Have you ever noticed the difference in tree distribution in so-called ‘good neighborhoods’ versus so-called ‘bad neighborhoods’?
City neighborhoods or districts with more wealth tend to have more trees, but that may not always be the case in the future, as non-profit and corporate partners are creating a sort of Civilian Conservation Corps for urban tree planting.
American Forests, the non-profit, and TAZO Tea, the corporation, have teamed up to create TAZO Tree Corps—a paid, locally hired workforce that will increase and maintain the tree canopy in lower-income urban areas—starting in parts of Minneapolis, Detroit, Richmond, the Bronx, and San Francisco in the spring of 2021.
Trees play all kinds of roles in cities. Along with helping to filter the air and prevent flooding, a few trees together on and around a street can cool down asphalt and the air, so it’s 9°F-less in the summertime than streets exposed to the sun. This also helps reduce energy demands for air conditioning and heating—saving people $7.8 billion nationwide annually to be exact—thereby saving energy and reducing emissions, too.
Then there are all the health benefits for the mind and spirit that can be garnered by hearing a breeze blow through leaves, birds singing in the morning and evening, or simply seeing the color green.
Lastly, tree surgeons make good money, and part of the TAZO Tree Corps’ mission is to train people in need of jobs with the skills that can help them join or start their own landscaping business.
“We are building a national movement to ensure that every neighborhood can experience the healing power of trees while also helping create green jobs that benefit people in socioeconomically disadvantaged communities,” said Jad Daley, CEO and President of American Forests in a statement.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is not only a lack of tree surgeons at present, but vacancies will grow to about 10% by 2028.
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“The TAZO Tree Corps will help us turn this work into new economic opportunity for people from disproportionately impacted communities,” said Sarah Anderson, American Forests’ Director of Career Pathways.
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If you’re interested in joining the TAZO Tea Corps, which is a paid position, apply here.
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