Most kids are in-tree-gued by the idea of climbing up into the limbs of trees.

Climbing is not only a challenge, but the final destination is a whole new world; a different view, looking down from a green hiding place, peering through leaves and branches at the near-by or beyond. Birds, insects, fantastical lighting, a peek over a mysterious fence.

How many know that they can grow up to make a living in this fantastic, green, and growing world?

The Washington Community Forestry Council discussed the idea of green jobs at their annual meeting recently. While there are plenty of jobs and opportunity in arboriculture and urban forestry, students are not entering the field in high enough numbers to satisfy employment vacancies, both current and anticipated.

Some jobs in the profession generally require four-year degrees, but it is possible to start at an entry-level job as a ground-worker and advance to a climber, foreman, or even consultant, as skills are learned over time.

The International Society of Arboriculture has a schematic that lists different career pathways.

Spokane Community College just launched a 2-year associate in applied science and certificate in Arboriculture and Urban Forestry for students interested in a more formal approach.

The job is a challenge, but you also get plenty of fresh air and physical activity. You meet interesting people, solve interesting puzzles, and have the ability to leave a legacy while having fun.

Field-based jobs are also great stepping stones to broader work in urban forestry, natural resource management, consulting, or other careers for government agencies, non-profit organizations, or private firms.

On a related note, Washington Community Forestry Council is seeking motivated individuals who would like to help shape the future of urban and community forestry in Washington. The Council is an advisory group appointed by the Commissioner of Public Lands and currently has several openings.

Check out the Council webpage for more information, or contact Linden, 360-902-1703. Program-wide, the DNR Urban & Community Forestry program is focused on delivering a more equitable program. We encourage all those interested to inquire.

By Linden J. Lampman, program manager, DNR Urban and Community Forestry Program