A garden oasis and cultural center overlooking the Hudson River

Forest Project Summer Collaborative XXX: Week 1!

This post was provided by second-year crew leader and former intern Michael J. Vasquez, who describes the first week of this 30th-anniversary year of the Forest Project Summer Collaborative internship.

July 11, 2010:  Looking out across the lawns, into the woodlands and then out towards the Hudson River and the Palisades, I am always overwhelmed and awestruck by the view. Wave Hill is such a beautiful and amazing place. The fact that the Forest Project Summer Collaborative (FPSC) interns can have a part in keeping Wave Hill such a beautiful and awe inspiring place is a wonderful opportunity.

July 5th, during 105 degree weather, many people were home in their air-conditioning, recovering from their Fourth of July festivities. Not so with the Forest Project interns. They were bright-eyed and bushy-tailed on Wave Hill grounds by 9am, some even earlier, and eager to begin their summer of forest restoration and maintenance. Starting on the vast lawn below Wave Hill house, in the already warm weather, interns tossed a ball of yarn from person to person forming a web in the center of the circle, as they braved the heat, memorized names and got to know fun facts about each other. Team-building games continued as the day progressed and interns put together tents while blindfolded, did a creative drawing activity and worked together to use dragon cookies to make their way across a field, without the dragon snatching any.

The week continued, as did the soaring temperatures, but this did not stop the determined interns and their Crew leaders from getting in as much work as possible on their sites. The first Tuesday morning after orientation day, crews were at their sites uprooting mugwort, battling garlic mustard and attempting to tame extremely low, hanging branches. It was way too hot to work in the field that afternoon, so more indoor bonding and team-building games took place, including a Forest Project favorite, Mafia, played in two larger groups.

Although site work was done only in the morning, the four crews accomplished over a day’s amount of work. Heaps of weeds and pruned branches piled high at each site, bags of second-year garlic mustard filled dumpsters and Cushman load after Cushman load, as well as a few wheel barrow loads, and were then taken down to the compost pile. During that first half-day of field work alone, the Forest Project interns far surpassed our expectations, especially considering the high temperatures.

Did the pace of work slow during the week? Of course not! Crew leaders and interns had set a standard with their work from day one and had no problem being even more productive with each passing day. I would say that the first week at Wave Hill was incredible, and by Friday it was evident that FPSC is not only about hardcore forest and ecological restoration, but also about education, fun and forging lifelong friendships.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>