2016 Reflections from the NYSW Team!

Thank you all for a fantastic 2016

Published on 04 January 2017


We have grown our team, opened more labs than ever, reached 21,000+ kids with new curriculum and gotten amazing recognition from organizations like the EPA and NAAEE.

Scroll down for Team NYSW’s reflections and favorite moments of 2016:

Manuela Zamora
“I am thrilled when I see our partner schools students participating in the NY Sun Works annual youth conference “Discovering Sustainability Science.” They are not only thinking creatively about science and the environment, they are applying complex ideas for a more sustainable future. I truly believe they are the next generation of environmental innovators.”

Sidsel Robards
“The 2016 highlights for me would definitely be visiting our partner schools and speaking to our teachers and students. Their excitement for our program is so great, and it always blows my mind when I visit our labs. The kids are so smart, so full of knowledge and passion for science and sustainability and it gives me great hope for our future! “

MariaJose Aparicio
“I feel incredibly proud for joining NY Sun Works. To have the opportunity to work with amazing people for a wonderful project. I am proud to be involved in grant proposals and being able to contribute to the the effort of reaching more students and teaching them the science of sustainability to embrace a better future”

Nathaniel Coburn
“This was a tremendous year of growth and creativity at NY Sun Works. When I started here, we were a small team of 4, and now we’ve more than doubled in size and capacity, and I’m proud of the collective job we’ve done to get to this point, ULEIA award and the first successful leg of our collaboration with the Brooklyn Borough President’s Office are clear evidence of that. I was especially and personally proud this year of the work we’re doing in curriculum development and assessment. Not only did we finish three new units of curriculum for middle and high school students, but we have learned that In terms of assessment, we were finally able to collect enough data this year to say with confidence that our curriculum—and the Greenhouse Project program as a whole—is working. It’s been a lot of fun to work on and to see us grow like this.”

Dave Hazan
“I feel proud of the dozens of existing Labs that we’ve helped to maintain along with the new ones we’ve built this year. I feel the most proud when I see students using the skills they learned from their teachers and our program to build their own hydroponic system. It’s great to see them thinking outside the box and gaining practical skills that can be useful for the rest of their lives!”

Linda Mansdorf
“Since joining NYSW in June, my contribution has been creating processes related to the company’s finances (budgeting, invoicing, etc.). I’m still learning and working on creating more useful systems for the team; and I continue to be impressed by everyone’s commitment to NYSW’s mission. According to Dame Ellen MacArthur, “If every young person that left education saw a circular economy, that would change the world.” I’m proud to be part of NYSW, an organization that, by its very nature, is on course to do just that!”

Nick Strelov
“One day we had a group from a senior center come to one of our greenhouse locations to learn about hydroponics and aquaponics. While many from the group had previous gardening experience, this was their first introduction to hydroponics and I was ecstatic to be able to facilitate that novel experience. This joy was furthered by their amazement with the systems and their own nostalgia driven joy as some of them recalled their times tending Victory Gardens. To be able to introduce and share methods of farming that I love with a group of individuals with their own stories and methods to share was one of the most fulfilling days of which there are many to choose from”

Lisette C. Tiburcio
“My year 2016 at NYSW was very insightful and productive, as I’m learning more each day about Hydroponics, Aquaponics, Sustainability Sciences and Hydroponics systems. At MSC333 where I spend most of my time, Shakira included in the curriculum the ability for students to see the entire reproductive system of plants by allowing a few herbs and leafy greens to grow from seed to plant to flowering cycles, then the students had an opportunity to experience the wonders of nature, as part of hands on learning on sustainable sciences. The children collected seeds from our lettuces plants and planted those as an experiment to see if seeds would be viable for reproduction. To our surprise and delight they had a 100% germination rate of all seeds planted, in turn those lettuces were enjoyed in a delicious salad on a communal table setting, sharing their hard work with other students was very rewarding. Can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store for NYSW and all our future generations “Greeners” and their ability to enjoy and learn all about environmental sciences. Thank you NYSW, Happy Holidays & Prosperous New Year 2017”

Jennifer Prescott
“I was happy and proud to help encourage & participate in Sojourner Truth Middle School’s terrifically successful open house in their hydroponic classroom lab on Jan. 27th. “The Green Room” kick-off included student led tours of the systems, a student designed power point explaining hydroponics, and cooking demos featuring classroom harvests of basil (pesto), tomatoes, peppers and lettuces.

In addition to the attendance of city council representatives, community & school board representatives, East Orange Mayor, Lester Taylor, gave a supportive, encouraging speech, commending Sojourner Administration, teachers and students on their successful classroom greenhouse/lab. Paulette Salomon, East Orange Educational Technology Supervisor also took the podium.

The Sojourner Truth Middle School’s open house is a great example of the benefits of opening the lab doors to the greater community and share what’s happening inside. As the Sojourner program stated:
“A sustainable hydroponic classroom can serve as an ideal hands-on learning opportunity, not only to teach about food and nutrition, but to empower our children to make educated choices regarding their health and impact on the environment”

Oliver Pulver
“One of the best things about working at New York Sun Works is being able to help teach students sustainable farming techniques. Earlier this month at P.S. 84 in Brooklyn, we were working on a large harvest. To help out, the teacher brought in students who stayed after school to assist with the work. Many of them were excited and expressed an interest in the idea that they one day could have a job working on a sustainable hydroponic farm”

“Working with New York Sun Works for the past few months has been a wonderful experience for me. I have learned so much about sustainability education and local food production. It has been very rewarding to see the plants and fish progress, be challenged, and thrive. Watching the teachers and children working through the curriculums and combining theoretical and hands-on learning has been great as well. From seeding to harvesting, every step of the process has been interesting and fun. One of the things I have appreciated the most is the way in which sustainability concepts are applicable both in the greenhouse and in life. On a particularly difficult day after the presidential election, my spirits were lifted when I saw a sign that the kids put up outside of P.S. 333, which highlighted the importance of diversity in survival. Diversity is essential both in nature and in human societies, and this is an important life lesson that is highlighted in sustainability education”



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