University Woods, three-acres of hilly woodland near Bronx Community College, used to be known as the city’s worst park. It fact, it held that title for three years in a row. Think drug activity, prostitution, and lots and lots of trash.
Recently, however, a small group local residents, Friends of the Woods, have helped turn things around. This July they're even holding a summer camp inside the park – something that would have unthinkable a few years ago.
The three-week camp was created in partnership with the Horticulture Society of NY, the Harlem River Ecology Center, and the Central Park Conservancy, among others. It’s being funded with a grant from the New York City Environment fund.
From the application form:
Nature Explorers Camp is designed for rising sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth graders with a focus on a variety of environmental topics approached via field explorations and hands-on activities. Located at University Woods, campers cover topics such as insects, habitats, water, life sciences, plant life, tree identification, and wildlife care. In addition, they learn the importance of community stewardship, gain leadership skills, and improve their self-esteem.The camp, which is free, will be held Monday to Friday, from July 6 – 24. For more information, or to obtain an application form, call Brandy Cochrane, Friends of the Woods' founder (pictured above inside the park), at (718) 228-9309 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The application deadline is June 25.
Unseasonal file photos by Alma Watkins