BQLT’s Fall 2023 Interns

BQLT continued our internship program for high school students into Fall 2023, thanks to grant support from the NYS Conservation Partnership Program (NYSCPP), administered by the Land Trust Alliance. Working with amazing partners at Brooklyn Technical High School, we have been able to continue to expand our community and conservation goals by bringing young New Yorkers into our gardens and our organizational work! Our amazing Fall intern class of six students included: Kou Chen, Harmony Christian, Bowie Loxton, Siorus Loxton, Luiz Marius, and Walvin Williams.

Sarah Cohen served as the Fall 2023 Youth Engagement and Education Fellow. She led our interns on field trips/tours at Brooklyn Botanic Garden and Greenwood Cemetery. Sarah coordinated the weekly curriculum on various topics: soil, compost, tree care & pruning, fall leaf collection & bulb planting, rainwater catchment, and garden organizational structure. Sarah organized hands-on garden work sessions with BQLT gardeners and board members at 8 BQLT gardens in Brooklyn! We were also blessed to have Summer interns continue into the Fall: Samiha Akter worked with the BQLT Communications Committee and Teja Kuwayama assisted with administrative tasks in the office.

Reflections from Board Members/Gardeners who hosted BQLT Interns at their gardens:

Matt Zebroski, Board Member & Gardener at St. Mark’s Avenue/Prospect Heights Community Garden, Brooklyn: 

“I had such a wonderful time being part of the Brooklyn Technical High School/BQLT Intern program this year during Summer & Fall 2023. I showed them all about the benefits of running a compost system in an urban environment. They asked phenomenal questions and also helped do some of the dirty work it takes to keep the system in tip top shape.”

Fall Interns with Board Member/Gardener Matt Zebroski (center, right) at St. Mark’s Avenue/Prospect Heights Community Garden, Brooklyn

Jeanette Waters, Board Member & Gardener at Greene Garden, Fort Greene:

“I want to share my delightful experience working with the Brooklyn Technical High School/BQLT Internship program and express my gratitude for the interns’ commitment to environmental sustainability and their ability to effect positive change. I must admit that initially, I had reservations about incorporating a composting system into the Greene Garden when the interns approached me with the idea. However, their dedication and passion for the cause, coupled with their insightful education on the significance of composting, prompted me to reconsider my stance. The interns took the time to enlighten me about the intricacies of composting, introducing me to the “hot” and “cold” systems, of which I was previously unaware. 

Their knowledge and persuasive arguments highlighted the importance of composting and its numerous benefits. As a result, I am pleased to share that the Greene Garden has enthusiastically embraced a cold composting system, thanks to the interns’ compelling advocacy. It’s truly inspiring to witness the impact of their efforts in fostering a more eco-friendly and responsible community. I look forward to future collaborations that contribute to the growth and improvement of our shared spaces.”

Thanks to the continuous support from many BQLT gardeners, our Fall interns learned new skills and have grown as young gardeners. Kudos to our interns, Coordinator Sarah Cohen, and all the Internship program team (Lori Bennett, Kate Gehring, Irene Van Slyke, and Jeanette Waters) for a successful Fall season!

Top row (left to right):
📷1) Fall Intern Coordinator Sarah Cohen (far left) with interns (2nd left to right): Siorus Loxton, Bowie Loxton, Harmony Christian, Luiz Marius, Walvin Williams, and Kou Chen at Greene Garden to present their final projects in Fort Greene.

📷 2) Intern Luiz Marius sharing his final project at Greene Garden with fellow interns and BQLT gardeners.

📷 3) Interns (left to right) Siorus, Harmony, and Kou harvesting and preparing the garden for winter at St. John’s Renaissance Garden @therenaissancegarden in Weeksville.

Bottom row (left to right):
📷 4) Interns (left to right) Walvin and Luiz planting bulbs at Serenity Community Garden @serenity.communitygarden with Board Emeritus with Irene Van Slyke in Flatlands.

📷 5) Interns (left to right) Harmony, Luiz, Walvin, and Kou showing off garden tools after raking leaves at Serenity Community Garden.

📷 6) Interns learn about tree care with BQLT Garden Rep Nora McCauley at David Foulke Memorial Garden in Boerum Hill.

Photos by Sarah Cohen, Steven Thomson, Irene Van Slyke, and Jeanette Waters.

The BQLT Summer & Fall 2023 Internship program was supported with funding from the NYS Conservation Partnership Program (NYSCPP) and New York’s Environmental Protection Fund. The NYSCPP is administered by the Land Trust Alliance @ltalliance in coordination with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation @nysdec

Posted on 12/30/23

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