Group photo and film


Field Trip_mt Loretto_Staten Island

autumn wildflower seed dispersal

another group photo

Photo (c) Dave Marshall

student assignments

Following are assignments (eco-blogs) posted by the students that address specific problems related to our urban ecology or notes from our 3 field trips.

Environmental Problem in my community

I live in Ocean Avenue, across the street from prospect park. where i live is often quiet but the problem is when in fall right now and all the leaves fall in the ground and they dont have people to come and clean it as often as they should. and all the leaves stay in the floor and when it rain, the leaves and the rain mix together it become messy. when people walking it could be stuck in their shoes or dirty the shoes
to solve that problem i would of write a letter to the government so that they could hired more people to clean there more often as possible especialy in the fall.


The ecological footprint is a measure of the lood impose by a given population an nature. It represent the land are necessary to sustain current levels of resource consumption and waste disharge by that population.
My ecological footprint is 3.1 because i eat meat very often and i usually take the train to go to school and to go around the city. mostly when i get around i dont use much energy.

FOOD 5.4




My food's ecological footprint

My family has a very good appetite for food. Most of my family is not picky with what they eat. My mom and I cook many different varieties of food, sometimes we cook vegetarian style foods and other times we prepare meaty dishes. No matter what we cook we always start form scratch. Some items that are always in my house hold are: Honey nut cheerios, a half gallon of milk, fruits like oranges, eggplant, and occasionally pomegranate. Usually my family would go to grocery stores to obtain these foods. What we did not realize is where these foods come from. A simple trip to the grocery store is the equivalent of flying across the country.
Our delicious Honey Nut Cheerios are shipped from Minneapolis. The cardboard that the cereal is in comes from Jordan. The milk on the other hand is shipped form New Jersey. The plastic container from the milk is brought here from china. The juicy orange is from Florida, the pomegranate arrives from California and lastly the eggplant is a product of Mexico. Here we see that five simple food items come from five different states and three different countries.
Sometimes my family also eats fruits that are out of season, meaning that the fruit may have to come from the other part of the world. Can limiting the food we eat to only seasonal food decrease the amount of acres people use everyday for one simple meal? It may, but buying foods from local Farmers' shops can be more beneficial to our environment.

The problem in my community.

There are alot of problems in any highly densed urban population especially one right between two huge bodies of water. I live in coney Island, on the right and left side of me right now is coney island creek and coney island beach and in front of me is the atlantic ocean. Basically I live on an island..well now its a penisula but its a long story, the point is building huge apartment buildings on a small island and stuffing 500 or so people in each building will cause ecological damage that people won't worry about because of the economical benefits. What does this have to do with the main point of this blog "water waste", well EVERYTHING. Water just doesn't waste itself folks.

In my building floods aren't uncommon. I get a devastaing flood running through my house about 4 times a year on average. Thats about an olympic size pool of water just being wasted yearly just because people aren't doing their jobs. And with this water comes the sewer essentials.
Yeah you know it, feces, dead things and other body some unknowns.
The summer just has to be the biggest example of water waste..first off, as I said before WE ARE SURROUNDED BY WATER. But yet people think its a good idea to leave a sprinkler on on every block from morning to sunrise even if noone is in the water. Not only is that wasteful its kind of stupid. Water is our life source, when that becomes unattainable for some reason thats the end of us. Some people just don't think that way, water is water to them, its just some natural gift from the earth that will always be here. People need to wake up and smell the h20 and respect our enviroment.

So what can I do to change this sad situation? Alot, I can write letters to my officials, set up harsher fines and other deterrents for messing with my enviroment, my ecology, my life.

My Ecology

FOOD 6.9



Woah, thats it? My footprint only takes up 11 acres? I could have sworn I would have took up more space. I mean come on, I live on everything around me. Right now I'm sitting on a computer that was made in Asia somewhere, I'm chompin on chips from Nj in a metallic bag probably made at least a hundred miles from Nj. The clothes I'm wearing right now are from Europe somewhere and I'm pretty sure my TV was not made in America. America is an immigrant country and I' m pretty sure all my items are immigrants too.

Let's Change!

Well, in ever community you got your, ups and downs. An every community got its bad and good, even if you live in a goodie, goodie community. In that case its sometimes just sweep under the rug. But not in My Neighborhood, everything is just a foot right out side your door. If I could have a chance to change on community issue in my area. I would change the obsessive uses of drugs in my area. Where I live in a Brooklyn project community, where we are ostracized as a down graded area. in my community people seem to let the problem solving be over come by drugs. An un fortunately its brings more violent problems to the community. Kids in this area seem to have no roll models, just the ones that they see on the streets. Drugs aren't the only issues here, its the door way to many issues. I hate the fact that I cant sit out side my door, an cant just get some fresh air or clear my mine without having to worried and I bet I'm not only me that feels this way. If I could just educate people about this issues and how much it can lead to more problems. Maybe people can see that they can get help for their community and clean up their own acts. Cause as I notice over the years people seem to complain that they want to leave out of the are. But it seems they don't do nothing to do so. I mean if your busy shooting up, or fright about territory. Then how do you expect to even get close to leaving. Well, I'm not sure of the purpose be hind that. But I just would like to go out side to the park in front of my house with my nephews, and not have to worry or over look the are for pipes, nettles, bags or any other things like that. I mean I know lots of people expect an area like mine to be such a way. But why must it be that way, Cause it a local urban project community in Brooklyn. It also some times amaze me where, less the 70 yards from my area that in which surrounds mine. Gets more attention then mine, as for like the parks are clean, streets and things seem to get repaired when they are need to be done. I mean why must we live in an are that get no attention, and our future of this world must walk around seeing people who aren't afraid of just, handling their dirty business right there in the open. Why should we have to deal with it, when we have the authority to do so. Or is it just like everything else? The more offered ($$$) the faster the job gets done!
So in this case I just would like my area to be safer and less drug abuse in my area for me, an the future of others. Maybe if we all pitched in and stop giving the spot light to the thug life and more to the more educated or wiser. Maybe then something can get done. Maybe places like my community can be looked at in more positive then negative ways some day.

Maybe we just might gets some where, one day.


My area is a water based community. Everyday people use the bay to catch fish, go boating and just ponder aimlessly while watching the geese. However, the bay is also used as a wasteland where many throw trash into. Although there is no visible sign of harm done, there is a variety of destruction to both the environment and the life in the water.

In the past 2 years the mercury levels of water have increased by 20%. Why? Pollution! Every time I pass by the bay i see trash being tossed. Every time i pass by the bay i see waste being spilled. As human it is our responsibility to be concerned with our environments. Although we do not see the effects of pollution on the bay does not mean that they do not exist. The boats which are used to go out fishing pollute the water so much that soon enough species of fish will begin to disintegrate from the bay.

The long term effects are tremendous to our "water". As citizens of the Sheepshead Bay community we have a duty to rectify the situation presented to us. We have the responsibility to make a healthier environment for the fish. If we join as a community we can clean up the bay and protect it from gradual destruction.

A Surpassed Factor of New York's Nature

You may walk the streets of New York everyday and not take into the notice the nature it offers you everyday. To continue, part of my reason for writing this blog is to enlighten you on the naturistic features of New York. From day to day we walk past different species of trees, plants, birds and grasses.

My introduction to the ginkgo tree was not first on our classes’ trip to Inwood Park. But it happens to be in front of my aunt house there happens to be a ginkgo tree and it was when my aunt researched the tree to find out why it dropped so much fruit was when I received my first info on ginkgo trees and their purposes.

The form of the ginkgo is large and shady. The ginkgo tree grows to be about 80’ tall and 60’ wide. This tree is highly adaptable to the urban conditions of our city, which may be a reason for the several numbers of the tree. The atmosphere best for this tree is most to partial sun, moist deep, sandy soils but is very adaptable to poor soil, compacted soils, heat, drought, winter salt spray and various soil pHs.

The leaves of the ginkgo trees are unusually fan shape, up to 3” long and flutter in the slightest breeze. The fall colors of the leaves are golden- yellow and green. The ginkgo trees scientific name is ginkgo biloba.The female ginkgo tree produces tan-orange oval fruits from the spur shoots, in great abundance and becoming an extremely mushy mess.

My Ecological Footprint

FOOD 4.7

This is my ecological footprint, if everyone lived like the way I do, we would need 3.3 planets. This is not a lot because most of the people I know get and ecological footprint of over 20 Acres. I live with a comparison of a modern life and a common life which I brought over from Pakistan. Most of the people that I know were either born here or have been here since they were kidds, so they are used to the life style in the U.S. since childhood. On the other hand i have been here for only 5 and a half years so most of my life styles come from what I have learned as a child which was a simple life in a village. As time passed and I got used to the life in New York my ecological footprint got bigger and bigger because in Pakistan we don't use as much electricity, we never traveled on a plane, and we spent most of the day outside the house; so we weren't inside playing Playstation.

Water Pollution - Its More Then Just Ugly

__Even the nicest communities have ecological and environmental problems and issues. Ask anyone from a heavily populated area what kind of problem they may have in their community and they may tell you something like the rent is too high, or the parking is not good. But ask someone in the Sheepshead Bay area what types of problems their community faces and they may tell you all about problems with the bay. A once quiet and residential neighborhood, Emmons Avenue is now occupied by restaurants, caterers, nursing homes, malls, hotels and condominiums. The waterfront is becoming very commercial. Many passenger boats are docked in the bay and go out on daily fishing trips open to the public, for a small fee. This attraction of many people has become harmful to the bay area. Aside from its attractions, the bay is also home to wildlife. Swans, geese, ducks, and seagulls are some birds in which you will find in the bay. It also houses such aquatic animals as fish and jellyfish, along with being home to algae and seaweeds.
__As more people occupy the area, the bay becomes more polluted. A common sight in the water may be plastic bottles, cans, wrappers, papers, cups and other objects that don't belong there. This is not an appealing sight. It also can be harmful to the wildlife. Many of the birds can choke and suffocate on things thrown in the water. Fish and other creatures can also be affected by this. Such things also cut off the oxygen supply for aquatic plants and algae. I'm sure that if they could talk they would tell us how much they enjoy their environment being polluted. The pollution changes the color of the water and at times may apper to be a murky green. There are supposedly laws and such that penalize those who pollute the bay, but i don't feel that is enough. If these punishments were severe enough, people would not be polluting the water as they do. As an individual i can write a letter to assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz, whose office is located on Ocean Avenue, across the street from the bay, and ask him if he can more strictly enforce the no pollution policy. I can also send out letters to other people representing New York State and ask them to help out as well. As an individual i can avoid polluting the bay as well as making sure the people around me don't. We all live here it should be every one's responsibility to keep it clean.
Photos: Top Left - Sheepshead Bay, Top Right - Polluted Water, Bottom Left - The Bay (the bridge that connects Sheepshead Bay to Manhattan Beach) Bottom Right - Swans On The Water

Safe, Clean,.......But to an extent

The problem in my community is that it is clean and safe from 4th Ave. all the way to Prospect park but a couple of blocks before 4th Ave. are really dirty and can also prove to be dangerous. The problem is that most of the people and stores are located from 4th Ave. to Prospect park so these areas are always active and safe but blocks before 4th Ave. are less populated and they are not as much active as the other streets so these few blocks are really dark at night and very few people go there at night. So, I think that their should be more people living all over the community instead of just squeased together in one place or part of the community.


The problem in my community is the water leaking in the apartments.Where I live people are always complaining to the landlord and he doesn't do anything about it . He says he will come check later .He dose come check later 3 MONTHS LATER!!!!.There is mold growing on the bathroom ceiling and water damage on the walls
do you know how nasty it is to live like that and on top of that to pay $1500. PLEASE! An apartment like that isn't even worth it .We try looking for apartments with the lowest price which in this case would be $1300 but even then the apartment is worse then the one I live in.The people in my building (including me) can't afford to pay a higher price.
Its sad that the government doesn't do anything .I think the government should live in this kind of apartment to experience how bad we live.I also think we should call the health inspector.The condition of the apartments is so bad we even have moth flies growing in the bathroom such as this:
its pretty nasty to think that when you are sleeping at night sleeping with your mouth open(not saying everyone)might have flies flying into your mouth.
I think we have right to live in better conditions or at least live in a pretty
decent apartment com'on people this is what we call home .We all work our tushes off .We could at least have that .A decent place to call home.

Me , Myself and Ecology !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

FOOD 6.9


I take the bus every morning to go to school and unfortunately my diet isn't what a vegetarian would eat. My ecology is being born a city girl. Just being use to the life of the city. The quote "we depend on the kindness of a stranger" very much applies to me. However, it didn't affect me much as you can see. However, we know most of the best jobs are in Manhattan, I know this would so much effect me traveling wise. Due to the fact that I live in the city , it's harder to find fresh food and unpolluted transportation. So every single day is a day of pollution.

"The Gangsta Approach"

We have a problem in my community and it's called litter. Now you maybe saying that litter is a problem in every community but when the roaches and mice are not scare to fight you and the rats say hi to you then it becomes a major problem. In my neighborhood at times the kids as well as adults come outside to hang, however, while having fun with each other they seem to drop food on the floor. This increases water bugs and other bugs who will end up in your house having coffee with you.
These problems have also come about because in the building I live in , we have a incinerator. Everyone empties their garbage in the incinerator. Ironically, the garbage goes to the basement. (IN THE BUILDING!!!!) We all know that means more rodents and problems, since they will soon crawl up to apartments in the building. Not to mention, sometimes people do not properly empty the garbage in the incinerator which attracts more rodents for that floor.
Furthermore, as a community we have to put other garbage out on the streets. This is a huge problem because the garbage truck only comes on certain days. I could bet that animals love our block. In fact I wouldn't be surprise if a bear came on our block or even for that matter a whale.
What I am proposing is that we start recycling, If we wish for our kids to grow up in a better environment and for crying out loud NO MORE GARBAGE IN THE BUILDING !!!!!!!! I mean It's 2006, I think it's time for an upgrade! So what do you think? Demote It? Or promote it?

Money isn't the only thing that makes our world go round

Imagine a diverse neighborhood that is crawling with school children all hours of the day. As soon as the elementary school bell rings at 2:30pm, all the children flock to my block like pigeons over a bag of Doritos. Another thing that inhabits most of my connected back yard is a diverse selection of animals. Immature kids plus defenseless animals equals a bad omen.

The main problem that I can’t tolerate in my neighborhood is the disrespect for animals. My neighborhood has a lot of children living here, so when they get their grubby hands on an animal: they will a) capture it, b) maim it and c) leave it for dead somewhere. For example, near the local junior high school, a mother cat gave birth to a litter of kittens. Unfortunately, a boy about 11 years old found her nest underneath a bush and stole a tom kitten that was only 2 weeks old. The boy then proceeds to light it on fire with a can of hair spray and a disposable lighter, just for “fun”. The next day I was able to bait the kitten with a can of tuna fish and give him a nice home with a friend. This problem is also evident in the marine biology lab at our school. The lab has a wide array of animals, and to the students, this might as well be Toys R’ Us. As quoted by Ricky: “They treat them like they are not living things, more like a toy for their amusement, not thinking about its feelings and its safety. Ask your self this question: "What if someone pulled my arms off, just to watch me squirm around defensely."

Animals are living organisms too. They play a vital role in the circle of life in our ecology. For example the lady bug helps our gardens from being over populated by aphids, therefore yielding us more crops and flowers. Kids obviously don’t understand this concept and try to destroy them. Although they have a foul tasting toxin in defense against predators, they have no defense against a curious 10 year old. In trying to help my community to be aware of the organisms inhabiting our backyard, I have created feeding stations for all different species and shelter also. I also give scientific facts to those who will listen.

"Would you hurt me?"

Problems In My Community

In my community, the biggest problem that harms the environmental problem is cars, fuel exhaust, and noise. The house that I am living in is next to two major road ways, a car factory, and a police precinct. The noise is normally generated by the police cars rushing to a crime and the operation of the factory. The air pollution is caused by the two major road ways near my house, the Conley Island Avenue and the Ocean Parkway. Another problem to my community is fuel exhaust. The use of cars in the police precinct, the use of cars on the two roads and the factory is the cause of all this fuel exhaust.

There are many cars near where I live. The pollution from the two major roads causes a lot of fumes. The road normally contains new cars so the pollution is less. More pollution is added into the air by the police cars. Most of the time the pollution is added into the air by the factory next door.

Because of the roads and cars, there is lots of fuel exhausts near my house. Most of it comes from the factory next door. Some of it comes from the police station and some from the two major road ways. The police station has a fueling station that also exhausts lots of carbon dioxide. In my community there are lots of problems.

The only way that I think that I can help my community is by supporting of trading in your old cars for new cars and make the car company have shorter hours of more days off. There are many cars on the two roads because it is a major road way. I can’t stop it because it is a state road. Altering it by any means means that I go to jail. Since the newer cars produce less pollution then the only thing I think that I can do is to persuade people to trade in your old cars and trucks for money to buy newer ones.

The factory next door is privately owned. It is also a very big auto industry, changing it would be a big problem for me and the owner. The only thing I can do is to sign a petition that states that the warehouse should open less hours and not so many cars to be repaired or use less machines during the process. In my community, it is hard to change anything if the causes of the problems are a police station, two major state/ city roads and a verrry big auto industry is in your community.

The Asian ecology of a Brooklynite

Although I am a true “Brooklynite”, my mom is from China (a town called Canton) and my dad is Chinese born Vietnamese (he lived in Saigon). They have two children, my sister and obviously me.

My mom’s family emigrated from Canton, to Hong Kong, then New York (where her uncle lived). My mom said the main motive for moving to America was that American is more advanced in technology in which I find hilariously ironic since my last trip to Hong Kong proved otherwise. On the other hand, my dad’s side of the family emigrated from Vietnam to escape the war. My dad emigrated a couple of years earlier than my grandpa, my grandma, my two uncles and my aunt. He was around 14 and he lived in an apartment by himself in Flatbush where he said was populated with either Blacks or Vietnamese immigrants.

The unique twist about my noticeably Asian family is that my mom and dad (and almost every single person in my family) speak fluent English, which shocked my friends to no end. I am extremely thankful that my mom graduated from Hunter and didn’t give my sister and me a noticebaly Asian name.

Its been 8 years since we moved into our current house and we aren't exactly the most eco - friendly family. I can tell by our bills that we do indeed waste alot of water and electricity. Although we do try to save our resources, my family hasn't made much of an improvement in saving the ecosystem. According to, I would have used up:

FOOD 4.7

and if everyone lives like me, they would need 5.8 planets

American Dream or Environmental Nightmare?

My family is originally from Uzbekistan. We moved to America about thirteen years ago, after the Soviet Union broke down. Coming to America form Uzbekistan is a fifteen hour plane ride. There are several reasons my family moved to America; my whole family had moved to Israel and my mom did not want to stay in my country alone without anyone. Also at the time I was severally sick and my country did not have the medicine to cure me.

When my family finally moved to American, we moved into my uncle’s house, from my father’s side of the family. They had kicked us out because they did not want to deal with an extra six people to care for. Our first real apartment was on 42nd Street and 16th avenue. Although we did have a car, we did not really commute in it. My siblings and I walked to school every day because we did not live so far away from the school. My parents also walked to work, the only time we drove around was when we went to the city as a family and that would be only twice a moth or less.

Later on we moved to an apartment on 17th avenue and 67th street. My sister and I still walked to school because it was near us but my brothers and my parents start using the car. My mother remained to walk to work and home but she would sometimes get a ride from my father. As my brothers got older they start using the car more than my parents, especially when they would go out with their friends. Then we moved again, because we wanted to experience the “American Dream”.

Now we bought a house and live really far from everyone. Our daily commute most of the time does not involve walking. At this time we live in Bergen Beach/ Mill Basin. My parents bought another car so they can both drive to work. I take two busses to school, the B41 to the B9. I try to walk home after I get off the B9 coming from school. One of my brothers takes the bus to his job which is in Manhattan. My other brother Ariel gets dropped off to his college by my parents. We use the car so much now that we have to fill it up with gasoline every two day, for each car. Both cars can hold up to 15 gallons of gasoline, which means that we use about 90 gallons of fuel a week.

Since coming to America my family has migrated further and further away from our jobs and schools. This ultimately harms our environment. As much as we love our house sometimes we regret for moving so far. Because we live so far we do not walk to where we need to and that impacts on our health. We use so much gasoline a week, which is bad for the environment and expensive for us.

My Urban Ecology- It's Not all about what we use!

A rabbit dies then as time pass it decomposes. Sending nutrients to the soil, the plants receive these nutrients and sunlight to live. The tree's are then grown. Where birds are relying on the needs of the tree to have shelter and humans to have oxygen, in which they to live. What about a Snake, where it inhibits the grass which was to also grown by sunlight and decomposed. Where the snake uses grass to help it camouflage or hide, to hunt its pray. Where it can kill a field mouse for food. Well, so many different organisms placed together. Relationships is what they have in common. They each need one another in many different ways to survive weather its for food, shelter, to live, or to expand their species. Everything needs each other wether we break down those barriers of differences or not we all in some way need each other. An in just one word which can explain it all, every single foot print, history, reason, and that is Ecology.
Everything has an ecology, living or non-living. I even have my own, ecology. My life started when I was born in Jamaica queens on July 12, 1989. where I stayed for a month an half for medical difficultly due to early birds. Then arrived home to the urban community in Brooklyn, NY. where I was raised in a 2 bed room apartment. Where I had inhibited my home with 2 older sisters, my mother, and my father. My mother and father are born in Puerto Rico. My mother was born in Camuy and my dad was born in Rinsed. My mother moved out to Brooklyn, in Coney Land when she was less the 6 months old. With my grandmother who was a single mother of 3 at the time. The reason that she moved out to Brooklyn. Was to give here children and better life and education. Cause education was at a greater rise here then in Calumny. She also moved cause work was hard to find, and too far of a distance from her local home. My father in the other hand lived in Rinsed all his life. There, is where he lived in a two room home. which you can consider as those shack like home. With No electric, no running water, and a small farm in the back. But As he got older, he meets my mother. Where she went at the time to visit family. Then soon later had my older sister which, then moved back to Puerto Rico. But when my fathers contract had ended form a local construction business, they both decide to move to Brooklyn to get better benefits. Cause the benefits in Puerto Rico were very low. People were lucky if they got a $15 a day job. A jobs like that there, was like a $35 a day job here. So, after having my two sister, the moved in to a apartment building in of the local projects in Brooklyn. Where I was then raised my whole life. I was bought up with a lot of opportunities in my life. My culture wasn't fill embrace until my later years. I mean we spoke our native language and ate our native cultural food. But it didn't always embrace our lives. Everything in my life, I had embrace and grow a relationship with. wether if its my family, friends, animals, people, and just mostly everything in general. My way of life and everything that surrounded me. Has effected me and made me become dependent on some resources. But also had opened my eyes to may thing. Some times when people think of ecology or understand it for the first time they think that, it automatically has to deal with resources and things like that. But not always, it has to also deal with the effect of the environments. Which is placed on a person or an organism. Like its reaction to things, its way of life, it way of survival and most of all the way it develops. Weather its emotionally, physically, or mentally. Ecology doesn't always have to deal with birds, food, or how much recourses someone can use with in a year or a life time. But it tells us our history of development, during our lives.
Like in nature theirs the survival of the fittest, which is very similar mind thought, as the one we have in our environment. As I grew up in the urban culture of living, it didn't affect me much in a negative way. But it placed everything out there for me to embrace and understand. Nothing was hidden then. It helped me under stand that we all in some way leave an effect on one another. An even a relationship, unconsciously developed between the two. Thats why I see things now and the way that I think has a great deal with my Ecology (environment, Relationships.)
I learned to understand the ways people had approached things in their own way, and the reasons why the did what they did at the time. Like fight, shoot, drug up, kill, and basically just try to get by. I mean it wasn't always negative. Like they say "Where ever theres a bad theres a good." People tried to get by, and fix things. But unfortunately not everything can be fixed. My ecology just basically consist of a family that wanted good, for themselves and everyone else. Just to get what they need to get by. Without losing who they are, in the mix of it all. An just trying to embrace as much as they can. My relationships with the world, is like lookin at the world threw a baby's eyes. So curious to know and feel everything.
To me my ecology dealt with more then just my way of eating, travel, and things I used. But it has to deal with so much more then that. Like the way I speak, dress, walk, live, my interests, my emotions, the type of music I listen to, Its just so much more.
I built a relationships, of a need for knowledge, threw my eyes.