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Tree planting = green jobs? MillionTreesNYC thinks so…

Green jobs involve installing solar panels, maintaining wind turbines, and weatherizing houses… right? Yes… and no. The technical aspect of renewable energy and efficiency have received the most attention as both the public and private sectors move towards a lower-carbon economy… but that doesn’t mean the job prospects are limited to the techies, engineers, and mechanically inclined. As more locales recognize the natural services provided by urban plants and forests, those skilled in tree care, landscaping, and natural systems maintenance will find demand for their abilities.

That’s the concept behind MillionTreesNYC’s Training Program for underserved youth and young adults. A “7-month green-collar job course of training that is specifically designed to teach, educate and motivate young adults to become more aware and proactive in the wellness of the environment while jointly gaining employment and life skills,” works in conjunction with the MillionTreesNYC effort to plant a million trees in the city over the course of a decade.

The training program combines hands-on vocational training with life skills education. Participants can choose tracks in Arboriculture, Ecological Restoration, or Garden Restoration/Landscape Design; in each of these tracks, they also receive education in “Healthy Living, Time Management, Financial Planning, and Customer Service/Conflict Resolution”… there’s even the option to learn how to drive. Certifications are a part of the program: program participants can receive continuing education credit from the New York Botanical Garden, as well as certifications in tree pruning, pesticide and herbicide application, and even composting.

While MillionTreesNYC has received plenty of attention for celebrity and big foundation support, its impact will be most felt in the city’s neighborhoods… and hopefully provide gainful employment opportunities for young people unsure about their economic prospects. And, oh yeah, it’ll also provide many natural services, from air cleaning to storm water control. Sounds like a “win-win”…

Are you a New Yorker who’d like to participate in this effort? Tree giveaway events are coming up… check out the program’s community calendar.

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Image credit: MillionTreesNYC