Jersey City teachers received a firsthand look at urban sustainability practices during the Honeywell Institute for Ecosystems Education (HIEE), an innovative summer institute that combines classroom instruction with diverse outdoor experiences. The four day program, a partnership between Honeywell and New Jersey Audubon, and in coordination with Jersey City Schools, provides participating teachers with scientific knowledge and interactive lessons and experiences to share with their students.
"This institute is very beneficial to our teachers," said Manisha Shah, Science Supervisor for Jersey City Public Schools. "Now they have their neighborhood and their community as a resource. This will give them a different avenue than being in the classroom."
During HIEE, teachers spent time at a local park to understand habitats, land use, and factors that affect the ecosystem. They visited St. Paul Lutheran Church to see a community-based sustainability project that controls storm water runoff and provides locally grown-food in collaboration with Sustainable Jersey City. And they received a firsthand look at an urban beekeeping operation by exploring four beehives and 150,000 honeybees that reside on the roof of the Hyatt Regency Jersey City.
"In one exercise we went from testing water and looking at the chemistry of water to then doing a biological index of how many species you have at the edge of a road bank, using math, measurements and hitting a lot of different skills," said Jose Santiago, Astronomy, Environmental Science and Forensic Science at Dickinson High School. "How all of that was put together in a 45 minute lesson – which is the time we have – was really neat."
Honeywell and New Jersey Audubon's involvement with these teachers doesn't end with the summer program. Honeywell will provide each teacher a $500 mini-grant to support classroom sustainability projects based on the lessons the teachers learned.
For more information on Honeywell’s global corporate citizenship and STEM, visit Honeywell Hometown Solutions.