2021 John Jay History Award

Kristina “Kiki” Montgomery is the 2021 recipient of the John Jay History Award. The award is given to an outstanding JHC volunteer and high school intern. Candidates demonstrate a passion for either American or Environmental History and a talent for research, writing, and analysis. Because she has shown all those skills and more, Kiki is the 2021 winner.

JHC interns regularly transcribe primary documents and make deductions from them. Kiki’s focus has been studying the natural flora at the Jay Estate. Last summer she gathered data about the more than 300 historic trees that once graced the property. Using a 1986 landscape inventory and map, she calculated which trees were still extant and which had been lost whether to disease, storm damage or invasive species encroachment. Her work included calculating the age of the oldest trees at our site including the last remaining elm tree, linden trees and a specimen cucumber magnolia. She measuring their caliper and recorded their height which was determined by a drone.

Kiki, a rising senior at Rye Country Day School, has been a long time volunteer at JHC, mastering the identification of invasive species using GPS  iMapinvasives and iNaturalist technology. She impressed us consistently with her dedication, patience, professionalism, inquisitiveness and hard work at numerous community events including Jay Day and I Love My Park Day. As a result, it is with great pleasure that we recognize Kiki’s amazing accomplishments. She’ll receive a $250 prize and a selection of books from award-winning environmental authors

Kiki is volunteering for us again this summer and recently helped install signs for a QR code self-guided tour of the Jay Estate grounds. She will be adding information to that tour over the next month. We can’t wait to see what she accomplishes at JHC and beyond!

Kiki Montgomery with Westchester County Legislator Catherine Parker touring the newly restored Historic Jay Gardens