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A Walk Downtown Will Have You Seeing Green

August 18, 2011

Three MPH Upper School students think a walk through downtown Syracuse could have you seeing green.

Anna Driscoll, Polly Englot, and Alex Verbeck have created a walking tour of green points of interest in the city of Syracuse. It was a culminating project for their advanced environmental science course, taught by Science Department Chair Sue Foster. This past spring, they used Google Maps to develop the green map, which pinpoints seven buildings or spaces in downtown Syracuse that are notable as green sites.

Their interest in calling attention to green sites was sparked by Onondaga County Executive (and MPH parent) Joanie Mahoney’s visit to the science class to discuss the county’s 50-project Save the Rain initiative, designed to keep 250 million gallons of rainwater from the county sewer system.

Points of interests on the walking tour include the War Memorial and Onondaga County Convention Center, County Townsend Parking Lot B, the Syracuse Center of Excellence, the CNY Philanthropy Center on East Fayette Street, City Parking Lots #21 and #3, and the Pearl Street Parking Lot. (Three additional sites, although beyond walking distance of downtown Syracuse, are also noted: the Metropolitan Wastewater Treatment Plant on Hiawatha Blvd. West, which the advanced environmental science class toured; the SUNY College of Environmental Science; and Syracuse University).

The students’ map carries a detailed explanation of why each location is noteworthy as a green site. The map points out, for example, that County Townsend Parking Lot B has been paved with traditional asphalt angled toward porous pavement to increase runoff absorption. This, along with 79 newly planted trees of native species and 3,800 feet of bio-retention space, will capture 950,000 gallons of water annually.

F.O.C.U.S. Greater Syracuse has expressed interest in posting the green walking tour map on its website and other means of distributing the map are being evaluated.

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