Mary Hynes is Office Manager/Education at Wave Hill.
I was invited to The McSweeney Occupational Training Center Plant and Prune end-of-year celebration by Anne Hunter, Wave Hill’s Forest Project Manager. Before I write about the celebration let me tell you a little about this program.
For over a decade, Wave Hill has partnered with The McSweeney OTC at PS 721X to offer hands-on training to a group of high school students. These weekly sessions, supervised by Anne and OTC teacher Andy Steinberg, provide high school students with an opportunity to learn about the horticulture field, imparting successful work habits and promoting teamwork through hands-on exploration.
This school year, the students maintained woodland trails that link Wave Hill to Riverdale Park. Trails are dynamic and require regular maintenance. By removing debris, spreading woodchips and weeding intrusive plants, students helped Wave Hill provide visitors with a safe and beautiful pathway to enjoy the woodlands.
In celebration of Earth Day and Arbor Day in April, the students removed six, large garbage bags of trash from the Metro-North/Riverdale train station and the north end of Riverdale Park−not the most glamorous of tasks but the students found it to be very fulfilling.
In addition to their hard work in the field, students participated in seasonal education workshops on topics that included soils, woodland invertebrates, tree identification and the seasonal changes.
Time to tell you about the celebration: I walked into the Ecology Building and was greeted by seven amazing young students. Not only did they warmly welcome me, they touched my heart. We started the session by painting picture frames. The students told me how they were going to print pictures from their time at Wave Hill to put in the frames.
I felt so welcomed by the group as they shared artwork, music, poetry and their experiences working in the field. They also informed me that they will be sending a special surprise−a video compilation of pictures that they edited and laid to a music track. I can’t wait to see it!
Thank you PS 721X for all your hard work and enthusiasm.