ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION & ACTION
“Teach your children well…” – Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Our children are our future; our environment is their future. Residents is committed to reaching the youngest of our community members via the Port Washington schools, helping to deepen their understanding of the environment and the role they can play in protecting it. To that end, Residents Forward runs programs starting in elementary school through high school. The programs build in dept and complexity as students move from grade to grade. Residents identifies and funds top environmental educators and institutions around Long Island to run these programs which explore key topics including: recycling, natural habitats, sustainability, global warming, and environmental health. These programs are funded through grants and private donors through Residents, thus this tremendous enrichment is provided at no cost to the school district.
Elementary School Programs
Our innovative Environmental Passport Program, funded by a grant from the Port Washington-based Jaggar Foundation, ties in with the grade level environmental-education programs taught in the Port Washington schools. Passport activities encourage students to act as environmental advocates and educators at home and in the community. Students who complete three passport activities will be recognized as Green Team Leaders and will have the opportunity to work with Residents during the coming school year as ambassadors, helping with both in-school and community-wide environmental stewardship initiatives. Click here to become a Green Team Leader.
- 1st Grade: Gifts from the Earth.
This program, created and presented by Grassroots Environmental Education, introduces our youngest children to some of the gifts that the earth gives us (air, water, soil, sun, and wind) and what we can do as a community to take the best care of them.
- 2nd Grade: Be a Friend to Trees.
Building on “Gifts from the Earth,” our 2nd-grade program, originally conceived by Grassroots Environmental Education, explains the benefits that trees provide to the earth, including a lesson on photosynthesis. The importance of recycling to save trees is also discussed.
- 3rd Grade: Pond Study.
A field trip to Baxter Pond, presented by Alley Pond Environmental Center, helps students become active environmentalists, learning about the pond’s ecosystem. Students see firsthand why they need to be so diligent with recycling and minimizing toxins in our waters.
- 4th Grade: Living with Wildlife.
Students explore the local creatures that share the peninsula with us in this program presented by Volunteers for Wildlife.
- 5th Grade: Aquifer Program.
This more sophisticated program, created and presented by Grassroots Environmental Education, enables students to explore the origins of their drinking water more deeply. Grassroots’ staff teach students basic hydrogeology and the process by which pollutants can contaminate water supplies. Also discussed are the steps individuals, families and communities can take to reduce water use.
- Green Team Leaders.
Students who participate in one of the environmental education programs in school, and who complete the optional Environmental Passport Activities (linked above) are invited to be Green Team Leaders for their school and to work with the HSA Green Committee and Residents Forward on programs that will make their school and town more sustainable. Recent projects include the Get Your Green On campaign, Trash Talking exhibit at Bay Walk, piloting a “Cool the Earth” assembly, planting bulbs in the Blumenfeld Family Park and planting mums around town.
Middle/High School Programs
Residents’ commitment to the youth of Port Washington doesn’t end with Elementary school.
In 2018, Residents Forward piloted the first Youth Climate Summit on Long Island. The full-day summit, attended by 100 students in 8th to 12th grades provided future climate leaders with a keynote address from Dr. John Byrne, president of the Foundation for Renewable Energy and Environment and a contributor since 1992 to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (which was awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize). The Youth Climate Summit also included workshops on topics such as waste, food, water, and careers & education. Students created their own climate action projects, which will benefit our community far into the future.
We thank our Environmental Education and Action sponsors who have made these wonderful programs possible:
The Peter and Jeri DeJana Family Foundation
The Angela and Scott Jaggar Family Foundation
State Senator Elaine Phillips
Carrie & Dave Kerpen
Port Washington Public Library
The RafofskyKrainin Family
Jen and David Rimmer
Rising Tide Natural Market
Bayles Garden Center
Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton
Daniel Gale Sothebys International Realty
T.M. Bier & Associates, Inc.