The Community Greening Program addresses Newark's deficit of quality preserved open space by enhancing existing community parks, creating new pocket parks, establishing greenways, and improving neighborhoods with street trees, street-side planted flower barrels and community gardens.
The program works with Newark residents to transform neighborhoods with curbside flower barrels and lush community gardens on former vacant lots. These urban farms increase accessibility to food sources for urban residents by providing high quality, locally grown healthy food using natural pest control methods.
The Conservancy's greening strategies not only promote visual improvements to city neighborhoods, but also empower residents to take back their streets and to understand the role that they can have in local issues that affect their quality of life.
Greater Newark Conservancy offers hands-on, inquiry based environmentally themed programs. The Conservancy's professional staff is a partner in educating your students.
Our programs increase student enthusiasm, comprehension and retention of key concepts across your school's curriculum.
Whether you visit us at the Conservancy's Judith L. Shipley Urban Environmental Center or select one of our Reverse Field Trips to your classroom, all Conservancy Education Programs are:
- Correlated to New Jersey Core Curriclum Content Standards
- Adress Common Core Standards for Literacy and Mathematics
- Tailored to student cognitive development
- Designed using the environment as an integrated context for multi-disciplinary learning
Greater Newark Conservancy's Environmental Justice Program works to educate, train and support communities in creating environmentally safe neighborhoods, encouraging and highlighting community empowerment, pride and self-sufficiency. We strive to involve the citizens of Newark in planning and creating sustainable neighborhoods for their families where children can attend school and recreational activities in a safer and improved environment.
It is crucial to heighten the urban community's awareness of the importance of the environment and open space as precious commodities that must be cared for and cherished. With the multitude of crucial issues facing urban citizens, a sense of stewardship for their surroundings is not always a priority. The Conservancy feels that by addressing environmental quality of life issues we can help to instill self-respect that will translate into a strong sense of community pride. This in turn will expand into an understanding of the intrinsic value of stewardship for the global environment.
Newark Open Space Issues
In comparison to 29 other major American cities, Newark is second to last in terms of municipal spending on parks and recreation. Newark has 3.65 acres of park land per 1,000 residents; the Ironbound section of the City has .59 acres per 1,000 residents or 28.27 usable acres for recreation for its population of 60,000. National standards call for 325-500 acres for a population of this magnitude. Other high density cities (New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Miami, Baltimore and Los Angeles) averaged at 7.17 acres per 1,000 residents.
The Conservancy has partnered with several Newark non-profit and government agencies to educate urban communities on the appropriate use and benefits of green and open space. We have been involved in attending community meetings, writing letters of support to Newark officials and attending forums where the agenda focuses on incorporating open space in neighborhood planning.
Newark Master Plan Working Group
Greater Newark Conservancy and various other community-based organizations have formed a watchdog group to closely monitor the City of Newark's revision of its master plan. This collaboration has encouraged residents to participate in ward meetings and city meetings to express their concerns and discuss issues that they would like to see addressed in the new master plan. These efforts have been ongoing over many years now and are stressing the need for reserving land for parks, recreation and new schools.
Newark Partnership for Lead Safe Children
The Conservancy is a Charter Member of the Newark Partnership for Lead Safe Children, a coalition of nonprofits that was formed in 1995. As a participating member organization we attend bi-monthly meetings and serve on the group's Education and Housing Committee.
We continue to circulate our Lead Awareness Discovery Box, which teaches children to become lead detectives by identifying signs and symptoms of lead poisoning. The culminating activity in the box is a play which covers the history of lead poisoning from 6000 B.C. to the present. The Discovery Box is available to any urban teacher and includes training and one month's worth of lessons and activities free of charge.
Each October, in conjunction with Newark's Lead Awareness Month, the Conservancy Education Program implements lessons on Lead Awareness in Newark schools. The lessons typically reach about 900 students in grades K-8.
The Conservancy also offers an assembly program, Don't Lick the Windowsill the Dangers of Lead as part of its environmental theatre program. This assembly enables us to reach significantly more students in a fun, interactive manner.
New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance
The Conservancy serves on the New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance (NJEJA) which is a statewide umbrella organization comprised of over 40 groups. NJEJA has three regional components organized geographically within the state -- northern, central and southern -- to encourage and support local struggles.
The Conservancy continues to host or be involved in presentations on environmental health, sustainable development, recycling policies and pollution prevention.
The major focus of Greater Newark Conservancy's Job Training Program is the Newark Youth Leadership Project (NYLP). The NYLP is a year round job and leadership training program which provides Newark, NJ high school and college youth with job training experience, leadership development, and exposure to different career options in environmental and horticultural fields and opportunities for pursuing a college education. In addition, job training interns are given the chance to participate in outdoor horticultural activities that they would probably never experience otherwise. Through this program the Conservancy seeks to improve conditions in the urban community by increasing employability and earning potential. The year round NYLP has now been in operation for over ten years and has had hundreds Newark youth participants.
The NYLP initiative has three major goals: development of leadership skills; educational and career enrichment through instruction, tutoring and field trips; and development of employment-related skills. The student participants are recruited from high schools in Newark's school district. Selection into the program is based on being a Newark resident, achieving at minimum sophomore standing in high school, earning a grade point average of 2.5 or above, and recommendation from a school guidance counselor.
The Newark Youth Leadership Project has received high marks from all involved. The program has been particularly effective in improving participants' interpersonal, leadership, and communication skills, as well as a variety of technical skills. NYLP has also helped participants develop a strong work ethic and become more self-aware, self confident, and mature. Through their participation in the NYLP, the students have also gained a more positive outlook on their lives and are more prepared for their future education and career.
The NYLP has an educational component which emphasizes oral and written communications, basic skills enhancement, workforce readiness, problem solving, refining listening skills, conflict resolution, civic responsibility, life and survival skills, time management, consumer skills, team building, interviewing skills, appropriate behavior and dress in the work place, study habits, budgeting, health and safety, and self esteem.
Greater Newark Conservancy's NYLP interns participate in most of our ongoing programs.
Education Program interns work with Conservancy Education Program staff, helping to prepare and implement lessons. Through this process they experience aspects of a potential career in teaching and environmental science.
Community Greening Program interns help coordinate and implement various aspects of this program, including working with neighborhood block associations, assisting with horticultural workshops for residents, and helping implement the Conservancy's annual City Gardens Contest.
The Horticulture Program trains youth in marketable landscaping and horticultural skills, while at the same time improving Newark's environment. Interns work at the Conservancy's school Living Laboratory gardens and at the Conservancy's Outdoor Learning Center.
Youth assigned to the Conservancy office learn basic office skills as they participate in general office procedures.