BronxNet Hosts Local 2nd Graders For Premiere Of CRNY Produced “Eco Leaders” Show

Published on May 21, 2024, 1:30 pm
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BronxNet today hosted second graders from CS 55: The Benjamin Franklin School for a tour of its Media + Technology studios for the premiere of a new Bronx-made children’s show, Eco Leaders.

The innovative environmental TV show was created by local puppetry artists affiliated with the artist economy development initiative Creatives Rebuild New York (CRNY). After the premier, students were surprised by the artists with news that they will star in the sixth episode of Eco Leaders, which will be filmed at their school this week as the first ever class to be featured on the show.

BronxNet leadership and Eco Leaders show creators including award-winning local animator and designer Alba Garcia; actor and puppetry artist Kervin Peralta; and award-winning actress and voiceover artist Paola Poucel gave Bronx second graders a first look at this new locally made and broadcasted program. Students also got a behind-the-scenes look at how the show was filmed in BronxNet’s state-of-the-art Media + Technology Studios.

The Eco Leaders TV series stars time traveling puppet characters who return to the Bronx from the year 2088 and seek to find out what happened to a destroyed earth. The show provides a space for children to engage with environmental exploration and climate solutions. 

“BronxNet is thrilled to partner with Creatives Rebuild New York and CS 55’s second grade class to showcase the incredible technology, local talent, and creativity that The Bronx has to offer to residents ages 5 to 85,” said BronxNet Executive Director Michael Max Knobbe. “Today’s events critically foster environmental awareness and education among our youth, and fight the harmful misconception that Bronx kids lack crucial technological access. By engaging students from CS 55 in this creative journey, we hope to inspire the next generation of creatives and environmental leaders right here in the Bronx. We are proud to support innovative programs that combine entertainment, the arts, education, and community engagement, and we look forward to the positive impact Eco Leaders will have on our viewers.”

“Creating Eco Leaders has been an incredible journey, and it’s truly special to share its premiere with the young minds of CS 55,” said puppetry artist Kervin Peralta. “By combining storytelling, puppetry, and the theme of climate action, we hope to empower kids to believe in their ability to make a difference. Programs like EcoLeaders that are made and broadcast in the Bronx are crucial because they reflect and celebrate our community’s unique culture and stories– Seeing the students’ excitement and engagement today reminds us why we do what we do. We’re excited for everyone to join us on this adventure and explore the possibilities for a better future together.”

“Today’s event at BronxNet is a testament to the incredible opportunities and resources available to our students here in the Bronx,” said CS55: The Benjamin Franklin School Principal Luis Torres. “The premiere of Eco Leaders and behind-the-scenes tour of BronxNet’s Media + Technology Studios provided our second graders with a unique and enriching experience that challenges the stereotype that Bronx students are under-resourced– today, we showed that with the right support, our students can thrive and excel in creative and educational endeavors. We are proud to partner with BronxNet and Creatives Rebuild New York to inspire our students and cultivate their passion for learning and environmental stewardship.”

Eco Leaders will have its broadcast premiere on Friday, May 31st at 3pm on BronxNet channel 67-Optimum and 2133-Fios, and at


About BronxNet 

BronxNet is the independent nonprofit organization serving the people of the Bronx with media production training, access to technology, and television channels. BronxNet programs six channels – 2133, 2134, 2135, 2136, 2137 and 2138 on the Verizon Fios system and six channels – 67, 68, 69, 70, 951, and 952 – on the Optimum system in the Bronx. BronxNet’s ultra-local programming helps connect the Bronx with the world while our training programs and partnerships are a part of community development through media. For more information, please visit

About CS 55: The Benjamin Franklin School 

C.S. 55, also known as the Benjamin Franklin School, is located in the Morrisania section of the Bronx. The school currently services over 700 students in 3K to 5th Grade. At CS 55, we dedicate ourselves to creating a safe, nurturing environment where academically rigorous, challenging, and engaging standards-based curriculum and instruction ensure that our students will achieve their highest potential and continue their lifelong quest for knowledge. Because we understand, appreciate, and respect the diversity of our educational community, we celebrate our students’ achievements and value the hard work and accomplishments of all members of our school.

About Creatives Rebuild New York (CRNY) 

Creatives Rebuild New York (CRNY) is a three-year, $125 million investment in the financial stability of New York State artists and the organizations that employ them. CRNY provides guaranteed income and employment opportunities for 2,700 artists whose primary residence is in New York State. These two programs work to alleviate unemployment of artists, continue the creative work of artists in partnership with organizations and their communities, and enable artists to continue working and living in New York State under less financial strain.

About Eco Leaders Creators 

Alba Enid García Rivas is an international award-winning Puerto Rican director. She is currently finishing her 4th film, “Dangerously Ever After”, a stop-motion film based on the award winning picture book. Alba is also working on a new live action dark fantasy short titled, “Qiya”. Alba is a Director, Sculptress, Animator, Writer & Concept Designer. Her art creature dolls are in private collections all over the world. Alba is a member of the Association International Du Film D’Animation, Women in Animation, POFA (Puppeteers of America), and the MOMI Museum of Moving Image. Alba opened FANTASIATION Studio in the Summer of 2008. She worked on Celebrity Deathmatch, and MTV as an Animator.

Kervin Peralta is an actor, puppeteer and percussionist originally from the Bronx. On stage, he has worked with The Puerto Rican Traveling Theater, and acclaimed directors such as Jose Zayas, Ramiro Sandoval, Crystal Fields and Dan Hurlin. As an actor, he trained at the Actors Studio Drama School and Brooklyn College. He holds his MFA in Theater arts from Sarah Lawrence College. As a puppeteer, he was featured on The Today Show for his work with NYC’s premier marionette theater company, The Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater. His work there has now spanned over 17 years. His puppetry has also been seen on HBO Latino (Ibex Productions) Directed by Alba Garcia, and in the film “What Maisie Knew” with Julianne Moore and Alexander Skarsgard. He has trained as a percussionist, and has developed music for various theatrical productions.

Paola Poucel (SAG-AFTRA) is an actress, singer, and voiceover artist and is a graduate of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City. Her career began in Mexico at the Theater Company of the State of Puebla in classics like Fuenteovejuna, Otelo, and “The Would Be Gentleman”. Other favorite credits include: “Fame” (Serena) and “Notredame de Paris” (Fleur du Lys). Paola has starred in original new works like the opera rock, “Amusia”, in Salamanca Spain, and the experimental plays, “Esperadoras and Losers”. She moved to New York where she has participated in numerous theater projects including: “De Novo” (Kim Salinas), “Cinderella” (Cinderella), “Interpreting a Dream” (Ivania). Overseas productions include: “El Sexo del Che” in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and the Spanish version of “De Novo” in San Salvador, El Salvador. After several short films, her feature debut Ilegales premiered at the 2010 HBO Latino Film Festival to great reviews. Furthermore, Paola has developed a distinctive voiceover career working for brands such as Kmart, Smirnoff, TD Bank, Nickelodeon’s Dora the Explorer, Payless, Neutrogena, Nintendo, Subway, DSW, Arts Media Engine and Microsoft.

Jonas Bronck is the pseudonym under which we publish and manage the content and operations of The Bronx Daily.™ | - the largest daily news publication in the borough of "the" Bronx with over 1.5 million annual readers. Publishing under the alias Jonas Bronck is our humble way of paying tribute to the person, whose name lives on in the name of our beloved borough.