A public garden & cultural center

Forest Project Summer Collaborative

Learn & Earn

Spend an unforgettable summer working as part of a small crew protecting and improving Wave Hill’s woodlands, enjoying the outdoors and making friends. Take a free, college-level course in environmental science or basic mapping at CUNY’s Lehman College and earn credit.

June 26–August 15, 2014

• Mondays through Fridays, 9am–4pm
• College coursework is unpaid and takes place one day per week.
Application deadline: March 23, 2014 


• Currently enrolled in the 10th, 11th or 12th grade
• Interested in the urban environment
• Strong academic record, especially in the sciences
• Ready for rigorous fieldwork and academic study


• First-year interns earn $8.00/hr
• Second-year interns earn $8.25/hr

Program Description  

The Forest Project is one of Wave Hill’s signature programs. With more than 32 years of experience, Wave Hill offers a robust summer internship program for high school students that enables them to earn money while working to restore Wave Hill’s natural woodlands. The Forest Project gives students an unparalleled opportunity to learn about ecology in an urban setting, gain hands-on field experience and enroll in a tuition-free, college-level course at Lehman College. Throughout the summer, guest speakers, field trips and special projects contribute to an immersive and profoundly rewarding experience.

For seven weeks beginning in late June, Forest Project interns work together in small crews under the direction of an experienced crew leader. Together, each crew engages in restoration work in its assigned area. The work is demanding but rewarding—building woodland paths, removing invasive plant species, shoring up erosion controls and helping to restore disturbed woodlands to a more balanced state.  Team-building activities build a strong, even passionate, sense of community and connection both to fellow interns and to the collective mission. 

Field Work

Field work is performed on the Wave Hill grounds and consists of trail maintenance, erosion control, invasive removal and planting and taking care of native plants. Students are broken up into crews of six to seven people. Each crew is led by a crew leader and works at an assigned worksite for the duration of the summer.

Learn more about field work for the Forest Project Summer Collaborative (pdf)

Lehman College Course Work 

First-year interns take an environmental science course at Lehman College; second-year interns take a GIS Course. The coursework enhances the field work, and both are integrated to create a meaningful learning experience. Each is three credits and takes place 1 day a week. The courses are held on different days of the week, giving each class one day a week onsite while the other class is at Lehman.  During this time, student’s work on group course projects, involving data collection and field research about their worksites. These projects make up a significant portion of the students’ final grade for whichever Lehman course they take.

Learn more about the Environmental Conservation Course (pdf)

Learn more about the Geographic Information Systems Course (pdf)

Field Trips and Guest Speakers

Field trips and guest speakers provide interns with an opportunity to meet a wide range of professionals with green careers. Recent guest speakers have included landscape architects, forest research technicians, environmental journalists and authors and urban planners. Recent field trips have included Pelham Bay Park, canoeing on the Bronx River, Boswyck Farm and Gowanus Canal Conservancy. Field trips usually combine a work project with a tour or guided activity led by an onsite expert.

Learn more about Forest Projective Summer Collaborative Field Trips (pdf)


The Forest Project at Wave Hill is supported with funds from the Barker Welfare Foundation, The Lucius N. Littauer Foundation, The New Yankee Stadium Community Benefits Fund and the Pinkerton Foundation.  Sustaining support for Wave Hill’s educational programming is provided by the Sally and Gilbert Kerlin Endowment Fund at Wave Hill for Environmental Science and Nature Education.   Wave Hill’s operations are made possible in part by public funds provided through the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and by the Zoos, Botanical Gardens and Aquariums Grant Program administered by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.