The solar-powered Buffalo Heritage Carousel (BHC) continues to impress, and not in ways that you might expect. Since breaking ground at Canalside, the ripple effect has been tremendous. Not only have 13,000 people hopped aboard the carousel since it first opened on May 28, there are numerous on and off-site programming initiatives that are teaching young Buffalonians about the importance of environmental stewardship. The programming includes:
- The Tesla-sponsored BESOLAR project (solar roof and monitoring system) included the solar-powered carousel in the Buffalo Public School’s after school Be Green virtual lessons during the pandemic lockdown.
- 4th and 5th Grade Honor students at Buffalo’s Solar-powered Tapestry Charter School planted a Korean Lilac tree as a part of the BHC’s ongoing Carbon Offset Initiative Program.
- Girl Scouts of Western New York has inspired a local troop to film their project of vegan s’mores that were cooked in their crafted Pizza Box Solar Oven (see video below).
- The Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum in North Tonawanda will provide STEM education at BHC this year.
- In October 2021, school field trips will be conducted on site where the study of renewable energy implementation will be an aspect of the Buffalo Heritage Carousel experience.
- Coming in the fall, the Buffalo Academy of Science Charter School will park their Mobile Science Classroom just steps away from the Carousel, featuring 2 solar ovens for curing student-made paper (sourced from recycled paper and fabric), and an injection inkjet molding device that will make Carousel horse ornaments from recycled plastic.
I don’t think that many people thought that there would be so many offshoot environmental programs coinciding with the construction of the carousel. But from the start, the BHC team decided that the eco aspect of the carousel was just as important as the historic aspect of the ride. Typically, carousels are “all about the fun.” In this case, young people are having fun, while learning about the importance of saving the planet (from not littering, to recycling, to planting trees).
If we can instill these types of values in our youngsters from such an early age, they will retain these lessons throughout their lives. The interactive nature of these lessons is invaluable. So is the cooperative effort that has resulted in so many amazing partnerships with schools and organizations throughout WNY.
The Buffalo Heritage Carousel is currently searching for more partners for the BHC Educational Programming which promotes a STEAM curriculum. Please feel free to reach out to the project at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lead image: Tapestry Charter School Tree Planting and the Solar-powered Buffalo Heritage Carousel Grand Opening Poster