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  • Official Caretakers of Central Park


How many teens can say they’ve planted trees in Central Park? All of our ROOTS students can!

ROOTS (Restoration of the Outdoors Organized by Teen Students) is a service-learning program for high school students. Each spring and fall, students participate in a semester-long project to restore and manage Central Park’s woodlands. Under the supervision of Conservancy staff, students maintain rustic trails, remove invasive plants, and cultivate native shrubs, trees, and wildflowers.

ROOTS was created by the Conservancy in 2003 as a way for high school students to learn about the value of urban parks through active participation in restoration practices.

This program fulfills community service requirements. Acceptance is through a competitive application process. Grades 9-12.

Program and Application Schedule

The application for each program is only available between the dates listed here.

October – November: Saturdays, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Application Available: June 9
Application Deadline: September 15

March – May: Saturdays, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Application Available: December 9
Application Deadline: January 31

April – May: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Application Available: December 9
Application Deadline: February 28

Apply for ROOTS in the Application Portal >

Learn More

ROOTS students have been instrumental to the restoration of the Hallett Nature Sanctuary. Read more on our Blog >

See what ROOTS students are saying about their experiences in these submissions to our essay contest, From the Next Generation of Park Stewards. Students were asked to answer the question: How has your work in Central Park and the ROOTS program informed your perception of urban parks?

 "From Shakes to Shovels" by Aneesha Aggarwal

 "The Central Meaning of an Urban Park" by Niko Goutakolis

Youth Education & Service Programs are generously supported by The Barker Welfare Foundation, Abraham Perlman Foundation, The Pinkerton Foundation, and William E. Weiss Foundation, Inc./Daryl Brown Uber.