New federal funding planting trees and increasing workforce development in Baton Rouge
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - After experiencing one of the hottest summers on record, the USDA Forest Service is investing $23.4 million to plant more trees across the state. Over $14 million of that funding is coming right here to Baton Rouge.
“To focus on disadvantaged communities, communities that have been distressed to not only bring trees back to the community but also it’s an opportunity to create jobs and to bring an educational aspect,” said U.S. Forest Service Chief Randy Moore.
The educational aspect can be seen growing at Southern A&M University.
“We’re in a great position to help the community be aware what green space is and promoting tree canopy cover and how important it is,” said Zhu Ning.
$9.5 million is helping Professor Ning start a new project called the Green Lab. Her students are going to team up with community members to show the importance of getting outside.
“getting the community involved, getting young people, even high schoolers, involved,” said Ming. “It can also be a recruitment tool for new students to come to the urban forestry program and enhance the urban forestry education.”
The Walls Project is also looking to get your attention. They’re getting $6 million to create an agroforestry-paid apprenticeship program.
“To give career pathways to individuals that are learning about urban farming and urban forestry to be able to not only beautify the city but actually revive it from within,” said Casey Phillips.
Executive Director Casey Phillips said it will build on the Baton Roots Community Farm in north Baton Rouge. They plan to plant and take care of 1,000 trees around the city. The group also wants to create more places to protect you from all of this extreme heat.
“More trees, more green space, and a higher quality of life for all residents which everyone deserves,” said Phillips.
Both of these projects are expected to kick off by the end of next month.
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