Tree Corps: Join the Tree Care Community

Tree Corps is an arboriculture workforce development program designed to provide valuable training and entry-level job placement for Cleveland residents in the tree care industry. Funded with a generous grant from the Cleveland Foundation, Tree Corps works to support Cleveland’s urban tree canopy on public and private property while increasing Cleveland’s workforce capacity.

“The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.” 

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Cleveland, nicknamed “The Forest City” in the 1800s, had robust tree planting programs into the 1930s. The number of street trees in the city, however, has been steadily declining since the mid-20th century, taking a former 221,000 city trees down to approximately 120,000 trees. Unless this loss is addressed, Cleveland’s tree canopy, i.e. the percent of land shaded by trees, is projected to decrease from 19 percent in 2013 to just 14 percent by 2040 (Cleveland Tree Plan) having significant ecological, economic and social consequences.

Trees provide numerous community and infrastructure benefits, including removing carbon dioxide and pollution from the air, mitigating rainwater and snowmelt runoff; preventing soil erosion into streams, rivers and storm sewers; reducing energy costs for residents and business owners, promoting biodiversity, blocking noise pollution, increasing property values, improving the aesthetics of urban neighborhoods, and improving public health by reducing heat and air pollution-related (ie. asthma) health problems.

In 2018 and 2019, Holden Forests and Gardens piloted the innovative Tree Corps Program, our paid arboriculture workforce development program, to build Cleveland residents’ capacity to steward the urban forest while equitably spreading the economic value it can bring.

We learned much in these two pilot years, and in 2021, Holden Forests and Gardens is excited to launch a new, expanded phase of the Tree Corps program wherein young adults, communities, and professionals can be a part of the Corps…

Tree Corps CREW (Cleveland-Region Experiential Work) Program

Tree Corps Crew offers a paid job experience with exposure to and training in tree-care and related (horticulture, natural resources) careers for young, early-career Cleveland-area residents. The 8-member Tree Corps Crew spends 6 weeks learning key arboriculture skills, engaging in field experiences, and working on tree and land care related to the Cleveland Tree Plan. The program concludes with a capstone project and opportunities to shadow green career professionals. CREW provides EXPERIENCE, EXPOSURE, and WORK THAT MAKES A DIFFERENCE for folks who have not otherwise had an opportunity to engage in green careers.

Tree Corps Master Stewards

The Tree Corps Master Stewards certificate program offers in-depth instruction and training on tree care and community forestry topics for those who wish to volunteer to be tree advocates in their communities. This program is designed for those with basic knowledge of tree stewardship to take a ‘deep dive’ into skills and topics that will take their engagement in urban canopy stewardship to the next level. Graduates will be equipped to effectively activate in their communities around Cleveland to increase the thriving of the Forest City’s urban canopy.

This program is coordinated to compliment the Sherwick Tree Steward Trainings as the “next level” of training to truly activate community members to address real issues facing the urban canopy.

Tree Corps Pro

The Tree Corp Pro Series is a series of professional opportunities for career advancement for individuals and businesses in the tree care industry. As a clearinghouse of combined hundreds of years of expertise in arboriculture, Holden Forests and Gardens provides a platform for trainings, symposia, and workshops that provide area professionals with the means to enhance their professional practice for the benefit of the urban and suburban canopy and community across the greater Cleveland region.

Check back in 2021 for developments in these three branches of Tree Corps