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Green Teens

The Green Teens program is one of the few paid urban forestry vocational skills training programs that provide opportunity and mentorship to youth in San Francisco, ages 14-19, interested in a dynamic, first-time work experience, and pursuing careers in the environmental field. We have worked with over 900 youth since the program started in 1995.

The Green Teens gain experience in tree care, tree planting, landscaping, and professional development. They also learn long-term employability and life skills, attending workshops in resume and cover letter writing, interviewing, financial literacy, and nutrition.

A typical workday might include pruning trees at a school, planting trees at a community greening event, or hiking on a local trail. The youth meet professionals such as certified arborists and landscapers throughout the program. They learn more about the environment with field trips to the San Francisco Botanical Garden, California Academy of Sciences, Recology, and the San Francisco Public Utility Commission’s wastewater treatment plant.

We hold three sessions of the Green Teens program.

Fall Session:  meets every Saturday, from mid-September to mid-December.

Spring session: meets every Saturday, mid-February to mid-April.

Summer session:  meets Wednesday-Saturday, from mid-June to mid-August.

Participants can join for up to four sessions, during which they earn performance-based promotions. Youth who have completed two sessions of Green Teens may apply to become a Green Teen Leader to further their skills and become mentors to the cohort. Green Teen Leaders earn higher pay and have more responsibilities, including leading and managing their own working groups.

Program Partners:

San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, Wells Fargo, Recology, Outward Bound, Literacy for Environmental Justice, Jewish Vocational Services, Hunters Point Family, Instituto Familiar de la Raza, Boys and Girls Club of San Francisco, and high schools throughout the city.

If you or a youth you know are interested in participating, please Contact Us and choose Green Teens as the subject.


Green Teens and FUF managers after planting a native landscape at Northridge Cooperative Homes in San Francisco’s Bayview neighborhood.

Green Crew

Members of the Green Crew participate in almost every aspect of our work. They do regular outreach to drum up support for our community plantings; learn to plant and prune trees; and lead volunteer groups in planting, pruning, and sidewalk gardening community events; 

Green Crew members get the opportunity to improve basic job skills, prepare resumes, gain experience in customer service and professional skills and acquire a sense of responsibility for the urban landscape. Many Green Crew members have brought essential greening skills back to their communities and improved the landscaping practices.

As a part of the program, we encourage them to consider careers within the “Green Industry,” and we introduce them to local arborists and potential employers in this field.

The Green Crew program consists of two to three young adults who have come to Friends of the Urban Forest through referrals from community organizations.

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