New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Building an Equitable and Inclusive Smart and Connected Community for the Integration of Ecological Restoration Science, Education, Technology, and Environmental Law and Policy in New York City

Lauren B. Birney, Pace University (United States)


Federal and state ecological goals have been largely illusive for urban waterways and, in particular, for New York Harbor Estuary, widely considered the longest abused of the nation’s urban waters. For numerous reasons, agency staffs are under-budgeted, understaffed, and often lack ready access to the latest advances in science and technology. Urban communities are challenging to engage and organize around environmental issues. Underserved and marginalized populations that are the core of the community are as underserved environmentally as they are socially. New York Harbor Smart and Connected Community (NYH S&CC) is a multi-partner program of academic, scientific and policy institutions that is built upon the work of NSF DRL1440869 & NSF DRL1643016, Curriculum and Community Enterprise for Restoration Science. It has been developed to advance restoration of The Harbor and rigorously engage historically underserved K-12 NYC public school students, teachers, and communities in the associated, and necessary, processes of restoration science, participatory urban planning, environmental law and policymaking. As is its predecessor program, it is founded in the vision that public school curricula, particularly in STEM-C content areas, are enhanced by explicitly linking teaching and learning to localized environmental science that demands authentic research, data collection, and experimentation. Creating a dimension of environmental law and citizen policy making and environmental justice provides the opportunity for applied research and studies that will integrate community participation and values into the development of reimagined ecological goals and policy-based solutions that advance restoration of The New York Harbor.  NY Harbor S&CC focuses on the integration of education and technology through the involvement of communities, schools, teachers and students. The success of NYH S&CC will serve as a signature national example deserving emulation because of the substance of its accomplishments, the magnitude of the achievements, the collaboration to expand the smart and community principles as well as its notable location in New York City. This ambitious model, will not only continue to attract public and private attention, but is ideally positioned to serve as a training center for educators, academicians, researchers and institutions.

Keywords; STEM Education, Citizen Science, Environmental Restoration 

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