Our NATURE Lab initiative will be housed in the NATURE Lab Environmental Education Center (now in construction). We have acquired an abandoned building on 3319 6th Avenue from the Troy Community Landbank, which we are transforming into a collaborative resource for the North Troy community. The new space will seek to empower the public with grassroots science through three key programs:
- DIY Biology Lab
- People’s Health Sanctuary
- Hudson Mohawk Environmental Action Network
One block from the Hudson River, our environmental education campus – including Collard City Growers (garden, L-Lot and Food Cycle), the NATURE Lab Residency Space and Freedom Square – offers programming including community workshops, public art installations, artist residencies, research activities, and after school activities.
We hope to find more ways that NATURE Lab can support quality of life in North Central Troy, one of the most environmentally devastated neighborhoods of New York State. We seek to combine global expertise with local knowledge to address issues unique to the North Troy ecosystem and surrounding community.
NATURE Lab workshops
More about our Level 1 Community Science Lab
We are constructing a Biosafety Level 1 Community DIY Biology Laboratory on the first floor of this building, supplied with basic molecular biology scientific equipment.
See our progress on the Community Science Lab here: DIY BIO LAB GALLERY
We will be able to conduct research for ongoing projects around local urban environmental issues: air, water and soil contamination/pollution. Public workshops will offer science literacy skills to understand the impact of environmental justice. Our community science lab and will include an outdoor living learning space with therapeutic medicinal gardens and restorative open-air terraces and meeting areas.
Our collaborating partnerships include the Water Justice Lab with Riverkeeper. The project will establish a water quality sampling lab, educate diverse communities about water literacy and water civics (water issues and how to make a difference), develop the advocacy capacity of the North Troy area, and strengthen a network of environmental justice advocates focused on water issues in the Hudson River Watershed.
More about the People’s Health Sanctuary
The People’s Health Sanctuary‘s goal is to establish a central space to share health skills, provide basic integrative care and explore ways to build networks of community health. We are celebrating a year of organizing around this project, initiated under the organizing name Health Autonomy Clinic and after listening sessions with our surrounding community, re-named People’s Health Sanctuary. Our goal is to embrace models of open sharing of health knowledge, and empower all of the growing collective of community members to seek their independent health goals, as opposed to the traditional, hierarchical top-down approach of clinical medical practice. Though caring for our elders, our children, or cooking soul-nourishing food for family or friends may not be deemed ‘real’ healthcare, they know that in fact, it’s what holds us together and keeps us sane. Our growing network sharing skills to build a space where creative, joyful health is possible and accessible.
In this current crisis, we are more than even committed to the potential that People’s Health Sanctuary can offer. Everyone it seems is struggling to keep up with the flood of information about the current crisis, the ways those in power are forcing us back to a “normal”, the over-reliance of the economy as a marker of anything lending towards health. And then we have the horrific news from Georgia and Minneapolis, the killings of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd, a stark reminder of the crisis behind the crisis. COVID has only exacerbated the social oppression and disparities that mark the “normal” so many of the elites want to return to.
Leadership and Support
This initiative is led by Professor Kathy High, Project Coordinator; Branda Miller, Arts and Education Coordinator; Melissa Bromley, Development Director; Media Sanctuary Executive, Director Steve Pierce; Health Autonomy Clinic: Francis Coughlin and JJ Lucerno. Project design and construction: Architectural firm TAP, lead Barb Nelson. Architecture advisor Joe Fama. Construction company lead: David Downer. With generous funds from the Department of Environmental Conservation.
Please reach out if you want to be involved, by emailing [email protected].