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2023 Nally Interns

May 22, 2023

The John Nally Internship offers emerging professionals an opportunity to explore a horticulture career over the growing year, roughly from April to November. It is a tradition that is now more than three decades old at Wave Hill, with more than 100 graduates, including our current Director of Horticulture, Cathy Deutsch. This past April, we welcomed four interns, who are now settled into gardening life at Wave Hill. Each tells a story of inspiration and focus.

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Michael Calligeros came to Wave Hill having worked for many years as an advertising creative, and later as a professional bread-maker. When the pandemic hit, he began to rethink his next steps, as so many did. While still pursuing his interests as a baker, he also enrolled in a course about soil science at the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG). He subsequently participated in additional courses and served as a volunteer at NYBG. Increasingly, he found himself more drawn towards working as a gardener, something he'd enjoyed since he purchased a home in Connecticut in 2014. When the experts at NYBG recommended the Nally Internship, he recognized it as a unique opportunity to commit more deeply to a career in horticulture. He is looking forward to learning about sustainable gardening practices and applying his skills for landscape design in urban environments.
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Maggie McEvoy joins the Nally internship program after having worked in The Shop at Wave Hill for the last year and a half. A poetry major as an undergraduate, this Rockland County native sees a direct correlation between poetry and the natural world. After spending the last five summers as the Creative Residency Coordinator at Camp Stomping Ground in Saratoga Springs, she moved to New York City. A visit to Wave Hill in 2021 sparked an interest in public gardens and when an opportunity became available in The Shop, it was a first step forward. Now deeply immersed in the Nally experience, she’s nurturing some ideas for what will come next—perhaps working with children in a green educational setting or helping to sustain community gardens in urban settings.
Mabel Oriekhoe is a 2023 graduate of Cornell University, where she earned a bachelor's in plant sciences. Her initial interest in gardening was sparked by her parents who always involved her in the upkeep of their gardens. She has always enjoyed looking deeper into how things work: as a child, she started with learning about plants on what she describes as a “quest that just never stopped.” Through her studies at Cornell, she was introduced to the principles of public garden management, weed identification, integrated pest management, and landscape management and design – all of which led her to seek out opportunities at Wave Hill. Through the Nally internship, she is looking forward to improving her recall of scientific names for plants- and learning more about the Wave Hill way! Her favorite aspects of gardening are weeding, deadheading and planting. She finds this daily upkeep of gardens deeply rewarding because it allows one to see the impact of one’s efforts almost instantly.
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Ethan Pomerantz most recently worked at Wave Hill as a seasonal gardener in 2022, supervising two high school interns in New York City’s Summer Youth Employment Program. A native New Yorker, he volunteered at a bioreserve on the Galapagos Islands—his first serious introduction to gardening—before earning a B.A. in biology from Colby College. His interest in plants continued to grow throughout his semester abroad at the University Centre in Svalbard, where he conducted research on arctic plants. While he maintains a keen interest in exploring the diversity of horticulture, he is particularly looking forward to learning about plant propagation and pest management.
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Carolina Villanueva has long pursued her interests in education and community engagement by working for several non-profit organizations. She first learned of the John Nally internship while working as a volunteer for the New York Botanical Garden’s Edible Academy. There, in NYBG's Global Garden, she tended plants that are typically used for cooking in the Philippines. Having spent time during the pandemic working as a baker, she also felt inspired to learn more about sustainable food production and how to take better care of the planet. The Nally internship presented an excellent opportunity for her to build upon her skills. She is excited to see where this internship will lead her on her career path, and she hopes to eventually concentrate on educational programs and working with children in gardens—and, perhaps one day bringing the skills she has learned to her native Philippines.
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From left, Nallies Maggie McEvoy, Ethan Pomerantz, Carolina Villanueva (back to camera) and Mike Calligeros in the Flower Garden for a recent Thursday afternoon "HortQuest" session with Horticultural Interpreter Jess Brey. HortQuest is a dedicated, weekly horticulture lesson. Interns research a topic in advance, and come prepared to present the results of their research to their peers.