Tuesday, December 8, 2009

GAK: Good News, Bad News, Better News

Hello GAKers -

Green Apple Kids is entering into a very exciting phase of the organization. The news is so BIG that we've decided to break it into 3 easy bite-sized portions:

Green Apple Kids is adding to its weekend workshop format and, in January, will be launching a pilot program in the South Bronx at the Family Life Academy Charter School. This program will be in the from of enrichment after school programs for children in grades K through 6th. The program will put the Family Life Academy Charter School (and future participating schools in low-income neighborhoods) at the forefront of green community activism, seeing approximately 92% of students attending academically outperform their peers (according to a State Education and Environment Study).

Although the Family Life Academy Charter School is yet to secure a grant to support the project, the administrators see the value the GAK program would bring to their student and as such are acquiring funds from a very limited school budget. In order to get the program in place, and keep it free to all participants, certain frills had to cut, one of the most important being the intended dedicated training intended for the teachers and parent volunteers whose environmental knowledge is vital to the success of the program. It was suggested that this training be replaced by a mixture of on-the-job and at-home research training.

You can help the kids at the Family Life Academy Charter school get off to the best possible start by making a 'DONATION' to Green Apple Kids that will go directly towards the funding of the teacher training. The cost of the training comes to $2,400, and with your donations we are certain that we can make this happen. Any overflow funds will be used to reinstate the other cuts (such as in-season organic snacks and Earth-friendly supplies). It would be a great gift granted to very worthy kids this holiday season!

Click here to make a donation!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

November Story Time Yoga Workshop Review

Erin is the most fantastic yoga teacher in NY. Period... But you probably already knew that from our first story time yoga session with Erin. She brought her brand of interactive kiddie-yoga to both of our City Island and Williamsburg library branches last month and lead the GAK kids through an exhilarating, active, stretching and balancing routine.

"Are you ready to go on an adventure?" Erin asked her eager students. "What animals do you think we'll see?" As the Green Apple Kids named their favorite animals (domesticated or wild, land living or ocean dwelling) Erin quickly bent into the corresponding yoga pose and the flexible young yogis followed suit.

Each session included the sun salutation song, a few stories about animals, yoga pose freeze dance, lots of freeform movement and a relaxing wind-down. Ahhh...

We can't wait to have Erin back.

Erin and the kids strike a pose

Monday, November 9, 2009

October Workshop Review: Birds & Worms

Haley from the NY Audubon Society was on hand in City Island to guide us on an urban bird walk... If only the birds cooperated as well as our GAK kids did. We spotted an enormous spider, rescued a dehydrated slug, visited a koi pond and, "What's that nest up in that tree? It must belong to an enormous bird." Nope, as Haley informed us, the nest actually belonged to a squirrel that was most likely preparing for the winter chill.

But it wasn't all flightless animals that we came across. High in the sky a tiny GAKer spotted a seagull. And much closer to the ground the group came upon a flock of House Sparrows. Plus somewhere in between, on the telephone wires, a few Rock Pigeons rested from a long day of flying. Possibly the most important thing our GAK group learned that day was the way everything in an ecosystem is connected: the small bugs eat the flowers, the spider eats the small bugs and the larger birds eat the spiders.

Two weekends later, in Brooklyn, we stayed indoors with our compost bins, separating and harvesting worms. The Red Wriggler worms were easy to spot in the rich, dark balls of compost each kid tackled. Many were surprised at the neutral scent of the compost and some families were inspired enough to take home their own Wrigglers in order to start a compost in their apartment.

More information on the subjects covered in last month's workshops can be found at the NY Audubon and Bronx Green-Up websites.

Haley from the NY Audubon

Friday, October 2, 2009

The New Calendar (and our recycled 'chipboard' flyers)

BX SEP.12 // BK SEP.19 - Green Market workshop with Sarah Poten from cenyc.

BX OCT.03 // BK OCT.17 - NY Audubon will exlpore the birds of City Island, and the GAK founders will have kids dig into their home-made vermicomposts (worm bins).

BX NOV.07 // BK NOV.21 - Family Yoga with Erin! *this class will begin at 1PM

BX DEC.05 // BK DEC.19 - Get ready for the holidays with gifts made from recycled items.

BX JAN.09 // BK JAN.16 - Solar 1 will help kids build their dream solar race cars.

BX FEB.06 // FEB.20 - The Biobus visits and allows kids to have some hands-on experience with science of alternative fuels.

Friday, September 25, 2009

It’s So Yummy Being Green!

Happy Autumn Equinox GAKers, the new season has begun! ... And what a way to start. For our very first Green Apple Kids workshop in the Bronx, Sarah Poten from Green Markets brought along a few junior ambassadors and hosted a delectable outside presentation that incorporated many unusual selections from the Borough Hall, Brooklyn Farmers Market.

The kids present at the City Island Public Library put on their chef’s hats and chopped, shredded and julienned colorful vegetables in order to create a fabulous Rainbow Salad. A few of the unusual veggies included marble radishes, white corn and green tomatoes.

In Brooklyn Liza and Beatrice opened a similar kitchen in the Williamsburg Public Library where again kids sliced black radishes, diced celery root and prepped other more standard veggies ‘harvested’ from the McCarren Park Farmers Market. The resulting salad was too good to describe in words… We’ll let the pictures (below) do the talking.

Next Month: The early bird meets the worm when Audubon explores the birds of City Island (Oct. 3rd in the Bronx) and GAK explains how to create your own indoor worm bin (Oct. 17th in Brooklyn).



*special thanks to GAK parent Ilya for the great pictures

Monday, June 15, 2009

June 13th FIGMENT Review

This past weekend Green Apple Kids hopped on the summer ferry and joined a large collection of artists and art-lovers at the 2009 FIGMENT Festival on Governor’s Island. We brought some noise to the wild and crazy event by helping kids make ‘shaggy shakers’ from recycled bottles and shredded paper.

We learned a lot from the kids that stopped by. Some turned their bottles into characters with facial features, others used the shag to make grass skirts and almost everyone immediately composed an impromptu percussive melody. Unfortunately the Mobile Art Parade that was to be the culmination of our day’s work got rained on, but kids could be heard shaggily shaking around the island, drawing attention to the importance of recycling.

We’d like to say a big ‘Thank You’ to Bill Elliston, the children's activity curator who helped us so much throughout the planning and execution of our art project.

Here are some pictures from the Green Apple Kids table (unfortunately our camera died so we only got pictures of about half of our shaker makers) :

End of day at the GAK table (pic by Keiko)

And here are some cute pictures of other FIGMENT activities we just had to share:

Riding the cloud car

City of Dreams miniature golf

Mask making

Kiddie costumes

Flower pool

DIY hula hoop decorating

The Wishing tree

(all above pics by Keiko)