Urban forestry and respiratory health symposium

Symposium

Today the Urban Environment program at Cornell Cooperative Extension-NYC (Gretchen Ferenz, Urban Environment Program Leader) and the Department of Horticulture at Cornell University (Dr. Tom Whitlow) organized the Urban Forestry and Respiratory Health scientific symposium. Researchers, policy-makers, and educators from Cornell and various other organizations discussed the relationship between urban greening and human wellbeing. Among other people, I met with Charles Lord, executive director of the Urban Ecology Institute in Boston. Last year I met with an employee of this Institute at the North American Association for Environmental Education, and she told me about urban greening programs that this Institute conducts in low-income communities in Boston, and that these environmental projects wanted to achieve not only environmental outcomes, but also social outcomes. And today I had a chance to learn more about it. Charlie told that the Institute is interested in promoting social capital in those communities through urban forestry, support of community gardens, and similar projects. Again, it comes as a surprise for me that social capital is becoming a focus of not only many environmental education research articles, but also in focus of environmental outreach programs. I would like to find how social capital is related with community-based environmental management. Another interesting fact was that recently this Institute collaborated on some projects with Bronx River Alliance, through which both organizations shared their experiences of working with communities on environmental issues.

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