Teen 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.
Green Corps is a paid youth horticulture job-training program offered by Friends of the High Line. Every Thursday from January to June, 14 youth staff members meet to work on green spaces in the neighborhood and receive instruction in urban ecology, horticulture, and sustainability.
Green Corps starts the year indoors, receiving six weeks of instruction in horticulture and plant science basics. “We work indoors a lot, learning new things in the winter. In the spring, we actually get to do the things we learn about,” says Beatrice. “We listened, we learned, and we became experts so that we could be the teachers when out on the High Line," adds Winona.
Green Corps work with Horticulture staff under the Philip A. and Lisa Maria Falcone Flyover at West 26th Street, cutting debris for mulching. Clockwise, from left: Winona Holderbaum, Tia Hull, Gahl Shottan, Mamadou Kone . Photo by Rowa Lee
During the Spring Break Intensive, Green Corps spend a full week working on the High Line with horticulture staff and touring other green spaces around the city.
“Cutting debris was different. I didn’t expect to be cutting leaves and reusing them," recalls Beatrice. “It was hard some days, we felt like our fingers were going to fall off, but we got through it together and had fun as our own little community,” says Winona.
Green Corps and Gahl pose during a midday break at Neighbor Day. Photo by Rowa Lee
This April, Green Corps helped out at Friends of the High Line’s very first Neighbor Day. They helped local gardener Tari Stubblefield restore the Magic Garden at Fulton Houses in Chelsea.
“Neighbor Day was AWESOME! I felt like a part of a community, was able to beautify it and had so much fun doing it," says Winona. "Plus, there was food," she adds with a smile.
Beatrice had a great time as well. “It was very exciting to help put a new garden in the Fulton Houses. It felt good to help another green space other than the High Line," she says.
In May, Green Corps partnered up with Cultivate HKNY to work in their neighborhood parks and gardens. Teens were able to work in four beautiful gardens in Hell’s Kitchen: Alice’s Garden, Teresa’s Park, Juan Alonzo Park and Community Garden, and the CHDC Courtyard and Garden. “I loved working with Cultivate HKNY. We always started and ended the day collaboratively," says Winona.
Ramos: “While visiting these gardens and parks, I learned that it’s possible to put a green space anywhere," says Winona." All we need is good people to help and keep the green space green,” she adds.
Mamadou Kone and the rest of Green Corps work hard at PS 33, helping to make their garden a beautiful place to visit. Photo by Rowa Lee
For the month of June, Green Corps is working with local school P.S. 33 on their educational garden, installing irrigation and planting perennials.
Beatrice attended P.S. 33 as a child. "When I came back to help the garden, I felt amazing,” she says. "I’m really excited about the PS 33 garden and I can’t wait to see its positive effect on the kids’ spirits and learning,” adds Winona.
On June 26 from 6:00 to 8:00 PM, Green Corps will be hosting a Garden Party from at the 22nd Street Seating Steps, on the High Line at 22nd street. There will be activities, seed planting, and food made from fresh garden herbs.
TD Bank is a Supporting Sponsor of Green Corps. Additional funding is provided by Google Community Grants Fund of Tides Foundation and The Palette Fund. Leadership Support for High Line Community Engagement – including Green Corps – is provided by the Ford Foundation.