June 22, 2023
Rep. Yvette Clarke and NY Sun Works Bring Sustainability and Climate Science to 20 Brooklyn Schools
With schools soon closing for the summer, and students departing from their hydroponic classrooms, we’re getting ready to build new labs in schools across the city once again. Last week, we invited Congresswoman Yvette Clarke of NY’s 9th District to her Brooklyn alma mater Edward R. Murrow High School to announce that through her generous support, we’re building 18 new hydroponic classrooms and 2 new workforce development programs in schools throughout her district!
During her visit to Edward R. Murrow, Rep. Clarke shared her thoughts on the importance of climate education with educators, principals, and students from her Brooklyn district, as well as insights from her time as a student on the school’s STEM track years ago. She also listened as students from Murrow’s Greenhouse Club shared how hydroponics have enriched their in-school experience, and how sustainability science has inspired them to continue their studies over the summer and beyond. Afterward, the student farmer-scientists guided guests including Rep. Clarke through their hydroponic greenhouse and indoor aquaponic systems, which host a variety of flourishing crops from basil and lettuce to marigolds and strawberries. They also demonstrated a few of the skills they’ve learned in caring for these systems, including water quality and pH testing, and how to harvest from the various systems types.
Through this $800,000 investment, we’re igniting the spark of lasting change in local communities throughout the 9th Congressional District. Using hands-on science and cutting-edge hydroponic systems, students in our program learn the importance of making environmentally responsible choices, giving them the tools and knowledge they need to successfully navigate a climate-altered future. Through cultivating a deep understanding of the science behind sustainability, we hope to train a generation of future climate leaders, scientists, activists, and more, who will be the change they wish to see in their communities. Additionally, our Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) Workforce Development Program will help connect high school students with potential careers, internships, and post-secondary education opportunities in fields related to science and urban farming. For students who come from low-income neighborhoods in New York, these new connections can make a substantial difference in overcoming comparatively significant barriers to entry.
Our mission goes beyond the walls of the hydroponic classroom, with a far-reaching approach that emphasizes students’ ability to share their passion for the environment with friends and family. By fostering a personal connection with sustainability science concepts through caring for plants of their own, we hope students will continue to consider their impact on the planet no matter what career path they choose to follow. We need sustainability-minded leaders in all fields, not just indoor farming and scientific study. Without politicians, activists, educators, and so many others, making meaningful changes to protect the climate would be virtually impossible. Every student in the over 300 schools we partner with has the potential to become the next Yvette Clarke by making a meaningful difference in the lives of those in their community. And while it will take each and every one of us doing our part to address the environmental challenges of today, after hearing from these student leaders, we’re confident in the future of sustainability science.