“Tree Trust has helped me be more independent. Also, they gave me the opportunity to take care of the environment and my community.”

– Tree Trust YouthBuild Student 

Creating equitable access to the outdoors goes beyond assuring folks are given opportunities to engage in outdoor activities and are safe and accepted for who they are in public places. Our member organization Tree Trust creates access to the outdoors through environmental career pathways and youth job training programs.  

Mission: Tree Trust was created in 1976 to address two problems in our communities: the devastation of the urban tree canopy due to Dutch elm disease and the high unemployment and poverty rates for youth and adults at the time. They began combating these issues by hiring unemployed individuals and training them to plant trees and reforest the Twin Cities. Since then, they have expanded to offer integrated JobPrep programs, community forestry and environmental education programs.

Today, Tree Trust’s mission is to improve the community environment while investing in people. Throughout the Twin Cities area and parts of greater Minnesota, they serve youth and adults who have barriers to employment or education, with a primary focus on underserved populations and distressed communities. By transforming lives and landscapes, Tree Trust’s programs:

  • provide meaningful opportunities for greening our local community 
  • give young people the chance to gain work experience, boost their self-confidence and find positive direction 
  • teach practical job skills to youth and young adults to help reshape their lives 
  • guide young people to select and train for a career that will help them become self-sufficient 
  • help volunteers connect with their community and the outdoors 

Impact Tree Trust is creating opportunities in our community with their YouthBuild program.  This program is a combination of hands-on work experience and working towards a high school diploma. Young people between the ages of 16-21 can apply to participate. One of the following must also apply: 

  • You are a member of a low-income household 
  • You are a person with a disability 
  • You are a person in foster care or aging out of foster care 
  • You have an incarcerated parent 
  • You have been involved in the justice system 
  • You are a migrant youth 

Participants learn leadership skills, earn a paycheck, and gain certification in tree care or carpentry, two in-demand industries. This program specifically aims to build up community members who may not otherwise have access to these skills and opportunities.  

Ways to engage: 

  • Tree Trust is always looking for volunteers to help plant trees around the Twin Cities. Check back on their volunteer page for planting events and more.  
  •  #ActonAsh to help Tree Trust fight against the Emerald Ash Borer. Learn more here.  

To learn more about how MEF members are working together to ensure equitable access to the outdoors across Minnesota, visit the Impact page of our website.