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Daily Plant Masthead

Volume XXVIII, Number 5946
Thursday, Sep 19, 2013

Highlights From The Green Teens Summer

NYC Parks’ Green Teens are committed to keeping the City’s parks clean and green by implementing sustainable practices. During the summer, the Green Teens worked on many green projects. They collected bags of recyclable matter, picked up litter in the parks, planted and cared for trees, removed non-native invasive plants, promoted a public recycling initiative, learned about composting and sustainable design, and created an anti-litter video to be shown at an outdoor movie series. Below are some notable highlights of their work.

The Green Teens from Herbert Von King Cultural Arts Center had a great summer, learning ways to become environmentally-conscious by participating in educational workshops.

In Coastal Classroom, the teenagers learned how to net fish, and made an amazing discovery - a tropical fish that is normally found in the Gulf Stream! They participated in the Learning Gardens, where they learned composting and transplanting. At Bushwick Farms, they studied the fundamentals of hydroponics and aquaponics, and discovered how to create an organic pesticide. They also learned how to recycle old t-shirts into a brand new design.

They also took part in a six week cooking and nutrition program provided by City Harvest, which culminated in an Iron Chef competition. They helped the community through volunteering at the Golden Harvest Food Pantry and National Night Out.

The Staten Island Green Teens had another exciting and busy summer. The Green Teens were active in many borough events, providing assistance and information to the public about the merits of recycling and energy conservation.
Green Teens brought out the trash-eating "Feed the Dragon" cart to events and programs during the summer. An eye catcher, the Dragon was a hit with children and parents. Wherever it went, it left filled with empty plastic containers and bottles, leaving behind a message of proper and planet-friendly trash disposal.

They also took part in many horticulture events. They pruned, cultivated and removed weeds from the surroundings and grounds of Faber Park. They constructed a permanent composting area and planted a small green house herb garden to promote sustainability.

In addition, they also took to Staten Island’s shorelines for a cleanup weekend. In areas affected by Hurricane Sandy, they collected recyclable cans and bottles, and disposed of debris such as entangled string, plastic bags, assorted elements and wood from closed playground areas and fence lines.

During the NYC Parks Sustainable Playground Design Workshop, they were given an educational opportunity to plan a redesign of Faber Park. With six teams of Green Teens designers and with the help of concept and design interns Piranha Shah, from Parsons New School for Design, and Khyati Saraf from Harvard University Graduate School of Design, the teenagers displayed their design plans to other Green Teen groups, as well as a local Faber community group, El Centro de la Communidad. The designs will be displayed at an It's My Park Day Redesign Carnival at Faber Park on September 14th.

The Queens Green Teens program enrolled Summer Youth Employment Program participants to participate in anti-litter and recycling efforts this summer which resulted in the collection of 1,860 bags of litter and recyclables, maintained 13 flowerbeds, potted over 1,000 plants, and adopted 40 tree pits.

In addition, Recreation Center youth members seeking a free sustainable workshop enrolled in the Green Teens program to learn how to design a sustainable park. They learned important sustainable design which they used to redesign the areas around the Al Oerter Recreation Center in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. They also learned how to use Google sketch-up to create a 3D video rendering and a small scale model of their design.

Queens Recreation would like to thank their awesome interns who developed and coordinated the program Helen Ho (Architecture - Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) Katherine Nguyen, (Landscape Architecture - University of Georgia), and Jessica Maloney (Science of Natural Environmental Systems - Cornell University).

In addition, the success of the programs is also attributed to Recreation Center Managers, CRC Coordinator Jessica Ugalde, Operation Supervisors and staff especially Far Rockaway Borough Analyst Antina Johnson, CPW Elvin Sallas, and Gardener Latisha Williams and guest speakers Adriana Jacykewycz from Forestry & Horticulture and our Energy Manager, Matt Brown.

The NYC Parks Sustainable Playground Design Workshop in the Bronx was hosted at St. Mary’s Recreation Center. The ten teenagers were taught by interns Luis Maldonado and Patrick-Mayo Johnson, who gave them the necessary sustainable design tools to map out their ideas. The teens created a large scale model of their park and one minute sustainability video. In addition, the Bronx Recreation Staff members, Theresa Marrero and Ray Combest, contributed arts & craft creativity and imagination. The Green Teens attended the Urban Energy & Public Spaces Lecture held at the Arsenal, for which they were so excited and honored.

The Green Teens team created and conducted a futuristic recyclable/sustainable puppet show performance for the Bronx summer camps. Each morning, the Bronx team visited various playgrounds, in which they collected over ten to fifteen bags of recyclable materials resulting to approximately 300 bags of recyclables. Rewards were earned during competitions. They also created a recyclable garden that is currently being displayed at St. Mary’s Recreation Center.

NYC Parks is looking for more Green Teens! For more information, please email us at

Submitted by
Stephanie Jones, Rosemary Paul, Brett Copp, Deborah Grant, Cathy Mitchell


“Don't ever take a fence down until you know the reason it was put up.”

G. K. Chesterton
(1874 - 1936)

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