Thursday, August 21, 2008

Introducing our September 6th Workshop Presenters…


Liza Mendel, a native New Yorker who grew up in the Bronx, has been teaching for over seven years. She has an extensive teaching background with Public and Charter schools educating children on various subjects such as literacy, math, writing, social studies, and science. Currently Liza is teaching for a charter school in the south Bronx as a science teacher. Her science program is an enriching one where students participate in hands on activities where learning through exploration is essential. Liza was a strong advocate for having a garden for the school which, with the help of students, has grown to be a charming one for all to enjoy. She is a horticulture enthusiast indeed and constantly emphasizes the importance of it in her classes. In addition to teaching at Family Life Academy Charter School (FLACS), she is also a graduate student in the Early Childhood Education program at The City College of New York in Harlem, and is a mother of an almost 4-year-old boy.

Beatrice Tinio grew up in New Jersey and has been teaching English as a Second Language to adults and children for the past four years. She currently teaches at Family Life Academy as well and will be conquering new endeavors this 2008-2009 school year as a second grade teacher. Beatrice’s ESL classes incorporate total physical response, role playing, singing, and movement. She, along with a few parents of FLACS, also helped start and build an organic vegetable and herb garden, in hopes of raising awareness to more families about nutrition. Besides teaching, Beatrice is also a graduate student in the Early Childhood Education program at The City College of New York, and is a mother of a 3 1/2-year-old boy.

What do these two know about vermicomposting? Well on top of being educators, grad students, and mothers, they are also the founders of Green Apple Kids. The two met in 2006 at FLACS, realized they had similar teaching philosophies, and wanted to initiate a project that both incorporated their lifestyles and made an environmental statement. Being strong advocates for environmental consciousness and reducing their family’s carbon footprint is what they continuously strive for.

When Beatrice moved back to New York from New Mexico, where she learned the science of outdoor composting, she was compelled to find out how to compost in an apartment. Through the Department of Sanitation and the Bronx Green-Up workshops, she quickly learned how to recycle kitchen scraps using red worms. She was so enamored by this idea she constructed a worm bin for FLACS students, which during the school year, resides in Liza’s science classroom where Liza bases some of her lessons on which children often “oooh”, “aaah”, and “eeew” about. Liza and her family have experience with outdoor composting on their property upstate, but in their Brooklyn apartment, with no outdoor space, she eagerly had to start her own indoor worm bin as well.

So folks, look forward to a fun-filled, engaging workshop with these ladies and their worms…and be prepared to get your hands dirty!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Do Worms Eat Your Garbage?

Our next workshop on composting with worms, or vermicomposting, may leave some people feeling squeamish. But the truth is these amazing red wigglers are nature's most efficient recyclers and help reduce our garbage by eating kitchen scraps. If you want to prepare yourself for our September 6th workshop or just want to know the benefits of vermicomposting read more.

For people interested in the science of vermicomposting and building your own worm bin designed for New York City apartments visit the Department of Sanitation.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

August 2nd Workshop Review

The latest workshop, hosted by artist Jessica Findley, was all stop-and-go and stop-and-go, and... Well, it went on like that for awhile. But it was all part of the fun as the day's exercise was Stop-Motion Animation.

While individual kids took turns directing and positioning the cast (toys brought from home) of a group stop-motion film, others worked individually on flip books using cut-out shapes from recycled newspapers, magazines and gift bags. It was amazing to witness the creativity kids can exhibit when allowed to express themselves constructively and freely.

At the end of the class guests young and young at heart gathered around Jessica's laptop for the screening of the Green Apple Kids' masterpiece. Watch out PIXAR, young directors grow in Brooklyn.

Here are some pictures from the workshop:

(Presenter Jessica Findley Directing the Green Apple Directors)

(Making Flip-books)

(Making the Film)

Here is a short film made using the technique Jessica taught in the workshop (due to a technical glitch, Jessica's computer crashed before the original film could be saved):

To make your own stop-motion films at home, Jessica recommends iStopMotion (a trial version is available for download from