Our floating future


Solar panels and wind turbines on the barge.

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Convent of the Sacred Heart Environmental Science students traveled to Yonkers, New York to learn more about sustainable energy and production aboard the Science Barge, an urban and environmentally friendly farm, October 8.
New York Sun Works developed the sustainable urban farm, which is located on the Hudson River in downtown Yonkers and is now operating as an environmental education center, according to groundworkhv.org.
The barge is the only functioning demonstration of sustainable and renewable energy in New York, Upper School Biology and Environmental Science teacher, Ms. Amy Dillane discussed the importance of being able to expose her environmental students to this nearby model of sustainability.
“I think it is important for students to see a model working farm that uses renewable energy to support sustainable food production with zero net carbon emissions and no pesticides,” Ms. Amy Dillane said.
The Science Barge features a greenhouse that uses hydroponics, a plant production without soil, to create fresh produce such as “tomatoes, melons, popcorn, peppers, eggplant, and lettuce with zero net carbon emissions, zero pesticides, and zero runoff,” according to groundworkhv.org. 
The barge itself is powered by wind turbines, solar panels and biofuels. The hydroponic greenhouse, through collected rainwater and purified river water, is irrigated naturally. Therefore, the barge is completely sustainable as it operates “off the grid,” because it does not depend on or use more resources than it produces, according to groundworkhv.org. 
Senior and AP Environmental student Kelly McLaughlin recognizes the value of this endeavor and considers composting, hydroponics, solar energy, wind turbine energy, and sustainability as an important opportunity to revolutionize urban agriculture for a secure future.
“I’ve learned that the amount of land we have available to our disposal for agriculture purposes is drastically dwindling. The science barge is a prototype for an urban farm. If it proves to be functional, we have an opportunity to use massive amount of square footage on rooftops, tarmacs, etc. for farming purposes,” Kelly McLaughlin said.
– Alexandra Dimitri, Managing Editor and Video Content Editor