Lower East Side Ecology Center
Melinda is a long time resident of the Lower East Side and deeply committed to educating her fellow community members and the general public about the ecology of East River Park. She started in 2009 by leading stewardship activities in East River Park with community residents as well as corporate volunteer groups, has developed educational workshops, such as weed walks and guided tours of the native plants in East River Park, and coordinated citizens science projects, for instance, the Audubon Christmas Bird Count. Melinda holds a BFA from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and also has professional gardening experience spanning three states, and years of volunteer work in community gardens and at Great Gull Island, which has the largest concentration of nesting Common Terns in the world. Additionally, Melinda has a background as a textile designer, photographer, and artist and her work are inspired by the appreciation of the natural world in an urban setting. Recent work involved a series of hand painted and hand printed scarves that focus on street trees as well as ongoing photographic documentation of East River Park, the Lower East Side and the birds and habitat of Great Gull Island.
Compost Project Manager
Renee is a community planner with a passion for urban sustainability and social equity. She has been committed to reducing waste and building strong communities through composting for over a decade; her experiences run the gamut from backyard composting, participating in food scrap drop-off sites and managing the composting efforts at her local community garden. She holds an MS in City & Regional Planning from the Pratt Institute and a BA in Environmental & Urban Studies from Hamline University. When not composting, Renee can be found making pottery or tending to her garden.
LeRoy joined the Lower East Side Ecology Center in 2012 and is equally at home processing food waste at the East River Compost Yard as he is handling e-waste at one of our collection events. A native New Yorker, LeRoy attended Frederick Douglas and Thurgood Marshall Academy and enrolled in the AmeriCorps Program of Green City Force in 2010 where he joined the Cool Roof team, painting over 500,000 square feet of roof and learning about environmental challenges facing NYC. This experience motivated LeRoy to join the Ecology Center’s team.
Co-founder & Executive director
Christine Datz-Romero is the co-founder and executive director of the Lower East Side Ecology Center and a long time resident of the neighborhood. Christine has shown her environmental activism by developing innovative, community-based recycling programs over the last two decades. She is a true compost pioneer, inspiring people to compost in their own homes and communities as well as creating a Compost Collection program in 1990, which has introduced the idea of composting to countless New Yorkers. Additionally, Christine has been at the forefront of the Ecology Center’s innovative Electronics Waste Recycling program. Her passion for green space makes her an advocate for community involvement in public open space. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Queens College and has done graduate work at the New School/Milano School for Nonprofit Management. As a member of NYC’s environmental community for more than two decades, Christine currently serves on the board of the 6th Street & Avenue B Garden, is a member of the Steering Committee of the East River Alliance, is a public member of the Waterfront Committee of Community Board 3 and member and past chair of the Manhattan Solid Waste Advisory Board.
- Monday:08:00 am to 06:00 pm
- Tuesday:08:00 am to 06:00 pm
- Wednesday:08:00 am to 06:00 pm
- Thursday:08:00 am to 06:00 pm
- Friday:08:00 am to 06:00 pm