This past Saturday, the Human Impacts Institute (HII) crew participated in City of Water Day on Governors Island. Hosted by the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, City of Water Day is an event which brings together various companies, organizations and city agencies to raise awareness about protecting and improving the New York-New Jersey waterfront.
Situated in the beautiful greenery of Governors Island, participating organizations’ booths housed games, information and other fun activities. At this event, the HII booth was stocked with educational activities for both adults and children. Children and adults had an opportunity to learn the names of native New York State bird and fish species through our memorization game, which often turns into a healthy competition amongst players! Parents and their children were also able to work together with our “Climate Wheel.” Parents were asked water and climate related questions to test their knowledge on the subject, while their kids were able to play Twister based on the corresponding color of the question asked.
But in the HII spirit, these activities spurred knowledge through creative outlets. In an artistic activity, children were asked how they would define pollution and to then draw water pollution they had witnessed on a long sheet of paper illustrating a river. To end on a positive note, children were then asked to “Re-Envision the Waterfront.” Provided with a flowing blue cloth to represent the water, children placed images of what they considered to be positive contributions to a future and possible waterfront. Their options included bike paths, eco-parks, offshore wind turbines and mussels. One eight year old participant was able to explain to the HII crew that mussels act as a natural filtration system within the water to keep it clean and healthy. Impressive!
HII also took this event as an opportunity to continue its mission to build coalitions around worthy causes which help protect our planet. The crew asked event-goers why they would want plastic bags to be banned and then had everyone take a picture with their reasoning. Answers ranged from “plastic bags stink” to more detailed explanations regarding the slow degradation of the plastic which pollutes the environment, but the common thread among all the responses is an indication that people would like to see a change in our consumption patterns.
City of Water Day was an exciting and energetic opportunity for HII and other environmentally concerned organizations to engage the New York City community to inspire positive actions on our environment. For upcoming opportunities to participate in HII events see our events calendar.
By Ani Esenyan, Environmental Services Intern