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Database Provider


New York DEP


6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Type

  • Article

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - Northeast, New York, New York City



Green Jobs in the Field: Jennifer McDonnell

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  • In this article, Jennifer McDonnell shares about her job as a Resource Recovery Program Manager for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection.
  • She discusses her goals for the future of the resource recovery program, what she loves about working in New York City, what initially inspired her to work in climate change, and advice she has for young people entering the field.
  • Students will learn how wastewater and food waste may create energy, bricks, or other materials, how the system recovers resources from wastewater and food waste, and the importance of persistence and asking questions.
Teaching Tips


  • In this resource, Jennifer McDonnell highlights the importance of diversity in people, places, ideas, and climate change solutions.
  • The resource gives students insight into the type of thinking and approaches needed to reduce waste in our cities.

Additional Prerequisites

  • The article assumes readers know about wastewater and food waste processing systems. Teachers may need to provide some background on this before reading.
  • It may benefit students to understand current sources of energy and how they impact the climate.
  • The article defines many unknown terms in context, but ELL students will benefit from hearing these words defined before reading.


  • Biology classes can identify the resource recovery's role in the cycling of matter and the energy flow in our ecosystem.
  • Earth science classes can discuss resource recovery as a piece of the solution to climate change.
  • In classrooms outside of New York City, students can research resource recovery efforts in their city and identify areas for growth in these programs.
  • Students can discuss other solutions and uses for food waste, such as composting, and create an implementation plan to solve their school's food waste problem.
Scientist Notes
Information on green jobs is in the Department of Environmental Protection of New York City's factsheet. This article provides background information about Jennifer McDonnell, the manager of the NYC DEP's resource recovery program, in this fact sheet. In the classroom, this material is a fantastic addition to a conversation about climate change mitigation and green jobs.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-3 Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.
      • HS-ESS3-4 Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • MS-LS2-3 Develop a model to describe the cycling of matter and flow of energy among living and nonliving parts of an ecosystem.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Reading: Informational Text (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.7.3 Analyze the interactions between individuals, events, and ideas in a text (e.g., how ideas influence individuals or events, or how individuals influence ideas or events).
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.8.6 Determine an author's point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how the author acknowledges and responds to conflicting evidence or viewpoints.
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