Senior School Programs Educator Corinne Flax waxes eloquent as the old year leaves.
Each year, Wave Hill welcomes thousands of schoolchildren onto our grounds. Having seen so many of these groups come and go, I am ringing out the old year—and ringing in the new―with my personal take on the “Top 10 Reasons Schools Visit Wave Hill.”
1. All that beautiful space
Wave Hill is small by botanic garden standards, but for schoolchildren from New York City’s five boroughs, it is huge. The wide, uninterrupted lawns, the vista of the Hudson River and the Palisades, the garden “rooms”, each placed like a perfectly set jewel, all these combine to give our students a feeling of vastness and beauty.2. The view
Wave Hill has a singularly perfect view of the Palisades, the steep cliffs on the far side of the Hudson River. Students often wonder about the land mass on our horizon, and are shocked to find out that it is New Jersey―not some foreign shore.
3. Old-fashioned, clean dirt
New York City has amazing green spaces, but there are always things to worry about: Who’s been there before you? And what did they leave behind? At Wave Hill, the grass hides only earth worms and clover and the leaves shelter chipmunks and garden snakes, not broken glass.
4. Amazing trees
Wave Hill’s collection of trees young and old, tall and small, is exceptional. Students who visit here are able to learn so much just by studying our collection of trees. Aside from their educational potential, trees bring about a feeling of calm that is much needed in this hectic city.
5. The woods
Eight acres of native woodland open students up to a different world. A winding, ½-acre trail leads up and down hills, around trees and through glades. Students breathe easy and enjoy the rhythm of the walk
There are few places in NYC with the diversity of flowering plants that can be found at Wave Hill. Students are amazed at the smells, colors and textures of these plants. Our horticultural staff devote tender care to each plant. As they become aware of this, students respond by becoming more thoughtful themselves.
The landscape holds memories. A visit to Wave Hill give students an opportunity to learn about their city using the history of Wave Hill as a focusing lens.
8. Arts and crafts
A trip to Wave Hill isn’t complete without some crafting. Our workshops offer a great way for students to express themselves. Using a combination of new and reclaimed natural materials, the workshops are heavy on artistic inspiration and light on step-by-step directions, giving students space to think and create.
9. Glyndor Gallery
We are lucky at Wave Hill to have our own contemporary art gallery. The exhibitions in Glyndor Gallery are in tune with the season and the setting, giving students the means to connect their experience of the outdoors to fine art.
10. Amazing educators
That’s right. For the last slot on this list I am nominating myself and the rest of the education team—I’m on the left below, and School Programs Educator Elizabeth Bradley on the right, leading trips this past fall. We bring to our work a singular commitment to providing an excellent experience for all students. Every class is unique and we approach each field trip fresh and excited for what the day will bring.