Water Quality, Education and Green Infrastructure: Hii Partners with East River State Park

The Human Impacts Institute (Hii) is proud to announce an exciting new partnership for our Experiential Education programs with the East River State Park, located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Through this partnership, Hii will be providing a series of new educational, beautification and sustainability programs geared toward benefiting the local community.

The first of this series will be an 8-week water monitoring program, in partnership withGLOBE, aimed at giving local high school students the opportunity to get out of the classroom and into the field to learn about their natural environment. Over the course of this program, participating students will take and maintain their own data, testing both East River water and rainwater to see how properties such as temperature, pH, and pollution levels change over time. Student data will then be used to teach students about the interconnectedness of river environments, weather systems and human activities, as well as the impact that those activities have on the waterways right in their own backyard. Students will also be encouraged to design creative ways in which to present their findings so that they can inform others in the community about what they have learned. This program, open to local high school students at participating schools, will begin in the Spring of 2011.

The Human Impacts Institute will also be running a park beautification project which will bring in local members of the community to participate in both weeding and maintenance of the existing trees and native plant areas on the park grounds. Through this ongoing program, members of the public will learn how to properly care for trees and open grassy areas in order to ensure the health and beauty of the park and its plant life. This will include experiential training on watering and caring for tree beds, as well as information on how to properly remove and dispose of unwanted weeds which compete with desired plants and tarnish the park aesthetic. This program will begin in the late spring and is open to all members of the public who wish to participate.

Additionally, the Human Impacts Institute has been asked to provide new green infrastructure for the East River State Park. This will include the installation of a rainwater harvesting system in order to collect normally-wasted rainwater for use in the park, as well as creating a composting area for recycling organic park wastes into compost for local plants. Construction on these systems will begin soon, and both will be functional by the late spring. All will be welcome to visit and observe how these sustainable infrastructures work.

We invite all members of the community to take advantage of our new programs. For more information on this partnership, please email Info@HumanImpactsInstitute.org

by Arianne Donar, 2011 Human Impacts Institute Environmental Education Intern

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