The Science Barge

Last summer, I joined students and their teacher Carol Kennedy from the EcoLeaders program in the Bronx on a trip to the Science Barge. This floating facility teaches about urban farming and sustainable energy. The barge moves from one location to another; sometimes you can see it docked in Manhattan, but in July 2011 it was on the Hudson River in Yonkers. The barge grows hydroponic vegetables such as tomatoes and lettuce, uses solar/wind energy and vegetable oil, and recycles its wastewater with the goal to “to stimulate the sustainable development of New York City.”

Drew Gardens, the Bronx, NYC

In this video, Jennifer Plewka talks about different people using Drew Gardens (The Bronx, New York), including students of all ages, adults, elderly people, artists, adults with special needs, political refugees, and immigrants. Drew Gardens includes several ecosystems: the Bronx River, vegetable garden, open space, and urban forest.

Narrator: Jennifer Plewka. Videography: Alex Kudryavtsev. New York City, 2011.

Fish in the Bronx River

Christine Alfsen of UNESCO-NYC and I went to Rocking the Boat for the Community Rowing event on the Bronx River. We got on a boat and rowed upstream to the Concrete Plant park. On our way we’ve seen several fishermen, one of them with this big fish. Photo: Cicy Medina, program assistant at Rocking the Boat, demonstrating the fish to curious community members in her boat.

Sweep-oar rowing on the Hudson

To wrap up the EcoLeaders summer environmental education program, Carol Kennedy from the Satellite Academy High School in the Bronx brings her students to the Newburgh Rowing club. A two-hour ride on a train and on a ferry across the Hudson River takes you to the historic town of Newburgh, a place very different from New York City. The urban students learned to use sweep-oar boats and rowed along with more experienced students from the Newburgh Rowing club.

High above the Bronx River

It was going to be a regular day: I had to administer the post-program sense of place survey with the Bronx International students taught by Chrissy Word at Rocking the Boat. We got on boats and rowed from Rocking the Boat to the Concrete Plant park in the South Bronx. Then something extraordinary happened, and I had a chance to take the bird’s eye photos of the Bronx River and students on boats.

The majority of Chrissy’s students speak only Spanish or French. Thanks Cornell University for teaching me these languages, which has enabled me to conduct research and have fun with these young people in the Bronx.

Oyster garden

Students from the Satellite Academy High School, the Bronx, checking oyster gardens in the Bronx River managed by students at Rocking the Boat.

Restoring salt marshes

Chrissy Word, an educator at Rocking the Boat in the Bronx, collecting mussels in salt marshes along the Bronx River during low tide. Scientists will analyze these mollusks to design a restoration project to bring more mussels to the Bronx River.

Students from Rocking the Boat will be maintaining restored ecosystems with mussels.

NYC police on the other bank of the river were observing us harvesting these animals.