Fish Parade 2010

Students and education from ACTION at the Point CDC, the Bronx, have organized the annual Fish Parade. This event raises public awareness of environmental concerns and parks in Hunts Point, the Bronx. Invited schools, activists, and artists marched a mile between two new parks through environmentally underserved communities.

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Bronx River Student Symposium

Students presenting their research about the Bronx River at the Bronx River Student Symposium in Banana Kelly High School, the Bronx.

ACTION alumni meeting

Adam and Sharon, thanks for inviting me to the 4th annual ACTION Family & Alumni Holiday Dinner! It was a great overview of everything that high-school students in ACTION at the Point CDC, The South Bronx, are doing. Students have conducted short presentations about each of their numerous projects such as the Green Way, Urban Farming, restoration on the North Brother Island, and Go Green. While I am already familiar with some of these projects, I was surprised to learn that ACTION goes beyond the local environment: sometimes this education program sends students to experience the environment in other cities, countries, and even Antarctica. I look forward to conducting narrative inquiry with some of the most experienced ACTION participants next year to learn more in-depth about their experience in environmental restoration projects and how it influences students’ sense of place and social capital.

South Bronx Food & Film Expo

The South Bronx is sometimes called a food desert because it’s hard to find fresh produce here and because poor residents often can’t allow the price of healthy food. Adam Liebowitz at The Point Community Development Corporation, as well as his colleagues and ACTION youth have organized this event to feature various organizations that are trying to promote urban farming such as the Urban Farming, and to teach residents about healthy eating. More than 200 people have attended this event despite the rainy and cold weather. The program included documentary movies about food (“What’s on Your Plate” and “FRESH!”), and serving vegetarian and locally grown food. Youth from ACTION at the Point, who are part of my research project, were demonstrating the plan for a new community garden that they will plant next spring near the Bronx River in the Hunts Point. They have also demonstrated earth boxes that they use when there is no space for traditional raised beds or when the soil is too contaminated.

Concrete Plant Park opening

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Who would imagine just 10 years ago that a former industrial site in the heart of the Bronx would transform into a thriving park? The local communities led by Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice with the NYC Parks Department and several other community-based organizations in the Bronx were brave enough to envision such a transformation and organize the whole community to make it true. The park is located along the Bronx River in the South Bronx, and offers plenty of ecosystem services: you can enjoy the view of the River, learn about restored ecosystems, meet with people from your community, and reconnect with the environment. Some educators are already using this site to educate students from schools. For example, today Damian Griffin from the Bronx River Alliance was teaching middle-school students about biological diversity in the river and testing water quality. I need to learn whether some of high-school student groups who I am working with will engage in some kinds of environmental stewardship in this park.

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On this photograph Adrian Benepe, Commissioner of the Department of Parks & Recreation, delivers the opening speech.

Bronx River Symposium 2009

River Assembly 2009

This was an annual even organized by the Bronx River Alliance. Students and educators from several NGOs have presented what is happening along the River. This even was planned to happen in Drew Gardens, but because of rain everyone has relocated to the Bronx River Arts Center. A few posters on the background in this photograph were prepared and presented by youth from Rocking the Boat, and tell about restoration of river banks and water quality monitoring. This was a great opportunity to see how many young people care about the Bronx River.

Bronx River Festival

Bronx river festival

The Bronx River Festival is organized by the Bronx River Alliance, and takes place in different locations every year. Today it was in the Bronx River Park, a beautiful and popular green refuge south of the Bronx Zoo that is frequently enjoyed by local residents. A special guest of the performance was Sonia Manzano, known as Maria from the Sesame Street TV show (see the photo above; also note waterfalls in the background, and the Golden Ball – a symbol of the Bronx River).

I helped at the canoe rides registration table, which BxRA organized today for free for anyone. I have registered about 60 people, and asked most of them whether this was the first time they canoe. To my surprise, all of them except for two people were going to canoe for the first time in their life.

BxRA organizes all kinds of activities where anyone can participate or volunteer: from canoeing to science learning, from restoration of riverbanks to development of curriculum materials, from tree planting to organizing environmental festivals. I wonder how many people, including youth, participate in more than one type of BxRA activities, and whether participation in various activities has stronger impact on their attachment to the River or other environmental education outcomes.