Greenpoint Gazette

GCEF Check-In: MS 126 Inaugurates “Native” Garden

BY Tanay Warerkar

John Ericsson Middle School 126 inaugurated a new garden facing Leonard Street Wednesday, a project made possible by the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund (GCEF) grant awarded to the school last year.

The Native Plant Garden is, as the name suggests, a garden that promotes the growth of native species, and at the same time helps the school improve storm water filtering and lower air temperatures. It also provides a site where parents and students can practice greening activities and learn more about the environment.

“We are so lucky to be reaping the rewards available to us because of GCEF,” said Amber Moore, the Magnet Coordinator for the school. “This project will help us bring back healthy living and help beautify the school and the environment.”

Last year, the school received a grant of just over $24,000 as part of the GCEF small grant fund recipients. The Center for Educational Innovation, Public Education Association, and Solar One, and La Casita Verde all collaborated to make the project a possibility for the students at MS 126.

Students did everything from mulching and weeding the land in preparation for installing the plants, to reading the blueprints and implementing the designs at the site.

“It’s really important to give back to the community,” said Maria Ortega, the Principal at MS 126, a former student of the school herself and a lifelong North Brooklyn resident. “It was great to see everybody in the building working together, to see the teachers push for these program, and to see that we are all working together to make a difference in the community.”

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