Ex-offenders help put the ‘Green’ back into Greenpoint Library

By Mary Frost

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

GREENPOINT — Working with nature is therapeutic and helps build job skills for ex-offenders, says the Horticultural Society of New York.

In that spirit, a group of formerly incarcerated and at-risk youth installed a courtyard reading garden in Greenpoint on Friday, as part of a project called "Putting Green Back into Greenpoint Library."

The Horticultural Society’s GreenTeam program provides training and placement opportunities to both youth and adults trying to make a fresh start by involving them in “green” projects across the city.

Installing the garden is not the end of the Greenpoint Library project — the society will also be providing urban gardening classes for neighborhood “tweens” (kids ages 8–12); a mobile book cart for the library’s collection of horticultural books, and library workshops for students and non-English speakers.

Everyone benefits from the program, says the Horticultural Society. The project — accomplished with support from the New York City Environmental Fund and the Hudson River Foundation — will improve the library’s aesthetics, air quality and storm-water run-off; enhance programming; and promote community.

Since 1902, the Horticultural Society of New York has been restoring urban green spaces in the city and providing free horticulture programs to city public schools and prisons, as well as to the general public.