Take a tour of 6 design elements in our NYC public school learning gardens

The Greening Western Queens Fund of North Star Fund awarded the Horticultural Society of New York a generous grant in 2012 to establish learning ecosystems at three public schools in Western Queens. The Greening Western Queens Fund is a $7.9 million initiative to invest in energy-efficiency and environmental projects in the Western Queens community affected by a July 2006 electric power outage. This program is supported by funds from the community's settlement with Con Edison. All three public schools are in the 2006 affected blackout area, with administrators and teachers who experienced the blackout first-hand.

With funding in 2011 from the Greening Western Queens Fund, the Horticultural Society worked with Garden Works, an Astoria-based landscaping company, to develop a learning garden and storm-water collection system at PS/MS 84 in Astoria. This garden provided middle-school students of PS/MS 84 with integrated, hands-on learning experiences. The students learned how to improve storm-water run-off, essentials of food production, and the role plants play in decreasing global warming and mitigating the heat island effect.

Between 2011 and 2013, the Horticultural Society, in collaboration with Garden Works, has been working with PS 2, PS 70, PS 150, PS 84, PS 12, PS 151, PS 85, IS 141, Aviation High School, and Bryant High School to design and install new learning gardens. At each school, the Horticultural Society will provide teachers with inter-disciplinary and real-world applications of science, math, and English. A garden-from its design, to its construction, planting, and maintenance-provides a wealth of educational opportunities for students. Through the learning gardens, students will be encouraged to apply creative problem solving to familiar environmental problems.

Greening Western Queens on Vimeo, filmed and edited by Aaron Schillinger.