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EJ4Climate Project

Fostering Lifelong Climate Champions – Building a Climate Stewardship Pipeline through Education and Workforce Development

Organization: Americas for Conservation + the Arts
AFC+A was founded with a mission of advancing healthy communities through environmental and cultural stewardship that bridge the conservation and creative inclusion gaps and serve the most underserved. AFC+A’s programs connect communities to the health services of nature and the arts.

Location: Denver, Colorado (Denver County), and Aurora, Colorado (Adams County, Arapahoe County)
Communities benefiting directly from the project: This project will take place with households and families who live in the Denver metro area, specifically underserved neighborhoods in the City of Aurora and the City of Denver. Most of the families we work with are Hispanic/Latinx. Many speak only Spanish in their homes and our bilingual PVs work with their neighbors in their preferred language, whether it be English or Spanish.

Country: United States

Other Organizations Involved: Participating schools, and the City of Denver and the City of Aurora

Active Fostering Lifelong Climate Champions @ AF+A


Inequities in tree canopy health in the Denver metro area of Colorado are exacerbating climate injustice, as tree canopy coverage increases local air quality and mitigates the impact of rising temperatures. Denver has been named as having the second highest surface temperature discrepancy in the nation between neighborhoods with less tree coverage and those with more robust tree canopies, inequities magnified by wealth divides. The Colorado Sun reports that “for those living in less affluent [Denver] neighborhoods, […] temperatures can be as much as 10 degrees higher than in surrounding neighborhoods.” The health impacts of these rising temperatures are far-reaching for disproportionately impacted (DI) communities as healthy tree canopies keep residents cool and improve ground-level air quality by reducing ozone levels and absorbing pollutants, among other health benefits. While they are the most impacted, the BIPOC communities we serve are also the least engaged in solutions. They make up approximately 40% of the US population but only 8% of environmental organizations, dismal representation in a critical field.


We will build upon the foundation of our tree planting campaign to scaffold lifelong stewardship, economic opportunity, and climate justice. Our overarching goal is to improve the metro Denver tree canopy and establish a diverse, multigenerational cadre of climate stewards and professionals. The following objectives will support reaching our goal:

  1. Objective 1: Engage 200 total youth at two schools to implement culturally relevant tree canopy and climate resilience activities in Denver and Aurora.
  2. Objective 2: Support 10 Promotores Verdes with the professional development and training needed to enter the climate resilience/conservation workforce.
  3. Objective 3: Host 6 Climate Career events to showcase conservation workforce opportunities and prepare BIPOC candidates for job opportunities. 

Main activities

  1. Teach youth about tree stewardship and climate resilience and test their knowledge with an evaluation tool developed in partnership with each school.
  2. Support our Promotores Verdes in selecting and enrolling in professional development opportunities that interest them and will build their skillsets.
  3. Host Climate Career events.

Expected outcomes

  1. Expansion of our efforts to engage BIPOC communities in stewardship of the tree canopy to create a multigenerational engagement in this work.
  2. Creation of a workforce pipeline from involvement in AFC+A projects to careers in conservation.
  3. Cocreation of workforce goals and opportunities for our Promotores Verdes and other community members who are most impacted by climate inequities.
  4. Supporting climate action partners in understanding the importance of BIPOC representation in their workforce and a connection to candidates with skills and training aligned with their needs.
  5. Improved BIPOC representation in the expansion and maintenance of the tree canopy work within the City of Denver and City of Aurora.