A public garden & cultural center

Forest Project

Learn & Earn

Spend an unforgettable summer working as part of a small crew protecting and improving Wave Hill’s woodlands, enjoying the outdoors, learning about restoration ecology and making friends. Second-year interns learn basic mapping (GIS) skills.

June 29–August 22, 2017*

• Mondays through Fridays, 9am–4pm

* Required family orientation and intern training sessions will take place during the last week in June. These sessions will not conflict with school attendance.


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


• First-year interns earn $9/hr
• Second-year interns earn $9.50/hr

Program Description  

Now going into its 37th year, the Forest Project continues to be one of Wave Hill’s signature programs. This paid summer internship gives high school students an unparalleled opportunity to learn about ecology in an urban setting. Throughout the summer, interns gain hands-on field experience and participate in a dynamic, field-based course.  Guest speakers, field trips and special projects contribute to an immersive and rewarding summer. The work is demanding but satisfying—building and maintaining woodland trails, removing invasive plant species, shoring up eroded slopes and helping to document the process of restoring the disturbed woodland toward a more balanced state.  Team-building activities help create a strong sense of community and connection both for fellow interns and for the project's collective mission. 

Field Work

Under the direction of an experienced crew leader, interns work together in small crews to do trail maintenance, erosion control, invasive removal and planting and caring for native plants. Each crew works at an assigned worksite for the duration of the summer.

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

Field-based Coursework

All interns take one course: first-year interns take Restoration of NYC's Natural Areas,  while second-year interns take Mapping NYC's Urban Environment: An Intro to GIS. The coursework and the field work are complementary; both are integrated to create a meaningful and practical learning experience. Interns also work together on group projects involving data collection and field research related to their work sites. These projects make up a significant portion of the final course grade. Students receive three college credits for successful completion of either course through the College of Mount Saint Vincent. 

Learn more about Wave Hill's coursework on Restoration of NYC Natural Areas (pdf)

Sample Syllabus for Restoration Coursework 2016 (pdf)

Learn more about the Geographic Information Systems Course (pdf)

Sample Syllabus for GIS Coursework 2016 (pdf)

Field Trips and Guest Speakers

Field trips and guest speakers provide opportunities to meet a wide range of professionals with green careers. Guest speakers include landscape architects, forest research technicians, environmental journalists, authors and urban planners. Recent field trips have included canoeing on the Bronx River, hiking in the Mianus River Gorge and exploring Pelham Bay Park. Field trips usually combine a work project with a tour or guided activity led by an onsite expert.

Learn more about Forest Project Field Trips (pdf)



The Forest Project at Wave Hill is generously supported by the Barker Welfare Foundation, Cleveland H. Dodge Foundation, Con Edison, The Lucius N. Littauer Foundation, the New York State Education Department 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 the Zoos, Botanical Gardens and Aquariums Grant Program administered by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.