The new Hunters Point Library, which is set to open to the public for the first time on Sept. 24, has been selected as the site of an environmental education center.
QPL President and CEO Dennis M. Walcott announced that the Queens Public Library Foundation has secured a nearly $1 million grant to operate the Hunters Point Environmental Education Center (HPEEC) with funding from the New York State Department of Conservation’s Newtown Creek Environmental Benefits Fund, which is administered by the City Parks Foundation.
Modeled after the Children’s Library Discovery Center at QPL’s Central Library in Jamaica, HPEEC will offer STEM classes and workshops to children, teens and adults using interactive carts that address topics such as trees, plants, flowers, marine life, pollution, composting, recycling, climate change and water purification. The center will open this fall.
“The environmental education center is a first for Queens Public Library, and will offer members of the community and beyond a unique opportunity to understand, study and appreciate the natural surroundings of Hunters Point and Long Island City,” Walcott said. “With STEM programs for children, teens and adults, the center will add an exciting new learning dimension to Hunters Point Library. I want to congratulate the Queens Public Library Foundation and the library’s staff for their outstanding work in obtaining this generous grant.”
The center will be presented in partnership with the city’s Department of Environmental Protection, the New York Hall of Science and the Queens Botanical Gardens, among other organizations. It also will serve a professional audience that includes librarians and library administrators who can replicate environmental programming elsewhere in the QPL system, museum professionals who want to develop closer ties with libraries and educators who are interested in hands-on learning.
“We are thrilled that the Queens Public Library’s Hunters Point branch is receiving funding for the new Environmental Education Center through the Newtown Creek Environmental Benefits Fund,” NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Regional Director Steve Zahn said. “Investing in environmental education is critical for providing communities with the tools and information needed to understand what is going on in their backyards, the city and the world. We commend the efforts of the City Parks Foundation for making this grant a reality.”