Career Skills Students Volunteer at Cornell Botanic Gardens

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students working in a gardenThis summer, students in the Career Skills program at TST BOCES were given an opportunity to do volunteer work for Cornell Botanic Gardens.

The students worked in a number of different areas of the botanic gardens, helping with potting, organizing, cleaning, labeling cuttings, weeding, mulching, cutting back plants and other work integral to the organization’s cultivation and conservation efforts. Locations included the theme gardens around the Nevin Welcome Center, the 100-acre F.R. Newman Arboretum, the Mundy Wildflower Garden and the Pounder Vegetable Garden.

“This service opportunity not only gives our students a chance to be involved in the community, but also helps develop their work ethic,” said career skills teacher Brandy Nielsen. “The work is an opportunity to see the progress they have accomplished on a task and that develops a sense of pride.”

This activity was organized with the help of Missy Bidwell, the greenhouse and nursery coordinator for Cornell Botanic Gardens. The BOCES students worked alongside Cornell Botanic Gardens’ staff, which offered mentorship from adults in addition to those on the TST BOCES staff.

“This opportunity is a way for us to share our skills and educate students to be stewards of the environment,” Bidwell said. “It’s beneficial to the whole organization. Not only are they here to learn, but they’re helping in the process of caring for the plants that sustain us. The gardens and the grounds here require constant attention, and the students’ assistance has been tremendously helpful. It’s a win-win.”

By staying active with this project over the summer, Career Skills students are able to continue developing the skills that they work on during the school year.