Programming Associate: Terrance Caviness


Terrance Caviness is a seasonal Programming Associate at Freshkills Park. He grew up in Syracuse, New York and recently graduated from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry with a degree in Environmental Biology.

What are you working on?

During my time at Freshkills Park, I will be working on various research projects. One of these projects is a comparative grassland study between the characteristics of the grasslands on the north mound and those on the east mound. This will determine why grassland birds prefer one over the other and inform future management strategies. Also, in a water monitoring study, I will be assisting in data collection about the health of the creeks within the park.

In addition, while at Freshkills, I will be developing new material for the Mobile Lab. This provides a place for students and the public to learn about anything from art and design to landfill engineering and ecological interactions. I will be bringing the Mobile Science Lab to a variety of locations and events across the city during the summer. Also, I will be assisting and leading a variety of other programming in the park, including kayak tours, bus tours and special events.

What drew you to Freshkills Park?

I became interested in environmental education and public spaces during college. I was drawn to Freshkills Park’s blending of research, education, art, and community engagement. I believe that the interdisciplinary principles guiding Freshkills Park make it a truly unique place. I loved the park’s history, the idea of literally turning trash into treasure, and how the world’s largest landfill was transformed into an entirely new landscape.

What is your favorite topic surrounding Freshkills Park and why?

I really enjoy learning about the variety of research that is conducted at Freshkills, from water quality, to living shoreline, to afforestation projects, and bird banding. The park offers a truly unique opportunity to study the recolonization of a landscape in an urban setting. Also, it provides a great place for environmental education, and shows that people can have a positive impact on the environment.  I really like that the park is being built and opened from the outside in to allow people near the park to visit it before it is fully finished. I think that it is important to give back to those that had lived next to the landfill for years.

What is your favorite song right now?

I’m bad at picking favorites, but I really like Frank Turner and The Lumineers new album.


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