October 23rd Newsletter

Hello Sprout Up NYC family and friends!

While it is easy to grow distressed and paralyzed in the face of ongoing environmental issues, we’d like to take a moment and shine a light on the work of an inspirational young scientist, the winner but just one of the many hardworking finalists in the “America’s Top Young Scientist” competition announced last week:

While you may have heard of the Flint Water crisis, many of you may not be aware that it is ongoing, long after the initial troubles began in 2014. The mix of political muck, financial turmoil, and environmental heath negligence has resulted in a humanitarian crisis right in our own backyards. CNN published an article outlining the years that have led up to what is now rampant and unremitting led poisoning of American citizens.

One 11 year old girl, Gitanjali Rao, has shown us how we should all be reacting, by paying attention and helping in the capacity she could.

She invented a lead detecting device that could report results almost immediately over a bluetooth connection to an app on any smartphone. “I had been following the Flint, Michigan, issue for about two years,” the seventh-grader told ABC News. “I was appalled by the number of people affected by lead contamination in water.” She had seen her parents testing the water in their own home in Colorado and saw how slow and unreliable the results were. “I went, ‘Well, this is not a reliable process and I’ve got to do something to change this,’ ” Rao told Business Insider.

And true to her word, she created a better solution: a device that could identify lead compounds in water and was portable and cheaper than conventional methods. As she explains at lightning speed in her video submission for the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge, her device consists of three parts. There is a disposable cartridge containing chemically treated carbon nanotube arrays, an Arduino-based signal processor with a Bluetooth attachment, and a smartphone app that can display the results. For more information about her and her work visit any of the links above or NPR‘s article.

Executive Team News:

Work on grant applications and edits to the website are still underway.

If you would like to get involved with editing/contributing to the website please speak to either of the community managers at NYU or CU or email fiona@sproutup.org

As always, with costs continuing for the chapters, if you love the work done with Sprout UP NYC please consider visiting  https://www.nycharities.org/give/donate.aspx?cc=4273 or our donation page 🌱😊. None of this would be possible without donors like you. As a totally volunteer run organization, 100% of the funds we collect go to running  the chapters. We thank you for your continued support. ❤️

Chapter Team News: Columbia Chapter:

The Columbia chapter team just had a succulent fundraiser this past Monday, and they sold out! More succulent sales to come in the future for sure! NYU Chapter:

The NYU chapter team will be having a Spooky Movie and Painting Night this Friday form 4:30 to 7pm, more details are available on the Sprout UP NYC facebook page.  Sounds like a great way to take a much needed break. If you can, be sure to attend!

Volunteer Opportunities: Environmental:Riverside park revitalization– Help care for the gardens surrounding Riverside Park’s volunteer house at 108th street. The Conservancy depends on volunteers to help maintain this large native plant garden. Volunteers will be planting, weeding and maintaining the area throughout the growing season. Join the Conservancy once or on an ongoing basis to enjoy the park as it changes throughout the year.

Educational: Volunteer for girls education and children’s literacy Raise awareness for children’s literacy and girls’ education, while getting involved with the local NYC community! We are looking for volunteers with diverse skill sets to help raise awareness and fundraise for Room to Read’s global mission.

Within Sprout Up: Op-Ed – Help us create an Op-Ed, commentary and submission section for future newsletters! Submit your drafts and ideas to fiona@sproutup.org

Do you do work with another organization outside of Sprout Up NYC that is dedicated to children or the environment? Are you zero waste/vegetarian/vegan/low carbon footprint/upcycling master/ all of the above or an otherwise creative environmental steward or trying to be and would like to write about your experience? Interested in science writing or social commentary? Hit us 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: fiona@sproutup.org

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

Bite-size Environmental News:Toxicity tax on vehicles? Vehicles in London that don’t meet certain emissions standards are now being hit with a £10 ($13.18) daily charge. The move is intended to reduce air pollution in one of Europe’s largest cities.

Government Calls on Trump to Act:The US government has spent more than $350 billion over the past decade in response to extreme weather and fire events, and the Government Accountability Office, a provider of nonpartisan information, reported estimates that will only grow in the years to come if global emission rates don’t go down. In the report, GAO called on President Donald Trump to use the information GAO compiled to help identify risks posed by climate change and “craft appropriate federal responses.”

Quote of the Day:“I would tell everyone who is interested in STEM to just have fun! Just have fun with science and keep digging deep for solutions. If you do not succeed the first time, that’s OK! There is never a limit to the number of tries it takes to accomplish a goal.”

-Gitanjali Rao, 11yrd old winner of “America’s Top Young Scientist”

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

Please feel free to contact: fiona@sproutup.org

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