Travel Project

The entrance to the park.

The entrance to the park.

The three students from the Mather School: Manny, John, and Memo

The three students from the Mather School: Manny, John, and Memo

Charlie showing us how the tools work.

Charlie showing us how the tools work.

During the last week of July, the Branching Out Program went on their Travel Project. This project took place at Eleanor Roosevelt National Historical Site in New York. While we were there, the Branching Out participated in three different projects at this beautiful site and learned about its history.  Some worked on repairing the pool terrace patio near the Stone Cottage, others performed mid-summer maintenance in the cutting, vegetables, and fenced gardens. I was with the group that enhanced the grass border and planting beds surrounding the entrance of the Val-Kill Cottage. Charlie Pepper and Michelle Pizzillo were my team’s group leaders who led this project and they are very encouraging and wonderful people to work with. At my site, my group and I worked through over ninety degree heat restoring the historical landscape of this particular area which you will see in the pictures. We also excavated soil that was compacted, rocky, and was unable to support grass growth. Some people in my group replaced a shrub called spiria on the left side of the bed near the back entrance where tourists start their tour of the house. We redefined the hedges in the planting beds, added new soil, and assessed the soil of before and after, using a sieve test. The soil analysis was used to find out the percentage of stone or organic materials that included such things as rocks, sand particles, silt, and clay. Before new soil was replaced with the old soil, the percentage of old soil was shocking. My group’s estimation included 60 % rocks, 20% sand particles, 10% silt, and 10% clay roughly. From this result, it showed that the soil was not able to grow grass and something needed to be done to fix this. Actually my group did just that by digging out the old soil, replacing it with the new soil which had way more organic materials. The percentage included 10% rocks, 15% sand particles, 70% silt, and 5% clay which is actually great. Then we spread grass seeds that was made for shade since this area was mostly a shady spot. The final result of the back entrance was gratifying and I was proud of my group for making this place look stunning. I think Eleanor Roosevelt would have been very happy with our work. This was an important location that needed our help because it is very important to the park and we wanted to improve the historical accuracy of this site. This travel project actually inspires me to want to visit other national parks because I want  to learn more about the different parks, who it was owned by, and learn more about the people or person. This is where Eleanor Roosevelt greeted her guests that included anyone from famous politicians to her neighbors. For example, John F. Kennedy and Winston Churchill made their presence here. I also learned a lot about Eleanor who I just thought was a First Lady during Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency. She is much more than that. She is a smart woman who knew how to make a difference. Eleanor Roosevelt was a mother, an activist, believer of equal rights, and courageous woman who made changes by trying and not giving up on anything.



The stone patio group's teach-back presentation.

The stone patio group’s teach-back presentation.


The finished product of the back entrance.20150730_11004720150730_10372120150730_141251


2 responses to “Travel Project

  1. Laxmi – I so much enjoyed reading your description of the travel project. I’m so glad you got so much out of the experience. YOU inspire me! Thanks for being part of the team.

    Liked by 1 person

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