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Our workforce development program offers youth and adults the opportunity to steward the urban landscape while developing job skills to thrive in their careers.



A paid work experience for Youth that offers urban forestry skills training and mentorship.

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.

Green Teens


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 may include 

  • Planting at a community events.

  • Learning about and participating in our Tree Care program

  • Meeting with professionals such as certified arborists and landscapers.

  • Field trips to learn more about the environment to the San Francisco Botanical Garden, California Academy of Sciences, Recology, and the San Francisco Public Utility Commission’s wastewater treatment plant.

  • Hiking on a local trail.


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.

If you or a youth you know are interested in participating, please email us.



New Roots provides young adults with training and work experience at the City's new Street Tree Nursery in nursery operations and maintenance, arboriculture, and urban forestry. In turn, plants grown at the nursery will be used to continue greening San Francisco.

New Roots


New Roots launched in the fall of 2023, and serves transitional-aged youths and adults from communities in the SoMa, Tenderloin, Mission, Excelsior, and Bayview neighborhoods in San Francisco. The program will include five six-month sessions, each with a cohort of four program participants. New Roots graduates will have opportunities to be promoted into our Green Crew program or other continuing workforce development programs or apprenticeships, as well as support in transitioning into other paid positions through our partnerships with the city and other community-based organizations.

In addition to providing participants with training and work experience in nursery operations and maintenance, arboriculture, and urban forestry, Friends of the Urban Forest provides assistance in developing other technical and interpersonal work skills to help them gain permanent employment in the green-collar workforce in the Bay Area.


The launch of the program coincided with the launch of the Street Tree Nursery on a 14,000-square-foot plot of underutilized land owned by CalTrans in San Francisco's SoMa neighborhood. The Street Tree Nursery will be managed by San Francisco Public Works.



This program is a paid urban forestry job for adults. Green Crew members are an essential part of our urban greening activities, from tree care to planting and beyond. We provide urban forestry skills training, professional development, and networking opportunities.

Green Crew


Members of the Green Crew participate in almost every aspect of our work and acquire a sense of responsibility for the urban landscape. They do regular outreach to drum up support for our community plantings; learn to plant and prune trees; and lead volunteer groups in planting community events.

Green Crew members get the opportunity to improve basic job skills, prepare resumes, gain experience in customer service, and other professional skills. 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 five young adults who have come to Friends of the Urban Forest through referrals from community organizations.

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