The teen years are a critical time for engaging youth in meaningful activities that help them develop valuable skills and knowledge that will benefit them throughout the course of their lives. Through BYENâ€™s Urban Youth Park Stewardship Initiative, young people can earn a decent wage while completing work that benefits themselves, the environment and the community. While they are expected to meet their work obligations, they are also provided with multiple educational and professional development opportunities that plant seeds for future employment and academic success.
By engaging urban youth in hands-on environmental stewardship projects, introducing them to the environmental issues and benefits in their communities and preparing them to be informed, active environmental stewards, this often overlooked population is brought fully into the conversation on environmentalism. Additionally, many of them are engaged in activities where they act as change agents, organizing communities around addressing issues of environmental injustice, such as bringing in locally grown, affordable food, combating air pollution, and maintaining parks to provide access to safe recreation spaces for all.
Beyond simply being jobs that provide a paycheck, environmental youth employment experiences include: completing a community food mapping project with ReVision Urban Farm, organizing and staffing farmers markets with United Neighbors of Lower Roxbury, engaging in academic seminars exploring environmental justice issues through interactive educational activities and readings that covered Global Warming, Toxic Waste, Green Economics, and Healthcare Disparities as an employee at The City School, building or maintaining hundreds of feet of trails with the Boston Natural Areas Network, learning about and presenting on concepts such as carbon footprint, climate change, and weatherization, and waste management with Green Beginnings, or BOLD Teens building relationships with police officers to reduce violence in a Dorchester park.
Current Youth Employment Projects:
DCR Statewide Urban Youth Park Stewardship Initiative: BYEN coordinates a statewide initiative to develop the pipeline of young people ready to enter the conservation workforce in Massachusetts.
Clean Energy Pipeline Initiative: A city-wide initiative where BYEN coordinates partnerships that will develop Massachusettsâ€™ clean energy workforce and to implement a high school clean energy internship program placing 50 students in for-profit and non-profit clean energy jobs during the summer of 2012 and 2012-2013 school year.
Pathway of Environmental Learning Inventory Project: An intensive inventory of environmental education and career programs (K-post secondary) with connections to career ladders and stakeholders in the stewardship/conservation, water systems, weatherization, and community action industries.
Click here to learn more about and complete the BYEN Environmental Education & Youth Employment survey.