August 28th Newsletter

Hello Sprout Up NYC family and friends!

We at the executive team are excited to herald in a new semester and thought that we would take a moment to introduce ourselves:

Executive Director:  Maddie Taylor is a recent graduate from Barnard College having majored in Environmental Biology. She is the Executive Director and a founding member of Sprout Up NYC. She has interned for the Hudson River Park Trust in Manhattan as an environmental educator and for NASA as a researcher on the paleoecology of the Hudson River.She is currently working at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum as an instructor for a girls STEM program. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in marine conservation ecology and public policy.

Director of Development: Janice Fong is also a recent graduate from Barnard, having majored in Economics.   She is currently the Director of Development, having been the Development Manager for Sprout Up at Columbia since it’s inception.  She has held various roles at J.P. Morgan’s Investment Bank, Commercial Bank, and Alternative Asset Management as a part of a four-year scholarship program.  She is currently working in Public Finance, providing credit and liquidity for not-for-profit entities such as municipalities, utilities, and healthcare.

Director of Operations: Walter Hutcheson is a new graduate from New York University with a major in Ecology. He was the first Chapter Director at NYU and is a founding member of Sprout Up NYC, where he is currently the Director of Operations. He has worked as an environmental educator at Hudson River Park and a marine science teacher for the afterschool program at P.S. 3 in Manhattan. He also conducted research at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution studying the economic value of marine environmental education in New York City. He is currently working again with Hudson River Parks and has plans to pursue a Ph.D. in marine biology. 

Director of Community: Fiona Conway is a recent graduate from New York University having majored in Biology with a minor in Psychology. She has held various roles within Sprout Up at NYU, from lead instructor to Chapter Director. She is currently working as a research assistant at Columbia University in the Psychiatry Department studying developmental neuropathology. She intends to pursue a graduate degree in the field of developmental psychology.

We are sad to say good bye to a long time Sprout Up NYC family member, co founder and Director of Education, Anne Rowen. She was Education Liaison for SproutUp NYU before she helped to found us as a separate non-profit. She was and undoubtably will be forever an invaluable and unfailing resource for Education Liaisons and Directors. She has set the standards and the bar is high. She is moving to California where the grass is greener and the sun, like her future, is bright. We wish you the best! ❤ For the time being, the Executive team will collectively take over her role with Walter, Director of Operations, taking primary responsibility for her duties. Updates and developments will be outlined in future newsletters.

Chapter Team News:

We’d like to welcome Avery Kayle as the returning Chapter Team Director for Columbia and Gabby Carmine as new Chapter Team Director for NYU.

Avery is a junior at Barnard College studying environmental policy. She is very passionate about politics and environmental education. She also plays guitar and is super pumped for the coming semester.

Gabby is a senior at NYU majoring in Environmental Studies. Her interests include traveling, acting and dancing. She is interested in pursuing a Masters in Marine Biology after graduation.

Columbia Chapter News:

With their first meeting coming up this week the Columbia Chapter team is raring to go! They will be continuing with PS 81 and PS 32 this semester, a relationship having been well fostered over the semesters between these schools and Sup CU. With things just beginning for the Columbia chapter there is not too much news to be had, however, Avery has noted one upcoming change: Instructors, like the chapter team, will also be having regular meetings in order to refine their knowledge of the curriculum, share ideas and gain more practice teaching the materials.

NYU Chapter News:

The semester is off to the races with the team having had their first meeting, setting out goals for the coming few months. Plans are being laid out to attract new Sprout Up instructors as well as to reach out to old and returning ones.  The team is happy to confirm that their budget has been organized and that their weekly meetings are scheduled.

Some challenges ahead: the NYU team is considering requiring a two semester commitment and contract for their volunteers, one of the stipulations being that a volunteer must give 3 days notice before missing a class. While this may still be on the table the goal is clear: to keep people accountable and raise the standards of our classroom policies. In prior semesters only one semester was required commitment with 24 hr notice in case of needing to miss class.

Some things to look forward to: club fest is scheduled for the 6th from 1-6pm in the Kimmel building, and Sprout Up NYC will have a table! Please stop by!  Other pending agenda items are a DYI natural beauty and bath supply workshop, panel discussions with other education and activist groups in order to increase intersectionality, to reach out to new people, and to increase the knowledgeability and enrichment of our team and volunteers.

Volunteer Opportunities:


Partnerships for Parks:

Partnerships for Parks invites New Yorkers to get involved in their local parks by making a visible difference through the It’s My Park program.

It’s My Park service projects allow New Yorkers to improve parks and communities by cleaning, painting, weeding, and planting.  Whether you’re interested in creating or leading a service project or joining a local group for an existing project, everyone can get involved and give back.

Visit the It’s My Park site for more information and get involved today!


Goddard Riverside Community Center’s Beacon Program

Today in NYC, all students have a choice of which public high school to attend.  They must research schools and decide which of these to place on an application that allows for 12 choices. With over 700 programs to choose from, this becomes rather complicated for a 13 year old, especially in cases where a parent might not be able to help with the process.  In order to assist our middle school students, Goddard Riverside Community Center’s Beacon Program has created an opportunity where students can be matched one-to-one with a mentor to research, select and apply to their top choices for high school.

Mentoring will begin the second week in September and end in November.  We will provide all of the training.

Finding the “best fit” high school can make all the difference in a young person’s life.


You must be able to commit to a 5:30-7:00 schedule once a week for nine weeks.  You must be at least a junior in high school.  All other ages welcome.  You must have excellent reading, writing and communication skills and be very organized.

Within Sprout Up:

If you are a fluent Spanish speaker and would be willing/ able to translate some articles and/or curriculum materials into Spanish please contact:

Estimated time commitment: 5hrs per semester, flexible scheduling.

Quote of the Day:

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not. -The Lorax

Bite-size Environmental News: New Section Coming Next Newsletter!!

For questions, comments, concerns, ideas, and/or miscellaneous tidbits:

Please feel free to contact:

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