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CUNY Institute for Virtual Enterprise

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Nature of New York

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[The Nature of New York Leadership Alliance]

Providing time for ecological literacy & environmental leadership in our classrooms and communities.An initiative of CUNY Student Development, the Institute for Virtual Enterprise (IVE) and Nurture New York’s Nature, Inc (NNYN).

Who are we ? NNYLA is a new, integrative alliance for the realization of experiential learning in the building of a more sustainable NY.

Our premise : New York City and the metropolitan region host outstanding natural diversity, tens of thousands of plant and animal species that interact with their physical environments to produce the greater ecological landscape of New York, one we need to sustain for our own survival.

Our structure and mission : NNYLA includes a network of 19 CUNY-wide, campus-based, student environmental clubs - or “ Green Teams” - connected to a collaborative web of CUNY faculty and proven grassroots organizations (NYC Audubon, etc.).

• The purpose of the clubs, or Green Teams, will be to foster career opportunities by helping to create and disseminate a better understanding of our urban environment.
• 2005 kick-off program : The Green Team’s initial activities will be project-driven. Students will be taken out into the field, will participate in lectures, discussions; they will be encouraged to explore the nature of their own communities and define a creative project around the ecology of their neighborhoods. The top 15 individual projects would be rewarded with a 2005 summer internship, leadership position and/or research opportunity with the region’s “Harbor Herons” program (NYC Audubon/CUNY/Wildlife Trust), an integrative urban ecology study including wild birds and satellite/video monitoring and issues of pollution levels, water quality, public health; and leading to publications in peer-reviewed journals.
• Award-winning students will be given rare access to hidden islands of New York where the herons nest, might help scientists capture and equip the birds with satellite transmitters, help conduct a monitoring of breeding herons (with possible access to the FUJI blimp over-flights of NYC), or install web-cams and web-cam supported websites for the monitoring of nesting success.


• ECOLOGICAL LITERACY: NNYLA will introduce students to the cutting edge systems theory inherent in ecological literacy, by showing students how plants, animals and ecosystems influence and interact with the complex systems and nature of our communities; how they ultimately determine our livelihood; and not only the quality of our environment but that of our economy, and the future of our jobs, families and careers. (the reach of NYC’s dependence on the environment – or “ecological footprint” - extends into the food- and watersheds needed to sustain the financial, economic and cultural heartbeat and life of our city, as far away again as the Amazon or the Arctic).
• ENVIRONMENTAL LEADERSHIP: NNYLA will foster the course of action that through awareness, dialogue, consumer choice, environmental justice and leadership, CUNY students themselves can help directly control and improve the quality of their communities – and their future. The mission of NNYLA is thus threefold:
o to give CUNY students the chance to see, feel and grasp the profoundly nature-based reality of their existence and greater homeland - Metropolitan New York City, and its relationship to the world.
o to share in the knowledge that environmental destruction and social injustice are directly related, if not causally linked; and
o to inspire CUNY students to protect and restore the human, plant and animal communities of NYC, and elsewhere - with the understanding that ecologicalhealth, ultimately, means the success of our own homes and communities.
• CAREER TRAINING: NNYLA is a unique opportunity for students to participate in community-based scientific and environmental research in the heart of NYC, and as an means of training for their careers. This year in association with the NYC Audubon, students of NNYLA will be involved in solving real, environmental and public health-related problems. In the process they will become creators, not just consumers, of knowledge.
Students will in addition be able to communicate via the discussion board of a new web site “Exploring the Nature of New York” –
This site is also the comprehensive CUNY content resource for students researching NYC nature and those participating in NYC-based environmental programs.
For further infomation please contact us:

Video from Green Teams Field Trip
“Green Teams e-bulletin”


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