Dec. 10, 2018 By Meghan Sackman
I.S. 126 is now home to a new hydroponic lab, with educators, scientists, and Council Member Costa Constantinides unveiling the lab earlier today.
The lab allows students at the school, located at 23rd Avenue and 31st Street, to grow and observe plant life with almost no water. It use, for instance, mineral solutions instead of soil, and ladybugs instead of pesticides to keep the plants alive.
New York Sun Works, a non-profit organization that focuses on environmental education in city schools, installed the lab at I.S. 126 and showed teachers how to use them to their full potential during the unveiling.
While the new lab focus on plants, it allows students at the middle school to learn about biology, agriculture, technology, and nutrition in a hands-on way.
The lab will also grow herbs and vegetables that will eventually be donated to Communities for Healthy Food, a non-profit that aims to make healthy and affordable food available to everyone.
Constantinides, who heads the City Council’s Environmental Protection Committee, allocated $160,000 last year toward the lab.
“Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are the careers of the future, which is why it’s important we give tomorrow’s leaders hands-on opportunities today,” Constantinides said of the project.
The hydroponic labs, he added, are a big part of his Science 2050 budget initiative to bolster science education and learning spaces.
Alexander Angueira, principal at I.S. 126, said students will be receiving instruction they will be able to use their entire lives.
“We are hopeful that the lab will help our students become more environmentally conscious and put them on the path to becoming energy conserving citizens,” he said.
The lab at I.S. 126 marks the second location for Astoria, with the first labs installed last year at P.S. 122’s elementary and middle school component.
Other schools that have received a hydroponic lab or are on the list to get one include: P.S. 70, P.S. 17, P.S. 84, I.S. 141, Long Island City High School, P.S. 171, P.S. 85, Q300, and the Young Women’s Leadership School.