Eleven Labs Now Funded at Council District 22 Schools Since 2014

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

January 14, 2019
Contact: Terence Cullen

Constantinides Opens New Hydroponic Science Lab at P.S. 84 — Steinway

Eleven Labs Now Funded at Council District 22 Schools Since 2014

Astoria, N.Y. — Council Member Costa Constantinides opened a new hydroponic science lab at P.S. 84 — Steinway today with faculty, students, parents and environmental education leaders. The ceremony was the second in the last two months, featuring a full tour and cooking demonstration with the Council Member.

“As a proud P.S. 84 alumnus, I am so delighted to see this new hydroponic science lab open here in Astoria,” said Council Member Costa Constantinides, District 22. “Environmental changes is increasingly making science a component of every industry, so we must make sure our leaders of tomorrow get the hands-on experience now to solve problems of the future. I look forward to watching these students grow alongside the plant life!”

P.S. 84 — Steinway received the lab through a $160,000 allocation in the Fiscal Year 2018 budget along with I.S. 126, which opened its lab in December. Students use these labs to grow herbs and vegetables with a mineral solution instead of soil. Hydroponic labs give students hands-on lessons in technology, agriculture, nutrition, and biology. And they employ lady bugs to protect the plant life as opposed to harmful pesticides. More than 1,200 plants can be grown every school year, according to New York Sun Works, and can yield over 900 pounds of produce annually.  

Constantinides was joined Monday by Principal John A. Buffa, faculty, parents and students of P.S. 84; as well as Manuela Zamora, Sidsel Robards, and staff from New York Sun Works. The Council Member joined with students to make pesto using crops grown right at P.S. 84.

“We are honored to partner with Council Member Constantinides in his efforts to bring STEM education into the public school classroom. With the new hydroponics lab, students at PS 84 will receive hands-on science, sustainability, and climate education while growing food with 21st century technology,” said Manuela Zamora, NYSW Executive Director. “We thank Council Member Constantinides for investing in the future of Queens and the future of our planet.”

“Teaching science and sustainability through the lens of urban agriculture gives students a unique perspective on how they can impact their own health, as well as the health of the environment,” said Sidsel Robards, NYSW Director of Development & Events. “We are so thankful for this partnership and look forward to growing a greener nyc with the students of Astoria.”

“P.S. 84 is thrilled to be provided with this wonderful gift of a new hydroponic lab for our school by Councilman Constantinides,” said John A. Buffa, Principal of P.S. 84 — Steinway. “This addition to our school provides us with opportunities to forward our interdisciplinary S.T.E.A.M. studies. Our students love being part of this hands-on project-based learning experience. Councilman Constantinides continues to be a true champion for our students!”

This facility represents a broader push in Council District 22 to enhance science curriculum, educational technology, and renewable energy in its schools. Since Constantinides took office in 2014, 11 schools including P.S. 84 — Steinway have received funding to receive a hydroponic science lab. Along with P.S. 84 and I.S. 126, labs have opened at P.S. 122, P.S. 70; P.S. 17, I.S. 141, Long Island City High School, P.S. 171, P.S. 85, Q300, and the Young Women’s Leadership School have received funding. New York Sun Works, an environmental education nonprofit, installs the labs and trains faculty on how to maintain them.

Council Member Costa Constantinides represents the New York City Council’s 22nd District, which includes his native Astoria along with parts of Woodside, East Elmhurst, and Jackson Heights. He serves as the Chair of the City Council’s Environmental Protection Committee and sits on the For-Hire Vehicles, Land Use, Parks, and Transportation Committees and the Zoning and Franchises Subcommittee. For more information, visit council.nyc.gov/costa.