Green Girls City Parks Foundation preteen program

Green Girl power

Brooklyn Daily
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Photo gallery

Nature knows: Julia Bair of the City Parks Foundation shows the girls different types of flowers growing in the Nature Trail at the Marine Park Salt Marsh Nature Center.
Pertinent plants: Julia Bair explains plant life cycles to the girls.
Leafy looker: Gabriella Bertran studies leaves from an American Basswood tree.
Green girls: Emily Richards and Jasmyne Roberts record the flower data they collect.

These girls are growing with nature.

Green Girls — the City Parks Foundation’s program for girls 11 to 13 years old — gives preteens a chance to learn about plant and animal lifecycles while fertilizing their own futures in an all-female group. The group visited the Marine Park Salt Marsh Nature Center on July 24 and an organizer of the program said the five-week institute is a chance for the girls to escape stigmas female scientists sometimes encounter.

“Women are underserved and underrepresented in science as a whole,” said Kaari Casey, the program manager for Green Girls. “It give girls a chance to explore things without being labeled a ‘science geek’ or ‘a nerd.’ ”

The girls learned about the urban forests surrounding them — and they learned that a forest is more than just its greenery. Casey said a forest is a complex system and it includes — and depends on — all of its inhabitants.

“A forest is not just trees — it is the underbrush and the birds, bugs, spiders,” said Casey. “Nothing can stand alone.”

And as the days go on, just like the organisms in the forest, the girls have started to rely on each other, too.

“We have girls of all ages hanging out together,” said Casey. “Girls call each other big sister and little sister.”

Reach reporter Vanessa Ogle at or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow her
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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