New York - At the Urban Tree House, today's environmental issues have been translated into three floors of interactive activities for children to see and touch.
The outdoor learning center, which is a seasonal exhibit at the Children's Museum of Manhattan Sussman Environmental Cen-ter, is a departure from traditional teaching methods such as lectures and films. In-stead the center has taken a hands-on ap-proach to educating children on environmental issues.
At the Urban Tree House, inner-city teenagers, referred to as "Green Teens," show children the cyc-les materials go through in a city ecosystem. This in-cludes composting; rain and drain-age; papermaking; the types of materials recycled; and what happens to recyclables after processing.
In exchange, the Green Teens receive academic credit, work experience, insight to a possible career choice and encouragement to stay in school. The program seeks to en-courage students that have low a-chievement levels at school.
Lever Brothers Co. has underwritten the outdoor facility. The company's display on plastics recycling allows children to see a plastic bottle go from the supermarket shelf, through the washing and sorting phases and into post-consumer uses. One interactive process allows the children to grind, wash, sort and melt the plastic, while another illustrates the different properties of assorted plastics.
An estimated 150,000 children are expected to visit the Urban Tree House.