City Tech students from Professor Blake’s Natural Disaster Class and Professor Robin Michals’ Communication Design Photography Class met last Friday at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens (BBG) to chronicle local impacts of climate change on plants and trees.
The group was joined by renowned sociologist Eric Klinenberg who is studying climate change impacts on society.
The goal of this unique, cross-discipline collaboration is to pair photography students with student writers who are studying natural disasters, each reflecting his or her personal observations of how the changing climate affects nature. At the end of the semester a public exhibit of photographs and essays will be mounted for public viewing. Kate Fermoile, Director of Exhibitions at BBG welcomed students at the garden’s Steinberg Visitor Center, introducing many for the first time to the popular 52-acre garden with over 12,000 different plants.
City Tech Students at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens last week. Photo by City Tech Student Madeline Deleon
Although it was the last week in February, as students walked to the Tropical Pavilion they saw several spring flowers in early bloom, signs of a warming climate.
Professor Blake gave an informative lecture about greenhouse gas effects and carbon capture, encouraging his students to share what they already knew about climate change with photography students. Upon entering the Tropical Pavilion students felt the warm, humid atmosphere and immediately connected the ambient temperature of the Tropical Pavilion with how trapped greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere have heated the planet.
Visits to the Desert Pavilion and the Aquatic House prompted many students from overseas to talk about how climate change was already impacting their home countries. Photography students captured aspects of the varied environments they saw that piqued their interest.
An upcoming visit to BBG students will meet with BBG’s Education Director Barbara Kurland who will guide students on phenology (the study of cyclic and seasonal phenomena, especially of plants), tree growth in particular, temperature changes, the garden’s practices to ensure sustainability in a changing climate, and other impacts of global warming.
For both sets of students, the visit to the BBG was a learning experience, an encounter with nature that City Tech students found enjoyable and rewarding.