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Community offshore wind invests in youth STEM education

March 6, 2023 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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One month after submitting a proposal to the state government for clean energy investment, Community Offshore Wind is already starting to invest.

The joint venture between RWE Renewables and National Grid has put over $100,000 into youth STEM education programs for the future workforce, collaborating with multiple community partners in downstate New York to provide access to museums, outdoor spaces, and environmental and marine education for hands-on learning experiences.

“Alongside our community partners, we have organized a suite of programs that will allow us to provide environmental and STEM education to New York youth, which is critical for equipping students with what they need for future careers in offshore wind,” said Pat Johnson, Vice President and Deputy Project Director, Community Offshore Wind.

Pat Johnson, Vice President and Deputy Project Director of Community Offshore Wind. Photo courtesy of Pat Johnson

“As we await a decision on our New York offshore wind proposal, it’s important for us to continue to make positive changes in the state. Community Offshore Wind has been committed to New York communities as a joint venture for the better part of a year and long before that under our parent companies.”

During Engineers Week, Community Offshore Wind sent 75 students from communities in downstate New York to the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, Long Island Children’s Museum, and New York Hall of Science. Participating students hail from the Red Hook Initiative, Good Shepherd Services at the Joseph Miccio Community Center, and the Long Beach Martin Luther King Center.

“Thanks to Community Offshore Wind, youth in Brooklyn, New York spent time at our city’s great museums during Engineers Week,” said William Suarez, Partnerships Manager of Red Hook Initiative (RHI).

“Some of the students were able to explore a museum in their backyards for the first time. RHI high school and middle school participants were able to go to the New York Hall of Science, for example. We hope this kind of educational enrichment is an experience that will inspire youth and set them up for success.”

In partnership with Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE), Uniondale High School students in 11th and 12th grade will embark on interactive boat excursions on the Western Bays around Long Island to learn about climate change and renewables. Additionally, students will connect to climate-related summer internships as part of the program.

“We are delighted to work with the faculty and students at Uniondale High School. They have many concerns and questions regarding the impacts of climate change and have expressed a strong interest in learning about ways they can mitigate those impacts,” said Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment.

“Through Community Offshore Wind’s support, we can provide classroom education and field trips for 11th and 12th graders to get them out on the water to experience and learn about climate impacts on our marine environment. CCE will also help these students find internships in climate-related fields. Many of these students want to work in renewables and this experience will help expose them to possible careers in offshore wind.”

Over 400 second and third grade Uniondale students will be offered a field trip that provides marine and environmental education on a boat sponsored by Community Offshore Wind with Operation Splash.

“Giving students a chance to learn about ocean conservation through real-life, hands-on experience is the key to helping them understand the importance of protecting our local bays and environment as a whole,” said Robert Weltner, President of Operation SPLASH.

“They see the issues we face first-hand when we bring them out on the water, and the connections they make become much deeper. Community Offshore Wind and Operation SPLASH share in the goal of providing marine and environmental education to younger generations. Through their generous support, these field trips for Uniondale students are possible.”

Robert Weltner, President of Operation SPLASH. Photo courtesy of Robert Weltner

The Cradle of Aviation Museum and Education Center on Long Island, in partnership with Community Offshore Wind, will host the Kidwind Competition for over 300 students throughout Long Island. This competition will challenge participants to build and test wind turbines while teaching students about renewable energy, engineering principles, and teamwork. The competition aims to inspire youth to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

“We are thrilled to host our first Kidwind competition at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in nearly three years,” said Kerri Mackay, Education Competition Coordinator at the Cradle of Aviation Museum. “Community Offshore Wind’s support will make this competition possible and inspire students to explore the potential of sustainable energy sources.”

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