WINDSOR TERRACE, BROOKLYN (PIX11) -– Spending your summer at a cemetery may not be at the top of your list, but for one particular group of students, it was. 

“I wanted to be outside,” Kim Garcia, an intern at Green-wood Cemetery, said. “I didn’t want to be in an office or doing nothing. I wanted to interact with people and nature.” 

The six-week internship at the Brooklyn cemetery is through the city’s Summer Youth Employment Program. 

The 25 students spent two weeks locating headstones that sunk about two to three feet underground. Some headstones are more than 100 years old. 

A thin metal probe was used to find them. 

“You have to push back up and down and up and down until you hit something, and you have to make sure it’s a monument or tombstone and not a rock,” Garcia added. “It got really difficult because you’d find a lot of rocks.” 

Once they would find a headstone, they dig it out, clean it, and place it back on top of the grass where it’s meant to sit. 

The students found 31 headstones underground but had hands-on experience with 90 headstones in total which includes placing headstones back upright that tipped over. This was all done from that public lot. 

The students were also taught about the trees, insects, and biodiversity in the cemetery, and they spent another two weeks learning about horticulture. 

This is Paul West’s second year interning. 

“We do weeding,” West said. “We do mulching. It’s good hands-on work that feels good on your body while, also, you’re learning a lot.” 

The ecological aspect is also a big component. 

“As this is a green space, we have to be mindful of what we’re leaving in the cemetery because plastics and stuff are eventually going to enter the soil and it’s not going to be good for the plants that are there,” West added. 

The internship is not for college credit but any student ages 16 to 24 living in the five boroughs can apply. The hope is that over the course of many years, the interns will bring all the sunken headstones above ground again.