After nearly 30 years at PS 110, Principal Anna Cano Amato knows a thing or two about Greenpoint. She also knows how important it is to “keep the community part of the school, and the school part of the community.” All of which serves to explain why the return of the school’s signature “Green Science Week” last Monday, was such a rousing success with parents, students, faculty, staff and community partners ExxonMobil, Broadway Stages and the Greenpoint YMCA.
Expanded from a daylong event last year, “Green Science Week” was the equivalent of a week’s worth of field trips, without the hassle of permission slips and packing lunches. Each day, one grade received a hands-on science lesson from a visiting “professor.” The Botanical Garden stopped by to teach the kids about insects. They planted fresh herbs with the Eagle Street Rooftop Farm and helped install a hydroponic garden. They even got a visit from the Magic Schoolbus, complete with Mrs. Frizzle, played by PS 110 mom Christine Greenwood.
The fifth grade did get to take a short trip, heading over to Lentol Garden to plant bulbs, compost and spread mulch. They learned, from Greenpoint YMCA volunteers, about the numerous types of vegetation at the Garden by participating in a scavenger hunt and completed the project by writing a poem about the experience. The poems, reprinted below, consist of one line from each student, which were then compiled to create the verses.
Fifth grader Vanessa Arrieta marveled at the variety of plants at Lentol Garden. “There was a plant called garlic mustard – I never heard of it before. It smelled very strong.” First grader Colleen Silk said the highlight of her week was planting lemon thyme. She hopes to cook her fresh herbs, but had concerns. “I water it a lot,” she said, “but I think my dad doesn’t water it when I’m at school, so it must be dead when I come home.”
Amato credits the success of “Green Science Week” to her school’s partners, staff and faculty, notably Assistant Principal Anna Rocchio and Parent Coordinator Tara Atson. “Our whole staff understands that we are here for the kids, and that’s what allows us to mesh so well,” she said. “Broadway Stages and ExxonMobil understand the importance of developing partnerships in the community…They understand that they’re here to serve the community. I think that’s crucial.”
During the planning stages, members of the partner companies attended every meeting and were present every day at each event. “It’s important to teach the youth how to love and care for our earth, our community so that they can make Brooklyn a better place,” said Broadway Stages Gina Argento. ExxonMobil community liaison Kevin Thompson said “ExxonMobil is committed to continuing our involvement in the Greenpoint community by supporting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education. Green Science Week shows students that these disciplines are interesting, fun, and offer real possibilities for them as a future career choice.”
Very often, said Amato, science and social studies often get pushed to the back burner in favor of reading and math. Earlier this year, PS 110 dedicated an entire week to social studies, teaching the kids about the 150th anniversary of the launch of the USS Monitor from Greenpoint. “PS 110 is committed not only to giving its students a well rounded education, but one that reinforces the neighborhood in which they live,” she said.
The Secret Garden
By Class 5-403
Plants are blooming, butterflies are flying, and everyone is happy
Compost smelling of grass, leaves, twigs, and bugs
Bright, red berries fill the Holly Tree
A magical place full of wonders and mysteries
Tear-drops from the sky fall on flower-buds and leaves
We played and played, but how sad we could not stay all day
Rumbling trucks under the BQE, passed us by, unseen in our secret garden
Monkey balls poked our excited, sweaty, little legs
Trees covering us from the rain, like a mother protecting her child
Flowers in the cool breeze, like a wonderland of roses, trees, and so much more
Our secret garden was a magnificent adventure, but then, our time was done.
We bid farewell to our marvelous, beautiful secret friends
By Class 5-402
If you visit Greenpoint, Brooklyn
You will see
It’s the place to be.
Lentol Garden smells so sweet
The leaves greet me
When we meet
At the garden we were able to see
Plants and flowers
Bees, leaves, and trees.
All of this shows ultra power
Of our Lentol Garden
Even in a spring shower!
Blooming roses, tulips
Poppies and daisies
Reside with evergreens
and welcoming shady trees.
The papyrus trees
With bark so nimble
Sway in the breeze
To a dance of the trees.
A birdbath attracts the birds
Who enjoy the gardens too.
The birds sing a happy tune,
YEAH! Spring has come again.
Teensy, tiny little bugs
Flowers are so pretty
Even the wiggly worms
Will call out to you!
Who ever thought
The Brooklyn Queens Expressway
Would hide such a garden
Of wonder and delight?
Even as the sun goes down
The beauty will never fade
During the long, dark night.
Lentol Garden is our light
When the sun comes out again
Nature is bright!
So visit the garden
And see the plants and roses smile
It will be worth your while.
As you grow your heart and mind!
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