Park Stewards are the boots on the ground for our forest restoration and trail work. Our signature program provides meaningful work, living wages, and green-jobs training to Ward 8 residents. Park Stewards work four to five days a week year round to remove trash, cut back invasive plants, and build and maintain trails, including hours spent alongside volunteers at our monthly events.
We hire residents who face barriers to employment; these can include criminal history, disability, gaps in education and lack of work experience
The training we provide equips Park Stewards with skills applicable to our work and marketable for future employment, such as first aid, natural history, green infrastructure, water quality testing, and trail building.
Since 2018, our Park Stewards and volunteers have removed more than 900,000 pounds of trash and cut invasive vines from over 3,500 trees. Impressive as these numbers are, restoration work is just beginning. It will take years to clear millions of pounds of legacy dumping, bring invasive plants under control, reestablish native species, and build and maintain hiking trails.
The Park Steward program represents a replicable model for inclusive urban greening in the spirit of the Green New Deal. While other groups may talk about environmental justice in the abstract, release reports, and hold symbolic clean-ups with a few trash bags, we haul upwards of 3,000 pounds of trash out of the woods each week. While local elected officials lament the sorry state of federal lands in the city and underfunding of the National Park Service, we step in and use local labor to accomplish what the bureaucrats can’t or won’t.
Applications to the Park Steward program are accepted on a rolling basis. To apply, complete this online application.
The Park Steward program accounts for more than half of the Ward 8 Woods budget. Please support our hardworking crew members.
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