In Our Schools Today

A Summer of Science and Service

This summer, the Bronx Alternate Learning Center expanded its community-oriented learning projects by presenting students with a unique opportunity to experience science education. Students worked in partnership with The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx River Alliance, and Drew Garden to pilot a monitoring program of vertebrates, macroinvertebrates, and the water quality of the Bronx River. The data generated by students will be used to protect, improve, and restore the Bronx River corridor and greenway into healthy ecological, recreational, education, and economic resources for the communities through which the river flows.

The experience empowered students as activist within the greater Bronx community through the implementation of scientific protocols such as kick-net sampling and the Stroud Leaf Pack Network to determine species richness and species abundance within the Bronx River and its tributaries. Students measured the parameters of water temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, conductivity, and turbidity. The data will support the restoration goals of the Garden’s Forest Program to reduce the impacts of anthropogenic stresses on the native habitat surrounding the Bronx River.

The Bronx Alternate Learning Center is developing a community-oriented learning initiative that utilizes the expertise and/or dilemmas of community-based organizations to address the teaching and learning of students. In the same way that scientists develop their knowledge and understanding as they seek answers to questions about the natural world, students develop an understanding of the natural world when they are actively engaged in real science. With a large number of the world’s population living in an urban setting, it's extremely important to the Bronx to connect its young people with nature and document the impacts of urbanization on peoples’ lives.

The Bronx Alternate Learning Center would like thank Jesesica Arcate Schuler Manager of the Forest at The New York Botanical Garden, Damian Griffin Education Director at the Bronx River Alliance, and Jennifer Plewka of Phipps Community Development Corporation at Drew Garden. 

For more information about science learning standards, visit NYC Education Department's Science Learning Standards and Core Curriculum page or The National Academy of Sciences site.

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