The Greenhouse Project Transforms NYC School's Vacant Rooftop

Migrated Image

The Greenhouse Project is the vision of NYC parents and educators to create environmental science laboratories on the vacant rooftops of NYC's public schools. The Manhattan School for Children (PS 333) in New York City's Upper West Side, has approval from the School Construction Authority (SCA) and is building a greenhouse that will include solar panels, a hydroponics' growing system, a rainwater catchment system and a weather station to educate the school's 700 students in biology, physics, earth sciences, and the living environment.

Continue reading the plans for The Greenhouse Project's first greenhouse which will include everything from a vermicompost system to an evaporative cooling system and how, in a recession, the project will be funded.

lauren bacall donna karan greenhouse project treehugger image

Fund Raising efforts have included a benefit hosted by Sidsel Robards, Lauren Bacall, Donna Karan, and Nancy Easton (from left to right), in NYC, June 20, 2009. Credit John Berens, NY

MSC Principal Susan Rappaport on Environmental Education

The Manhattan School for Children (MSC) Principal Susan Rappaport is well aware that environmental education for children is vital in creating a positive future for the planet. She says, "We believe that information and education are the tools necessary to prepare future generations for the environmental challenges they will confront." Founded in the early 1990s through the efforts of parents and teachers in New York City's Community School District 3, The Manhattan School for Children (PS 333) is a K-8 public school with students from diverse backgrounds and cultures. Along with partner NY Sun Works, MSC is developing a curriculum that will act as a prototype for other public schools and has funds set aside for a full-time environmental science teacher.

Solar Panels, Rainwater Capture & Evaporative Cooling

The rooftop laboratory at MSC will hold a touch-screen display of energy and weather systems which will aid students' understanding in the relationship between energy, weather, and plant growth, through monitoring humidity, solar radiation, and carbon dioxide within and outside the greenhouse. Building-integrated photovoltaic cells will power fans in the classrooms and will educate students in physics and renewable forms of energy. A rainwater capture system will provide water for evaporative cooling and help supply the 100 gallons of water needed each day to irrigate the greenhouse's crops. The evaporative cooling system will aid students understanding on how to control the climate within the greenhouse, naturally.

NFT, Vine Crop & Aguaponics Systems

Plans to include a Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) system will show students exactly what a plant needs to survive and can produce up to 75 heads of lettuce a week, ideal for nutrient-filled lunches. The greenhouse will boast a Vine Crop System vertically-hung which utilizes space in an urban landscape and an Aquaponics system that will eliminate the need for chemical fertilizers by converting waste into nutrients. A vermicompost system will make use of daily food scraps and will create rich soil to aid the growth of plants in the raised soil beds. Finally, an Integrated Pest Management system will allow students to monitor pest populations and learn about the relationships of predators and prey in nature.

Fundraising Efforts

Fund raising efforts have included a star-studded benefit in May 18, 2009 hosted by Designer Donna Karan, Actress Lauren Bacall and Author Ann Brashares, held at the Urban Zen at The Stephen Weiss Studio. Over 430 attendees contributed $100,000 in raised funds through a live auction. A walk-a-thon was held on June 20, 2009 with a tree-planting ceremony and most recently an online auction on Charity Buzz took place from July 14-30, 2009 through a partnership with Wellness in the Schools.