YouthBuild Students
From left: Jennifer Marsh; Robert Schanck; Nykara Carmichael; Meya Brown; Shaleeta Patterson; Morven program instructor, Nancy Nicosia; Isles teacher, Juan Ramirez; and Marquise Payne. Missing from photo: Lord Ramel Redding and Darrius Williams
YouthBuild Students

Princeton, New Jersey – Each summer Morven Museum & Garden welcomes a group of YouthBuild student interns from Isles of Trenton to work and learn about the environment and horticulture. The students are led by Morven’s Director of Horticulture, Pamela Ruch and assistant horticulturist and program leader, Nancy Nicosia. 

While significantly improving the grounds at the National Historic Landmark, the students learn about gardening and get a friendly transition to a real life work environment. The students grow and prepare healthy foods via Morven’s large kitchen garden, take field trips to places like the Stony Brook Watershed and Grounds for Sculpture. This year they also spent two days working alongside Master Gardener volunteers on a variety of projects at Drumthwacket. 


A special area of instruction during this year’s five-week session, which ends this Thursday, was focused on pollinators and how important they are to the fruits and vegetables we depend upon. A group of Rutgers students led by PhD candidate, John Chamberlain, gave a well-received presentation on these important insects. Afterwards the students built “bee hotels” for solitary pollinators. They used scrap wood, a few tools and their imaginations.

“I know I say this every year but this year was truly special,” says Morven’s Director, Clare Smith. “The students travelled from Trenton every morning arriving at Morven at 8:00 a.m. eager to learn and to work hard.  All eight of this year’s interns will be receiving a bonus for perfect attendance. We are very proud of them and will miss them.”

While working and learning the student interns are paid a competitive hourly wage.  Upon completion, they receive a certificate and letter of recommendation which they may present to prospective

employers. Underwriting for this program is provided by Janssen Pharmaceuticals and PSE&G.

Morven Museum & Garden is a museum and public garden located in Princeton, New Jersey. A National Historic Landmark, Morven was the home to Richard Stockton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, as well as the former Governor’s mansion of New Jersey.  Public Hours: Wed.-Fri 11-3; Sat. & Sun. 12-4. 609.924.8144.


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Allan Dean

Allan Dean is editor, publisher, and founder of the Atlantic Highlands Herald. Published since 1999 and selected in 2000 by the Borough of Atlantic Highlands as one of their official newspapers, making...