Last week, we bore witness to the first visible evidence of a benevolent tree invasion overtaking our neighborhood.

That, if you recall, is one of several projects brought to us by the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund (the payout from the Exxon oil spill settlement), which is funding initiatives to improve the local environment.

Today, the GCEF-funded Greenpoint Eco-Schools initiative is having a ribbon-cutting ceremony of sorts, and Greenpointers will have an opportunity to vote for future projects before the week is up.

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña, and United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew are all joining The National Wildlife Federation in the launch of the Greenpoint Eco-Schools project, taking place today at P.S. 31 on Meserole Avenue.

The environmental education program focuses on STEM topics and hands-on sustainability projects. Full-time sustainability coaches are also coming to M.S. 126, P.S. 31, P.S. 34, and P.S. 110.

The schools will receive $10 million in energy efficiency upgrades, such as new boilers, lighting, and waste collection, which will also serve as learning opportunities for the kids.

This is the first program of its kind in New York City, and it’s looking likely that students will walk away with a greater sense of accountability and personal clout in their communities.

Speaking of which, the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund is opening up its voting booths for two days of community preferencing this week. All 11222 residents can turn up to have their say in what gets funded next. Options range from restoring McGolrick Park to equipping Greenpoint residents with air quality sensors.

Voting will take place as follows:

Thursday, November 19, 2015
Noon – 2:30pm and 6:00 – 8:30pm
Brooklyn Expo Center, 72 Noble St.

Saturday, November 21, 2015
10:00am – 3:00pm
Polish National Home “Warsaw”, 261 Driggs Ave.
Corner of Driggs Ave. and Eckford St.

The GCEF also recently announced the winners of $978,129 in additional small grants, which will be combined with $522,013 in matching funds. That also brings the total GCEF-funded investment to $35 million.

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