Marlon Rice, Executive Director of Brooklyn's Magnolia Tree Earth Center, Hosts Earth Month Events

Green STEM events to be held for youth and families at Magnolia Tree Earth Center, one the oldest nonprofits dedicated to urban ecology education in the African American community. It's site of NYC's historic 134-year-old Magnolia Grandiflora tree.
By: Magnolia Tree Earth Center
Marlon Rice, Executive Director, Magnolia Tree Earth Center
Marlon Rice, Executive Director, Magnolia Tree Earth Center
BROOKLYN, N.Y. - April 22, 2019 - PRLog -- Marlon Rice, an author, educator and STEM/STEAM advocate, will host April's Earth Month celebrations in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant community as the newly appointed Executive Director of Magnolia Tree Earth Center (MTEC), the acclaimed urban ecology nonprofit.

Rice, a Brooklyn-born author, educator and business consultant, was a hands-on school coordinator for MTEC's 2018 Earth Month celebration developed by Project Green. "Last year, the program donated trees to public schools in Brooklyn. I would go to the schools and speak to the kids about urban greenery and give them the opportunity to name the tree," he explained. "What you saw on the face of these kids was this bright excitement. Through this type of urban ecology education, these kids are getting the chance to define their role in the environment."

Currently, Rice is coordinating MTEC's special April Earth Month and May programming. Upcoming events in Brooklyn include Magnolia tree planting, creating flower window boxes, STEM speaker's bureau at schools, distribution of tree care brochures and parent workshops on food sustainability. April events at Magnolia Tree Earth Center, located at 677-679 Lafayette Avenue, include:

Earth Day April 22 (6:00-8:00pm) - Magnolia Tree Earth Center's Earth Day Observance and Open House hosted by Marlon Rice, MTEC executive director; MTEC Board of Directors and Brooklyn community leaders. It will feature a history photo display of MTEC and a workshop.

Arbor Day, April 26 (12- 4pm) - Talk on History of the Magnolia Grandiflora Tree and "Griot Eye II Tour of MTEC History" with images dating back to the 1970s. The host/curator is Bernice Elizabeth Green, Founder of Project Green and MTEC Volunteer.

"My goal is to reinvigorate the environmental education aspect of Magnolia Tree Earth Center. I'm meeting with community leaders, elected officials, block associations, community boards and schools like Brooklyn Tech and Medgar Evers College," said Rice. "I want to create an educational pipeline on STEM and STEAM. I want to send the message out to the community that we're here as an urban ecology resource for Brooklyn's children, families and residents.

For over two years, Rice served as a special education teacher for first graders in Maryland's Montgomery County School System. During the past four years, he has operated as the creator and lead instructor for an innovative writing program for the New York City Board of Education. His program, First Voice, is a writing workshop geared to introducing elementary school students to be creative writers.

"Magnolia Tree Earth Center is very significant," said Rice. "Our society has taken leaps and bounds in terms of urban ecology and terms like sustainability, recycling and composting are terms that everybody knows. The fact is that we still have children in our communities that are underserved. They don't have the environmental education to keep pace in the world."

Rice grew up in the Clinton Hill section of Brooklyn, and graduated from Morgan State University in Baltimore, where he became involved in the city's culture scene. He was Communications Chair of the Maryland Writer's Association Montgomery Chapter and is a former Culture Editor for Heart and Soul Magazine. His novel Blow One Down was featured as the book of the month in XXL Magazine.  He has served as the Director of Operations for Pamoja House Men's Shelter in Brooklyn and is the owner of Good People NYC, a production company responsible for overseeing, marketing and promoting events in the New York City area.

"On behalf of the Magnolia Tree Earth Center Board of Directors, I want to welcome Marlon Rice to MTEC," announced David Greaves, Chairman of MTEC. "We are very excited to welcome Marlon in this leadership role. His management, education and creative experience – and his knowledge of Brooklynites – will be an asset to MTEC. We are looking forward to his guidance in taking MTEC to the next level as an innovative urban ecology and environmental education institution."

The Magnolia Tree Earth Center (MTEC) of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Inc. is a nonprofit founded in 1972 by Hattie Carthan, an environmental activist in Bedford-Stuyvesant, fondly known as the "tree lady." Mrs. Carthan was among the nation's first African-American community-based urban ecology environmental activists. She sought to build upon the longevity and vitality of the Magnolia grandiflora tree growing in the neighborhood and utilized the flowering trees as a symbol to foster awareness of natural sciences and urban ecology.

Through urban ecology programs and events, MTEC continues to introduce inner city children to careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) that foster urban beautification, earth stewardship, and community sustainability. The centerpiece of the Magnolia Tree Earth Center is its historic magnolia grandiflora tree, which was planted in approximately 1885 and is New York City's only living landmark.

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