Young, female and green

Five-month urban forest program open to young women

Taking care of the environment isn’t only for activists … or men.

Although research published by the Journal of Arboriculture says only 10 per cent of their industry is represented by women, some female youth in Toronto are engaging with programs dedicated to the protection and improvement of the urban forest.

“As we get more and more urbanized, there are fewer and fewer green spaces, so we need to take care of what we have and get involved with seeing where we can plant trees,” says Melissa Williams, program manager for the non-profit organization LEAF (Local Enhancement & Appreciation of Forests).

Supported by the City of Toronto through the Community Recreational Fund, LEAF has been around since 1996 and offers awards for promoting public health and arboriculture.

Among LEAF’s initiatives, the Young Urban Forest Leaders stand out. This is a five-month training and mentorship program open to females 18 to 24 years old.

By getting involved, the young women learn about trees and how to work with the community, Williams says. It all helps with females getting experience in arboriculture, which may lead to job opportunities for them.

Whether man or woman, young or senior, extra sets of hands are needed by LEAF. If interested in helping with the urban forest in Toronto, visit their website.