Members of Green Corps staff along with Teen Programs staff. Photo by Rowa Lee.
Every spring, High Line Green Corps teen staff commit their entire spring break to assisting High Line gardeners with Spring Cutback. During this time, they trim back plants to make way for spring growth and visit other green spaces in the city.
This year, Green Corps visited Brooklyn Bridge Park, Stuyvesant Cove Park, New York Botanical Garden, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and Wave Hill. At these sites, teens identified plants, volunteered their labor, and met other teens working in horticulture.
Below, Green Corps Leaders Susana Tam, Tia Hull and Alice Lin reflect on their experience and share their favorite moment of Cutback:
During the second-to-last day of our Spring Cutback, we split up into many small groups to work on different aspects of horticulture work. One project that stood out was the removal of a sick tree stump. As we were diligently digging out the soil around the roots, we noticed the layers of soil surrounding the stump. During this digging and observing, the gardeners took some time to teach us how to count the rings in the tree trunk to tell the age of the tree. We figured out that this particular tree was over ten years old.
Being able to see the roots of the tree firsthand made some of us rethink how we look at them. Now when we see trees, we wonder what the roots look like underground, and how healthy the tree might be.
Towards the end of our shift, the rest of the Green Corps teen staff contributed to cutting through the roots. Thanks to members of the horticulture staff, the tree stump was effectively removed by the end of the day and was contributed to compost. We felt accomplished after our Cutback week, especially after taking out the tree stump.
D'en and Tia dig up tree roots during Spring Cutback. Photo by Martha Lazar.
Hendrick and Diego use pruners and scissors during Spring Cutback. Photo by Rowa Lee.
Nishat and Ariana work together to trim winter growth. Photo by Rowa Lee.
Gustavo and Kevin use a lopper to cut tall grasses. Photo by Rowa Lee.
High Line Teen programs – part of High Line Community Engagement – are generously supported by the Ford Foundation.
TD Bank is a Supporting Sponsor of Green Corps. Major Support is provided by the Alcoa Foundation. Additional funding for Green Corps is provided by The Palette Fund.