A Visit to Brooklyn Bridge Park Environmental Education Center

Once an abandoned area, Brooklyn Bridge Park slowly transitioned into a model destination for environmental science, green design and public recreation. In September 2015, Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy opened the Environmental Education Center located at 99 Plymouth Street.  The Center features interactive programming related to the park’s historic identity, sustainable construction and ecological implications with noteworthy highlights such as the touch tank and the structural model of the Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Freshkills Park staff had the privilege to tour the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy Environmental Education Center in February 2016 and observe some of the Center’s immersive educational programs in April. The program Rove the Cove allowed students to learn about the East River by acting as scientists and determining the water’s salinity and dissolved oxygen. Afterwards, the students ventured outside to collect, examine, and identify living and non-living things found along the shore. Students were excited to discover a collection of items from seaweed, shell fragments, and brick debris from former site operations. They hoped to find the Asian shore crab, a species they had just learned about during the program. Alas, to no avail.

The Sustainable Landscape program welcomed students to Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 1 where they conceptually and physically learned about the practice of reducing, reusing, and recycling. Pier 1 features green design as exemplified by the ubiquitous use of granite prospect stone and long-leaf yellow pine lumber both salvaged from the deconstruction of old New York City infrastructure.  Students sat on granite stone, recycled from the Roosevelt Island Bridge reconstruction, while learning about water filtration in the context of pervious and impervious surface.

The Environmental Education Center’s programs cater to students from Grades K through 12 and are aligned with the Common Core learning standards. The Center welcomes the general public during open hours as well.

Additional information is available at http://www.brooklynbridgepark.org/activities/classroom.

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