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.”

Urban Farm at the Battery

“This is the first urban farm at the Battery since the Dutch planted their cottage gardens in New Amsterdam in 1625,” says the farm’s website. This new garden is located in Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan, a place known for ferries that run from here to Staten Island and the Statue of Liberty. Wall Street and Stock Exchange are just a few steps away. Today I have observed high school students from a transfer school volunteering in the garden, picking up vegetables, and helping with a new farmstand selling fresh produce. Hundreds of tourists pass by every hour, many of them make it to the garden, which is open for everyone. I think that most visitors are amazed like I am by the combination of surrounding skyscrapers and this urban farm with its smell of tomato leaves, compost, wet soil, and lavender.

Satellite Academy Eco-Leaders Program

Field trips to various urban environmental sites is one of the methods that Carol Kennedy uses to teach high school students in the Bronx, New York City. For example, in summer students are rowing on the Bronx River, taking water samples, and interviewing practitioners about rooftop gardens. Carol says, “My philosophy and my approach to teaching is to give the students a wide range of experiences that they would not normally have with the natural world in the urban environment – so that they can form a new view of the world and a new identity.” Watch this video to learn more: