The Spring semester of BEST Academy is underway!  I work with Sustainable South Bronx, an organization based on empowering urban communities in environmental justice issues with hands on, green collar job training.

As “Field Manager” I guide students through the relationships between our built & natural environments. What role do we play in shaping our community?

We took a walk through Hunts Point and looked at the industrial businesses that fill the neighborhood.  This walk, called the Toxic Tour, given by Marta Rodriquez, a local resident and activist, highlights the power people have and the opportunity to make changes that will better the community.

Marta explains the need for environmental Justice in urban communities.

Looking at issues related to access to beneficial goods and services in urban areas, health concerns, economic opportunity and environmental justice, we talked about our role in educating  ourselves and the community in knowing our rights to a better quality of life.

Barreto Point Park, Bronx, NY

Recently we worked with soil science educators from the USDA NRCS division at Soundview Park in the Bronx.  Soil is the foundation for our cities, literally, providing stability for our structures, providing food for us through the plants it nourishes and providing habitat for the organisms that support our ecosystem.

Richard Shaw of the USDA-NRCS (Natural Resource Conservation Service) showing the B.E.S.T. Eco team soil samples.

In class we talked about our (overlooked) interdependent relationship with soil and our need to conserve and replenish it. We learned about the properties of soil, what makes it healthy and what happens when it’s not.

What is your relationship with soil? Who has the power in your community?

Stay tuned!


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