2013-06-20 / Other News

Growing Together With The Genovesi Study Center

By Linda Steinmuller


Chris Gomon and Andrew Snyder explain how a “Biltmore stick” is used to measure a tree’s diameter. Chris Gomon and Andrew Snyder explain how a “Biltmore stick” is used to measure a tree’s diameter. Over 30 science teachers participated in last week’s Professional Development workshop – known as Project Learning Tree - at the Honorable Anthony J. Genovesi Environmental Study Center in Bergen Beach.

The event was hosted by Amy Pekoe-Renz, Assistant Principal of the Genovesi Environmental Study Center, and facilitated by Andrew Snyder and Chris Gomon of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) and the Student Conservation Association (SCA).

The study center, which is located at 7151 Avenue T, is a 7,000 square foot “green building,” which has an on-site greenhouse, an outdoor nature garden and pond habitat – a perfect setting for Project Learning Tree.

Snyder, Gomon, and two other SCA facilitators (Rosario DiSanto and Sabrina Ip) led the morning session, which focused on hands-on, interactive learning exercises. The goal is to train teachers so they can educate their Pre-K through eighth grade students when they return to the classroom.


Teachers show the completed “Web of Life.” Teachers show the completed “Web of Life.” In “Life on the Edge,” teachers took on the identity of animals that live in different habitats and discovered how habitat changes impact those animals.

In “Web of Life,” teachers were each given cards with pictures of different animals. Gomon used string to create a “food web.” Teachers identified the next animal in the food chain, thereby creating a “web of life.”

In another exercise, teachers were asked to draw a tree by memory and then choose one from the center’s garden to draw and compare the results of both trees.

Participants led the afternoon session, which included lessons on “Water Wonders” — how water travels through the environment by transforming into “water molecules” and “Birds and Worms” — determining whether coloration impacts survival of different colored “worms.”


P.S. 254 Science Specialist Lisa Solo shows her drawing of a bamboo tree. 
Photos by Linda Steinmuller P.S. 254 Science Specialist Lisa Solo shows her drawing of a bamboo tree. Photos by Linda Steinmuller In addition to Professional Development programs, the Genovesi Study Center hosts a number of programs designed to facilitate science teaching and learning for elementary level students (Pre-K through 5). Students participate in inquiry-based explorations which help them acquire the tools needed to recognize, solve, and help prevent environmental problems.

The center is part of the NYC Department of Education in Community School District 22 and also services parts of District 18, 20, and 21, which are represented by Councilmen Lew Fidler and Domenic Recchia.

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