Brooklyn, NY (July 25, 2007)- Magnolia Tree Earth Center of Bedford-Stuyvesant Inc. (MTEC) is an environmental/cultural institution listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It has as its mission the environmental restoration and beautification of Central Brooklyn. Incorporated in 1972 under the leadership of neighborhood activist Mrs. Hattie Carthan; MTEC’s leadership saved a Magnolia grandiflora tree that was thriving far north of its range, saved and renovated the three buildings that helped to protect the tree, and created a renowned center of “greening” information, environmental education, arts and culture, and career training for neighborhood young people.
MTEC’s goal is to develop the skills and attitudes among Bedford-Stuyvesant residents of all ages that will foster urban beautification, environmental awareness and develop human potential. The Center’s programs and services promote community action, advance the knowledge of ecological science, the cultural arts and promote leadership skills among youth.
Magnolia Tree Earth Center has pioneered in creating youth programs that stress community service values. Here, community groups gain technical skills to care for gardens and city trees. Hands- on techniques are used to teach children about horticultural and environmental science issues. One example is our Neighborhood Tree Corps, the first such project in New York City. This novel idea was the “brainchild” of Mrs. Carthan, and served a multitude of purposes, including planting and caring for street trees, giving neighborhood youth and opportunity to better care for their environs while earning small stipends, and teaching the importance of intergenerational work with residents and block associations. This valuable work remains one of MTEC’s signature programs and it was reintroduced in 2006. The 2007 Tree Corps will focus on caring for planted street trees along Lafayette Avenue from Bedford to Stuyvesant Avenues (“Hattie Carthan Way”) and adjacent blocks. Young people will also continue the inventory of existing trees and the spots available for new trees to be planted.
MTEC includes as part of its programs and services the George Washington Carver Gallery. Both professional and non-traditional artists from the community have utilized this 900 sq ft of gallery space to connect, educate, engage, inform and inspire community residents through the arts. Gallery activities include monthly exhibits, workshops and community outreach through closing and opening receptions for the artists to meet the community, and gallery hours are open to the public three days weekly.
For more information, visit Magnolia Tree Earth Center.