John Dewey HS Expands Marine Bio Volunteers
By Lane Rosen
Every year, John Dewey High School (JDHS) Marine Biology students try to expand marine environmental education to include the outdoor environment by organizing coastal cleanups along Coney Island Creek in Kaiser Park. JDHS works with the staff of Partnerships for Parks and a local partner group, the Friends of Kaiser Park who have supported hundreds of local volunteers who want to play an active role in maintaining the park and its waterfront. These types of partnerships help make the cleanup days easier for the students and teachers because they provide tools, supplies and on-site support.
The students themselves show leadership by organizing and managing information tables during the cleanup projects. The students have set-up marine fossil displays, marine-related arts and crafts projects, and water quality experiments. They use these opportunities to share information about the dangers of pollution. Last fall Partnerships for Parks, through its Catalyst Program, and a Parsons School consultant, offered JDHS an opportunity to participate in an urban waterfront planning and development project where the students became urban planners for their local park. We are hopeful that experiences working in the park can turn youth into urban planning and marine professionals. Through our youth, and because of local waterfront access, we are fulfilling our mission to bring science, technology, and education to the larger community.
In terms of serving the community, JDHS HOSA (Health Occupations) students along with JDHS faculty promote cancer awareness by tabling at public events like our Kaiser Park cleanups. Several of our students and staff are cancer survivors sharing their personal stories to educate the Coney Island Community. Further, HOSA students have organized several autism walks to promote autism awareness.
JDHS Robotics placed 12th among NYC teams this year. The students have built and held robotics demonstrations at Kaiser Park events such as “It’s My Park Day”, as a way to expand the local audiences and interest in technology and engineering. The team built an ROV under a Partnerships for Parks grant to clean up the bottom of the creek and take underwater pictures.
JDHS science students will host a free tree giveaway on Sunday May 4th working in partnership with NYRP, Partnerships for Parks and Friends of Kaiser Park. Large numbers of trees were lost to Super Storm Sandy in Coney Island and the event will help restore trees in the Coney Island community and raise awareness about the need for tree replanting in Kaiser Park and throughout NYC.#
Lane Rosen is a science teacher at John Dewey High School in Brooklyn.