Sustainable Long Island to Build Community Garden and Rain Garden in Central Islip

Sustainable Long Island has been awarded an $8,500 grant from the ERM Group Foundation in support of an environmental education project that will teach underprivileged youth from Central Islip about sustainability issues facing Long Island.

Working with the community organization Teatro Experimental Yerbabruja, Sustainable Long Island will build a community garden, as well as utilize a rain garden and rain barrels at the site of the newly opened Teatro Yerbabruja Central Islip Arts Center.

The program will teach youth the principles of sustainability, as well as the importance of water conservation, how to establish clean water mechanisms, and about opportunities to enhance food access.

insights-landing“Building these two gardens from the ground-up will help build the next generation of environmental leaders,” said Amy Engel, Executive Director, Sustainable Long Island. “With ERM Group Foundation’s generous funding, this partnership consisting of highly dedicated staff and volunteers can truly make a difference in Central Islip and the surrounding areas.

Community gardens are a valuable tool toward promoting greater food access, and bring together people of different ages, genders, and ethnicities. These gardens also reduce neighborhood carbon footprints; beautify neighborhoods; contribute to a sense of place; promote education about agriculture; and improve participant’s nutrition.

Rainwater capture and stormwater runoff green infrastructure techniques, such as rain gardens and rain barrels, are an important tool toward environmental conservation. Implementing rain gardens is a proven way to reduce water pollution, and beautify yards. By using rain barrels, the average homeowner can save 1,300 gallons of water during the growing season.

The property – located at 63 Carleton Ave. – is large enough to accommodate both projects, which aim to empower local youth and residents with resources to build a sustainable future.

The program itself is sustainable for a variety of factors including:

  • The irrigation system connected to the rain garden and rain barrel elements of the program will be an ongoing water source for the community garden;
  • The gardens will be built at Teatro Experimental Yerbabruja Central Islip Arts Center, a year-round venue for community art projects, run by an established community organization committed to ensuring maintenance of the infrastructure of the program;
  • Sustainable Long Island will deliver support and guidance through training and workshops, transferring skills to the community so they will learn how to maintain the program in the long run.

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