High School Students Get Competitive Edge in Environmental Careers

Sunnyside, NY (July 28, 2011)- This summer, fifteen high school students are gaining a competitive edge in Trees New York’s Young Urban Forester Summer Internship Program. The 7 week, 175 hour paid internship introduces students to a variety of career opportunities in the environmental field through comprehensive classroom studies, hands-on field work and interaction with community members and professionals.

Trees New York’s partner organization, Sunnyside Community Services, is helping students develop job readiness skills including resume writing, interview techniques and job etiquette. Sunnyside Community Services, will provide long-term support for the students which includes workshops on life-skills such as and financial literacy, one-on-one counseling and guidance sessions. Trees New York is engaging students in their community and local environment through tree stewardship, mapping and landscape design-build projects.
Students are developing their environmental literacy and stewardship skills in lessons on urban forest conservation, restoration and planning. Topics include tree biology, maintenance and tree and plant identification; stormwater runoff, climate change and the urban heat island effect and invasive species identification. Students receive a license that certifies them to legally work on trees owned by the City of New York. This official recognition motivates the interns and promotes environmental stewardship.
“The YUF program has taught me how much care plants really need and how hard it is to keep city plants alive. I learned about many different types of green jobs and environmental opportunities in NYC that I can pursue.”
– Sofia Cheldon, Young Urban Forester 2011, Trees New York
The 15 interns are gaining familiarity with the technologies commonly used in environmental fields as they inventory and map street trees in Western Queens. The “Mapping the Urban Forest” project helps students develop GIS mapping skills as they collect, record and share their findings.
The “Steinmann Garden Design-Build project” is providing students with exposure to landscape design and community engagement. Students met with the neighboring library and surveyed passerby to help identify community priorities as they shape their redesign for the neighborhood garden.
“Working in the community is important to raise awareness for a cause. It also shows people that they need to take responsibility to make their community cleaner, safer and overall better.”
– Tremayne Layne, Young Urban Forester 2011, Trees New York
Several guest speakers are sharing their experiences with the students including Kate Zidar from Storm Water Infrastructure Matters, a coalition dedicated to ensuring swimmable waters around New York City through natural, sustainable stormwater management practices in our neighborhoods; Eric Dalski, of Highview Creations, a green roof and vertical garden design-build firm; and Seema Pandya of YRG Sustainability, a green development and LEED consultation group.
“There are a variety of rewarding and successful careers I might be interested in. It’s definitely something I will look into in the future.”
– Marjanul Karim, Young Urban Forester 2011, Trees New York
Fun and interactive field trips bring students to unique destinations throughout the five boroughs. Students toured the deconstruction site at Build it Green, a non-profit retail outlet for salvaged and surplus building materials. Students also visited the Brooklyn Grange, a commercial organic farm located on a neighboring Queens’s building rooftop. Later in the summer, students will visit Freshkills in Staten Island, formerly the world’s largest landfill, now being transformed into a 2,200 acre park.
At the close of the 7 week program, students will give a final presentation of their work to community stakeholders.
Related Resources:
Trees New York