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, and the Woodland Ecology Restoration Mentorship (WERM), a new, 14-month program for high school students.
Looking back, the Woodland Ecology Research Mentorship program had a very productive, fun fall. Our students participated in a series of weekend “WERMShops,” each focusing on some aspect of ecological research. We also introduced them to a number of scientists and exposed them to many local natural areas. Helping considerably with planning and leading these activities were our wonderful mentors, together with their colleagues at the USDA Forest Service, the Department of Parks & Recreation’s Natural Resources Group, LaGuardia Community College and the New York City Natural Areas Conservancy. My colleague Mary Rose Robbins, our High School Programs Coordinator, and I enjoyed every moment orchestrating the entire experience. Find out more about the program in our updated online description.
This spring, the WERMS begin collecting data at Riverdale Park in six randomly selected survey plots, using various survey methods that they learned this past fall. The data will serve as a springboard to their final projects, with each student dedicating about 20 hours toward this effort. We will also run four to six additional WERMShops, in order to round out their experiences. To date, WERMShops have included tree health assessment, canoeing on the Bronx River, coarse woody debris data collection, a workshop on GIS analysis and a mixer event for high school students participating in research mentorships in New York City, hosted at the American Museum of Natural History—one of our collaborating partners. February 2 marked with first WERMShop of 2014, and the first get-together since the potluck lunch with WERMs and their families in mid-December. Mid-February, we have our second WERMShop scheduled: We’ll be visiting the New York City Urban Field Station, where our mentor Nancy Falxa-Raymond works. The WERMs have been excited about this trip for months, getting the opportunity to explore a place where so much great environmental research happens.
We have begun the search for a new crop of WERMS and Forest Project interns, starting with our first full week of outreach with visits to eight schools around the Bronx and northern Manhattan. It is one of my favorite parts of the job, having the opportunity to discuss our amazing internship programs directly with students and school staff. We are also looking for a High School Programs Coordinator and summer Crew Leaders. Please check out the job descriptions on our site and share these opportunities with any passionate and hard-working college students and recent graduates you think would be talented candidates .