With the start of the new school year, as part of National Wildlife Federation’s Greenpoint Eco-Schools program, Sustainability Coaches will collaborate with students and staff to purposefully integrate sustainability practices across the school culture, curriculum, and infrastructure at P.S. 31, P.S. 34, P.S. 110, and M.S. 126. We asked the Sustainability Coaches about what Greenpoint students should be learning about sustainability and their community, and what they are most looking forward to in their new roles.
Fran Agnone, P.S. 110 Sustainability Coach
Our students should be learning that they have a voice in the decisions being made around them–at school, home, and in their community. Through individual and collective action, citizens of any age can have a significant impact on the everyday practices that impact our environment and each other. I am most looking forward to building relationships with Greenpointers of all ages and I hope to find ways to bring people together on issues of sustainability in and outside the classroom. We can’t undo the oil spill, but we can talk about what we’d like our lives to be like today and into the future and take actionable steps to get there.
Tina Wong, P.S 34 Sustainability Coach
Our students should understand that their actions are impactful, to themselves and to each other. What they choose to do (or not do) makes a difference. In order to make changes, to make things better, children need to first learn to love and appreciate the environment. We need to cultivate this type of appreciation through real life interactions with nature, with people, with the community. Then they can learn about the problems/issues we faces, specifically, the Greenpoint community. Finally, we challenge them to come up with solutions, to take responsibility, and to be pro-active. In doing so, we are developing compassionate leaders who have the tools to make the world a better place.
I hope to start the conversation of change and why it is necessary, to take time to think about our regular everyday decisions and behavior and connect that with the bigger picture.
Alison Schuettinger, P.S. 31 Sustainability Coach
In order to learn about sustainability and the local Greenpoint community, students will practice observing, raising critical questions and thinking in systems. Sustainability is much more then recycling or greening buildings, it is the Big Picture. It is interdependence, change, diversity, cycles, systems, place; the foundation of living life with meaning. When curriculum and lessons are place-based, then students will have opportunities to engage directly with their community. As a facilitator, I hope to achieve a strong Eco Action team that will take the lead on embedding sustainability in the curriculum, meeting metrics for our 5 pathways, and ultimately creating a culture that is just and thriving for all.
Fai Walker, M.S. 126 Sustainability Coach
Students must understand that the world is connected; that they are connected and that what we do makes a difference. They must learn how to decode the world that they live in; to recognize patterns, to understand how things change over time; to stand in the question and seek to understand everything from multiple perspectives; to be curious; to not jump to conclusions; to consider both short and long term consequences of their actions; to understand how their own perception of reality can limit their future…in a nut shell to be critical thinkers who care about other people, the environment and create/find their passion and purpose in life that will sustain them.
The Greenpoint Eco-Schools program is made possible with funding provided by the Office of the New York State Attorney General and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation through the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund.