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2021 Nally Interns

June 17, 2021

A longstanding tradition at Wave Hill, the John Nally Internship offers an opportunity to explore a career in horticulture over the course of a growing year, roughly April into November.

Soon after the beginning of April, when the Nally Interns start, this year’s lively group were already deep into projects, learning the terrain and the range of tools they’d be expected to use throughout the year.

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In mid-April, Kathryn Tam (back to camera), Carly Cohen and Blake Enos (facing camera) prepared to help Assistant Director of Horticulture Steven Conaway transplant a fragrant snowbell tree (Styrax obassia) near the front entrance.

At this early stage, they often work together as they learn the ropes. As the following photos demonstrate, by early summer each Nally is ready to take on more independent tasks and projects.

Linda Bendak took her years of experience in the fashion industry in a new direction professionally. She is now enrolled in the New York Botanical Garden’s Horticulture Certificate Program, where she met former Nally Manny Grossman, and his enthusiasm about the Nally program encouraged her to apply. Linda volunteers as an NYC citizen street-tree pruner for Trees New York/NYC Parks, and at Rockefeller State Park Preserve, where she has developed a sweet spot for their tree peony collection.

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Mustn’t water without winding the hose when you’re done, as Linda Bendak demonstrates this week.

Carly Cohen, a professional cook and baker with nine years working in restaurants, found that what most excited her about food is firmly rooted in the garden. Losing employment during the pandemic encouraged her to forage and “grow herself,” as she puts it. Together with the the Nally internship, a deeper exploration of edible plants as a student at New York Botanical Garden has snowballed into a newfound professional track centered on botany, horticulture and public natural lands.

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Carly Cohen leans into cleaning one of the mowers one morning in late May.

Trained as a landscape architect, Blake Enos realized that designing with plants and researching them were not enough—even after an internship in the Potager du Roi—the kitchen garden of France’s Louis XIV, at Versailles. The Nally year of very hands-on experience promises to give him the deep dive into plantsmanship and garden design. Blake has an interest in native plant gardens, and has embarked on restoration plantings at his family’s property in upstate New York.

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Blake Enos watering just outside the Potting Shed in mid-June.

Like her Nally colleagues this year, Kathryn Tam’s path to Wave Hill was non-linear. Although her background is in journalism and communications, she finds true satisfaction outdoors in nature. She last served as a horticultural therapy intern at NYU Langone Medical Center, where she worked with a variety of patient populations, including physical rehabilitation, psychiatry, Alzheimer’s and dementia and the medically complex. Kathryn volunteers as a garden guide at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and as a landscape volunteer at Manitoga/The Russel Wright Design Center in Garrison, NY.

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Kathryn Tam weeds along the border outside the Herb Garden.

By mid-summer, the occasional field trip begins to broaden their experience.

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From left to right, earlier this month, 2021 Nally Interns Blake Enos, Carly Cohen, Linda Bendak, former Nally Intern Sara Dimmit and Kathryn Tam on a field trip to Little Island at Manhattan’s Pier 55, where Sara is horticulturist.

All four “local-ish,” each of this year’s Nally Interns has been profoundly affected by a pandemic year of isolation and disruption that has brought them, happily for Wave Hill, to new directions professionally.

The John Nally Internship Program is generously funded by private supporters and donors. If you would like to make a gift to support this life-changing internship, click here.