NATURE Lab (NL) is the Sanctuary’s community health and urban ecology research initiative, with NATURE being an acronym for “North Troy Art, Technology and Urban Research in Ecology.” NL began in 2010 as a series of pop-up workshops, symposiums, and artist and scientist research residencies. It has since moved into its current location, a renovated building on the Sanctuary campus, and is the initiative connecting the community science lab, People’s Health Sanctuary, and Collard City Growers. 

The NATURE Lab building, in a recently renovated two story row house at 3319 6th Ave., opened on the Sanctuary campus in 2020 with support from a Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) grant. The first floor of NL houses our community biology lab where we conduct research into local environmental justice issues with a focus on the air (Air Justice Lab), soil (Our Soil), and water (Water Justice Lab) of North Troy and the Capital Region. The second floor of NL houses a flexible community space that is home to The People’s Health Sanctuary, a mutual aid health space focused on community well-being through holistic approaches to health. The NL yard is home to an evolving array of living sculptures and spaces for outdoor learning, including the Medicine Garden and the Talking Circle, both of which are connected to our larger environmental campus through our growing Sanctuary Eco-Art Trail.

This decade-long process from workshops, symposiums, and residencies to expanding into a building was guided by Sanctuary founders including Kathy High, NATURE Lab coordinator; Branda Miller, the Sanctuary’s Arts & Education Coordinator; and Steve Pierce, the Sanctuary’s Executive Director from 2005-2022. Other contributors include Melissa Bromley, the Sanctuary’s Development Director through 2020, and Xavier Coughlin and JJ Luceno for People’s Health Sanctuary. Project design and construction: Architectural firm TAP, lead Barb Nelson. Architecture advisor Joe Fama. Construction company lead: David Downer. With generous funds from the Department of Environmental Conservation.

Interested in learning more or getting involved? You can contact our Community Science Educator and Lab Manager Ellie Irons ([email protected]) for a tour, or join the Sanctuary mailing list to learn about upcoming events. 

NATURE Lab is:

Upcoming NATURE Lab Events

Upcoming Events

Want to learn more about what we do, or help out? Get in touch to learn about volunteer opportunities!

Check out our Sanctuary Art Trail

This virtual StoryMap exlores the block around The Sanctuary for Independent Media campus.

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About NATURE Lab’s History

Our urban environmental education campus has been years in the making. View a presentation of our past activities that brought us to this moment – the grand opening of the NATURE Lab Environmental Education Center.

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Stories from Nature Lab

NATURE Lab Past Events

Jun 17
Apr 22
Apr 15
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
Evo Devo Art
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About The Sanctuary

We use art and participatory action to promote social and environmental justice and freedom of creative expression.

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