Last Turn Your Turn, Robert Rauschenberg

The mission of Nurture Nature Foundation (NNF) is to help in resolving what is possibly the most serious challenge the world faces today:
the intensifying conflict between the indispensable goals of environmental protection and economic development.

Go Wild in New York City!

Nurture New York’s Nature, a program of NNF, has supported a number of publications over the years. Our favorite is Go Wild in New York City, a book designed to help children understand and celebrate city life, while also sparking interest in science topics and promoting ways of caring for the earth.

The book seeks to answer children's most basic questions such as, “Where does water come from?” or “Why is the sky blue?” It also serves up page after page of fascinating trivia and fun facts about New York City. For instance: “New York City's hottest day ever?” (July 9, 1936 when the thermometer climbed to 115 degrees Fahrenheit!) “The amount of sewage generated in an average day?” (1.4 billion gallons) “Did you know that at the end of the 19th Century, Manhattan alone had 150,000 horses living in it?" (And no public street-cleaning works!).

All chapters of Go Wild discuss pollution issues and environmental concerns. The list of chapters include Water City (water, sewage); NYC Rocks! (rocks, earth, and ice age of NYC); Take a Deep Breath (weather, atmosphere, and climate); Hey, Nice Plants! (plants, air, flowers, pollution); Rulers of New York (bugs, bugs, bugs!); Fur, Fins, Fangs, & Feathers (everything that walks, crawls, slithers, or flies in NYC); and Food In, Garbage Out (the incredible story of NYC's garbage, peee-youuu!).

Go Wild offers as well hands-on activities for children to do at home or in their own neighborhoods that build on key topics. The back matter includes additional information and websites, a map of New York City, and information on the missions of the organizations involved. The book is made of waterproof, paperless, recyclable material and spiral-bound, so it can to lie flat when open, fit in a backpack, and stand up to muddy trips.

A playful interactive website was developed with activities related to Go Wild, and its subject matter, and teaching materials have also been developed to go with the book. The online activities include “city nature games, cool urban ecology facts and links to some of New York City's greatest nature sites and organizations”. The teaching materials include lesson plans and other resources developed in partnership with the Urban Science Education Center of Teacher's College at Columbia University under the direction of Doctors Angela Calabrese Barton and Anne Rivet.

Go Wild offers an engaging way for youngsters to learn about the New York City environment both in and out of the classroom. Although the book does not require a teacher, it provides a wonderful springboard for education if a teacher does use it. The book was used in classrooms in the New York City's school system in both 2014-15 and 2016-17.