Barry Kogan manages Wave Hill’s Forest Project Summer Collaborative (FPSC), a six-week, paid summer internship for teens that has been working to improve the ecology of the Bronx since 1980.
On Friday, December 28, we held a reunion for alumni of the Forest Project Summer Collaborative. Every year we look forward to seeing as many alumni as possible during the winter holidays. This year was no exception, and we had a great showing of about 20 people. Most were from recent summers, but thanks to two of our favorite Forest Project veterans―Paulina and Nadilyn―there was representation from over 7 summers of Forest Project.
In keeping with Forest Project tradition, the day featured a pot luck lunch, a walk through the Forest Project work sites and a game of Mafia (a Forest Project favorite). We started our time together by enjoying the amazing culinary treats that everyone contributed. The spread really showed off Forest Project participants’ diverse palates and cultures. Highlights of this epic meal included jerk chicken, mac and cheese, chana saag, macaroni salad, Russian cutlets, empanadas, Vietnamese pancakes and pulled pork―a formidable showing from around the globe. Deserts included homemade cookies and brownies. Everything was exceedingly delicious.
Once everyone had arrived and much of the food had been eaten, we had a roundtable discussion with everyone sharing their news. I opened the discussion by describing some exciting new projects that Wave Hill’s Education Department is working on, followed by a reminder that the summer 2013 application is up on our website. (Hint, hint to last summer’s Environmental Science Interns!) Other wonderful news: one of last summer’s interns has been awarded a full scholarship to University of Southern California, one of our crew leader is starting a new job teaching social justice to high school students in the Bronx and a former intern is set to begin studying abroad in Berlin.
After sharing each other’s news, the group went on a short hike through the Herbert & Hyonja Abrons Woodlands. Being able to take the time to appreciate all the hard work of past summer crews was great. Winter is the time to assess how well our trail work and efforts at erosion control are standing up. The verdict: pretty well!
We finished the day with an epic game of mafia: the three mafia members played a perfect game, defeating all the townspeople, one at a time.
All in all, it was an excellent day, and it was so nice to see everyone. Now I am set to begin recruiting next summer’s cohort.
Happy New Year, everyone!