from other areas of the park and carried them over to their enclosure. One little girl accurately described it as “goat room service”.

When I awoke in the middle of the night to check on them they’d still be standing there, chewing away. They, too, knew this was the city that never sleeps.

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Phytoremediation, Park Intern Hannah Schanzer’s Summer Project

Hannah Schanzer is a Park Intern at Solar One this summer, working in Stuyvesant Cove Park. She is a rising junior at Washington University in St. Louis, studying Environmental Policy and Urban Studies. She has come to the Park this summer to learn more about urban park stewardship and urban ecology.

For my summer research project, I really wanted to focus on studying how the urban setting impacts the biodiversity of the park. Stuyvesant Cove Park is situated between a gas station, a power plant, and the highway. Additionally, it is located on the former site of a cement mixing factory.

Preliminary testing revealed that the soil in some beds of the park have slightly elevated levels of lead, although not enough to cause concern with park operations (highest lead concentration in a bed was 80 ppm (parts per million), anything less than 100 ppm is considered safe for children to play in). I was curious to find out whether there was a way to “clean” the soil with the highest lead concentration without treating it with chemicals or replacing it with imported soil.

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NYC DoE Holds First Climate Summit

Teachers, Instructional Coaches, and Educators from across the DOE participated in the first NYC DOE Climate Summit at the NY Hall of Science in Queens, NY. The Summit was organized by the Office of Sustainability, Solar One, and the Climate and Urban Systems Partnership in an effort to profile the diversity of climate change and how it relates to a variety of school activities and curriculum.

Activities in the two Round Robin sessions included mapping visualizations, climate themed simulations and games, school climate risk assessments, data analysis, health impacts, and climate advocacy.

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Here Comes Solar’s Juan Parra Talks to Univision about Community Solar

Watch Solar One’s Juan Parra explain how community solar makes renewable energy accessible to every New Yorker on the Spanish language television network Univision.

In the clip, you can see Juan and correspndent Berenice Gartner on the roof of an HDFC co-op building in Crown Heights. The solar installation, including the cool canopy for the panels, was installed by Brooklyn Solar Works. You can also catch a glimpse of Daroga Power‘s community solar installation, which you can sign up for on the Here Comes Solar website here.

Ansd while the segment is in Spanish, even non-Spanish speakers will be able to follow along. Congratulations to Here Comes Solar, Brooklyn Solar Works and Daroga Power on the great press for their great work!

Why Is Water Slippery?

Kids ask some pretty hard questions, and sometimes the answers are extremely fascinating, which is why the FiveThirtyEight blog, best known for political polling and sports prognostication, has started this gem of a series called Science Questions from a Toddler. Since the Solar One community is full of both teachers and parents (and teachers who are parents!), we thought this might be of interest for all sorts of reasons.

This week’s topic: Why is water so slippery?

The answer has to do a lot with just how peculiar water molecules actually are.

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It’s National Teacher Appreciation Day!

Happy Teacher Appreciation Day! We are so inspired by the courageous work of educators in and out of the classroom. Your commitment and dedication continues to cultivate the minds of so many students, encouraging them to reach their full potential. We are so grateful for your passion and enthusiasm for STEM education; we thank you today and every day!
As a token of our appreciation, below are three sample activities from the Green Design Lab Curriculum!

And even if you’re not a professional educator, you might enjoy doing these activities with your own kids- they’re educational AND fun!

  • Elementary Air Quality Index – In this activity, students are introduced to the concept of Air Quality through a role playing game.
  • Middle School Classroom Energy Audit – In this activity, students will use watt meters to determine the amount of energy different classroom appliances use.
  • High School Down the Drain Game – In this activity, students explore what happens to water when it goes down the drain. They will investigate what a CSO (combined sewer overflow) is as well as methods for storm water management.
Let us know how you are celebrating with the hashtag #GreenDesignLab on Twitter and Facebook. Learn more about bringing the Green Design Lab to your school here!

 

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