Two Environmental Education Narratives from the Bronx

Contributed by Alex Kudryavtsev, a native of Russia and PhD Candidate at Cornell University.
Alex conducts a participatory research project in the Bronx and elsewhere on how urban environmental education programs develop a sense of place in youth. I am also glad to work with Alex as part of  EECapacity, an EPA-sponsored project led by Cornell University’s Civic Ecology Lab to support ways EE can be more relevant to urban communities.

He introduces to us the narratives of Julien Terrell (in his role of educator at Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice in the Bronx) and Andre Rivera (one of his students). Alex says, “I really like these stories because their messages is that there is nature in cities, and there are people who are trying to restore environmental resources and re-connect communities with the urban environment.”
Both Julien’s and Andre’s narratives (as an educator, and a student, respectively) illustrate how they appreciate, fight for, and educate communities about urban natural aspects, environmental justice, urban outdoor recreation, and green infrastructure in the Bronx.
Julien Terrell is the Director of Organizing at Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice (YMPJ) in the South Bronx. Julien grew up in Harlem and spent six years in Buffalo, New York, where he learned about environmental justice issues and also developed an interest in working with communities and younger people. This story recounts his current projects at YMPJ, illustrating his passion for fostering leadership in inner-city youth, and his work helping members of underserved communities to recognize, appreciate, fight for, and steward urban environmental resources. Read more about Julien (PDF file)
Andre Rivera is a high school student and youth organizer in an after-school environmental education program at Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice. He works with other youth and his educators togreen the community through fostering civic engagement, campaigning for new parks, redeveloping brownfields and cleaning up the Bronx River. In this narrative story Andre recounts his experiences as a student and youth organizer in YMPJ. Read more about Andre (PDF file)

What other urban environmental education success stories do you know about?