The new hydroponic lab at PS 183 will teach Upper East Side students about science, climate and sustainability. (Courtesy NY Sun Works)
UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — Students at an Upper East Side public school will have the chance to learn about issues such as sustainability and enhance their science skills at a brand-new lab facility funded through participatory budgeting.
Nonprofit organization NY Sun Works — which installs hydroponic science labs in New York City schools — celebrated the opening of its newest facility last week at PS 183 Robert Louis Stevenson, the company announced. Funding for the lab was provided by City Councilman Ben Kallos through a participatory budgeting vote in 2017.
"We must invest in STEM education to prepare students for jobs of the future and today, we cut the ribbon on a $600,000 science lab," Kallos said in a statement. "Voting creates real change. The 11-year-olds and parents who voted can see for themselves, as they learn first-hand the power of democracy, not to mention all the science they'll get done."
Students at PS 183, a pre-k through 5th grade school located on East 66th Street between York and First avenues, will be able to use the facility to grow food and other plants. The experience of growing crops will provide firsthand knowledge of science, a spokesperson for NY Sun Works said.
The new science lab can also be used to teach students lessons about climate change and sustainability efforts such as urban farming. NY Sun Works has built more than 125 similar labs in schools in all five boroughs, teaching about 40,000 students. Construction on the lab at PS 183 took less than a year to complete and included electrical upgrades, a heating unit and new
sinks, flooring, counters, cabinetry and furniture for the classroom.
"The hydroponic lab 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," NY Sun Works Executive Director Manuela Zamora said in a statement.