The overall task of this research is to build a general model of urban environmental education programs that develop stewardship in youth. The case study will be environmental education programs organized by or conducted in collaboration with the Bronx River Alliance (BxRA), a non-profit organization founded in 2001. It works with public and private partners “to protect, improve and restore the Bronx Rivercorridor and greenway so that they can be healthy ecological, recreational, educational, and economic resources for communities through which the river flows” (www.bronxriver.org). Now its office is housed at the Bronx headquarters of the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation near Bronx Zoo. BxRA has five core program areas: Ecology Restoration and Management, Greenway, Education, Outreach, and Recreation. The map above shows the Bronx River watershed in the South Bronx, and some of spots where BxRA conducted restoration activities.
BxRA connects underserved, yet vibrant and culturally diverse communities with theBronx River environmental corridor, and nurtures future environmental stewards who will care about their environment. BxRA is uniquely positioned to be part of this research because it engages the Bronx’s local residents, schools, and community groups in environmental activities, where they are often not passive recipients of imposed programs with pre-determined outcomes, but active agents of change. BxRA information brochures says that enhancing environmental stewardship is a priority for this organization: “We work with over 40 local schools, youth and community organizations to engage residents in the development of the Bronx River Greenway and in the river’s restoration. In doing so, we develop stewards who will protect the river and open spaces for the long term” (Bronx River Alliance brochure). BxRA is also participates in PlaNYC’s MillionTreesNYC initiative. The geographic focus of BxRA’s activities is the Bronx River greenway, which stretches through some of the most underserved Latino and African-American communities in the USin terms of public services and access to natural resources. These communities are characterized by immensely rich cultural and ethnic mosaics and local leadership, and have a strong potential to achieve more control over their environment and higher levels of environmental stewardship.
This is the description of BxRA from the web:
The Bronx River Alliance (“BxRA”) serves as a coordinated voice for the river and works in harmonious partnership to protect, improve and restore the Bronx River corridor and greenway so that they can be healthy ecological, recreational, educational and economic resources for the communities through which the river flows. We work closely with local and state agencies in the design and construction of the Bronx River Greenway and provide ecological restoration and management services in new and existing open spaces on and near the river. We also work to educate communities along the Bronx River about the local environment, in addition to providing a wide range of recreational opportunities in the open spaces on and near the river.