Growing Trees … and a Whole Lot More

I had the opportunity in a BizVoice story last year to write about the passion David Forsell brings to his post as leader of Keep Indianapolis Beautiful. One of his passion points is the Youth Tree Team program.

Came across some recent facts about YTT that are worth sharing and demonstrate its success:

More than 350 Indy youth registered to attend trouts and compete for 40 spots on the 2011 Youth Tree Team. Participants took part in obstacle test to assess their willingness to work hard and get their hands dirty.

YTT is a 10-week summer program that employs Indianapolis high school students and young adults to preserve and maintain trees planted through KIB’s NeighborWoods program. The team spends about 20 hours per week watering, mulching, pruning, and staking trees throughout Indianapolis, as well as maintaining greenspaces downtown. 

According to Forsell: “Youth Tree Team allows us to continue to improve the tree canopy in Indianapolis, and keeps us on track for our NeighborWoods goal of planting 100,000 trees in Marion County by 2017. As an organization we have gone from planting 600 trees a year to more than 600 trees a month, all with the help of the Youth Tree Team.”

YTT members are paid an hourly rate and receive a free lunch each workday. Additionally, a variety of planned enrichment activities are scheduled throughout the summer to help members gain valuable life skills that range from leadership experience and team building, to job training and environmental knowledge. Last year’s activities included college campus visits, financial planning and management skills education, panel discussions with green-collar professionals, and outdoor experiences, such as rafting on the White River.