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C.J. Reilly removes invasive vegetation from the Irvington Woods on March 27, 2021.

C.J. Reilly has been named the first education director and groundskeeper for the Irvington Woods Park. His appointment was made during the Irvington Board of Trustees meeting on July 20.

The 400-acre woods includes the O’Hara Nature Center, which opened in 2012, the Peter Oley Trailways System, and the Irvington Reservoir.

Prior to his full-time appointment, Reilly, 37, had worked part-time at the O’Hara Nature Center during summers and on weekends since 2016. The Irvington Recreation & Parks Department manages the nature center and the woods.

While part-time, Reilly collaborated with the Irvington Woods Committee to increase the number of demonstration gardens outside the O’Hara Nature Center from three to seven and to plant hundreds of shrubs and trees, including 22 varieties of grafted heirloom apple trees.

Reilly also assisted Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts on projects ranging from blazing new trails to installing pollinator hotels for solitary bees and wasps. 

During the 2020-21 academic year, Reilly worked as an elementary school teacher in the Mamaroneck School District. He was also a curriculum developer and educational consultant for that district. 

Reilly’s prior teaching experience includes stints at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Irvington Middle School, Bank Street School for Children, and Heritage High School in New York City.

Through the Peace Corps, Reilly worked as a food security specialist in Nepal and as a rural development specialist in the Philippines.

Reilly is a graduate of Mamaroneck High School. He has a master’s degree from Teachers College at Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in animation from the Maryland Institute College of Art. He began his professional career as a designer for LEGO Mindstorms.

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