2013-07-05 / Community

Living Classroom Brings Students To Nature

This spring, more than 1,500 Rockaway students ranging in age from kindergarten to 12th grade participated in the Rockaway Waterfront Alliance’s Living Classroom programs at the PS1 MOMA Geodesic Dome on Beach 94th Street and Shorefront Parkway.

The goal of RWA’s Living Classroom program is to engage students in hands-on learning experiences that will help foster an appreciation for our natural Rockaway environment. Students had the opportunity to participate in one of two RWA workshops depending on their age: “Washed Ashore” for younger elementary school groups and “Rockaway Environmental Resiliency” for older students.

The ‘Washed Ashore’ beach recycling lesson came about after local artists from Rockaway Beach Surf Club teamed up with RWA to transform community cleanups into community artwork. Young students learned about what we throw away, how to separate paper, plastic, and metal, and then they constructed artistic mosaics and collages using materials similar to the collected garbage from beach cleanups.


Students of all ages learn firsthand about Rockaway’s natural environment at the Rockaway Waterfront Alliance’s Living Classroom workshops. Students of all ages learn firsthand about Rockaway’s natural environment at the Rockaway Waterfront Alliance’s Living Classroom workshops. Older students participated in a “Rockaway Environmental Resiliency” lesson, designed to help students understand how geographic location, natural forces and man-made infrastructure contributed to the damaging effects of Sandy on the Rockaway peninsula. RWA educators, Keneisha Turner and Zakhia Grant, detailed the current debate surrounding coastal vulnerability and the Rockaway rebuilding process, and then gave students the opportunity to design and construct their own ideas on ways to rebuild Rockaway more resiliently.

“We’re trying to effectively inspire the next generation of Rockaway environmental stewards through our fun and interactive educational programming,” said Blaze Jones-Yellin, RWA Program Manager. “RWA is quite pleased with the number of students we were able to host this spring, and looks forward to continuing the development of young Rockaway stewards.”


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