The Bronx Council for Environmental Quality honored the Mott Haven Herald’s editor with its annual Helen C. Reel ”Keeping it Reel” award for an outstanding educator on June 13.
The organization, which is devoted to parks and initiatives to green Bronx neighborhoods and improve air and water quality and has spearheaded efforts to reclaim the Harlem River, cited Bernard L. Stein for educating students and the community as founder of the Herald and its sister newspaper The Hunts Point Express, as well as for “championing boroughwide environmental causes” during his 30-year tenure as editor of The Riverdale Press.
A professor of journalism at Hunter College who also teaches at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, Stein founded the Express in 2006 when he began teaching at Hunter and started the Herald three years ago. The publications are staffed by his students.
Both newspapers have reported extensively on issues of environmental justice and environmental education, from community gardens , to efforts to clean up the Bronx and Harlem rivers and make them accessible to residents, to battles over the impact of the waste facilities that are so numerous in the South Bronx.
In accepting the award at a barbeque at the City Island home of BCEQ board member Paul Mankewiecz, attended by activists and Deputy Parks Commissioner Liam Kavenaugh, Stein praised Hunter and the CUNY Journalism school for their support of the publications, and through them of the communities they serve.
The Bronx Council also honored Ocynthia Williams and Frances Tejada with its Gouverneur Morris award for community education for their successful battle to create a new middle school in Highbridge, an area with five elementary schools but, until now, no middle school.
MS 285 will be known as the Highbridge Green School, and will boast a green roof and solar panels, as well as a greenhouse and a green wall to grow vegetables.
Manhattan College student Nathan Hunter won the Theresa Lato student award, named for another of BCEQ’s founders, for his leadership in campus environmental organizations and his service on a college committee devoted to sustainability.