This post was contributed by Armina Del Toro, Wave Hill’s School Programs Educator, and Judith Hutton, School Partnerships Manager.
Too often, inner city children have limited access to green spaces in and around their schools. Wave Hill’s School Partnership Program aims to teach children to see and appreciate nature nearby. It is our hope that in exploring nature through science and art, we can create future advocates for the environment as well as the well-being of all who inhabit it. We also hope to encourage families to see Wave Hill as a place where they can come together to connect to nature and to each other.
Family retreats are a culminating celebration of the student’s work and experiences during a partnership. Recently, the School Partnerships Program hosted its last Family Retreat for the school year. During the event, students and families are invited to spend the day at Wave Hill, where they work on science-based art projects and explore exotic plant collections as they tour Wave Hill. We also display the students’ writings and photographs and even provide an interactive PowerPoint presentation of students’ work.
Students develop a strong relationship with Wave Hill and they eagerly share nature expertise and accomplishments. This is a time for the students to become the teachers. They have the chance to spend quality time with their families while appreciating the scenery at the garden. Parents also get to see what students are doing in the classroom and how it applies to real world experiences, raising awareness about nature both at Wave Hill and in all communities throughout the Bronx and beyond.