Green Girls: Creating a ‘safe space’ for girl in STEM

CityParks Foundation, Green Girl programme
CityParks Foundation, Green Girl programme
The CityParks Green Girls Empowered by ING Summer Institute is running summer camps to create a safe space for girls to learn about science-based subjects

A Brooklyn-based programme has been launched, to boost girls' interest in science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) subjects, and to encourage young female scientists to develop their skills and further their knowledge of the industries.

The Green Girls programme will run across the summer, to help girls discover how they can create positive change within their environment, and learn about future careers in the sciences.  In a bid to ensure the programme has an inclusive curriculum which is accessible to all girls in New York, Green Girls has partnered with Brooklyn Urban Garden Charter School

What does Green Girls offer students?

The programme aims to inspire early adolescent girls to excel as environmental scientists, and is specifically for girls in grades six to eight. It provides girls with resources and hands-on experiences around some of today’s most pressing issues, including water quality, climate change and social and environmental justice, to name a few.

“[Schools] have that traditional learning of, ‘You’re going to sit there, you’re going to absorb what’s being taught to you… and then do your homework and figure it out,’ kind of thing,” Mayra Sanchez, Green Girls’ program director said. “We know that as young women, we might [have] had that experience where we don’t have that place to ask questions. We don’t feel comfortable to maybe bring up a certain opposite point to someone else.”

Experiencing hands-on learning

Mayra continues to explain that the programme is “creating that safe space for young girls,” while encouraging them to push beyond the boundaries of a science curriculum. 

While Mayra teaches a number of different modules in the programme, her favourite topic to teach is water filtration. In this module, girl’s take samples from various different water supplies, including water fountains, toilets and ponds – they are then asked to make a hypothesis of each. 

“Nitrate, for example, is my favourite test, because that’s the one that tests for fertilisers,” Sanchez said. “I’m like, ‘Okay, Green Girls, do you think there’s going to be some poop water in our public bathroom?’ They’re like, ‘Yeah, because it’s public.’ I’m like, ‘Okay, let’s try.’ They put in their tablet, shake it, it comes out clear, which is a no-poop result.”
The CityParks Green Girls Empowered by ING Summer Institute will be running in July and August, Monday to Thursdays, 9:30am-3pm and is free. Visit their website for more information, or to sign up.

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