RESOURCES FOR YOUNG
BLACK AMERICANS


Inspire young Black Americans to pursue forest and conservation careers by telling the stories of Black Americans who have taken this career path and who have advice and resources to share.

On August 2, 2021, Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the intention of ensuring that Black Americans have greater opportunities for rewarding careers in the forest and conservation sector.

By releasing Black Faces in Green Spaces: The Journeys of Black Professionals in Green Careers, we are hoping to provide youth with awareness of the many jobs in the forest and conservation sector and advance the forest and conservation sector. We also hope to advance the conversation within the sector by sharing many inspiring stories from historical and current environmental heroes.

WHAT'S IN THE JOURNEYS GUIDE?

Jasmine Brown wearing a green Michigan State University tshirt smiling in a forest

REPRESENTATION

The Black Americans and their journeys highlighted in the guide are proof that opportunities for Black Americans abound in the forest and natural resources sector.

NETWORKING

Advance your green career and learn about first-hand networking experiences and how mentorship can help you explore careers.

RESOURCES

Explore a variety of resources that help you explore opportunities in forestry and conservation including career fact sheets, advice, and more.

Travis Perry wearing a white construction safety hat glasses and vest standing in front of piles of planks

JOB AWARENESS

Discover careers! Green careers are made up of all types of jobs, including those in the arts, sciences, communication, and more!

Jerri Taylor, PLT Director of Diversity in Career Pathways standing in front of wooden park trail map in the forest

CAREER PATHWAYS

The guide is a great starting point to learn more about how you can start your career in forestry and conservation and make a difference for future generations.

Nicole McHenry wearing a USFS park ranger uniform

HISTORY

Learn about the contributions of Black Americans to U.S. forestry and conservation.

Sign up to stay updated around the release of the Journeys guide and accompanying resources, including:

• Downloadable job training

• Mentorship opportunities

• Employment opportunities

• Access to networking webinars

• Invitations to local events

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EXPLORE THE JOURNEYS OF BLACK LEADERS IN CONSERVATION

Explore one of the spotlights from the guide to learn about the type of information included, like:

  • the career pathway timeline of each person spotlighted;
  • the challenges they overcame and tools that helped;
  • and their advice for future generations.

MENTORSHIP IS CRITICAL

Mentors have played a critical role shaping Travis' journey through forestry. First is his father, who he says encouraged him to pursue his passion and help "make it make sense." Alex Singleton mentored Travis from a young age as part of the Natural Resources Career Camp, where he met his colleague and mentor Marcez Mitchell, who had a huge impact on Travis' career. "When I was a freshman at Clemson, Marcez helped me get an internship within International Paper in Mississippi. He also encouraged me to always be willing to get out of my comfort zone and to grow. He also told me to think about what I was going to be doing in 10 years. The encouragement he gave allowed me to think ahead."

LEARN MORE

EXPLORE THE JOURNEYS OF BLACK LEADERS IN CONSERVATION

Explore one of the spotlights from the guide to learn about the type of information included, like:

  • the career pathway timeline of each person spotlighted;
  • the challenges they overcame and tools that helped;
  • and their advice for future generations.

MENTORSHIP IS CRITICAL

Mentors have played a critical role shaping Travis’ journey through forestry. First is his father, whom he says encouraged him to pursue his passion and help “make it make sense.” In addition, Alex Singleton mentored Travis from a young age as a part of the Natural Resources Career Camp, where he also met his colleague and mentor Marcez Mitchell, who had a huge impact on Travis’ career: “When I was a freshman at Clemson, Marcez helped me get an internship within International Paper in Mississippi. He also encouraged me to always be willing to get out of my comfort zone and to grow—he told me to think about what I was going to be doing in 10 years. The encouragement he gave allowed me to think ahead.

ACCESS FREE RESOURCES

Opportunities for green jobs are growing!

Sign up to receive free resources to find the right match for you or your organization.


I'M LOOKING FOR A GREEN JOB OR MENTORSHIP OPPORTUNITY

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive communications from: PLT, www.plt.org and SFI, www.forests.org. We will never sell or share your information and you can unsubscribe from communications anytime.

I'M AN EMPLOYER OR MENTOR LOOKING TO SUPPORT GREEN JOBS

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive communications from: PLT, www.plt.org and SFI, www.forests.org. We will never sell or share your information and you can unsubscribe from communications anytime.

START YOUR GREEN JOURNEY

Explore Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences (MANRRS) Chapters to discover forestry and conservation career opportunities in or near your state.

For the best experience, view the full map on desktop.

Locate a Society of American Foresters (SAF) Accredited and Candidate Degree Program to start your career in Forestry, Natural Resources, and more.

For the best experience, view the full map on desktop.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF BLACK AMERICANS IN FORESTRY

Resiliency and a love for nature is embodied in the history and culture of Black Americans

DO YOU SEE GREEN SPACES IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD?

DO YOU SEE PEOPLE LIKE YOU WORKING IN GREEN SPACES?

For many of you, the answer may be no. But Black people have been pioneers in leading and developing our natural resources as farmers, foresters, and conservationists in America.

COLONIAL AMERICA (1500s-1776)

In colonial America, enslaved people cleared much of the forests in the South for agricultural needs, like cotton, and lived connected to the land and forests where they were kept.

They used their knowledge of the forests to survive and often to escape. Many runaway slaves hid in the forests and even established colonies in the woods of many southern states.

EARLY AMERICA (1776-1900)

After the Civil War, Black Americans’ relationship with the forests changed. Terrorist organizations that opposed Black freedom used the forest to mask their movements, and forests became a venue for lynching.

In the 19th century, as farming proved to be increasingly unprofitable, Black Americans found alternative sources of employment in the forests. Black Americans used forests for sustenance, and herbal medicine, while also being key places for worship, spirituality, and escape.

Young Black American professional sitting on top of a large boulder on a hill in front of a scenic forest

MODERN AMERICA (1900-PRESENT)

In the 1900s, Black people made up 25% of the forest sector workforce, and during the Great Depression, young Black men carried out much needed conservation work on national forests and other public lands.


After WWII and during the height of the American segregation era, Black students were dissuaded from considering careers in forestry and agriculture. Today, the forest sector continues to struggle with workforce diversity, as a recent U.S. Census Survey found that less than 3% of foresters and conservation scientists identify as African American.

Throughout history, Black people have shown consistent resiliency and a love for nature that is ingrained in their culture. Regardless of where you live, you can be a part of building a resilient environment and making a difference.

DISCOVER OPPORTUNITIES FOR REWARDING CAREERS IN THE FOREST AND CONSERVATION SECTOR

“The Sustainable Forestry Initiative is committed to provide all young people with opportunities to advance their skills, networks, and careers, so they can contribute to nature-based solutions in the forest and conservation sector.

I am excited to be collaborating with Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) so we can reach more people from diverse backgrounds.”

- Kathy Abusow

President and CEO of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI)

SFI seeks to provide transformative solutions to address the urgent need to create more inclusive, sustainable communities around the world. We are working with Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) to help ensure young Black Americans have greater opportunities for rewarding careers in the forest and conservation sector.

Together with MANRRS, we will support the green career trajectory including recruitment, awareness, mentorship, and career opportunities collectively designed to help the forest and conservation sectors in recruiting, retaining, and advancing a diverse and resilient workforce.

We invite you to learn more about the partnership between our organizations and join us in supporting green career pathways for young Black Americans.

EXPLORE THE PARTNERSHIP