Commitment to the Environment

PS41 Commitment & Eco-Code
PS41 is committed to making PS41 an environmentally focused school for the benefit of our students, staff, community and the earth. Thanks to the commitment of Principal Kelly Shannon and our teachers, students are learning environmental awareness, sustainability, and responsibility at a very young age. Our goal is that the various experiences our students will have in PS 41’s school curriculum, garden program, our GELL green roof, and community partnerships will give them the skills they will need to solve environmental issues they will certainly face in the future. This will ensure that our children will understand the importance of doing their part to be a responsible citizen for the better of their community and our planet.

PS 41 has been widely recognized for our sustainability efforts, and we are a proud member of National Wildlife Federation’s Eco-Schools program.
Eco SchoolsCertified Schoolyard


Science teachers Joaquin Rodriguez & Vicki Sando receiving a grant from National Wildlife Federation for our GELL green roof.

School-Wide Recycling Program
In 2007, we initiated a successful school-wide recycling program, and in 2013, PS41 was one of the first groups of schools in NYC to participate in the DOE composting program. Students have been separating their lunch trash into clearly marked bins in the cafeteria at every meal. In addition, our PTA has funded compostable trays. Parents can assist in this effort by packing their children’s lunch with recyclable materials, by using food containers and thermoses instead of plastic bags and juice boxes.

Classrooms bring used materials to designated recycling areas on each floor. In 2014, we partnered with Grow NYC to ramp-up our recycling efforts. Our third-graders had to apply to become recycling monitors, and they make weekly visits to each part of the building to check on the schools’ recycling efforts. For more information about the program:

The PTA School Store has PS41 pocket tote bags and reusable water bottles for sale. By purchasing these or similar products, you help reduce the tremendous amount of plastic that ends up in landfills or waterways and takes centuries to decompose.

Our after-school Urban Eco-Club conducts energy audits around the school, builds wildlife habitats on our school grounds, and helps inform the school community on environmental issues.

Currently our Energy Star Portfolio Manager rating current score is: 89 out of 100, with a Baseline Score of 81. By continuing to monitor our school’s energy usage and reducing consumption, we can strive to increase our energy rating.

Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Products
The PTA purchases environmentally friendly and biodegradable cleaning products in bulk for each classroom. Please consider this when buying additional supplies for your teacher.

The School Garden & GELL Green Roof Program
PS41’s Garden Program first sprouted in 2003. Our students were studying plants and there was no outside area at school for them to plant. What started out initially as a few wooden containers have evolved over the years into an important learning environment and wildlife habitat for native and migratory species. By giving our students the opportunity to grow produce from seeds while observing and nurturing them, they can understand the importance of “farm to table” and have a greater appreciation of where their food comes from. In partnership with Gramercy Tavern restaurant and Chef Michael Anthony, our first-grade social studies curriculum covers restaurants in our community, farmers’ markets, and “farm to table.” Furthermore, in 2006 PS 41 was the first school in the country to have an educational partnership with Organic Valley Family of Farms. Their farmers from Upstate New York visit our school four times a year to teach where our food comes from, hatch chicks and ducks, and explain the system of dairy production.

Our garden and GELL green roof has attracted various species of insects and birds, which help children better understand the importance of how ecosystems are connected. Classroom snacks are composted and recycled back into the garden and teach students better alternatives to disposing of organic refuse. As our children grow we hope that PS41’s garden program will give them important life lessons that they will need for their future.

In 2014, we partnered with Xavier Food Pantry to supply herbs and vegetables from our green roof and school garden for their soup kitchen.

Our school garden would not have been possible without the endorsement and generous support of our administration, teachers and our PTA. We also are extremely grateful to National Wildlife Federation, The National Gardening AssociationOrganic Valley and OV farmers Susan & Dave Hardy, Chef Michael Anthony of Gramercy Tavern Union Square Hospitality GroupHSBCAmes Tru TemperSmith & HawkenScott’s Miracle Growand Remember Me Rose Garden for their commitment to children’s education.

For more information about the PS41’s garden program and GELL, please contact Vicki Sando at To learn more about GELL, click here.

153 Millions Styrofoam Trays
That is what NYC public school cafeterias citywide throw out each year, to end up in landfills. That equals roughly to 4.25 million per week or 850 thousand per day! The environmental impact is astounding as Styrofoam takes centuries to decompose. These trays are made from foamed polystyrene, which is derived from petroleum. Concerns have been raised about health issues associated with ingesting food from Styrofoam containers daily. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to solve this problem. In 2009, representatives from PS41 as well as an organized group of other public schools in NYC joined forces to see if we could help find solutions to this very serious issue. Working with DOE School Food Services, elected officials and environmental groups we discussed various alternatives such as biodegradable and reusable trays as well as composting and anaerobic digesters. Thanks to the unrelenting efforts of Debbie Lee Cohen of “Styrofoam Out of Schools” and “Cafeteria Culture.” the NYC DOE will be eliminating Styrofoam lunch trays, and New York City will ban Styrofoam in 2015. For more information: