April 12, 2023
Climate Science on Coney Island with Congressman Hakeem Jeffries
“You will be the future sustainable scientists, environmentalists, urban farmers, and climate change activists and leaders that we need for our country, and for our world.”-Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, addressing farmer-scientists at Rachel Carson High School and IS 303 Herbert S. Eisenberg.
We’re making great strides toward a greener, more sustainable NYC this April thanks to generous funding from Minority Leader and Congressional Rep. Hakeem Jeffries. Together, we’re building a pipeline of sustainability and climate science education, giving students the opportunity to learn about our planet and urban farming throughout all of their years in school. With the opening of 12 new hydroponic labs in NY-08, Rep. Jeffries and NY Sun Works will be providing these opportunities for students in Brooklyn, from Bed-Stuy to Brighton Beach.
Last year, Rep. Jeffries was introduced to our program at PS 158 The Warwick Community School, where he saw how our program helps students grow healthy veggies and aromatic herbs from seed to harvest right in their classroom, all while learning the sustainability science behind the issues facing our planet’s climate and how their communities can help. While we were excited to share the many boons of our program, we also knew that together we could achieve more. This April, Rep. Jeffries returned to NY Sun Works partner classrooms at IS 303 Herbert S. Eisenberg and Rachel Carson High School for Coastal Studies, to announce funding for 12 new hydroponic labs in Brooklyn public schools.
Through this Brooklyn-focused expansion, we want to strengthen the ties between new and existing partner schools, creating a network of sustainability-minded educators and students who can learn and grow together in NY-08. While building new hydroponic farm classrooms for schools makes a substantial difference in their communities, providing students who love plants, science, and the environment with a safe place to pursue their passions can make a substantial difference in the lives of individual learners. Students engaged in our program have better academic outcomes and higher attendance rates, meaning that even if STEM is not their passion, having a consistent reason to invest in coming to school helps them achieve whatever their academic or professional goals may be.
Connecting students to both their local community and to a brighter future is of paramount importance to our mission of building a sustainable New York. In encouraging farmer-scientists to tackle the sustainability challenges of today, we want them to feel empowered to take action, follow their passions, and be the change they wish to see. New York has long offered opportunities like these to well-connected schools in select neighborhoods, but with the help of Rep. Jeffries, we’re opening new doors to professional and academic opportunities for students who may historically have faced more barriers to entry. Like the veggies and greens growing in classrooms at this very moment, we want students to grow to reach their full potential and do so while feeling safe, supported, and hopeful about their futures.