project leader
Raymond P
100 West Mosholu Parkway, South
The Bronx (Norwood)
latest update rss
Thank you!

the project

The time has come to expand The Clinton Garden by creating an outdoor classroom incorporated into what we propose to become The James Baldwin Memorial Outdoor Learning Center, a landmark site for urban environmental education in the Bronx and New York City.  The dedication of this site to the memory of an alumnus whose courageous thoughts on inclusion, politics, race, gender and identity are part of our national heritage lends an appeal that will attract visitors.

The Clinton Garden has been an unqualified success at DeWitt Clinton High School.  The garden was started in 2009 with students enrolled in Witt Seminar (an elective class on activism) in order to demonstrate where real food comes from and as a way of combating obesity and diet related diseases at our school.  The garden has grown in size and productivity each year since its inception, as the soil has become more fertile and systems of composting have improved.

We envision a community learning space that invites students, faculty and staff of DeWitt Clinton High School Campus as well as neighbors from the surrounding Jerome Park Reservoir and Norwood communities and the Bronx and city itself.  This proposed site would be dedicated to learning that takes place “outside the classroom” with a specific orientation towards student health and nutrition, food security and advocacy, environmental sustainability and learning connected to the garden itself: permaculture, urban food production, distribution, consumption, composting.  It would also serve as a reserved outdoor classroom space for classes across all academic disciplines to study the garden, run experiments, write poetry, perform music and drama. 

This site will feature what will become known as The Welcome Table to include seating to accommodate a class size of 35 students in honor of James Baldwin’s last play and his own custom of greeting his friends around a table.  “The welcome table was a place of witness, where exiles could come and lay down their souls.” (Leeming, James Baldwin 374) This table would be used for a variety of instructional purposes to include demonstrations, projects, “maker” activities, science experiments as well as for sorting fruits and vegetables, preparing and serving food.  The table will also be partly shaded at all times for the comfort of visitors.  The table would function as a tangible aspect of the memorial to James Baldwin that educates visitors about his life, his learning, his writing and his enduring contributions to American society.

Also located on the site would be a storage facility for garden tools, additional chairs and classroom equipment.  Finally, these constructions will be in the context of an expanded garden environment.  Our plan is to extend the garden to the fence that borders the lower faculty parking lot, plant fruit and nut trees along the Western side of the gym building and in additional adjacent areas on the west and northern ends of our campus including the lawns extending to Goulden Avenue.

the steps

  1. Engage potential donors with our project idea by posting our project idea and beginning our campaign.
  2. Elicit plans, designs and drawings from students and alumni and consult with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity NYC’s Brush with Kindness (BWK) and Center for Active Design.
  3. Reassess our goals to accommodate development of plans and designs.
  4. Begin breaking ground for The James Baldwin Memorial Outdoor Learning Center by the Spring of 2015.

why we're doing it

The James Baldwin Memorial Outdoor Learning Center will further enrich the environment of DeWitt Clinton High School and establish what is presently The Clinton Garden as a pedagogical space to engage urban students and community members with the beauty, diversity and productivity of the natural world.  Perhaps the best laboratory that we can construct to teach the living environment and health will be one built outside in proximity to our revered and successful garden.

The Clinton Garden has already helped to change the lives of students at DeWitt Clinton by demonstrating how healthy foods are grown and by providing examples of the kind of work and activities that nourish and benefit the natural environment surrounding our school.  Though we are a large urban high school, we also have a lovely and large campus.  While students enjoy sports activities on our sports fields, the garden has repurposed a neglected piece of land and helped transform the space of our school and what it stands for.  By contributing a safe habitat for plants, animals, birds and insects we have demonstrated the kind of caring that is vital for a sustainable future.  

The James Baldwin Memorial Outdoor Learning Center expands our potential to reach not only the students on our campus but members of our surrounding local community as well.  



Benches and tables for the outdoor classroom $3,000

SUBTOTAL = $3,000
ioby Platform Fee $35
ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) $150
3rd Party Credit Card Processing Fee (3%) $90



RAISED = $3,280.00
 less ioby Platform Fee  $35.00
 less 3rd Party Payment Processing Fee (3%) $94.51

Funding will go to obtaining blueprints and architectural plans.


Thank you!

Transformation: Reaching New Heights

How will DeWitt Clinton look in 50 years?  What kind of school will greet our descendants and those of our students, past and present? How will our school meet the needs of those striving to succeed in a changing world?  How will it model sustainability? Will it be a green model school oasis in the city?  Will it be a place where students prepare for the changes that climate is bringing?

Our school facility must lean towards the future and what better way than through eco-design that is sustainable, community friendly, and that promotes health and well-being.  We need to continue to design our building for the future and begin to represent the change we see happening all around us.  I propose that we start with the heart of our sustainability efforts, The Clinton Garden.

The James Baldwin Memorial Outdoor Learning Center will be in proximity to The Clinton Garden to serve as a multi-purpose community/school gathering space dedicated to Baldwin’s memory and his commitment to social justice.  Today, we recognize that social justice includes environmental justice.  Just as James Baldwin shaped his own learning through self-determination, The Baldwin Center will further the idea that learning is immersive, connected to the community, and transformative.

Architect Linda Pollack, Sarah Wolf (Active Design Manager at the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene), and I toured The Clinton Garden and the grounds of our school on a bright and beautiful October day.  We even went to the roof to look down on our school garden, share ideas for the Baldwin Center, observe, imagine and dream. 

Linda Pollack has designed outdoor classrooms on Staten Island and Queens that beautifully integrate the existing landscape and make use of eco-design principles.  Sarah Wolf introduced me to the mission of the Center for Active Design: “to reduce the risk of obesity and chronic diseases by promoting physical activity and healthy food access through the design of buildings, streets, and neighborhoods.”  From the spot where our local hawks and falcons perch we could start to see future possibilities, a “new face” for our building as seen from Paul Avenue.

Our next steps are clear: a timeline/schedule for the project and a plan or framework that will allow the shape of the project to emerge.  We can then enlist our shareholders to create a space for input by students, teachers, parents and our community partners. I’ve never wanted to impose an idea or a space as much as contribute towards a shared vision. 

So, where do we go from here?  Help us close out this IOBY campaign.  We’ve come a long way and with less than $700 more, we can start the new year ready to make our next move with design plans in hand.


This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


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