Summer School for Teachers: Learn How to Bring Sustainability Initiatives to Your Classroom

Starting next Monday, New York City teachers can earn credit for participating in a class on sustainability topics ranging from water to energy to waste.

ny sun works

Participants will learn how to take pH and nutrient readings, harvest vegetables sustainably and plant seeds.

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If the idea of summer school conjures up half-asleep fifteen-year-olds and pathetically underperforming A/C units, teachers take heed: a 36-hour weeklong course from NY Sun Works (who we wrote about last year) is breaking the mold. Starting next Monday, New York City teachers can earn credit for participating in a class on sustainability topics ranging from water to energy to waste. Signups are open until the day before the class starts and can be found by visiting the ASPDP course catalog and entering course code P24.235.ISS15.

Each day, teachers will spend time in the greenhouse at NY Sun Works. Participants will learn how to take pH and nutrient readings, harvest vegetables sustainably and plant seeds. The course also includes a tour of the city’s water supply system and a chance for teachers to make their own hydroponic systems. The hands-on component of the class doesn’t end there: participants will also build solar ovens and make their own kale chips.

Making worm bins with the Lower East Side Ecology Center crafting art projects from plant waste sounds a bit more like science camp than accredited teacher training, but the course includes a valuable curriculum development component as each teacher will walk away with several new lesson plans and will be required to write two of their own.

Can’t make it next week? Sun Works offers the course three times each year and they’ve accommodated pre-K through twelfth grade teachers. And a functioning school garden isn’t a necessary prerequisite for participation: “Whether teachers wish to build a growing space or not, they are still learning about tangible activities that they can do with their students,” course instructor Shakira Provsaoli tells us. “Our mission is to educate teachers who will then pass on knowledge of sustainability to their students.”

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Claire Brown

Claire is the Associate Digital Editor at Edible Manhattan and Edible Brooklyn. When she's not writing about food, she can often be found leading tours at the Union Square Greenmarket.