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The EcoHouse at Inwood Hill Park

Youngsters are riveted by the EcoHouse lighting exhibit

Youngsters explore the lighting exhibit at the EcoHouse

When Hurricane Sandy struck last October, the water rose 4 ½ feet inside the Inwood Hill Nature Center, at Inwood Hill Park in Northern Manhattan. Exhibits were destroyed, and the heating system was ruined. The building is still closed.

That’s where the Community Environmental Center EcoHouse comes in. At the suggestion of the City of New York Parks and Recreation, the EcoHouse – a free, mobile, environmental exhibit — will be at Inwood Hill Park from March 16 through April 5, right across from the Nature Center near the entrance at 218th Street and Indian Road. Co-hosted by the Nature Center, the EcoHouse will be open to school groups M-F, 10am – 3pm, and open to the general public M-F, 3pm – 5pm and Saturday, 11:00am – 4pm.

“The Community Environmental Center EcoHouse is a terrific tool for teaching all of us about saving energy in our homes and protecting the environment,” says CEC’s founder and president, Richard Cherry. “It’s really a 21st-century classroom. We hope the EcoHouse will draw visitors and help revitalize this very special park in early spring.”

The 196-acre Inwood Hill Park is one of the oldest areas of New York City, according to the City of New York Parks and Recreation web site. Caves, valleys and ridges were formed by shifting glaciers, and archeologists date human settlement in the area to prehistoric times.

Community Environmental Center (CEC), the Queens nonprofit that brings energy efficiency to residential buildings and homes throughout New York City, designed and built the EcoHouse in 2012 and takes it to sites all over Gotham. Outside it resembles a red-brick house; inside are exhibits about conserving water, saving electricity, heating and cooling a home — and much more.

“Energy efficiency really depends on people,” says CEC’s Cherry. “We can insulate buildings, but unless the people who live in them understand why it’s vital to use energy-efficient light bulbs or conserve water – then we haven’t really done our job. That’s the mission of the EcoHouse.”

Fun as well as educational, the EcoHouse is an ideal experience for both youngsters and their parents. Wall signs explain all the displays, but to really get the full EcoHouse effect, listen to CEC’s expert guides, or bring your cell or smart phone and listen to the audio guide.

For more information about how to visit the EcoHouse at Inwood Hill Park, or to arrange a group tour, contact Katherine Gloede, kgloede@cecenter.org. Press inquiries, please contact Alexis Greene, agreene@cecenter.org and/or 718-784-1444, ext. 156.

Alexis is the public relations coordinator at CEC.

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