THE NATURE CONSERVANCY: Research Study of Urban Forest Workforce Training in NYC

Social Impact Strategy, Visual Communications
About This Project


Examining workforce development programs in the field of urban forestry

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has taken a leadership role as a convener of Forest for All NYC, a coalition tasked with expanding urban forestry job, career, and leadership opportunities, particularly in marginalized communities and those who live in areas most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. To support Forest for All NYC’s goal, TNC collaborated with TYTHEdesign to understand the landscape of non-degree workforce training and internship programs provided by non-academic institutions serving people of color, lower-income individuals, residents of public housing, and people with limited English proficiency.


Upon establishing the research goals, boundaries, and research questions with TNC and the Forest for All NYC advisory committee, TYTHEdesign developed a data collection plan to gather insights regarding the current landscape of programs located in the five boroughs.

To ensure inclusive and expansive engagements, TYTHE utilized stakeholder mapping to develop a list of all potential organizations that offer urban forestry skills training, including Forest for All NYC coalition members. Two surveys were developed, with one distributed to traditional workforce training programs and the second to those with non-traditional training offerings to gather qualitative and quantitative information about the programs. Based on the findings of the survey results, key stakeholders were invited to participate in two identical focus groups designed by TYTHEdesign and one-on-one interviews. From there, TYTHE collected and analyzed quantitative data through surveys and qualitative information through all three forms of engagement–surveys, interviews, and focus groups.




The Report

36 programs offered by 26 organizations were examined in the final report. Workforce development non-profit organizations, park trusts, botanical gardens, and private employers, among others, participated in providing the quantitative and qualitative data regarding training programs as well as insights into the challenges and opportunities for workforce development in the urban forestry sector. This report aims to better understand urban forestry skills training and workforce development opportunities that cultivate careers in urban forestry.


Client: The Nature Conservancy


Published Report: Learning and Growing: Urban Forestry Workforce Training in NYC


Collaborators: Kristina Drury, Toby Gardner, and Hans Callenbach 


Year: 2020-2023