On February 9th, Mount Sinai CEC staff (Maida Galvez, Sarah Evans, and Luz Guel), Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation (CELF), and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYCDOHMH) led the first professional development session for NYC middle school teachers as part of the “Citizen Science in NYC School Communities” program. The project was funded for Year 2 through the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute (NYS P2I) Community Grant Award which will allow for CELF, CUNY Center for Urban Environmental Reform, NYC Department of Education, NYCDOHMH, NY Hall of Science, and the Mount Sinai CEC to engage NYC public school students as environmental health researchers to collect and analyze air pollution data from their neighborhoods.
During the 1st workshop, the middle school teachers were introduced to the principles of Education for Sustainability and pedagogy of Citizen Science. The Mount Sinai Community Engagement Core led the environmental health and justice portion of the workshop. Maida Galvez & Sarah Evans presented on the impacts of pollution in relation to human and environmental health and Luz Guel presented on the role of research in environmental justice communities. Workshop #2 will be at the NY Hall of Science on March 9th–Anthony Negron from the NY Hall of Science will present on the protocol for the AirBeam monitor and AirCasting app and NYCDOHMH will present on the “MY NYC AIR: Environmental Health Citizen Science” tool that allows anyone in the community to collect air quality and environmental health concerns using their smartphones. Through this training, teachers will begin to work with their students to create pollution prevention plans that can inform public health interventions that promote healthy communities.