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 Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the intention of ensuring young Black Americans have greater opportunities for rewarding careers in the forest and conservation sector.

By releasing Black Faces in Green Spaces: The Journey of Black Professionals in Green Careers guide, we are hoping to provide youth with awareness of the many jobs in the forest and conservation sector and advance the conversation within the sector through the representation of many inspiring stories from historical and current environmental heroes.

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

• Downloadable job training

• Mentorship opportunities

• Access to networking webinars

• Invitations to local events

• Wage-matching for employers

LOOKING FOR FREE RESOURCES?

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."

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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 and Industrialization, African 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, African Americans found alternative sources of employment in the forests. African Americans used forests for sustenance, herbal medicine, while also being key places for worship, spirituality, and escape.

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 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.

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