Congratulations to Conservation Corps of Long Beach on winning a 2024 Project of the Year Award! Awardees will be recognized at The Corps Network’s National Conference – #CorpsCon24.The conference will be held March 19 – 21, 2024, in Washington, DC. Click here to learn more about #CorpsCon24. Click here to learn more about #CorpCon24 awards. Click here to learn about the 2024 Project of the Year finalists.
Conservation Corps of Long Beach
The Urban Wood: A Passageway to a Meaningful Career project provided transformative urban forestry services to Southern California community members.
In collaboration with the City of Long Beach, Public Works, and West Coast Arborists, this project by Conservation Corps of Long Beach paved the way for future urban forestry projects while addressing pressing environmental challenges and providing job training and opportunities for young adults in underserved communities. Made possible by a $1 million grant from CALFIRE, this project removed 1,000 dead, dying, or diseased trees from environmentally sensitive areas and replaced them with 2,000 newly planted trees. These areas, designated as Community Environmental Score (CES) 3.0 Disadvantaged Communities (DAC) with a high pollution burden, were situated near the Port of Long Beach. This project produced significant outcomes related to GHG reductions from trees. Using the California Air Resources Board Quantification Methodology, this project resulted in approximately 10,187 MTCO2e reduction and over 20,000,000 gallons of water savings.
This multifaceted project also includes the development of an urban lumber salvage and reuse apprenticeship training program, which offers industry-recognized job training to young adults.
Before CALFIRE’s funding, CCLB lacked the means to scale its urban lumber program. This project is a culmination of new, exciting collaboration among CCLB and community partners that will provide Corpsmembers with opportunities to engage in impactful urban forestry projects. The removal and processing of trees not only positively impacted the environment but also equipped Corpsmembers with valuable skills for potential employment in the urban forestry and arboriculture industry.
Lessons learned from the project emphasized the importance of forming partnerships with entities responsible for trees, providing meaningful job training, engaging impacted communities for support, and utilizing urban woody biomass for social enterprises. The success of the project relied on the integration of training and certification, community partnerships, and the establishment of a civic engagement centered around urban forestry.
As a result of the project, 73 Corpsmembers received valuable urban forestry skills, certifications, and training that will be useful in gaining employment in forestry careers. In addition to the positive environmental impact in the City and region, another significant outcome was the establishment of CCLB’s Urban Lumber Yard and Mill, which became the hub for all urban forestry activities and home to CCLB’s partnership with West Coast Arborists.
This project strengthened the Corps and its community by enhancing partner relationships, increasing collaborative work opportunities, expanding the Corps’ positive influence, attracting new Corpsmembers, and opening doors to additional funding specific to urban forestry.
This initiative advanced the goals of the Corps movement by addressing environmental concerns, providing job training, and creating employment opportunities for Corpsmembers. This project serves as a tangible example of how urban forestry work aligns with the Corps movement’s mission to develop skills, provide employment, and contribute to sustainable communities. The success of the project showcased the broader impact Corps can have on both individuals and the environment when engaged in meaningful and collaborative initiatives.