Since its founding in 1838, The Green-Wood Cemetery has been a place for connecting with nature as one of New York City’s first, large green spaces and an early inspiration for the creation of the city’s public parks. Nearly two centuries later, the 478-acre Cemetery has instituted new ways for its visitors, and particularly school-aged children, to engage with the natural environment.

This fall, Green-Wood is offering a more robust slate of school programs than ever before, with all-new environmental education curricula for students of all ages. These hands-on, place-based learning opportunities engage young people on critical topics, including how climate change affects nature in our city.

Green Wood Cemetery Education

Green-Wood is currently offering five different school programs in environmental education, available for booking in the 2022-2023 school year.

  • Climate Change at Green-Wood: Oasis in an Urban Landscape: Sixth- through eighth-grade students use Green-Wood as a living laboratory to study the effects of climate change and the urban heat island effect on air quality in urban green spaces.
  • Pollinators at Green-Wood: Sixth- through eighth-grade students learn about the importance of pollinators in our ecosystem and engage in different activities to understand pollination, plant reproduction, and our role as environmental stewards.
  • Biodiversity at Green-Wood: Sixth- through eighth-grade students explore the diversity of flora growing at Green-Wood. Students learn to identify key traits of invasive plants, understand the ecological impacts of native and invasive species, and how human activity and landscaping choices can bolster or diminish environmental health and biodiversity.
  • Bird Behaviors: Second- to fifth-grade students learn about common activities and characteristics of birds through observation, searching for birds in the grass, trees, ponds, and even on grave monuments, and collecting data on the different ways birds communicate and survive in an urban greenspace.
  • Tree Trackers: Pre-K through second-grade students learn to identify tree  parts and seasonal changes in trees. Students use their senses to observe trees and note observations. They also collect natural materials found at Green-Wood and draw what they observe.

“Green-Wood is an ideal site to study and observe the effects of climate change in urban landscapes. As a 478-acre green space in the middle of Brooklyn, it’s an oasis of nature in the city and the perfect place to examine our relationship with the natural environment around us,” said Rachel Walman, Director of Education at Green-Wood. “Our environmental education programs bring students of all ages and developmental levels in on the work we are doing to fight climate change within and beyond our gates. They can problem-solve here in ways that they can take with them to other contexts where people and nature interact, which is really everywhere!”

The development of this new environmental curricula was made possible by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services that enabled Green-Wood to hire its first-ever environmental education manager, Kristi Chaudhuri. Born and raised in Sunset Park, Chaudhuri has been working with her team and Green-Wood’s horticulture department to develop opportunities for children to address climate change in their own backyards. Through these programs, students learn how they can help mitigate the global challenges of climate change by devising strategies to reduce invasive species, build pollinator habitats, and support biodiversity.

School programs are 60-, 75-, or 90-minutes long, may be walking programs or use Green-Wood’s historic trolley, and are led by experienced educators. All guided programs take place within a short distance of a Green-Wood entrance and restrooms. Programs can be scheduled Monday through Friday at 10:00am, 11:30am, or 1:00pm.

Through its work in the natural environment, including education, research, and scholarship, Green-Wood seeks to inspire visitors of all ages to become responsible stewards of the environment, locally and throughout the world. By ensuring that its landscape strengthens the environmental health of its surrounding communities, it hopes to inspire other urban greenspaces to recognize the role that they too can play in enhancing environmental resilience.

Green-Wood CemeteryGreen-Wood Cemetery Entrance is a 478-acre (193 ha) cemetery in the western portion of Brooklyn, New York City.[7] The cemetery is located between South Slope/Greenwood Heights, Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Borough Park, Kensington, and Sunset Park, and lies several blocks southwest of Prospect Park. It is generally bounded by 20th Street to the northeast, Fifth Avenue to the northwest, 36th and 37th Streets to the southwest, Fort Hamilton Parkway to the south, and McDonald Avenue to the east.

Green-Wood Cemetery was founded in 1838 as a rural cemetery, in a time of rapid urbanization when churchyards in New York City were becoming overcrowded. Described as "Brooklyn's first public park by default long before Prospect Park was created",[8] Green-Wood Cemetery was so popular that it inspired a competition to design Central Park in Manhattan, as well as Prospect Park nearby.

The cemetery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997 and was made a National Historic Landmark in 2006. In addition, the 25th Street gates, the Weir Greenhouse, and the Fort Hamilton Parkway Gate & Green-Wood Cemetery Chapel were separately designated as city landmarks by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission at various times.


Click here to get more information about Green-Wood Cemetery and it's educational programs.