Skip to content
Education 50

Forest Project

Join the Forest Project!

The Forest Project has engaged countless New York City youth in ecological restoration and urban ecology since its inception in 1981. 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 dynamic, field-based coursework.

The work is rigorous 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, allowing interns to develop connections with each other and to the program's mission.

The deadline to apply to Wave Hill's Forest Project program for summer 2024 has passed. The deadline to apply to the Art, Community, Education and Science program or the Woodland Ecology Research Mentorship program is March 8th at 5pm.

Education 54
The Forest Project gave more to me than I would've ever thought. I would tell future interns that they are getting something really special at Wave Hill.
Karl Former Forest Project Intern

Qualifications and Compensation


  • Enrolled in high school
  • 16 years old by May 1st, 2024
  • New York City resident eligible to work in the United States
  • Interested in urban environmental issues
  • Ready for rigorous fieldwork and academic study
  • Available and committed to participating in the entire program

Compensation and Benefits

  • Approximately $2,275, paid through NYC SYEP
  • Credit for one college course
  • Access to Wave Hill alumni network

Important: Forest Project interns get paid through the NYC Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP). This process requires a separate application to be submitted to SYEP before March 1,2024 ( Please note that the application requires you to select a “Provider.” You must select a primary provider (St. Nick’s Alliance; Wave Hill’s partner provider) and an alternate provider (you choose, one located in your borough).

Education 24


Interns spend the summer in small crews doing hands-on fieldwork throughout the property. This work supports Wave Hill’s restoration and stewardship efforts, which aim at maintaining the health of the woodlands. Fieldwork is complemented by learning in other aspects of the program. Interns work as a team, gain confidence in their skills, and take ownership of a meaningful management project.

IMG 6037


Interns are enrolled in Restoration of New York City’s Natural Areas, an intro-level, accredited college course taught at Wave Hill that focuses on ecology and environmental management. This course includes group projects, data collection and research and is taught by Wave Hill staff.

20210721 095829


Interns will have the chance to meet other groups of youth from neighboring organizations who are doing similar work. Exchanges will take place both at Wave Hill and at partner organizations. Fieldtrips to partner organizations might include adventure activities, discussions, or exploration of research topics.

Who Should Apply

Ideal candidates for the Forest Project are interested in urban environmental issues and the intricacies of how these interconnect with their own lives. Strong applicants have an enthusiasm for science and show an aptitude for rigorous fieldwork, and field-based coursework—they want to engage with the work and don't mind getting their hands dirty!

An important goal of the Forest Project is addressing the barriers that prevent equal opportunity and support for careers in science and environmental work. We understand science is improved by a diversity of perspectives working together to understand our world. We encourage all NYC youth who are interested in urban ecology and committed to supporting their peers' learning to apply.

We particularly encourage applicants who identify as Black, Latinx, Indigenous and/or come from under-resourced schools and communities to apply.

Education 22b
Education 11b

Outreach and Recruitment

Wave Hill staff visit local schools, community centers and nonprofit organizations to give presentations about our engaging programs. Email if you would like to schedule a visit.

Download our flyer and share this opportunity with your students.