NATURE Lab is short for North Troy Art, Technology and Urban Research in Ecology

Founded in 2013, NATURE Lab is a volunteer-led initiative integrating art, science, and technology. Based out of The Sanctuary for Independent Media, NATURE Lab hosts seasonal workshops available to the public on a sliding scale.

The NATURE Lab Ecosystem:
The Sanctuary for Independent Media is located in North Central Troy, one of the most environmentally devastated neighborhoods in New York State. One block from the Hudson River, the organization’s campus is adjacent to brownfield areas, combined sewer overflows, and seemingly endless litter. The long-gone prosperity of this neighborhood is evident in its architecture, though many handsome buildings have been left vacant and decaying. NATURE Lab seeks to remediate the disrepair through education, resource access, and inspiration.

Past NATURE Lab workshop examples:

  • Bioremediation of lead contaminated soil
    • In our own Collard City Growers gardens we grow sunflowers and other plants that naturally absorb heavy metals. In time these plants can be removed as toxic waste and the earth can once again become safe for growing food.
  • Testing for antibiotic resistant microbes in the Hudson River
    • With youth, we collected and tested samples of the Hudson River for resistance to common antibiotics. There are indeed bacteria in our backyard waterways resistant to these medications as a result of exposure. Check out a video of this workshop: 
  • Seining in the Hudson River
    • Visiting biologist and artist Brandon Ballengée co-led youth and neighbors in seining the river along with New York State Museum ichthyologists Dr. Jeremy Wright and Bryan Weatherwax. Fish collected form the foundation of our wet lab. Fish were also used for gyotaku—a traditional Japanese method of printing fish to record data and create art.



NATURE Lab will call 3334 6th Ave. its’ home:

The lab will continue to integrate art, science, and technology in regular community workshops, public art installations, and ongoing research and collection activities in our surrounding ecosystem. Artist/scientist teams will work with the community around issues of “curing” our local ecologies, environmental health, public health and sustainability.

Funding for development of the NATURE Lab has been announced as part of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation’s Hudson River Estuary.  

A key goal is to refresh the infrastructure in our public spaces, designing a living learning laboratory to attract visitors and participants from far and wide. Other outcomes include expanding dialogue and attention to health and nutrition education, urban gardening and composting, food justice, and creating remedies for environmental health.