Green Corps

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Erycka Montoya Pérez
Fulton Houses garden. Photo by Liz LigonLocal gardener Tari Stubblefield surveys the restored community garden. Photo by Liz Ligon

This past April, High Line horticultural staff, volunteers, and teens in our Green Corps program helped local gardener Tari Stubblefield restore a garden at the Fulton Houses in Chelsea. The initiative, called Neighbor Day, was a partnership between Friends of the High Line, Fulton Houses Tenant Association President Miguel Acevedo, and the NYCHA Gardening & Sustainability Unit.

See more photos below.

Emily Pinkowitz
Photo by Rowa LeeTeen staff reflect on that day's work with High Line Educator Gahl Shottan. Photo by Rowa Lee

On June 26, Friends of the High Line will celebrate the graduation of the Green Corps class of 2014 with a Garden Party. In anticipation of this year’s program coming to an end, Green Corps Leaders Beatrice Ramos and Winona Holderbaum have chosen five important moments from the year to highlight.

Amelia Krales
EnlargePhoto of Friends of the High Line

In this week’s Photo of the Week, two High Line Horticulture Interns Sarah Ruiz (left) and Raquel Rosado (right) pose proudly with High Line Horticulture Educator Gahl Shottan (center) next to an edible garden they helped plant and tend at Public School 33. We’ve chosen to feature this photo to celebrate these two teens and the important contributions they’ve made to the High Line’s horticulture and the surrounding community over the two months of their internship, which just came to a close.

Sarah and Raquel graduated from the High Line’s Green Corps program in July and continued on as Horticulture Interns, working side-by-side with the park’s gardeners to help care for our plants through the rest of the summer. This season marked the second year of Green Corps – which exposes teen participants to aspects of environmental science, gardening, and what it means to work in the horticulture field – and the first season of Horticultural Internships. This new internship position uses the skills and knowledge the teens had gained in the Green Corps program as a springboard for more in-depth learning and hands-on experience.

See more photos and learn more after the jump.

Ana Nicole Rodriguez
Green Corps GraduatesWearing big smiles, this year's Green Corps graduates hold up their certificates.

The High Line Green Corps program saw its first graduation on Saturday, June 28, with proud mothers and siblings in attendance. “How can we be better neighbors?” was the thoughtful question leading to the creation of the High Line’s Green Corps program—an intensive six-month paid program for local teens that increases understanding of environmental science and green jobs, while also strengthening the relationship between the High Line and its young community members. This year’s graduating class was especially passionate and lively—a testament to the program’s success.


The graduates shared highlights of the program in between eating a delicious spread of rice and beans and turkey empanadas cooked by the teens. Graduate Beatrice Ramos—with her young sister listening—spoke about the new sense of responsibility the program instilled in her. “I recycle now and know the benefits of keeping my city clean,” she said. Echoing her sentiment, graduate Raquel Rosado shared, “I’ve learned to love plants. Now it’s my job to care for them.”

The program’s instructors, Gahl Shottan and Jordan Aponte, aim to do precisely that—encourage young teens to see themselves as environmental stewards of the city, whether they are on the High Line or in any other green space. The program focuses on: green infrastructure, urban horticulture, and agricultural sustainability- including the relationship between food and health. Students learn through field trips, presentations with guest speakers, and team hands-on projects. This year's Green Corps weeded the garden at a local elementary school, P.S. 33, planted bulbs in nearby tree pits, and cut back over a quarter-mile of plantings as part of the High Line’s annual Spring Cutback.

Green Corps began last year as a week-long alternative spring break, through generous support from the Nathan Cummings Foundation. Over 60 applicants, many from local NYCHA complexes, applied for the ten spots in this pilot week. Friends of the High Line realized there was a need for this kind of programming. One graduate from last year, Carla Hernandez, went on to enter the Green City Force's Clean Energy Corps. Through support from the Ford Foundation and the Palette Fund, the breadth and scope of this year's program has expanded.

Programming Staff

If you have been on the High Line in the past few weeks, you might have noticed a lot of changes: the park feels lush and green again, the Chelsea Market passage is buzzing with visitors, and we have some new faces among our dedicated staff.

We want to take this moment to introduce two new staff members, Liza Rosado and Javier Montero. Liza has joined the Merchandise team as a Sales Associate, selling wonderful High Line gear that directly supports our operation. And Javier has joined our visitor services team as a High Line Ranger. While these are new roles for both of them, Liza and Javier have been part of the High Line family for more than a year now.

Jennette Mullaney
It’s alternative spring break week at the High Line. Pictured here are the teens participating in this year’s High Line Green Corps, an education and job-training program by Friends of the High Line. Photo by Beverly Israely

Sixteen-year-old Winona Kay Holderbaum was amazed the first time she visited the High Line. “As a little girl, I used to pass by the overgrown bridge with my father, and I always wondered why no one could go up there,” she says.

Winona is one of ten teens selected from among 90 applicants for this year’s Green Corps program. Since January, the teens have been spending their afternoons at the High Line, earning a paycheck and receiving valuable job experience in fields like urban ecology, horticulture, and sustainability. This week is the teens’ spring break, and they’ve been working daily at the park, helping the High Line Gardeners and High Line Educators complete Spring Cutback.

Erika Harvey
As a member of the High Line Youth Staff, Carla Hernández has worked with Friends of the High Line in so many capacities over the last year, from helping with our community surveying, to working alongside our gardeners during an alternative spring break program. Photo by Liz Ligon

High Line Youth Staff alumna Carla Hernández is moving on from Friends of the High Line to join the Clean Energy Corps, Green City Force’s full-time, six month-long service, with training and academics, and work experience in the clean energy economy.


This is an exciting next step for Carla. Her service with Green City Force over the coming months will focus on energy efficiency and health and safety, providing valuable hands-on training for her through projects that help create a more sustainable New York City.

Learn more about Carla after the jump.

Erika Harvey
Ten local teens spent their spring break working side-by-side with High Line Gardeners while they learned about green jobs from a variety of guest speakers. Photo by Joan Garvin.

As part of our ongoing community engagement initiative, we are always looking for new ways to involve our closest neighbors.

This past week, we piloted a new program we call Green Corps, offering a paid alternative spring break to 10 local teens who spent a week getting hands-on experience with our gardeners and learning more about green jobs.

“Green Corps was a good experience,” Javier Montero, 17, noted after participating in the week-long project. “I think it is important to do because [the High Line] is a place for many people to come and they come from many different places. [Now] I have got a taste of how it is to be a gardener.”

See photos and read quotes from our exciting first Green Corps crew after the jump.

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