Enhancing indoor lessons with visits to borough parks

From collecting water samples at Inwood Hill Park to learning about the decomposition process at landfills, to exploring forest ecology, Seeds to Trees, City Parks Foundation’s (CPF) flagship education program, introduced science and nature in the urban environment to children from IS 161 in Harlem, PS 182 in East Harlem, and PS 178M in Inwood.

The Seeds to Trees program offered classroom activities and hands-on field experiences, from October through June, to over 1,770 students and 76 teachers from 20 elementary and middle schools throughout the city, while teaching the importance of caring for city parks.

Young people and their teachers enhanced indoor classroom lessons by visiting parks in all boroughs, including: Marine Park in Brooklyn, Forest Park in Queens, Inwood Park in Manhattan, Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx and Clove Lake Park on Staten Island.

By incorporating these outings into the learning environment young students were able to experience wild life in its natural habitat.

“Throughout the school year, City Parks Foundation’s Seeds to Trees program supported academic objectives by presenting lessons that relate to mandated curricula and scope and sequence, while training teachers to use city parks as extensions of their classrooms,” said Claudia DeMegret, City Parks Foundation’s director of education.

“Each year, our program continues to be in constant demand from school principals attesting to its relevance and impact of providing science learning and teaching in our most under-resourced schools,” says DeMegret.

Since 1992, Seeds to Trees has reached over 18,000 public school children and 800 teachers in underserved communities. The program is designed for elementary schools, first through fourth grades, and middle schools, sixth and seventh grades.

“In addition to reaching students in lower-income areas in the five boroughs, we target schools that are located in more remote areas of the city, such as Far Rockaway, Queens and East New York, Brooklyn, where few other organizations are partnering with these communities,” DeMegret explained.

Founded in 1989, City Parks Foundation provides free park programs throughout the five boroughs of New York City. Reaching more than 600,000 people a year, CPF works in over 750 parks, presenting a broad range of free arts, sports and education programs, and helping citizens support their parks on a local level.

For more details, please check out the website at www.CityParksFoundation.org.

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