New Urban and Community Forest Crews to serve in OR, WA, and ID

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Northwest Youth Corps (NYC) is grateful to receive a $12 million grant from the USDA Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Inflation Reduction Act to engage youth and young adults in urban forestry stewardship and education activities in Boise, ID, Eugene, OR, and Tacoma, WA. Working with local partners, NYC will invest $4 million over five years in urban forestry programs in each of the three state program areas.

“This grant from the US Forest Service is a remarkable investment in our community”, says Parker.  “Our work over the next five years to increase the health and resilience of our urban forest will further enhance the health benefits of living in these communities. The young people who participate in this paid service initiative will graduate with skills and abilities that will help them advance their goals in the classroom and the workforce.”

– Jeff Parker, Executive Director, Northwest Youth Corps

Urban forests provide numerous benefits, including:

• Reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
• Lowering energy consumption by providing shade and reducing heat island effects.
• Improving water quality and reducing stormwater runoff.
• Enhancing property values and economic vitality.
• Improving public health and well-being.

Urban and Community Forest Program Overview for 2024-2028:

Spring and Autumn: Young Adult Conservation Corps Crews for individuals ages 19- 26, will participate in a 12-week, crew-based paid term of service during the spring and autumn. Each crew will be comprised of up to five young adult participants and one crew leader, who will average 35 hours per week on urban forestry projects and spend up to 10 hours per week in education and training. Participants will receive a stipend, industry recognized credentials, develop 21st Century work skills, and receive post program assistance connecting with green careers in their region.

Summer: Youth Conservation Corps crews for individuals ages 15-18, will participate in a five-week day program format, working Monday-Friday with weekends off. Summer Youth Conservation crews will average 32 hours per week working on urban forestry projects and eight hours a week engaged in education and training. Each crew will have eight youth members and two adult crew leaders. Participants will receive a stipend, industry recognized credentials, develop 21st Century work skills, and be eligible to receive high school credit.

NYC crews will be helping in the assessment of current tree canopy and engaging community members to have trees planted and maintained on their properties. Crews will also be leading Saturday service projects encouraging neighborhood involvement. Additional crews will care for trees within green stormwater infrastructure bioswales used for storm water detention and treatment.

“Whether it’s reducing heat stress or creating jobs in tree planting and maintenance, this grant funding will support local communities and partners who are working on the ground to advance environmental justice by mitigating the impact of climate change on communities who lack tree cover in urban spaces while giving kids more safe spaces to play outdoors.”

– Tom Vilsack, US Agriculture Secretary of Agriculture  

This grant is a result of the Biden Administration’s Inflation Reduction Act that includes a $1.5 billion investment in the USDA’s Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Program (U&CF) and will support nearly 400 projects to expand access to green spaces and trees in communities across the country.

View Details for Each State:

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