National Wildlife Week: Bronx Guild High Boasts New York City’s Largest Orchard

One great way to engage multiple generations to live together with wildlife is to support multidisciplinary environmental education in schools, through great programs like Eco Schools USA. One of the many standout Eco-Schools in the U.S. is just south of the busy Cross Bronx Expressway, in the Castle Hill section of the Bronx.

For the last several years, New York City’s Bronx Guild High School has made a huge commitment to urban wildlife with its three acres of managed fruit trees, organic gardens and “wild zones,” thanks to science teacher Bill Lynam.  Lynam and his students manage a highly diversified matrix of exotic and native plant species, including peach, apple, pear and fig trees.

Bronx Guild DOE lot, after intervention by Lynam and his students. Photo: Jose Espinal
Bronx Guild DOE lot, after intervention by Lynam and his students. Photo: Jose Espinal
“The animals always seem to find our little island oasis; from raccoon, skunks, and opossums to snails, snakes, songbirds and raptors,” says Lynam. “They all add wonder and richness to our activities and a deeper understanding of the exciting Bronx mosaic.”

Related: Sweet Success: Bronx Guild High School’s Urban Farm

The abundant local urban wildlife gives Bronx Guild’s students a connection to nature they might not have otherwise had an opportunity to experience. Creeping, crawling, on the wing, the garden offers them space as the students plant seeds, tend fowl and bees and shape the orchard. The school’s sprawling acreage was also recently certified as a Schoolyard Habitat.

New York was recently named one of the Top 10 Cities for Wildlife as part of the National Wildlife Week 2015 Celebration. Did your city make the grade?