Solar roofs and gardens teach NY students about sustainability

Solar panels installed on the roof of a public school in New York City are offering students the opportunity to learn lessons on climate change and other environmental concerns. In 2003, Professor Vicki Sando created a garden in the Greenwich Village School terrace that didn’t really catch on at first. It was only 10 years later that she managed to install a solar panel and transform the school’s rooftop garden into the 15,000 square feet of plant life it is today.

“What we try to do is integrate it into what they’re already learning because, to be honest, their day is already packed with requirements, whether it’s English or math or science,” Sando said. “For solar panels, we’ll talk about energy. We made connections between plant study. Plants are little solar cells. I had my fifth graders take apart a solar calculator and show them how it worked. We don’t have a stand-alone curriculum on solar, but we’ll do projects where we’ll fold it into it.”

The facility allows students to understand how a clean and renewable energy generator works and how important it is to the environment.  The project was an incentive to the city and state and US$28 million will be invested for solar panels to be installed in 24 public schools until the summer of 2016. Meanwhile, students at Greenwich Village School continue to practice gardening and learn about sustainability through its green terrace.

“The generations of kids now, especially in elementary school, they’re going to have a really hard time,” Sando said. “If they don’t have that interest or exposure to our environment, they’re in trouble. I mean, we already are in trouble right now. You want to present it so they’re not scared, but you want to empower them.”

Via: Capital New York

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