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Food

Hydroponic Science Lab at P.S. 17 Henry David Thoreau Officially Opens

December 19, 2019

ASTORIA – New York City Council Member Costa Constantinides on December 18 joined with students, faculty, and staff of P.S. 17 Henry David Thoreau, representatives from the Department of Education, and New York Sun Works to unveil the school’s new hydroponic science lab.

“Hydroponic labs offer unparalleled hands-on lessons that open students up to the world of science,” said Council Member Constantinides, District 22. “I am so thrilled to see the new lab at P.S. 17 Henry David Thoreau is already showing our students the wonders of growing their own food in innovative ways. I cannot wait until every school in our Council District has an operational facility by next fall.”

“We are honored to partner with Council Member Costa Constantinides and P.S. 17 to bring 21st century science and sustainability education into the classroom,” said.

Manuela Zamora, Executive Director of New York Sun Works. “The NY Sun Works Hydroponics Labs will provide students with the opportunity to grow food while learning hands-on about science and climate education, as well as food justice and community service. Moreover, it will provide bountiful harvests of leafy greens for the greater school community.”

Now that it is fully operational, the P.S. 17 greenhouse classroom will give students the chance to explore Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and sustainability topics while growing fruits, vegetables and herbs with cutting-edge hydroponic technology.

P.S. 17 Henry David Thoreau is the fifth school to receive Council Member Constantinides’ support, and officially open within the last two years. The Council Member funded construction of the $160,000 science lab through the Fiscal Year 2019 budget, which took effect in July 2018. It was one of six schools to receive a lab under that year’s budget along with Long Island City High School, P.S. 171, P.S. 85, Q300, and the Young Women’s Leadership School. New York Sun Works works with the Department of Education to teach educators about lab programming to ensure they get the most out of these facilities.

New York Sun Works science labs and urban farms operate as an integrated part of the school’s curriculum and aligns with the New York City and New York State science standards. The program provides today’s generation with 21st century skills and a new way of learning science.

Within just the last few years, Constantinides has been able to secure funds for a new hydroponic science or STEM lab at all schools in his Council District. Interactive learning is integral to the Council Member’s Science 2050 initiative, which seeks to prepare western Queens students for careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. These will be the leading careers of the future that provide a pathway to the middle class for families who need it the most.

Council Member Costa Constantinides represents the New York City Council’s 22nd District, which includes his native Astoria along with parts of Woodside, East Elmhurst, and Jackson Heights. He serves as the chair of the City Council’s Environmental Protection Committee and sits on three additional committees: Sanitation, Resiliency, and Technology.

For more information, visit council.nyc.gov/costa.

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