Bronx Eco-School’s Earth Day Event Showcases Many Aspects of Sustainability

Bronx Theater High School
Danny Steiner helping students learn gardening practices. Photo by Paula Hewitt Amram
Bronx Theater High School is one of eight schools on the John F. Kennedy (JFK) Campus. The JFK Campus building boasts a large solar panel installation that generates 5% of the Facility’s total energy. I was proud to be at the launch of the Mayor’s press announcement last fall, announcing the City’s commitment to install solar panels on 24 more NYC schools by 2016.

As a biology teacher and my school’s Sustainability Coordinator, I work with my student-led Green Team and staff to increase awareness and participation in recycling, composting, energy conservation, and gardening in our school. For Earth Day, April 22, 2015, I planned the first JFK Campus-wide Earth Day event our school, one of the National Wildlife Federation’s Eco-Schools in New York City.

Our school’s Sustainability Coordinators and Green Teams ushered in the Spring inauguration of our newly promoted food scrap drop-off site, known as the JFK Campus Organics Collection, and conducted activities all day in our campus garden, the “Enchanted Garden”.

bronx theater high school
Students helping in the “Enchanted Garden” on campus. Photo by Paula Hewitt Amram
Students and staff were invited to bring in their fruit and vegetable scraps and waste for a weekly weigh-in, coordinated with The Bronx Botanical Garden’s NYC Compost Project. Teachers were given buckets and ECOBags, donated by ECOSAFE ZeroWaste, to collect the compost material. The teachers then received literature and an explanation of what to bring every Wednesday morning so that the waste in the buckets and bags could be weighed by Kathy Vazquez of the NYC Bronx Garden Compost Project.

bronx theater high school
Danny Steiner and student handing out buckets to collect waste. Photo by Paula Hewitt Amram
Later in the day, we scheduled events for students and staff to improve sustainability on campus:

  • PawPaw Tree planting
  • TreesNY Tree ID Treasure Hunt with certified arborist Samuel Bishop, Storage Shed Mural Painting with Paula Hewitt Amram of OpenRoad Park
  • Students planted peas and lettuce seeds to promote sustainable gardening
  • We sampled Mr. Steiner’s Peach Compote and Hot Pickles put up last summer
  • Students cleaned the garden and picked up trash
  • We had a solar display: solar panel, solar oven, and solar car model
  • Green Team members in their designed T-shirts guided the events

See more photos from the day. We had hundreds of teachers, students, and special guests attend including Dr. Sharon Jaye, Director of the NYC Department Of Education’s Sustainability Initiative; Ira Charles Levenberg, Bronx Council for Environmental Quality; Master Composter Jodie Colon; William Doyle, our school’s new principal; and my beautiful wife, Premdai Steiner.

bronx theater high school
The finished mural. Photo by Paula Hewitt Amram
“We’re so encouraged by the efforts of teachers like Danny Steiner, whose passion for sustainability inspires students and staff to become engaged in improving the environment at school and beyond, after Earth Day has come and gone,” says Emily Fano, Senior Manager of NYC Eco-Schools. “It’s a cliché to say this but it really is true: for teachers like Danny and his students, and Sustainability Coordinators and students at many of our 300 Eco-Schools across NYC, Earth Day truly is every day.”


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Danny SteinerAbout the Author: Danny Steiner is a Sustainability Coordinator and Environmental Science Teacher at Bronx Theater High School. He is an environmental activist and cares deeply about sustainability.