MASSENA — It’s a big week in Massena for the New York Power Authority.
While two NYPA staff members were hosting a two-day STEM Camp at the Nicandri Nature Center, other staff members are hosting lunch and a movie for residents of Laurel Terrace, Grasmere and 55 Victory Road. It culminates on Friday when a day of activities is planned for Massena Housing Authority residents on the main field behind the housing authority’s offices.
Lisa Wansley, NYPA vice president of environmental justice and sustainability, said this week’s activities are part of the Power Authority’s Environmental Justice program, which provides resources to meet the needs of underrepresented communities located near the Power Authority’s power assets. The program also promotes a sustainable clean energy future.
The program has different facets. It might promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs at local schools, or it might educate older customers on ways to winterize their homes to cut energy bills.
As part of the program, tenants at the Massena Housing Authority received 260 new energy-efficient refrigerators at no cost to them from NYPA in December. While making the announcement about the new refrigerators, NYPA officials also handed out turkeys and platters of cookies to residents.
Another effort in 2017 was a partnership between the Power Authority and the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe on a STEM Camp through the Johnson-O’Malley Program, which contains educational objectives to address the needs of eligible American Indian and Alaska Native students.
Ms. Wansley said this week’s STEM Camp for members of the Boys and Girls Club of Massena came about as a result of a conversation with Mayor Timmy J. Currier, who previously served as the club’s board president.
“He spoke with us when we did the refrigerators and said he would like us to partner with the Boys and Girls Club,” she said. “We have come here to meet people and have some face time. We’re very happy to be here.”
Alexandra DeRosa and Sarah Lorya, environmental justice program coordinators from NYPA’s White Plains headquarters, are leading the STEM Camp, which brought 10 club members in grades three to six to the Nicandri Nature Center on Tuesday for day one of activities.
“Today we’re going to be talking about electricity,” Ms. Lorya said.
Their topics included climate change and environmental impact; exploring energy; battery building and design; light bulb lab; kickball; wind turbine engineering and design; and motivational leadership, with a graduation ceremony scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.
During the initial session on Tuesday, the students took part in games to understand how electricity was generated. Ms. DeRosa and Ms. Lorya also discussed fossil fuels, power plants, environmental and health impacts, and climate change.
One of the discussions focused on renewable energy.
“It’s better to use a renewable form of energy. It’s it’s not harming the planet. You can use it over and over and over,” Ms. Lorya said.
While they were working with the Boys and Girls Club members, other NYPA staff members were providing lunch and a movie, “The Golden Boys,” to Laurel Terrace residents on Tuesday. They’re visiting with Grasmere residents on Wednesday and 55 Victory Road residents on Thursday.
On Friday, a number of activities are planned for Massena Housing Authority residents, including bounce houses and slides; face painting, balloon animals and a magic show from Belly Buttons the Clown; catered food from Coach’s Corner; ice cream from Stewart’s Shops; STEM activities; planting activities; games; giveaways; and more.