Only one month ago, the historic Wyckoff-Snediker Family Cemetery in Woodhaven was completely covered in foliage and debris.
Now, after several clean-up sessions, volunteers have reclaimed a large portion of the land, located at 85-45 96th St. on the grounds of All Saints Episcopal Church.
“The cemetery clean-up has turned into a nice combination of neighborhood beautification and education for young students,” said Ed Wendell, organizer of the clean-up and president of the Woodhaven Cultural and Historical Society. “Still a lot of work ahead of us, but we’re making solid progress.”
About two dozen volunteers came out on Aug. 9 for the clean-up and gathered close to 70 bags of garbage and cut down half a dozen dead and rotted trees to uncover historic tombstones in the cemetery. Their efforts have cleared nearly 50 percent of the cemetery already and Wendell hopes to keep this going until it is completely reclaimed.
Once the tombstones are cleared and legible, Wendell encourages the student volunteers do genealogy research and find some of the rich history that is present in the cemetery.
He said having the students do the genealogy research is a great learning experience but doing this works goes a step further than technical education.
“Not only are students learning how to do genealogy and research,” he said, “they are learning about using tools. When it came to cutting down the trees, the experienced hands we had on site explained how to properly tie down a tree so it could be taken down safely.”
The clean-up project is sponsored by both the Woodhaven Cultural & Historical Society and the St. Thomas the Apostle Woodhaven History Club. It takes place every second Saturday of the month and the society welcomes students from all over to participate. To find out more on the clean-up go to projectwoodhaven.com.
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