The Council of the City of New York
Council Member Costa Constantinides, District 22

September 25, 2018
Contact: Terence Cullen

Constantinides, Environmental Advocates, Education Groups Outline Programs Supported By Greener NYC Initiative

Astoria, N.Y. – Council Member Costa Constantinides, Chair of the Committee on Environmental Protection, joined with environmental advocates and education groups today in continued support of programs funded under the Greener NYC initiative.

“Our future leaders will face new climate demands, which is why it’s on us to make sure they’re as prepared as possible,” said Council Member Constantinides. “I was thrilled to see the Greener NYC initiative expand this year under Speaker Corey Johnson and Finance Chair Daniel Dromm, enabling us to support constructive organizations dedicated to educating people of all ages about our environment. As we recognize Climate Week, it’s crucial to salute their contributions to making a Greener New York City and a Greener Queens.”

“The future of our planet depends on what actions we take today to fight and mitigate the effects of climate change. Cutting carbon emissions is a critical step toward having a greener city. As we are marking Climate Week, programs supported by the Greener NYC initiative will help spread awareness of the importance of protecting our globe. I am happy that the City Council expanded Greener NYC by $510,000 in this year’s budget, and applaud the efforts by Council Member Constantinides and the advocates on this vital initiative,” said Speaker Corey Johnson.

The Greener NYC initiative saw a $510,000 increase in the Fiscal Year 2019 budget, giving each Council Member $70,000 for sustainability projects, green job training, and environmental education. Council Member Constantinides was joined at the Urban Upbound office at the Astoria Houses on Tuesday by Bishop Mitchell Taylor and the groups he supported: the Alley Pond Environmental Center, Global Kids, Serious Fun After School, NY Sun Works, and BioBus.  

The Douglaston-based Alley Pond Environmental Center received a $15,000 allocation, which will help this outdoor classroom continue providing educational programs for both children and adults. Since 1972, the Center has sought to teach its 60,000 annual visitors about the environment as well as protect the gorgeous ecology of Alley Pond Park.

“The Greener New York Initiative is a wonderful program that allows Alley Pond Environmental Center, for the past several years, to extend our reach to more students while fulfilling our mission on the importance of educating children and adults on the importance of protecting and preserving the natural world around us,” said Irene Scheid, Executive Director of the Alley Pond Environmental Center.

Global Kids received $20,000 in this year’s budget, which took effect in July, to continue empowering tomorrow’s leaders. The nonprofit co-hosts the Ditmars Park Youthmarket with Council Member Constantinides, which runs from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Saturday until Nov. 17, located on Steinway Street between Ditmars Boulevard and 23rd Avenue. Young local residents working at the market gain both management experience and learn about the locally sourced produce they’re selling.

“The Greener NYC initiatives ensure that we are proactive as well as responsive when it comes to climate change and the well-being of our communities.  Our youth understand it is irresponsible to be passive, and we are proud to work alongside Council Member Constantinides and other stakeholders to spearhead efforts towards a sustainable future for all New Yorkers,” said Evie Hantzopoulos, Executive Director of Global Kids.

Serious Fun After School serves Astoria, Long Island City, and Chelsea with quality, constructive after school at an affordable rate. This year it received $5,000 to expand its after school services to include environmental programs.

“Serious Fun is a nonprofit organization that provides affordable after-school childcare and arts enrichment in a safe and nurturing environment. Our mission is to unlock every child’s passion by engaging them in creative hands-on exploration. We are honored to partner with Council member Constantinides to provide environmental awareness to 200 of his younger constituents.  Funds allocate from the green initiative will be used to integrate environmental awareness into our after school programs, from introducing children to organic cooking, to teaching children to reuse resources in our maker program,” said Sylvia Ramsaywak, Founder and Executive Director of Serious Fun After School.

Four schools in District 22 will receive hydroponic labs programming and materials thanks to a $25,000 allocation Constantinides secured for New York Sun Works. Students at P.S. 70, PS 122 , P.S. 84, and I.S. 126 will receive hands-on experience about nutrition, biology, technology, and agriculture.

“NY Sun Works hydroponic classrooms have a unique ability to boost hands-on science education in our schools, and we are very grateful to partner with Council Member Constantinides on this effort. Thanks to his leadership these students will learn about STEM, nutrition, and planetary health as we all work towards Growing a Greener NYC!,” said Sidsel Robards, NY Sun Works Director of Development.

“Investing in our children’s education is investing in the future of our planet, and Council Member Constantinides has proven his commitment to future generations through his continued support to schools in his district. With NY Sun Works partnership, teachers will access innovative science and sustainability curriculum already aligned to the 2018 NYC Science Scope and Sequence standards. It is proven that higher order thinking, academic performance and student engagement improve with exposure to this type of program. We are honored to be part of Astoria’s greener future,” said Manuela Zamora, NY Sun Works Executive Director.

BioBus, the mobile lab that brings science into low-income and minority communities, will get $5,000 this year for research microscopes and other high-tech equipment as well as solar infrastructure to power the bus.  

Mollie Thurman, BioBus Lead Scientist and a marine ecologist, said “I’m thrilled to represent the BioBus team to thank Council Member Constantinides for his support of our hands-on science education programs. BioBus students explore the world around them in our high-tech labs and learn about the solar energy systems that power our mobile labs.”

Costa Constantinides represents the New York City Council’s 22nd District, which includes his native Astoria along with parts of Jackson Heights, Woodside, and East Elmhurst. He serves as chair of the Council’s Environmental Protection Committee and sits on four additional committees: Parks, Transportation, For-Hire Vehicles, and Land Use, as well as the sub-committee on Zoning and Franchises.