Andrea Estrada is working her way through Highbridge Park, tools in hand, hoping that with each clip, she is chopping away at the impacts of climate change.

“I have an interest in urban ecology and environmental justice,” said Estrada.

Estrada and the rest of the horticultural crew in training are part of the HOPE Program’s Intervine Initiative.

What You Need To Know

  • The HOPE Program is a Bronx-based organization that offers special paid-internship in green jobs
  • As part of Intervine Initiative, horticultural crew helps clean and restore park spaces
  • The goal of the program is to reverse impacts of climate change in vulnerable communities

The Bronx-based environmental organization has been around for 37 years. It combines education, internships and job placement. The training program lasts 10 weeks. Participants are paid to learn about ecological restoration in class and then put it in practice in the field.

“It’s creating more solutions, creating more jobs that allow job seekers to be able to build a career in this work to really be helping make a change and mitigate the impacts of climate change,” said Renee Ruhl, Intervine’s project manager.

On one outing, the group removed invasive plant species, the vines that wrap around trees and compromise their health.

The goal is to restore woodland areas in communities that historically have lacked access to adequate park space.

“So much of the work that we do is about education and awareness. A lot of times we are just walking around, we see green and we think it’s healthy,” said Ruhl.

Estrada says she’s glad to be doing her part to help the environment.

“I think it’s very important for the communities that are most impacted by climate change, which are low-income, working class to be at the forefront of the solutions,” Estrada said.

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