Broadening Horizons and Advancing Green Jobs: My Experience with MANRRS

I hadn’t heard about Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) until the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) formed a partnership with them in 2021.

I’ve worked in the forest and conservation sector for seven years, most recently as SFI and PLT’s Education Programs Coordinator, where I take care of customer inquiries, manage PLT’s product inventory, and help maintain our shop and e-commerce sites. I completed a Bachelor of Arts in urban sustainability at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC), and I am enrolled in a graduate program in water resources management at UDC. But I didn’t know I was missing out on this awesome organization and the resources they offer!

When SFI and MANRRS announced their new partnership aimed at ensuring young Black Americans have greater opportunities for rewarding careers in the forest and conservation sector, I started looking into MANRRS right away. I learned that their mission is to promote academic and professional advancement by empowering minorities in agriculture, natural resources, and related sciences. And I saw that they had a chapter on my UDC campus, so I reached out to previous chapter officers.

I quickly realized that I wanted to get involved, so I joined the UDC chapter of MANRRS, and was elected as the Graduate Student Advisor this spring! As the UDC MANRRS Graduate Student Advisor, I answer student’s questions, plan events for upcoming semesters, support recruitment efforts, and schedule skills trainings so students can be successful on the job.


Broadening horizons and changing the narrative: MANRRS36

I recently had the opportunity to participate in MANRRS’s 36th national conference in Jacksonville, FL. This year’s theme was broadening horizons and changing the narrative; a theme focused on highlighting the diverse people supporting conservation and their interest in the natural resources sector.

I was so excited to participate in an in-person event and connect with like-minded students, professionals, and universities, especially after the last couple years of remote connections. I particularly enjoyed the Graduate Student Business Meeting—it was the first and only time at the conference that all the graduate students were together. My program at UDC was supposed to be very hands-on, but because of COVID-19, I haven’t been able to do much in-person, so I really enjoyed being able to meet and share with people who were going through similar experience.

I listened to inspirational speakers and visited the Career Expo and Fair, where 50+ organizations and recruiters provided onsite interviews and promoted internship and fellowship opportunities. I participated in workshops, like the Talent Development Pipeline for Farms of the Future session run by AgLaunch. And there were lots of fun networking opportunities, like the Closing Gala, where we all got dressed up and found out about what scholarships were awarded, who won the research and speech contests, and the newly elected MANRRS national officers.

During the conference, I met countless professionals in the conservation, agriculture, and environmental science sectors. I enjoyed hearing about the similar events that both professionals and students experience in academia and the forestry and natural resources sector. We talked about being the only student in a program who is not white and our concerns about joining the workforce. Everyone was supportive and shared their experience and advice—plus, industry professionals came to the conference to talk about how they’re trying to change their hiring and retention objectives and what they’re doing to increase diversity in their organizations.



My experience at MANRRS36 reaffirmed my commitment and desire to work to advance access to green careers for everyone. It made me glad to know that resources like PLT’s Green Jobs: Exploring Forest Careers guide and online personality quiz are out there to help inspire the next generation of forest and conservation leaders and spread the word about all the cool jobs that are available.

SFI and MANRRS are exploring the full spectrum of needs across a green career pathway—including recruitment, awareness, mentorship, and career opportunities—collectively designed to help the forest and conservation sector recruit, retain, and advance a diverse and resilient workforce.

Through the partnership, we will tailor career pathways and skill-building resources to highlight the journeys of Black American professionals working in conservation, and develop a mentorship program in the USA for young Black Americans that is based on the success of PLT Canada’s industry-leading mentorship program.

SFI, PLT, and MANRRS are already working to create one of these resources with the SFI-PLT-MANRRS Black Faces in Green Spaces: The Journeys of Black Professionals in Green Careers guide.

The guide highlights 22 Black Americans who share their personal stories about finding their passions and overcoming challenges, and offer advice to the next generation about exploring their own careers in the forest and conservation sector.

Create an account and download or buy an individual copypurchase a box of guides, or donate a box of Journeys guides to a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) or Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences (MANRRS) chapter.


Changes to Your PLT Account

Your online PLT Account has a new look!

We’re excited to have launched a new account dashboard, where you can find your PLT content and manage your profile all in one place.

Go to and check it out!


What’s New?

The single dashboard offers quick and easy access to your PLT materials, as well as a more streamlined experience for managing your profile.

It combines the free supporting resources for PLT activities (including PLT’s downloadable student pages) with the PLT products you have in your account (for example your e-books and online courses from PLT’s Shop).

From your PLT Account Home page, click on the:

  • My Resources tab to find the student pages and more for PLT activities
  • My Materials to access your e-books, online courses, and other PLT digital products that you have access to.


Please review your profile and records of workshop participation, and update your professional information, including your setting, the subjects you teach, and the grade levels/ages of children you work with. This will help us provide relevant materials and resource suggestions to meet your needs. We also use this information to guide us when creating new resources!


Orientation to Your New Account

Take a look at this three-minute-long video overview and one-pager to orient yourself to your new account dashboard.




Out with the old, in with the new! 

Your new Account Home now looks like this:


It used to look like this:


We hope you find your new PLT Account Home page easy to use!

Check it out at

Questions? Contact us at [email protected].

Using the Power of Education to Build Resilient Communities


The idea of helping communities becoming more sustainable and resilient has been important to me since I started looking for environmental education courses in high school. That’s why being hired by Project Learning Tree in July was a special moment for me. In my new role I can channel my passion for community sustainability and urban forestry into my day-to-day work.

Most recently I was Office Manager and Arborist Assistant at SavATree. Urban trees and forests are key to building sustainable, resilient communities. Our urban populations are growing and at the same time climate change is intensifying, which could turn cities into urban heat islands that demand more and more energy for cooling. The good news is the shade from large, healthy urban forests can be part of the solution.

I discovered SFI and Project Learning Tree in my journey to find an organization that incorporated sustainability in its mission, work, and culture. Working with SFI and PLT gives me the opportunity to work with a passionate team and a network that helps promote environmental education.

This is especially important to me on a personal level because I didn’t have much exposure to environmental education when I was younger. It feels great to be able to give youth opportunities to expand their understanding of sustainability and the role that forests play in delivering so many important benefits like urban cooling and cleaning the air we breathe and the water we drink.

PLT’s Discover Your Urban Forest collection of activities for middle school teachers is a great example of the kind of PLT resources to engage youth who will be leading voices on sustainability challenges like climate change in the years to come.


My Journey into Green Jobs

Aside from a fifth-grade science fair recycling project, my first limited exposure to environmental education was in high school. My classroom settings did not have very many activities or curriculums that incorporated green learning. While there was a push for STEM learning, environmental education was often left out, leaving me to learn about the environment on my own. I would have welcomed the chance to access PLT educational materials when I was a student.

After high school, I started working at a native plant nursery in Northern Virginia where I received hands-on experience working outdoors. I got to see people make positive green choices when working on landscaping projects. I’ll always remember the family that opted to replace their lawn with a pollinator garden. The plant nursery was my first green job, and I knew that I did not want to make it my last, so I earned a Bachelor of Arts in urban sustainability from the University of the District of Columbia.

I am excited to continue to advance sustainability with SFI and PLT. Together, with our network of teachers and informal educators, we will continue to educate youth and work with them to create solutions to build sustainable, resilient communities.