Last week, we traveled to New York for our travel project. It was a very exciting and fun experience! We stayed at the Oakwood Friends School in Poughkeepsie and worked at Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site in Val-Kill. We had three students from the Stephen T. Mather Building Arts and Craftsmanship High School come join us for the week. It was great working with them and they contributed a lot to the work with their insight and experience. They were also very friendly and quick to integrate themselves into Branching Out. At the park, we completed three different projects. One group worked in the garden and did maintenance work, another worked on restoring the path in front of Eleanor Roosevelt’s cottage, and my group worked on repairing the stone patio next to the pool.
On the first day, we took a brief tour through the park and watched an interesting short film on the life of Eleanor Roosevelt and her accomplishments during and after her time as First Lady. I learned a lot of new things about her through the video and my respect for her grew immensely. On the second day, we divided into our project groups and started working on our respective tasks. Working on the stone patio was a very new and challenging experience for me. I had worked in the garden at Adams this whole summer so working with stone and heavy equipment was a completely new experience for me. Our task involved re-leveling the whole patio by lifting the stones and putting them back in the proper position going along a downward slope away from the house. The most difficult part for me was getting the stones to be level with the proper slope. I had to adjust the stones many times to get it in the right position. We also had to replace some of the broken stones with new ones and cut some of the old stones to make them fit better. Our three technical experts were Tim, Don, and Mike, and they taught us how to use all the equipment and how to complete the whole process. Without their help, we wouldn’t have been able to get as much work done as we did. Anna, the gardener at Roosevelt, was also very kind to us the whole week and taught us a lot about the historical significance of the park. My only regret about working at the park was that we were not able to tour through the other parts, which I’m sure would have been extremely beautiful.
I also had a great time getting to know the field team and the other interns on a closer level. We had a lot of opportunities to bond last week during work and the after-work activities. We were able to go out to the movies, roller-skate, play sports in the gym, and just spend more time with each other. This travel project really made me appreciate being a part of Branching Out even more than I already do.