Magazine article American Forests

A Green Collar Workforce

Magazine article American Forests

A Green Collar Workforce

Article excerpt

In Albany, Georgia, Monica Armster develops and coordinates agricultural programs that help minority farmers preserve and promote their land.

Lisa Diehl in West Virginia helps women and woodsworkers by supporting policies that improve and better regulate her state's logging industry.

And Sherlette Colegrove of the Northern California Hoopa Valley Reservation teaches federal workers how her community harvests mushrooms, berries, and herbs for cultural uses, just as her ancestors did six generations ago.

What do these people have in common? They all visited Washington in late March to advocate for federal funding for forest restoration and an ecosystem workforce.

Nearly 20 community practitioners explored the vital links between healthy ecosystems and healthy communities at a week-long training and education workshop sponsored by AMERICAN FORESTS, the National Network of Forest Practitioners, the Communities Committee of the Seventh American Forest Congress, and the Pinchot Institute for Conservation. Participants presented before House and Senate subcommittees and held a forum on "green collar jobs" with national environmental groups.

At a briefing on Capitol Hill, participants explained how Forest Service programs help restore the landscape and create local jobs. Diehl said federal funding through Rural Community Assistance programs has built the foundation for future economic development in her community.

"We believe that environmental and economic concerns--as well as concerns for social and economic justice--are mutually dependent, not mutually exclusive," Diehl said. …

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