Host Partner: City Plants
Partner Location: Los Angeles, CA
Openings: 4 of 4
Project Focus: Urban Greening, Green Infrastructure Development
Desired Skills: Project Management, Tree Planting / Care, Leadership
Remote or On-Site Preference: Locally remote ok, field work needed
Los Angeles is at a critical turning point regarding its urban forest. With an inequitably distributed canopy, the City has lost thousands of trees due to drought and pests, and according to the City’s Urban Forestry Division, between one third and one half of street trees in the next 40 years will be lost due to old age alone. According to the Los Angeles Urban Cooling Collaborative, one in four lives are lost during heat waves, most of whom are low-income and people of color, and they could be saved through strategic tree planting and urban heat island mitigation in LA. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti set strategic and measurable canopy and urban forest management goals in the Green New Deal, calling for the planting of 90,000 trees and a complete tree inventory by 2021, the creation and adoption of an urban forest management plan by 2025, and an increase in canopy by 50% in areas of greatest need by 2028. City Plants is a non-profit organization housed within the Mayor’s Office, City of Los Angeles Board of Public Works, and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, running a public-private partnership between the city agencies and five other non-profit organizations. The City Plants collaborative distributes and plants approximately 20,000 trees throughout the City of Los Angeles each year, all free for Angelenos, and works to ensure that LA is home to a lush urban forest that will protect vulnerable LA communities for future generations. Fellows will support City Plans through the following projects: City Plants Tree Ambassador Program, Commonwealth Nursery, and on the Urban Forest Management Plan for the City of Los Angeles.
Through the City Plants Tree Ambassador Program, Fellows will support the development of a multi-stakeholder, year long training curriculum beginning in March 2021 to train paid community Tree Ambassadors; provide information and educational resources on the benefits of trees and the role of trees in climate resilience, urban cooling, and public health; and align this program to achieve tree goals in the mayor’s Green New Deal. This project will take place in targeted, previously identified neighborhoods across LA lacking canopy, and Fellows will spearhead field work, training curriculum development for tree planting and tree stewardship, crafting communications strategies and materials for grassroots organizing, regional partnership building, and seeing community-driven tree planting projects through to completion. Through the Commonwealth Nursery Project, Fellows will support the Nursery Manager and a core team with implementing best management practices for nursery development, developing a local tree seed saving and transplanting volunteer force, supporting the implementation of a workforce development training curriculum for budding urban foresters, and aiding in the acquisition and construction of critical nursery infrastructure (including a repurposed greenhouse, water efficient irrigation systems, an office unit, solar panels, a seed saving and preservation refrigeration station, and a tree transplanting station). Fellows will help realize the vision of a full-fledged municipal and interdepartmental tree nursery, workforce development training center, and outreach and education hub for the City of LA, to the benefit of community members and regional climate policy goals alike. Through the Urban Forest Management Plan, Fellows will work alongside the City Forest Officer, the Office of Mayor Eric Garcetti, City Plants, various city agencies, and community organizations to build regional support, research innovative policy initiatives, and spearhead community engagement campaigns to aid in the development of this critical roadmap for LA’s climate-resilient and equitable future.
Ideal Fellows will be environmental justice and action-oriented, bold, systems-thinkers. They should be adaptable self starters, solid communicators, and cross-pollinators who are invested in building regional capacity toward an equitable and climate resilient future for all Angelenos. Bilingual Spanish/English speakers will thrive on the City Plants team. The ability to identify needs and activate known resources within an established and growing network to meet those needs will be critical. Strong and adaptable writers, public communicators, and collaborators will be successful on the City Plants team, as Fellows will be working closely with other partnering city agencies, non-profits, and community members to increase canopy throughout Los Angeles. Patient, resourceful Fellows with a passion for project management, project assessment, and detail-oriented research will thrive working on urban greening projects with City Plants and within the City of LA. Fellows who have the drive to see a project through to completion and provide insight and feedback for future improvements will be successful.
SERVICE PLANS AND NEEDS
Fellows will need to be based in Los Angeles, as program implementation requires field work and some direct community contact. City Plants is following CDC and state guidelines for social distancing and will equip Fellows with adequate personal protective equipment for any field work, including masks, face shields, plexiglass dividers, and gloves, as needed. Staff is working remotely, with group meetings are online.
PARTNER INFO AND FELLOW EXPERIENCE
City Plants is a small but mighty team, and our strength lies in our collaboration with community members, city agencies, policy makers, and long-standing non-profit and community leaders. Fellows that join the City Plants staff will be part of a team that seeks to provide the best possible service to Angelenos to grow a more resilient, equitable, and climate ready future for all. At City Plants, we share a commitment to justice, equity, integrity, innovation, and growth, both literally and figuratively. Given our small size and demanding responsibilities, our office is fast-paced, and we value direct communication and collaboration. We have fun, we support each other, and we celebrate our victories along the way. We provide a safe and exciting container for growth and development both personally and professionally.
The City Plants team will ensure Fellows are fully and thoroughly supported, trained, and equipped to have a large impact and leave a deep and lasting imprint on the City of Los Angeles and its urban forest. Fellows will have the opportunity to work with regional climate leaders, researchers, community members, and practitioners. Fellows working on the City Plants team will gain exposure to scientific, social justice, and political inner workings of climate justice on the local level, in one of the country’s largest cities. City Plants staff will directly mentor Fellows on a daily basis and provide opportunities for honing project development, project management, community outreach and organizing, research, public speaking, communication, and writing skills.