Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Here is my final poster.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

NYC Internship

The Council on the Environment's Learn it Grow it Eat it Project will be hiring 2 project assistants for 7 weeks this summer to work in 2 community gardens in the Bronx supervising high school youth teams in the gardens and doing healthy eating outreach in the community.
The job announcement is copied below.

Summer Internship Available

Learn it, Grow it, Eat it Project Assistant Internship

Qualifications: College graduate or commensurate experience, willing to
work outdoors with teenagers, urban horticulture, experience and/or interest in urban gardening, interest or background in food, health and environmental issues especially healthy eating, food access and community organizing, computer proficient, Spanish a plus.

Job Description: The Council on the Environment of New York City (CENYC)
is a privately funded citizens' organization in the Office of the Mayor.
CENYC promotes environmental awareness and solutions to environmental problems. In Fall 2006 CENYC launched its “Learn it, Grow it, Eat it”
(LGE) project in five high schools and 2 community gardens in the Morrisania section of the South Bronx. The project encourages young people to take control of their health through nutrition education and improved food access in their schools and community. It has an in-school component that focuses on healthy eating and the environment, and a garden component where students learn to grow their own vegetables. This summer we are hiring 15 high school students from our program to maintain the community garden plots over the summer and to spread the word about healthy eating in the south Bronx.

Under the guidance and supervision of CENYC’s LGE team, project assistant interns will supervise five teenage interns in the community gardens and doing outreach and education in the community. Specifically, in the gardens they will help to plant, weed, water and harvest and other garden upkeep projects. In the community they will help the teens to organize education tables at farmers markets and other public spaces, disseminate information, and conduct surveys to identify healthy eating options in the neighborhood.

Project Assistants will also assist in evaluating the success of the project and the performance of the teen interns.

CENYC is an equal opportunity employer.

Schedule: Monday – Friday, 10-4PM,
July 5th to August 21st 2007,

To apply: Send cover letter and resume (e-mail preferred) by May
18, 2007 to:

Contact: Lenny Librizzi or David Saphire Council on the Environment of New York City (CENYC)
51 Chambers Street room 228
New York, New York 10007
212-788-7927 / 7930 phone
212-788-7913 fax

Salary: $18/hour

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Bloomberg Draws a Blueprint for a Greener City

see full article here

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Garden Mosaics in society

Digital Era? No Educator Left Behind!

This poster was very interesting and illustrative. It called my attention greatly, since I recall hearing about the Digital Divide in 1998, while I was in my home country, as I learned how some people have access to information, communication, and technology, while others don’t have access to that resource. Technology, today, is everywhere. This poster says that yes, you may have the access to technology, but you also have to have the right attitude and the skills to know how to take full advantage of technology.
I like the approach that this poster takes, as it relates the “digital divide” concept to Garden Mosaics, an international environmental education program targeted to youth which makes use of websites, DVD’s and Internet to decrease the digital divide. How often are Garden Mosaics implemented and what are the effects? Through interviews, observation, and analysis, the researchers studied the attitudes, the degree of access, and the skills of EE. Considering that Garden Mosaics are very beneficial to youth, those who used Garden Mosaics need to be more resourceful in sharing their knowledge with educators, and those who did not use Garden Mosaics showed interest, after discovering how beneficial Garden Mosaics may be. Garden Mosaics need more implementation and application.

Exploring Agriculturally-Based Environmental Learning in Southern Africa

This study explores the role of agriculture towards environmental learning. I noticed that South Africa, Malawi and Zambia take a different approach than USA. South Africa, Zambia, and Malawi use promotion of sustainable agriculture to implement agriculture into schools and education, but USA uses a different approach: Garden Mosaics. However, what was found was that no matter how different the agriculture and environmental learning may be in different countries, he results overlap. There is always sharing of knowledge and skills, learning, and evidence of action and change. What are the effects on society of the different approaches?

4/24/07 Readings...

Garden Mosaics: Neighborhood Exploration, Gardener Story, & Action Project in South Africa

I liked this article very much because of the level of detail that was obviously put into planning these activities. It also gave me a clearer understanding of Garden Mosaics. Students got a hands-on experience and had the oppportunity to discover/explore their neighborhoods.
The article addressed how Garden Mosaics can be used as a tool to connect youths with elder gardeners to learn about the connections between science, people, culture, and
plants. It also stated that this is a way of improving neighborhoods. It was especially interesting to learn that in South Africa, community gardens often were located on
school grounds because this provided security, water, and land.
Cornell Students implemented three programs there: Neighborhood Exploration, Gardener’s Story and an Action Project.
The Neighborhood Exploration created an opportunity for students to see the way the land was used in their community. It allowed the learners to create physical images and then see if there were features missing or common within their community. It also allowed students to find places in their neighborhood where they could obtain fresh food, learn new things, play soccer or netball, and talk with friends. Students were prompted to take photos and collect symbolic items from each place.
The final process for the students was to place the symbols on their maps and create a key.

Gardener’s Story
Participants developed an oral history and took photographs illustrating a gardener's planting practices and “planting tips,” and the connections between those practices and the gardener’s culture. I was struck by what an incomparable educational resource/opportunity the Gardener’s Story could be for students hearing it and visitors reading it.
The Gardener Story is another great way for the learners to discover their community, this time through the eyes of elder gardeners. It provides an opportunity for learners to connect with elders and important community members.

Action Project
Youth applied what they learnt during their earlier investigations and conducted an Action Project to benefit the gardeners and their community. I felt this part was the most worthwhile for the students because now this is their chance to give back to their neighborhood.

Digital Era: No Educator left Behind!

This poster was very helpful especially in terms of my research project. I was impressed with the study and also the results. The study sought to answer two questions:
1) How do urban educators’ computer access skills, and attitudes, influence their implementation of EE programs?
2) How do NYC community educators use the Garden Mosiacs digital resources?

The researchers interviewed 8 community educators from different NYC community organizations and after-school programs.

They found that educators attitudes towards digital technologies may limit the use of computers in EE programs. Also, computer access and skills were not found to be limiting factors.
Most educators did not use the Garden Mosaics digital resources because they were unaware of its purpose or did not have time.
In conclusion, the study found that Urban educators need to do a better job illustrating to educators how useful digital technology can be.

I thought this was a neat study overall and that anything that can help the movement is good.


The two posters that I like best were titled “Exploring Agriculturally Based Environmental Learning in Southern Africa” and “Digital Era? No Educator Left Behind!” The first of these posters discusses a study performed to determine what effects agriculturally based community and school learning has had in Malawi, Zambia, South Africa and the United States. In order to do this, researchers used a variety of methods including interviews, journals, data logs, photographs, and their own observations to gather information. In the end, they found that while they did not have a large number of recourses and were not always able to foster school community links, change and action did occur. By the end of their study, they could see a visible change for the better coming out of what they did.
The second poster I examined was based in New York and concerned whether or not the limited technological resources of some urban schools is an issue in fostering this form of learning in the youths that they teach. Through interviews with educators, observations and analysis researchers found that although limited technological resources and skills were not a problem educators chose not to use certain technologies when teaching their students. It all came down to educators’ attitudes towards these new technologies. Many were not yet sure of them. Like all new things, perhaps they simply need more time to get adjusted to it. In the mean time, one wonders if this will negatively affect their students. While this will most likely not be their student’s last chance to be exposed to such technology, the earlier and more often they are exposed the better their skills will be. Then their community and indeed this entire country can benefit.

Poster Analyzation

I liked the poster for "Cost Effectiveness". It was colorful, well organized, easy to read, anevery topic in its own place making finding information easy and fast. Bullet points played a prime part and there were plenty of pictures, graphs and tables to even out the weriting. Bold titles made it easy to find exactly the information that the reader is looking for.

EE in Local and Exotic Contexts was also a good poster. I liked how it had clear anactive and colorful pictures dispersed equally throughout the pster. The different aspects of information: intro, local contexts v. exotic, findings, methods, next steops were all clearly defined. However I don't like the harsh red that is ues for the entire poster. It makes it more intimidating and harder to read. The paragraphs donet look too dense but they could be made less intimidating.
I looked at two posters about the Garden Mosaics program.

The first was "The Impact of the Internet Forum on Dissemination of EE Programs". I like this poster because it is a detailed account of the steps taken place to start the forum. I also like how it sparks discussion and gives a good place for people to discuss various issues. Internet forums are good becaue they are a convinent way for people to continually participate in a discussion.

I also looked at the poster "Environmental Education in Local and Exotic Contexts: Youth Forge Broader Communities for Learning". I like this poster because it is gives a little insight into how youth get interested in the environment. This is a big issue now. At the moment there is no shortage of people becoming interested in the environment and persuing enviromental careeres, but the need for people interested in environmental issues is rising, and it is good to know how people become interested in these critical issues.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Reading 4/23/2007

I am so glad that we had a chance to view the presentations on the website. After seeing the powerpoint presentations such as the exploring ag-based environmental learning in southern Africa. I like the way the poster broke down each area that the researchers engaged in. For example, the poster categorized the methods, preliminary findings, and countries explored. I liked the use of geometric shapes and colors. Another presentation, Cost effectiveness educator training,gave us insight on how to organize our presentation in a different way than the others. This one had charts and information divided into columns. Both were informative and eye catching. I also enjoyed the pictures and content of the other presentations on the website.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Resilience Article
The article investigates the resilience in communities and the effects that community gardening and civic ecology can have on cities. I thought it was interesting that the definition of resiliencein ecology can be applied in the same way to cities. Diversity provides functional redudancy, which says that if one species is lost to the ecosystem, another with similar functions can replace the lost species and keep the ecosystem stable. This same property can be applied to cities where different ethnic, religious groups, community memebers, NGOs, and government officials can all contribute to management of a resource and if group declines, the resource can still be managed properly. The paper states that resilience can be built through nurturing diversity, self-organization, adaptive learning, and positive feedback loops which will allow a city or community to respond to disasters. The researchers argue that urban community greening promotes these necessary qualities in communities. Civic ecology should be used to build resilience through allowing and teaching people to learn, act and organize. They must become accustomed and accepting of change.

2 Articles on Garden Mosaics website

Garden Mosaics Neighborhood Exploration, Gardener Story, & Action Project in South Africa—Jamila Walida Simon
Researchers worked in Durban, South Africa to adapt Garden Mosaics for community gardens in two different schools. In contrast to the U.S., where community gardens are located in neighborhoods, African community gardens are located on school grounds because they provide security, water and land. The paper focuses on adapting learning activities from U.S. gardens to those in Africa. In the U.S., students begin by learning about their surrounding neighborhood and where fresh food and gathering places are found. However, in South Africa, neighborhood was found to be a western term. The program may be different because of this cultural difference and the lack of access to internet. Next in the U.S. students learn gardeners’ planting practices. This project provides the opportunity to connect with elders and learn about the connections with culture. In South Africa, the children had to be reassured that they were not being disrespectful to their elders by asking questions. Finally in the U.S., students use investigations to conduct an Action Project working with gardeners and benefiting the community. In South African schools, the project is similar. The students discuss the collage from the Neighborhood Exploration and the interviews with gardeners. This discuss allows the students to identify issues that need to be addressed in the garden. They analyze what can be done and what materials are needed and carry out the project.

Examining agriculturally-based environmental learning in southern Africa—Marianne Krasny
The poster examines the role of agriculturally-based school-community links in facilitating environmental learning and action in Malawi, Zambia, South African and the U.S. In South Africa, there are Eco-Schools in which the curriculum promotes sustainable environmental management and there are Health Promoting Schools in which food gardens and healthy school environments are used to teach students. In Malawi and Zambia, an organization called Farmers of the Future uses agroforestry in the school curriculum and there is community-based organization to adopt sustainable agriculture and improve social and economic conditions. In the U.S., Garden Mosaics can be equated to these organizations in Africa because it uses community gardens to teach science, multicultural learning, and community action while providing mentoring. Overall, the study found that the three school communities had some roles in common such as being sources of knowledge and skills, providing environmental learning, showing evidence of action and change, sharing knowledge and skills, and promoting incentives for agricultural activities. In addition, the communities’ resources were often limited, there was donor insensitivity, and a culture of dependency. After the study, questions raised were about the connection between environmental understanding and sustainable agriculture practices and ethics. Another question was about the role of school-community links between cultural patterns and sustainable practices.

Resilience and such...

Tidball and Krasny Article

This paper confronts the issue of how we can use the ideas and innovations created by diverse city dwellers to address the risks cities face. "Communities lacking resilience are at high risk of shifting into a different, often undesirable state when disaster strikes. Restoring a community to its previous state can be complex, expensive, and sometimes even impossible. Thus, developing tools, strategies, and policies to build resilience before disaster strikes is essential". I wholeheartedly agree.

I also agree that diversity is the key element in resilience and to retaining functional and structural controls in the face of disturbance. Biological diversity provides functional redundancy, so that if one species declines other species providing the same ecosystem services will step up. I also think this helps with shifting the way people think from disaster relief to identifying what is missing in a crisis to identifying the strengths, skills, and resources that are already in place within communities to continue to function.

Community and Forestry Impacts and the World Trade Center Collapse

This is based on an ecological assessment performed 48 hours after the collapse of the World Trade Center. The writer sees it as an opportunity to learn from the effects of the destruction on September 11, 2001 and hopes it will allow us to better understand the role of the landscape in assisting affected communities to recover and heal.

The reading also dealt with NYC oasis which is an open accessible space information system for New York City. Essentially a database to access open spaces in NYC. I found this to be enlightening. The powerpoint also dealt with the impacts of 9/11 on the surrounding neighborhoods and vegetation. Interestingly enough, there was found to be no permanent damage to air quality.

I found this especially noteworthy:
Due to 9/11:
Heavy deposits (2-4 inches) of cement dust and large accumulations of paper in two block radius from epicenter.
•Samples of the cement dust deposits collected showed elevated levels of lime (calcium oxide--from gypsum board), lead, fiberglass, glass and asbestos (1-2%).
•Elevated pH levels in park and street pit soil samples.
.Particulate accumulations dissipated rapidly outside of the four block radius but significant deposits (1/4 inch-1/2 inch) were detected at 8 block and 12 block intervals (largely along easterly and northerly arteries leading out of impact zone).
•Several mature London Plane Trees uprooted on the perimeter block surrounding ground zero.
•Potentially higher levels of PCBs in ground cover.
•Stress to newly planted parkland and street trees.

Resilience: ability to recover readily from illness, depresion, adversity, or the like.

Plan: a scheme or method of acting, doing, proceeding, making, etc., developed in advance.
Organization: a structure through which individuals cooperate systematically to conduct business.
Adaptive Leaning: learning where a system programs itself by adjusting weights or strengths until it produces the desired output.
Feedback: the return of information about the result of a process or activity; an evaluative response.
Among many other details, what attracted me about the first article were the many examples about how resilience is necessary if a communities and/or city affected by catastrophic events want to recover. This article was informative and touched on coming up with a plan for rebuilding and recovery, on organization, adaptive learning, and feedback. These are concepts of resilience.
One success story is New York, an example of how the concept of resilience was and is still being applied. After the 9/11 event, New York City has shown resilience by performing a plan for rebuilding the destructed site/a preliminary assessment of the situation and what can be done to prevail: resilience. Initiative has been shown through tree planting, EPA tests on air quality, and future plans for reconstruction. This also shows organization. On the other hand, the feedback and adaptive learning role is fulfilled since this initiative to rebuild NYC also has the purpose of providing relief to rescue and recovery workers and to build a sense of community and strengthening society.
First of all, I figured out computers and was able to find the article from last week. I really like that they did research into different cultures and how they garden. I liked the sentiment that much of what is in the latino gardens is more practical than it is a "garden". It benefits those who use the garden much more than anyone on the outside. i think that these types of things in gardens are essential to the idea of a community garden. people should be able to do whatever to their garden so that they can enjoy it the most. if they can appreciate it and really feel a par of it then something has been accomplished.

on this week's article,
I like the idea of increasing resiliance with community greening. I do feel, however that resiliance cannot be looked at so generally. If there is a tragedy, gardening may help people get through the tough times, but there are a lot of factors that affect this asside from the "overall resiliance of the city". the type of tragedy has a great effect on how people handle it. In the case of September 11, it was more of a "we can get through this, we are a strong city, nation, etc." in the case of Katrina, however, it was a natural disaster. there is no way to say "we will stand up to whoever did this to us" because there is no "who". It is possible that greening can help the affected area get through hard times, but I do believe that each situation in each different area must be looked at differently.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Making Scientific posters

This website is a quick guide to making effective scientific posters--very short (ony two slides) and is a good example beacuse it gets its point across

Reduce! Reuse! FREEcycle!!

check it out!


The resilience article was very informative on the benefits greening can bring to cities. The article showed that a plan has to be in place such natural disasters happen so cities can be more resilient.I found it interesting that community greening was not only advocated in the U.S. and that it is an international issue for human well being.I find that community greening would be a good way to empower people of other nations instead of having people as "planners" come in an do projects for third world nations.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


The Krasny-Tidball piece is very representative of the ideas that we have studied thus far in this class, and even in my other classes. I think that the most interesting idea in this paper is the idea that cities are in fact no different from any other ecosystem, they too need diversity to thrive. After studying the history of Johannesburg for my Global Cities class, I have become very sensitive to ideas regarding land use and segregation. The horrible decline, inhumane inequalities and the huge gap between the rich and the poor that existed and continue to exist in Johannesburg seem to be the natural outcomes of homogenous land use planning.
Just to play devil’s advocate, I would like to push against resilience and the use of this word in the paper. To me, words like inequality and resilience have duel meanings because our understanding of them has become entrenched with social connotations. For example, inequality is a word that economists use to describe a social factor that can actually spur the economy. And yet, when we think about inequality, we automatically think of exploitation or oppression. The same goes for the word community, as we discussed in class. Resilience, in this paper especially, seems to have a very positive connotation. But what happens when structures of control that are negative are resilient? Would that imply overall non-resilience because of the uneven capacity to adapt? This arguement could go on and on, like we did in class over the word community...

on another note, i really enjoyed the references to planning and community building. I was able to connect ideas mentioned in my planning classes, like participatory planning ect.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

For those of you making posters...

here is an excellent resource.

toilets and green design

yay for green building and design!

Old Toilets Never Die
Filed under: Recycling, Water conservation, Building and renovation, Green building
08:46 am - April 11, 2007

They just take up landfill space. So do old tubs and sinks. But keeping an old toilet in your house, simply to conserve landfill space, could prove to be a bane on the world's water supply, since old models can use up to 8 gallons per flush whereas some of the newest use as little as 1.3.

What to do, then, with those mile-high piles of inefficient toilets? Well, use them to cover your kitchen counter, of course. EnviroGlas, pioneers in the world of recycled glass tiles and countertops, has recently introduced EnviroMODE, a porcelain terrazzo comprised of ground up bathroom fixtures.

Terrazzo surfaces are made up of an aggregate (about 80 percent) suspended in some sort of resin (20 percent). With traditional terrazzo, the aggregate is usually marble, which comes from quarries that blight scenic landscapes across the U.S. EnviroMODE, on the other hand, proves to be an aesthetic boon, ridding the nation's landfills of valuable porcelain and preventing trash dumps from becoming sinks for our sinks.

Fortunately, the world is...ahem...flush with cast-off fixtures, says Patty Bates-Ballard, director of communications and training at EnviroGlas. They've been sourcing their porcelain from municipal recycling programs and from pre-consumer products that don't meet manufacturer's standards. But still, she says, "We get calls at least once a week from people saying, 'I've got a bunch of toilets, and I want get rid of them."

EnviroMODE is suitable for countertops and floors, ranging from $50 to $90 per square foot for countertop applications and $20 to $30 per square foot for floor and wall tiles. While the epoxy resin is petroleum-based, it meets LEED standards for no-VOC emissions and actually contains a small amount of rapidly-renewable coconut oil. For more info, see or And yes, the porcelain is thoroughly cleaned.

Photos courtesy of EnviroGlas and Jason Woelfel.

© The Green Guide, 2006