Biocitizen NY is so excited to introduce our very first intern, Stuart Robbins, who will be assisting with the Brooklyn-based Our Place Summer School by teaching, writing, and researching this summer!
Stuart is currently in his last year pursuing a B.A. at Amherst College in American Studies. Focusing on the roles played by public spaces, Stuart is focusing on the New York Botanical Gardens as he researches for his senior thesis on the history and use of public parks in New York City. He developed an interest in field environmental philosophy (FEP) while participating in a farm-centered orientation program his first year at college. He was able to further explore this central concept of the Our Place Summerschool in the spring of 2019, when he travelled to Madrid, Spain for a semester abroad. Seeking to compare the ‘natural’ spaces and parks in Spain with those in the United States, Stuart participated in a marine ecology program.
While abroad, he was also able to visit various parks and natural spaces throughout Europe, where he developed a broader understanding of how environmental policies protect our biological resources. This perspective will be invaluable as he seeks to understand how environmental policy impacts public parks in New York City, both historically and contemporarily. Stuart is hoping to make the most of the 2019 Biocitizen NY Summer Internship Program by developing more personal connections to the natural landscape of New York City and instilling his own love of nature in the students participating in the Brooklyn-based Our Place Summerschool program.
Starting from a very young age, connecting with the outdoors has been an incredibly important part of my life. As a child, I would sit on the sidelines of my siblings’ soccer games and identify the different varieties of clover in the field. At home, I would take my spade and carefully dig out the baby clover plants that came up in the spring so I could replant a collection in my own yard. Although my parents thought I was encouraging weeds in the lawn, this moment sparked a curiosity in nature and a passion in preserving the natural world around me that has lasted my entire life.
Because of my own experiences, I know that developing some kind of connection to nature in youth is important in today’s fast-paced world in order to have a place of respite to retreat into from time to time. I am so grateful to be part of the Our Place Summerschool program, which uses FEP to expose kids to, not only the joys of the natural world, but also how they are connected to it and, consequently, fosters in them a desire to preserve it.
Source: Biocitizen, Inc. – New York, NY