Groundwork Portland launched its Green Team Program in the summer of 2011. Since then, Groundwork Portland has engaged over 70 youth in paid summer green jobs training. Green Teams are a 6-week summer program where teams of diverse youth gain jobs skills and build awareness of issues of environmental justice and conservation through projects involving brownfields reclamation, watershed restoration, and environmental stewardship. Participants also learn about civic engagement, environmental careers, and how to be change agents to make underserved neighborhood environments more livable.
During the school year, the Youth Action Board engages members of past Green Teams and other interested youth in youth-led environmental justice and restoration projects and community education. Green Teams and the Youth Action Board offer leadership opportunities for youth from disadvantaged backgrounds to influence development in their neighborhoods and region, calling for more equitable distribution of natural resource assets.
Education: Green Team members engaged with City, County and METRO services, examples of Environmental Justice, superfund and Brownfield remediation, community-based development, and local history.
Job skills: Restored split rail fences, compost bins, sheds, and gazebo, and demolition work. Learned how to use tools for construction and welding.
Environmental change: Removed invasive species from Johnson Creek Watershed, learned about the impact of pollution on water, soil, animals and people, sculpted a bench made of cob, removed trash, and harvested native seeds.
Leadership: Green Team ambassadors travelled to the Groundwork USA Experience at Yellowstone National Park to discuss environmental justice and engage in park projects such as trail work and geyser clean-up. Ambassadors attended the Groundwork USA Youth Assembly at Rocky Mountain National Park to represent their experiences in Portland.
Currently, Groundwork Portland is partnering with students and teachers from King and DaVinci Schools to involve youth in the Emerson Street Garden and help them learn about growing food and local neighborhood history.
BECOME A GREEN TEAM SPONSOR!
$100 - Sponsors gear for a Green Team youth
$250 - Provides field trips for an entire Green Team
$500 - Offers a summer work stipend for one Green Team youth
If you are interested in participating in, partnering with, or sponsoring the Green Team Program, or donating tools and supplies to Groundwork Portland make a secure online donation at:
Cassie Cohen, Program Director