Astoria councilman joins P.S. 17 students to unveil new hydroponics lab

Photo courtesy of Constantinides’ office

Councilman Costa Constantinides joined with students, faculty and staff of P.S. 17 Henry David Thoreau in Long Island City to give the school’s new hydroponic science lab a spin on Wednesday, Dec. 18. 

“Hydroponic labs offer unparalleled hands-on lessons that open students up to the world of science,” said Constantinides. “I cannot wait until every school in our Council District has an operational facility by next fall.” 

For Constantinides, a borough president candidate who sees climate change as an “existential threat,” STEM and hydroponic labs represent a way to expose students to careers that can confront the threat of global warming.

“Climate change will present our children with unthinkable challenges, which find their way into every single industry,” he said when he unveiled his education platform for borough president.

Grave climate threats aside, the school’s greenhouse classroom promises to be fun. It will engage kids by allowing them to grow fruits, vegetables and herbs using cutting-edge technology.  

Within just the last few years, the councilman said that he has been able to secure funds for a new hydroponic science or STEM lab at all schools in his Council District. P.S. 17 is the fifth school to open a lab within the last two years. He funded construction of the $160,000 science lab through the 2019 budget.

New York Sun Works, a non-profit organization that builds science labs, partnered with the Councilman and Department of Education to teach educators about lab programming to ensure they get the most out of these facilities.  

“The NY Sun Works Hydroponics Labs will provide students with the opportunity to grow food while learning hands-on about science and climate education, as well as food justice and community service,” said Manuela Zamora, its executive director.

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