Youth@Work 2016 Week 3

Welcome Back!


This week was full of field trips for the crew! After spending two weeks really getting to know East Rock, we spent 4 out of 5 days working off-site, exploring our community. We met a lot of great people and did a lot of great work. We also learned that we were not the only ones spending their summer spreading mulch and pulling weeds. Solidarity!

Monday, July 18th

This was the only day the crew did spend entirely at the park–and it was ANOTHER hot and humid day.

We started off by weeding the area in front of the ranger station, and women’s bathroom entrance.


It was hard working in the sun, but we were eventually able to clear most of the weeds that had grown through the gravel.


The crew then moved on to sprucing up the park benches in College Woods. We were noticing that weeds were beginning to surround some of the benches.

As a team, the crew went from bench to bench, weeded and then spread gravel around the bench to prevent the weeds from growing back.


Hard work! But the benches looked good as new by the end of the day.


Tuesday, July 19th

Tuesday was our first day off-site, and we were lucky enough to spend it with the New Haven Land Trust working at one of their community gardens sites.


Grand Acres garden located in Fair Haven

The staff welcomed us and explained all the projects they had in mind for us!



Of course the crew got right to work on the hardest job of the day: digging 32 inch holes!

(Got to get it out of the way!)


These holes will eventually be filled by a fence that the NHLT Youth@Work crew is building over their summer program. It was great to meet, and be able to lend a hand to another crew.

That morning we learned just how deep 32 inches was.

The next project was helping to rebuild old raised beds that needed to be replaced. Rocco and Carlos help pull out the rotten wood, and then applied their carpentry skills to construct the new bed around the existing garden!

Good as new.

Next, the newly-constructed compost bins needed a few final additions before it was ready for use.

The crew measured and marked up the composite wood, lined it up, and drilled in the top layer of boards.

The final project of the day was staining the picnic bench that we had been enjoying our water breaks and lunches on throughout the day.



We had a great day working with the garden crew at NHLT. A big thanks to Justin Elicker and Emily Sloss for leading us through these projects!

Wednesday, July 20th

 On Wednesday, we spent the day with Ranger Dan at the Urban Oasis at East Shore park.


There is a beautiful butterfly garden that needed a little bit of weeding and mulch!


The garden was full of flowers and buzzing pollinators! We we even able to spot a hummingbird!

We got to work removing any grass, ragweed, or mugwort we saw in the garden.


We we really careful not to disturb all the beautiful milkweed in the garden.

20160720_094433The milkweed is vital habitat for caterpillars that grow into Monarch butterflies.



Ranger Dan, David Shimchick and the crew take a much needed PIZZA BREAK!!

By the end of the day, the Urban Oasis was looking pretty great!


Despite the hot, dry days the flowers are still blooming and beautiful. We highly recommend checking it out.


Thursday, July 21st 

Thursday morning was spent at the GORGEOUS Pardee Rose Gardens.

We joined Matthew Nash and the weekly volunteer work party at the gardens. The work parties take place every Thursday from 9:30-12pm and are great to be a part of!

We worked along-side members of the community who were working towards their master gardener certifications. We learned a lot about tending flowers!


We spent our time weeding out rose beds that lined the front fence of the garden. The staff were very grateful to have our help!

We had a great time working at the garden, and will even be returning next week to help out some more!

In the afternoon, we returned to the park and spent the afternoon weeding and remulching some of the younger trees in College Woods.





Friday, July 22nd

On Friday, we traveled to Edgewood park to plant a tree with the Friends of Edgewood Park Youth@Work crew, along with the Urban Resources Initiative!


We were planting 3 Tupelo (or Black Gum) trees near the stream within the park. Associate director of URI, Chris Ozyck, explained to us that there were a few Ash trees in the area we were planting. Unfortunately, these trees were, or would soon be, affected by the Emerald Ash Borer. The Ash Borer is a  beetle native to eastern Asia that feeds on ash species, and has killed many ash trees in North America.


Knowing this, the URI team wanted to get a head start on replanting trees that would be similar to the Ash tree in these spots.

So, we split into 3 groups, and began the process of planting a tree!


It was hard work, but by the end we had planted 3 trees that the community will enjoy, and benefit from for many years to come.

This was a really great experience, and we really thank the URI summer intern team for spending this VERY warm summer morning with us!

We returned to the park for lunch (and ice cream provided by Ranger Dan!!) and one more quick project to end our week.

We spread mulch on the outside of the playground fence. This area could be used as a garden bed in the future!






Another great week in the books! We can’t believe there are only 2 more week left…!

About ferpyouth

FERP (Friends of East Rock Park) is a community and environmental advocacy group based in New Haven, Connecticut. We encourage neighbors to meet each other, celebrate the environment and become stewards of the park. We build connections by hosting social events and work days, and supporting other neighborhood efforts. FERP collaborates with Youth@Work to hire six interns and a supervisor for 5 weeks to help maintain the park and to become educated in the perks of stewardship and community involvement.

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